I have been wanting to visit Charleston, South Carolina for years now! Why I waited till now? Not sure! Someone recently told me that they loved Charleston and that they thought it was similar to Wilmington, NC. That perked my interest because I love visiting Wilmington, NC! You can read why on my post Top 5 of my favorite things to do when visiting Wilmington, NC!
I had actually planned a visit to go for a beach day in Wilmington/Wrightsville Beach to celebrate my best friend’s 40th birthday. Our plans were thwarted by yucky weather. So, the birthday girl decided we should go to Charleston instead! So glad she did!
I found downtown Charleston to be just as charming and wonderful as people say it is. The streets are lined with beautiful architectural buildings and homes. So much history, so many stories to be told!
What we did
We started our day out by wandering the streets. No agenda…except the one of having fun exploring! Most of the time I plan out my trips by looking up the area online, but I didn’t this time. Other than a few restaurant recommendations and the birthday girl wanting to pay a visit to the City Market, we stumbled across the rest of our adventures on a whim.
We took a peek in the Old Exchange building, where George Washington once greeted his fellow citizens. You can visit their website by clicking on the following link to learn more…Old Exchange Building.
We gazed into window front after window front housing beautiful art! Becky, the beautiful birthday girl, bravely climbed the slippery wet staircase of the City Hall building for a photo op!
We explored George Washington’s Square located right behind City Hall. We didn’t let a little rain stop us from having fun! Actually, I think the rain made it even more fun!!
I loved all of the cobble stone streets in Charleston! We learned, on a carriage ride later that day, that the stones to make this particular street were brought back all the way from England. Now that’s a long journey to bring back some big pebbles! Don’t you think?
The rain had stopped, our umbrellas were put away, and our journey continued! We had finally made it to the Charleston City Market, aka the stuff mart! You’ll find handmade sweet grass woven baskets, jewelry inspired by local iron gates found all around the city, freshly made Shea butter, and much more! Click here on this link to learn more…Charleston City Market.
What we bought
I bought Becky a silver rice bead bracelet for her birthday. Beads that have the texture and form of rice are seen all around Charleston to symbolize a part of the city’s economic and cultural history. Becky bought a silver charm to add to the bracelet and us matching “iron gate” necklaces. Here is a picture of the jewelry and a picture of the gate we found that one of the charms is designed after.
I also bought some freshly made pralines from Charleston’s Candy Kitchen…I couldn’t resist! I mean, I had to bring back something for the family, right?! Yum!
We then, decided to go on a tour of the city via carriage ride and bought our tickets right outside the candy shop. The tickets were $23 per person and the tour took about an hour. If you want to get a quick history lesson most carriage rides offer just that. Also, it’s a nice way to continue exploring a city without wearing yourself out walking! Our beautiful Belgian draft horse was named Dan. I asked the attendant if the wagon was too heavy for him to carry. She informed us that this was a semi-retirement job for him after working with the Amish. I hope she was right! They seemed to be well taken care of:-).
Now this was when I really fell in love with Charleston! I absolutely loved learning more about this ever so charming city and it’s residents! The houses were gorgeous! You’ll find beautiful flower boxes adorned with all kinds of flowers and greenery displayed on many of the windows and lovely placed courtyards, fenced in by the most beautiful iron gates. We learned that the narrow style homes were built keeping in mind of the street front tax that was enforced.
We were told that the small narrow pinkish/peach house in one of the above pictures was between 800-900 square feet and sold for $1,000 per square foot! Wow, that was an expensive little house!
Next time I visit, I would like to tour one of the house museums. Like the Calhoun Mansion that the original owner’s last name was Williams. He gave his daughter the funds($75k) to build the house next to his as a wedding gift! Nice! You can learn more about this mansion if you click on the following link…Calhoun Mansion. You can even stay the night in the home that was purchased as a wedding gift for Martha, George William’s daughter, because it is now a bed and breakfast…Two Meeting Street B&B .
Where we ate
We asked our tour guide where his favorite place to eat was. He lead us to a near-by restaurant that goes by the name of Cru Cafe. It was a great recommendation! It was once a catering company that turned into this quaint little southern charm of a restaurant! I had the barbecue pork and mashed potatoes with a side of fresh veggies; and Becky had the halibut on a bed of sweet cream corn. It was super yummy! Call ahead to make reservations…we didn’t and they looked at us funny. Thankfully we were the first ones to arrive, so they found us a table right away:-). Click on the following link for more info on this great little spot to get some gourmet comfort food for yourself…Cru Cafe!
Of course not all the facts I learned about Charleston, SC. were positive ones…like the major fires that burned down many historic buildings. Also, learning more about the slave trade always makes me sad and a bit angry! It is a good reminder for us all to treat each other, no matter what race or ethnicity, with respect and kindness. After all, we can learn from our mistakes and hopefully become better human beings. The older I get, the more I realize that ignorance isn’t bliss.
What was bliss, however, was this trip to visit Charleston, SC!! A birthday celebration, a history lesson…beautiful memories made to last a lifetime. Thank you for taking the time to read this post! You may also like to read another one of our adventures on my post, A day away in Southern Pines, NC. I would love to hear from you, maybe you know of something I should try on my next visit to Charleston. What do you think about Charleston, South Carolina? Leave a comment by clicking the black bubble on the right below and remember that Travels A Dance Away(TADA)!
*Photos taken by myself and Becky Hulen(the beautifully pregnant birthday girl!) Below is a “free-range” chicken we found gallivanting around downtown!