“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Visiting Charleston

My first trip since 2019 and I was so excited!  Off to Charleston with two of my best friends, Ruth and Jeanie.  We drove from Orlando to Charleston, so thrilled to be traveling again!

We made sure that our visit was jam packed with things to do. A Charleston Stroll. Across the harbor to Fort Sumter.  Plantation and Garden Tour.  A side trip to the Vintage Fair in nearby Ladson. And, of course, a food tour.  Finally, we knew our Charleston visit wouldn’t be complete without going to the Charleston Market and several of the outstanding restaurants.

Ruth provided the car, Jeanie drove and I navigated.  We hit Buc-ee’s in St. Augustine and stopped for a nice lunch in Brunswick.  Then we gabbed all the way to Charleston, getting there about 4 p.m. 

We stayed at The Rutledge Avenue Inn, just blocks from King Street.  It was a beautifully renovated VRBO bungalow, built circa 1910, in the Cannonborough-Elliotborough neighborhood, close to several restaurants and one of the DASH lines (DASH is a free bus that goes on three routes throughout Charleston).  We had the downstairs of the main house and it was perfect for us.  It had two bedrooms and two baths, a large kitchen, and the most wonderful feature of all—a porch across the entire front of the house.  We imbibed in several glasses of wine on that porch every evening.

The weather was perfect for walking around such a beautiful and historic city.  Everyone we met on our rambles was very nice.  The term southern hospitality must have been coined for the people of Charleston.

The Charleston Stroll took us through several architecturally significant and lovely neighborhoods and along the Battery with a guide who had an encyclopedic knowledge of the architecture and history of the City. 

We enjoyed the boat ride out to Fort Sumter and I always find the lowering of the flag ceremony inspiring.  Unfortunately, the museum which I remembered well, was closed and we were limited to walking around the grounds and the battlements.  The Vintage Fair in Ladson had a huge assortment of quilts and clothing, Americana, and other wares offered by over 100 vendors.

On Saturday, we drove out to Boone Hall Plantation and Gardens, entering through the spectacular double row of live oaks that form an archway leading to the house.  The mansion, built in 1936, was handsomely decorated with antiques and gave us a sense of how the planters lived in the first part of the last century.  The gardens were bright and open in the lovely weather and featured antique roses, among the snapdragons and poppies and camelias.  We finished our visit with a wagon ride that took us all the way around the grounds and the working farm.

While I love all the history and grandeur of The Holy City, as always most memorable for me was the food.  We took a food tour naturally.  We had a great guide, a chef who had worked in many top notch restaurants and owned his own for a while.  He told us a lot about the food and wine but agreed that some of the dishes weren’t first rate.  Still, some were quite tasty.  My favorite were the fried green tomatoes which I greatly enjoyed although I don’t usually care for them.  We found the Market to be fun and stimulating as always.  The vendors are colorful and full of energy and the shoppers are a vibrant cross section of the residents of the City and visitors. 

We ate at a lot of restaurants while we were in Charleston and honestly didn’t have a bad meal.  The standouts were Magnolias, the Marina Variety Store, and 82 Queen.  I have to say that the other two, good as they were, couldn’t hold a candle to 82 Queen.  The ambiance there was wonderful and I had the best pork chop ever, with collard greens and roasted sweet potatoes.  The she crab soup was also great. 

At the conclusion of our four-night stay, we drove away from Charleston having thoroughly enjoyed our time there and hoping to return before too long.