I knew my mom would be coming to visit for about a week in September, so once we had officially booked her flights, I got busy planning and preparing a week full of travel and Charleston was the first stop on our list!
My mom’s flight arrived in the evening, and we spent our first night wandering around King Street checking out all of the [closed] shops. If you’re into shopping, I’d obviously recommend doing this during the day, but since our time there was short, we opted for other activities during the day, and exploring King Street at night was fine for us. I also thought I should mention that while we were exploring, my mom noted how safe she felt. Of course, bad things can happen anywhere, but she was right – we didn’t feel out of place or that anything bad was going to happen to us. It was a very safe area, even at night.
If you have been following my blog for a while, you probably know that I am picky about where I eat when I visit somewhere new. I like to eat at places that are new, different, and unique to the city, which is not always easy to find! My phone was still new to me, so I was struggling with the navigation system, making it difficult to find a good spot to eat (I’m too young to be having these sorts of problems, I know). My mom wandered all over the place with me, trying to find some good food, and never complained even though I know she was exhausted from traveling all day. We ended up finding a great BBQ place before crashing for the night.
In the daylight, the first thing I noticed about Charleston was how many churches there were. Within a block of our hotel, there were at least 3, and every single one was unique.
We had been given several restaurant recommendations, and we decided on Toast for breakfast because they were advertising pumpkin spice lattes, my favorite! The service was great and the food was wonderful, but it turns out that I can’t tell you how the lattes were because I ended up with a Bloody Mary instead. I have a feeling I made the better choice!
Close to Toast was the Charleston City Market, where locals come to sell a variety of items from paintings to hand-woven baskets. We took our time walking through, checking out the different vendors. At the end of the market, there is a public bus stop that our waitress at Toast told us about; it is completely free and takes you all over the city. We hopped on at her suggestion and rode it the whole way through before we deciding where we should get off to explore.
We ended up at Waterfront Park; here, you can grab some ice cream a great view of the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, walk along the water’s edge, and take in the view. It truly is beautiful and my mom and I spent probably a good hour here.
We wandered around the nearby area, looking at the houses and all of the unique architecture. One of the most famous houses is in this area – Rainbow Row. The Rainbow Row houses are the longest cluster of intact Georgian row houses in the U.S. and they were built in 1680! They were slightly damaged in the Civil War, became slums, and then were re-stored in the 1920’s.
If you want to visit Charleston, you can do so easily without a car. We did have a car, so we went to see the Angel Oak Tree (yes, we drove about 20 minutes to go see a tree). However, this is no ordinary tree; it’s by far the biggest tree I’ve ever seen and some estimate Angel Oak to be 1,500 years old. The limbs alone are as big as a normal tree trunk, and it stands around 65 feet high.
Since my mom was visiting from Iowa, I knew she was dying to see the beach (at least, I think she was…I would have been!) The beach was a close drive from the Angel Oak Tree, so we spent the last couple hours of the afternoon at Kiawah Island walking the beach. I must admit that I think a ghost tour would have been in the works had I not had such a bad experience in Gettysburg!
It was the perfect first day in Charleston. The following day, we woke up and went to Fort Sumter (post to come!) before heading to Myrtle Beach for a couple of days.