Don’t miss What to See and Do in Charleston…Part 1 for my first five recommendations.
Charleston’s City Market: I covered this sprawling shopping venue and its historical significance in a previous blog post. Centrally located near all of the main attractions, it is a fun way to while away a little time—maybe grab a snack, relax in the shade, or browse through the vendor stalls. A visit to the Confederate Museum on the upper floor of Market Hall offers a glimpse of life in Charleston during the Civil War era.
Carriage Tour or Pedicab Ride: Most every “touristy” town has a carriage tour option these days, it seems. It is actually an efficient way to get the lay of the land and see what’s out there. We booked our tour online for Charleston, but I think we would have been fine just walking up. There are several different carriage companies and most available drivers congregate near City Market. We opted for a “buggy built for two” with a private guide. We learned many interesting things that we otherwise would never have known about the city. We made use of the pedicab service when we needed a quick ride from point to point. Thomas, our driver, had a great personality and after the first ride,we called for him specifically. On our last evening in town, we hired him for an hour-long ride around the historic district at dusk. He is a native Charlestonian so provided interesting commentary, pointing out various sights—including his childhood home, his grandmother’s house, and the high school he attended!
Do Some Shopping: From art and antiques to souvenirs and moon pies—and everything in between—Charleston offers plenty of shopping opportunities. We bought clothing for the hubby, the requisite souvenirs for the folks back home, and for me, a Southern tradition—RC Cola and a moon pie from the Moon Pie General Store!
Tour Charleston’s Historic Churches: Charleston is known as “The Holy City” for good reason. It is a testament to the old cliche, “a church on every corner”…or at least every other corner! We toured several of the beautiful downtown churches during our private walking tour and were fascinated and amazed by their histories.
Visit Charleston’s Historic Plantations: There are a number of plantations in the Charleston area, but they are some distance from the historic city center. We actually saved visiting them until our second visit since we did not have a car the first time around. There may be bus tours available from the historic district, but I don’t know that for sure. We settled on Magnolia Plantation and Middleton Place as our tour choices. As a native Louisianian, I am accustomed to visiting plantations with intact original buildings, so was surprised to learn that such is often not the case in the Carolinas and Georgia. Because the Civil War action was much more intense in this area, many of the homes were destroyed by the Yankees. These two plantations are no exception, which makes their histories all the more interesting. (The current homes on both properties date to before the Civil War, but are not the original family home.) I plan to cover these and other plantations in more depth in future posts.
C.S.S. Hunley: I was disappointed that we weren’t able to see this Confederate submarine that is undergoing restoration and is on exhibit in Charleston. If you are interested in history, warfare, or the military, you will want to see the Hunley.
Would love to hear your impressions of Charleston as well as your recommendations regarding what to see and do. Check back for my upcoming review of the Charleston food scene…