There is so much to see and do in Charleston that it’s hard to squeeze so much fun into a four day weekend, but this baby-boomer decided to try!
The four of us girls flew to Charleston on an early Thursday morning flight and took the last departure out on Sunday evening packing in as many delightful activities as possible while still leaving down time to enjoy each other’s company and share stories of previous travels.
This was my third visit to Charleston, so I had a fairly good idea of what I wanted to enjoy during my brief stay. My baby-boomer friends also were return visitors to the city and had their list of must-dos.
We stayed at the luxurious Charleston Place Hotel, our unanimous choice, because it is in the center of the city and has a fabulous spa, which we spent one of our days luxuriating with massages and facials, lounging in the Jacuzzi and swimming laps in the salt water indoor/outdoor pool.
We also took a carriage ride around the city admiring the historic homes which have been lovingly restored from the 1700 and 1800’s, stopping along the way to visit area landmarks.
The Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim Reform Jewish Congregation of Charleston, founded in 1749 is one of the oldest Jewish congregations in the nation. It is a block from the Charleston Place Hotel and is a United States National Historic Landmark. There is a museum in the synagogue with a framed letter from President George Washington and other interesting artifacts from the early settlers in Charleston.
The carriage ride was just one way to see the sights. We also hired a pedicab, a bicycle with a back seat for two and powered by a driver, who was a college student in the area. Our pedicab driver told us that he works several hours a day and keeps his strength up by eating plenty of protein and working out on his days off.
Boat rides are another means of transportation in this lovely city. We took a boat ride out to Fort Sumter National Monument where the civil war began. The ferry boat ride provided awesome views of the city and we enjoyed the tour at the Fort which gave us a glimpse of the struggles of soldiers as they fought to preserve our country.
We spent hours at the Charleston city market across the street from the Charleston Place Hotel. The market place has everything from handmade baskets made by the natives of the city to jams, jellies, jewelry, clothing, books, hats and unusual gift items at reasonable prices. I bought a beautiful Pashmina scarf for less than twelve dollars.
Part of the charm of Charleston is their lovely gardens and we took a Charleston Tea Party private tour which takes you to some of the beautiful gardens at the homes of Charleston residents and concludes with tea at a home. I highly recommend this lovely tour.
Middleton Place, America’s oldest landscaped gardens was also on our list of must see attractions. The gardens were first carved out in the colonial wilderness in 1741 by Henry Middleton, a president of the First Continental Congress. We toured the Low Country Plantation and talked to the skilled craftspeople and observed the animals who work and live on the plantation. The Middleton Place Home built in 1755 also was an interesting tour with its antique furniture, silver, china and historic documents including a copy of the Declaration of Independence.
When we concluded the tour we enjoyed lunch at Middleton Place featuring local foods. The shrimp and grits were delicious.
Our last day in Charleston was Sunday, and we were fortunate because it was the second Sunday of the month and just outside our hotel were the festivities. The Shops, Charleston Place on King Street arranged tables and sale racks on the street which is closed to traffic allowing shoppers to browse the sale racks inside and out of the stores. Restaurants also did the same. Residents and tourists enjoyed shopping and enjoying lunch at outside tables.
King Street has a variety of stores from designer top labels like Gucci and St. John to bargain stores like Affordables. I enjoyed browsing in Handpicked, a store with all sorts of items that are hand monogrammed for shoppers.
Our exciting weekend came to a close, all too soon, but we are already planning our next trip with so many things to see in Charleston that we just didn’t have time to visit in our short four-day visit.