Having family in far-away parts of the country makes it fun to plan longer sight-seeing vacations in their neck of the woods. Marcus’ Aunt and Uncle live in beautiful Charleston and we are both so happy we got to not only see them, but spend a week in their amazing city.
Charleston has a lot to offer, and I had a hard time leaving without seeing it all. From plantations to the beach, it’s all here. Fantastic food paired with charming historic homes makes for a perfect place to vacation. It’s no wonder so many people retire or spend their vacation time here. With leisure time always in season, the laid-back coastal life mixes well with the history and longevity of Charleston.
Historical homes are a major draw here. Visitors can choose to take in properties as magnificent as the Magnolia Plantation or Boone Hall Plantation, and get a real feel for how these plantations operated and how their owners lived. We also visited several historic homes downtown such as the Nathaniel Russell House and the Hayward-Washington House. Great care has been put into many of the properties to keep them in good shape and most are undergoing continual restoration. In the Russell house they were showcasing the carpeting that had been finally installed after years of research and work to get the perfect replica made.
So much care is being taken by the city of Charleston to keep their history preserved and maintain the city’s allure. Perhaps one of my favorite activities on this trip was walking through the old streets and gawking shamelessly at the spectacular array of southern homes. Their massive porches and secret gardens draw you in and give the entire area a romantic mystery.The bright facades and glowing gas lamps are so inviting, I could wander for hours down there. We made sure to check out Rainbow Row on our wandering as well.
We also made sure to spend some decent time on the water. We walked on the beach on Isle of Palms and even took a boat ride down the Wando River and out into the Harbor. Along the way we got a unique view of the Ravenel Bridge and got the see Fort Sumpter from afar. Add in a stop at a waterside restaurant for some southern sweet tea and it was a wonderful experience.
If you’ve known me for any time at all, you may know I absolutely love animals. Charleston has a small but nice aquarium that I was delighted to visit. They have something special: A Sea Turtle Hospital. Sold. I’ve never been up close to one of them and it was amazing learning about them and the work that is done to help them recover and return to the Ocean. We learned that the aquarium is scheduled for renovations in 2017 that will make the Sea Turtles a new exhibit to help teach the public about the mission of the hospital and to teach people about the danger the turtles are in.
In addition to house tours, we also toured the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon, Marcus visited the USS Yorktown, we sampled tea and toured the Charleston Tea Plantation and even trekked out to see the Angel Oak, a 300-400 year old Live Oak tree on John’s Island. We both tried shrimp and grits for the first time and I had an amazing flounder dinner at Slightly North of Broad. This trip was what I think we had both hoped for. History, leisure, good food, and time with family. Don’t worry Charleston, we’ll be back for sure!