Travel Guide: Charleston, SC

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inked by Holly

Charleston, the epitome of true southern charm!

Oh, how I’d love to be a southern girl. Charleston is one of my favorite towns. We first visited in 2005 with Lindsay, Emily, and Julia.  We stayed at the French Quarter Inn (which is still #1 recommended on Trip Advisor) and highly recommend it. The hotel staff pay attention to every detail– they serve milk & cookies every afternoon, and they even had a pillow menu to make guests’ stay comfortable.

On that trip, our activities were mostly kid-friendly.  Our hotel was within walking distance of Battery Park, Rainbow Row, and King Street shopping.  We have great memories of the ferry ride to Fort Sumter.

We also toured the Edmond House and took a horse-drawn carriage ride.  Steve’s favorite was touring the Exchange and Provost Building– it was built by the British and housed Revolutionary War patriots in the dungeon.  Another fun fact: George Washington danced in the ballroom on the second floor! It’s a must-see.

Steve and I always wanted to go back and explore more of the city, so last year we decided to book a last minute trip on whim.  Unfortunately, the French Quarter Inn was booked, but the manager instead suggested their sister hotel, the Andrew Pinckney Inn.  We chose the St. Philips suite and loved the charm of the hotel.

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It had been a LONG time since we had spent more than a night away together.  After traveling with kids for 28 years (who weren’t very tolerant of Steve’s love for reading every historic sign and marker), we set off on foot to see the sights and explore. We started on King Street, which has amazing shopping ranging from retailers like Urban Outfitters to darling boutiques and antique stores.  King Street leads to toward Battery Park with beautiful historic homes lining the way.  Steve zig-zagged across the street to read every historic sign as I snapped photos of beautiful courtyards, porches, and iron gates.

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Each morning, we walked down Rainbow Row to Battery Park to see the Charleston Harbor with Fort Sumter in the distance.  It’s just amazing to stand where history was made!  I also recommend seeing the Calhoun Mansion.

After spending a few days exploring the sites on foot and horse-drawn carriage tours, we rented a car to visit a Middleton Place and the surrounding Charleston beaches. The grounds were amazing!  And if you’re a fan of southern cuisine, you must eat shrimp and grits at the Middleton restaurant. Delicious!

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On our last day, we drove to Patriots Point to tour the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier.  Since my grandfather was a Navy cook on a ship during WWII, this was especially meaningful to me. If you visit the aircraft carrier, be sure to wear comfortable shoes because there is a LOT of walking and stair climbing. But it’s worth it!

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I wish we would have tracked how many miles we walked– it’s certainly a walking town. Each night after dinner, we walked around the area and stumbled upon yet another old church or historical home that we hadn’t yet seen.

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Our trip led to another discovery. We were about to send our fourth and final daughter off to college, and after 28 years of parenting, I sometimes wondered what Steve and I were going to do with our time together. We each have our own hobbies, but I’ve never been sure how our worlds would collide again with an empty nest. On this trip, though, we realized our shared love for travel and history.

A year later, we’ve been blessed to go on quite a few short trips (withOUT kids) and even some fun historical adventures right here in Dayton. We’re looking forward to continuing to pursue our passion to travel in the next 20-30 years!

5 thoughts on “Travel Guide: Charleston, SC

  1. Holly, this was a great post! Thanks so much! We’re going out to do some exploring in a few minutes. Loved your pictures!

  2. My brother Doug moved there 2 years ago and I have been twice. It is a beautiful town and even has a cruise port at it now. Just to the bahamas, but it was a great 5 day cruise. Me not being the history buff, Roger and Doug drove around and talked about a lot of stuff I had NO idea of. But I did love the beauty of the town.

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