Saturday, August 7, 2010

how could i forget? charleston trip guide.

here i am sitting on my couch at 7:30 am (yes, thats what time my body likes to wake up and get going, but i HATE it) and i realize, charleston pictures? where are they? what have i done with them? i haven't even looked at them.. weird.

we got back from charleston TWO weeks ago now and i wanted to share with you all my favorite parts about the city and trip recommendations.. you NEED to go.

disclaimer: my family REALLY likes history, so we went to several history related places (which i loved, but i also love sitting on the beach from sun up to sun down, so you can choose the history route or the beach route)

1. where to stay?

there are many, many wonderful places to stay when visiting charleston, my family stayed on folly island, about 20 minutes south of downtown and we loved it. (beach route) we also loved the homes in the old town of mt. pleasant and on sullivans island, check out for great rental homes. there are several island along the coast that would all be perfect getaways.

there are some good hotels in mt. pleasant also, which isn't a bad drive either, close to the airport and very affordable. (southwest is fixing to start flying to charleston!)

but if you are looking to splurge for your getaway, the picture below is two meeting street inn, located on battery. it was my favorite home in the city and one day i will stay there, one day.

the is also many chain hotels located downtown, the king charles inn by best western has a great location on king street (close to shopping!).

2. what to do first?

first you need to go to the charleston visitors center , located on meeting street, it is located in a beautiful building and there is tons of area information and make sure to pick up coupons for a carriage ride and any home tours you want to go on.

then you just need to take a drive around the city, become acquainted with the one way streets and the heavenly architecture.

drive down to south battery, park, and walk around. there is a beautiful park there with tall live oaks and you can walk along the old sea wall and look out on the bay.

you will see homes like this,

and maybe a sunset like this,

and stop and take a picture with your sister like this,

and if you zoom in your camera as far as it will go, you will see fort sumter out in the bay.

3. carriage rides

okay, there is no way of getting around it, a carriage ride is going to be a tourist trap no matter which one you take, so you are just going to have to button down the hatches and choose one.

they are all pretty pricey (make sure to find any coupons or deals before you go though).

we choose the palmetto carriage tours, they have "the big red barn" and above are the adorable chinese lanterns they decorated with. we enjoyed our tour, it was HOT, but an experience to remember.

they also let you park in their lot all day, so you can take your tour then walk around downtown later with out paying for extra parking.

4. shopping (my favorite activity)

king street is where all the shopping is, beautiful old buildings with stores such as gucci, williams-sonoma, saks fifth avenue, urban outfitters, gap, and some great local boutiques too. and lots of antiques. its just a must.

another must is the market, located on meeting street (perpendicular to king street), its is filled with local vendors and such. its also just a good experience, with some good food and resturaunts around it.

5. food

jestines kitchen, 251 meeting street.
we just happened to walk upon this place and decided to stop in for an early dinner. little did we know, this place was a landmark of a eatery. the walls were covered with press pieces, from the New York Times to Oprah, Rachel Ray to Southern Living, every one loved jestines. it was a great stop and they had GREAT fried okra and sweet tea.

king street grille, good food, great fries. there is one location on king street and one close to folly.

ritas, folly island. great interior design and even better food. fun atmosphere.

6. out and about

old town of mt. pleasant

this little strip of shops was seen in the notebook as the down town area of "seabrook" in the notebook. there are not many stores, though the one that is there was my favorite store of the whole trip! it is called out of hand, they also have an adjacent event planing boutique called ooh! events . while i was shopping my family got ice cream at the local drug store next door, i hear it was good.

the hotel where allie stays, anyone??

boone hall plantation

this famous avenue of oaks was one of my favorite parts of the trip, to a southerner it was almost like seeing one of the eighth wonders of the world. at the end of this beautiful drive is boone hall plantation, below. it is said that when they were preparing for the movie production of gone with the wind they came to boone hall and took a picture of the avenue of oaks and took it back to hollywood to recreate it. it is the longest avenue of oaks in the world.

(allie's house from the notebook)

the home is not the original home, but it is open for tours, you can view the downstairs of the home.

the original slave homes are still in tact and open for viewing, which was really cool.

i recommend that you take to "plantation tour" of the whole farm. it doesn't cost extra and you need to get all your moneys worth right?? on the tour you can see sets from the show army wives and the movie, roots.

they also sell fresh produce, where we bought some peaches and my mom stole some tomatoes, she says on accident, but i know my mom and she REALLY likes tomatoes.

middleton place

middleton place is a beautiful plantation and gardens built centuries ago. the remaining home, as seen below, is just the left wing of the original house. the original home was burned by union forces during the civil war and the family lived in this portion of the home for the rest of their time there. the home is open for tours and the gardens are also open for tours at your own pace, which i highly recommend.

as you can see be the aerial photo below (which i did not take by the way) you can see the ruins of the original home and the beautiful terraced lawn. a scene from the movie the patriot was filmed here, the scene near the end at the party where they blow up a boat out in the bay and a lady goes, "oh fireworks, how wonderful!" yep, good movie.

fort moultrie

located on sullivan's island (there are some GORGEOUS homes on this island, drive around) it may not be fort sumter but it is cheaper and less crowded.

hayward-washington house

located in downtown charleston, this home tour is only $10 a person and you get to view a home where george washington once slept AND see the most respected pieces of furniture in america. only $10!!

there she is, the holmes bookcase, considered to be the finest example of
American-made furniture.

out back you can view the original kitchen and gardens.

st. michael's church

after you visit the heyward-washington house, walk down st. michael's alley and take a right and you will see st. michael's church. and you, my friend, have just walked down the same alley that george washington once walked to church many, many years ago.

and you can actually view the same pew he sat in, it is known as the governors pew. you will have to read the pamphlet to see which one it exactly is, i forgot. the architecture is beautiful and they have a cute little book store around the corner.

back to folly island..

every night we came back to our condo and got to see this gorgeous sunset.

south carolina, i love you.

hope you enjoyed my guide to charleston, enjoy!

much love,

mary morgan

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