Charleston: Southern Charm & History

While I love beach vacations and cruising, there is something very special about experiencing a city full of history and charm in your own country.  Does it really live up to its hype?  Is this southern city really full of so much charm?  I had the privilege to spend a long weekend in Charleston, South Carolina with some friends recently.  There is a reason it has won so many awards from Condé Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice Awards, Travel + Leisure, and Southern Living magazine.  It truly is a special place. 

The town was originally named Charles Towne for Charles II was colonized near the Ashley River in 1670 before it became Charleston in 1783.  The town thrived on trading of rice, cotton and indigo over many years.

It is interesting to note that the city has had quite a history of ups and downs including being held by the British from 1780 to 1782 during the American Revolution, thriving as a top US winter port until the War of 1812, and even seceding from the Union in 1860 before it captured Fort Sumpter in 1861 which initiated the American Civil War.  South Carolina was readmitted into the Union in 1868.

The deep waters of the Charleston harbor were critical to the creation of a US Naval base in 1901 which was expanded during World Wars I & II as well as the Cold War.  The port is no longer home to a Naval base but is still a popular cruise port and port to other businesses like BMW.

While the state and city have become modernized over the years, no longer producing the cotton and indigo crops, the city and surrounding areas are still also filled with historic buildings and plantations that show bits of history.  The local preservation society and Board of Architectural Review (BAR) are critical to this preservation with strict guidelines on all improvements.  On your next visit, you can still go visit various plantations to learn about the way of life and to see preserved homes and cabins.  No matter where you stand in your view of history, you can see and learn about it, learning how the state has evolved and to where it is striving to go.

Sample Itinerary
While you can easily spend a full week to ten days in Charleston to see everything, here is a sample of things we enjoyed over our long weekend getaway.

Day 1

Day 1
Carriage Tour – this hour-long horse and buggy tour is a great way to get a feel for the history of the city and to find a few gems that are worth visiting later on foot.

Before you wander through the Charleston City Market for some local crafts, grab a coffee from Bitty & Beau’s Coffee shop to support their mission of empowering people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  You will love the coffee and the people. 

When you are done shopping, enjoy dinner at a local spot.  The Taleggio pizza at Frannie and the Fox was fabulous.  If you are able to snag a reservation, Husk or FIG are options worth considering too.

Day 2

Take the Charleston Harbor Tour – Board the Carolina Belle to get a 90-minute harbor tour that sails you right near Fort Sumpter and USS Yorktown for a few great pictures from a unique view.

Snag an afternoon treat at Carmella’s for a little energy boost.

Go on walking tour of the Holy City that goes by much of Charleston’s famous site like Rainbow Row, the Pineapple Fountain, Battery Park, and Four Corners of the Law.  You can easily wander the streets safely to make your own tour or pop in to a visitor’s center to book a guided walking tour.


Day 3
Visit a Plantation

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens has the oldest public gardens in America, which opened in 1870, and they are gorgeous.  This plantation will fill your day with enjoying the gardens, touring the preserved plantation house, learning the plantation’s history with a narrated tour around its longstanding slave cabins, and nature boat tour through the flooded rice fields.

Enjoy a fun ghost tour.
Charleston is supposedly the second most haunted city in America with at least thirteen different tours from which to choose.  You will have a fun, easy walk around town at dusk filled with stories of pirates, ghosts, and haunted history.

Final Thoughts
Charleston is a city that is easily accessible by car, air or even a cruise ship sometimes.  It has so much history, architecture, food, and southern hospitality that everyone is bound to find something that interests them.  I could have easily stayed longer than our quick weekend getaway. And, honestly, I am already looking at my calendar to find a time to go back again soon.

Are you looking for a great weekend getaway in the United States?  I think you should strongly consider Charleston.
What has been one of your best weekend trips, in the US or even abroad?  Share in the comments below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Dell Adventures Travel Agency
PO Box 3651, Grapevine, TX 76051


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *