One of the great things about being retired is having the time to travel. But when you stop and think about that, it’s really pretty sad. There are so many wonderful places in this beautiful country of ours, many within driving distance. And yet we just can’t seem to find the time (or the money) to travel when we’re younger. Some people get so use to that way of life, that they never leave their home state.
Lisa and I have enjoyed some spectacular road trips this year and one of our favorite spots was Charleston, South Carolina. I had been there once before for a few days on a photo shoot (the days of film) decades ago but Lisa had never visited this fair city, the Belle of the South.
We got into town a little late in the day after the drive from my brothers, tired, hungry and anxious to explore the city. I had found what looked like a delightful Bed & Breakfast in Charleston, thanks to TripAdvisor.
The 1837 Bed & Breakfast was everything it had promised and all the positive reviews were well deserved. Built in the early 1800s, the main house of this historic inn is a three-story Federal-style single house accompanied by a two-story carriage/kitchen house.
Guest Rooms were spacious and well appointed, with a downstairs common area living room and dining room. The staff was friendly and very helpful, making dining reservations while suggesting their favorite restaurants and must see’s in their city.
If you’ve never been to Charleston, it definitely needs to be on your list of cities to visit. We stayed near the center of town, with everything easily within walking distance. From The Battery to downtown you can walk from to restaurants, sightsee area landmarks or just take a leisurely stroll in the parks along the Battery.
The Circular Congregational Church is one of the oldest in the south dating back to the 17th Century, with the oldest graveyard in the city. This church can be found on Meeting Street, which got its name from the first meeting house built at this location.
Waterfront Park is a twelve-acre park along approximately one-half mile of the Cooper River, The location of the park had historically been a center of maritime traffic with several wharfs and shipping terminals. The Pineapple symbolizes hospitality, and Southerner’s do believe in hospitality!
At Exchange Street, the park merges into restored salt marshes, creating valuable maritime habitat. You can walk to the edge of the river at this point from Exchange Street to North Adger’s Wharf enjoying the tranquil views.
The Battery is a landmark defensive seawall and promenade in the city. Named for a civil-war coastal defense artillery battery at the site, it wraps along the lower shores of the Charleston peninsula, bordered by the Ashley and Cooper Rivers, which meet to form the Charleston Harbor. Stately Antebellum homes line the street facing the battery and Fort Sumter can be seen from this location.
I had a seared duck breast on sweet potato waffles with shaved fried brussels sprouts, with a malted bacon glaze……sigh
Lisa enjoyed the Forager’s filet with white truffle whipped potatoes, white and brown beech mushrooms, haricot verts and a port wine reduction (which was cooked perfectly to well done specifications).
Both restaurants are excellent, but my favorite was Eli’s Table, it seemed less touristy.
My favorite lunch spot was Brown Dog Deli serving up classic deli sandwiches, specialty sandwiches, salads, Vegetarian and Vegan options. Our first lunch there we were seated at a communal table across from an authentic gentleman southern lawyer, complete with seersucker suit! He had just come from court and regaled us with tales of his adventures as an attorney in Charleston, having been born and bred there.
All in all Charleston is a great city to visit, full of shops, restaurants and friendly people that have no problem taking time out of their day to help with directions or to simply say hello. You can walk everywhere you’re going in Charleston but if you get too tired and just can’t walk another step, simply call the Charleston Rickshaw Company and they’ll send one of their Bicycle taxi’s to pick you up and take you home. I did find myself unable to walk any further one night and took advantage of this wonderful service.
So my friends Visit Charleston, but one word of caution it does get hot, so make your trip in the cooler time of year. We’re hoping to get back during the Christmas holiday this year.