Coming in at less than six months after our three-week trip wining and dining our way through France, it was going to be difficult for Charleston, South Carolina to impress. Nonetheless, our expectations were high given all the press that Charleston was getting.
Arriving at the historic Planters Inn after a long day of flying cross country, we promptly set out to The Gin Joint for a drink, an experience that has literally set the bar for all other bars since. Between the omakase style drink making and the big ice cubes that chill the drink without diluting it, the 8+ hours of travel sloughed off our shoulders as we sipped the delectable elixirs with the muggy night air pressing in.
In the ensuing days, we ate our way through the city, eating our fill at Hall’s Chophouse, McCrady’s Tavern, Husk, Poogan’s Porch, the Peninsula Grill, and Fig. We also had drinks at The Bar @ Husk and Bin 152.
When we weren’t eating or drinking, we walked around trying our best to fend off the inevitable gains to our waistline. In the run up to Halloween, many buildings were festooned with skeletons and other ghoulish decorations. The opulent window boxes that sprouted from the 18th century buildings like the Calhoun Mansion, the expansive graveyards adorning St. Philip’s Episcopal Church and the Circular Congregational Church, and the enveloping Spanish Moss hanging from the trees each whispered a welcome to a land of pirates and privateers drenched by sun and tropical rain. And no trip to Charleston would be complete without a ghost tour or two.
It was not all happy and fun though. Ducking into the The Old Slave Mart Museum, we came face to face with Charleston’s past. A powerful exhibit of drawings drawn by slave children affected us greatly. So too did our trip to Fort Sumter National Monument. A government shutdown had kept us from the Fort for most of our time in Charleston. Each morning, we would call the hotline to see if there was any news.
Happily, on our last full day in Charleston, the muckety-mucks in Washington D.C. finally decided to do their job, ending the shutdown and lifting the moratorium on visiting the fort. The weather cooperated too on our visit to the place where the Civil War started.
On the day of our departure, we picked up a rental car to drive out to Folly Beach to watch the surfers. On the way, we stopped off at The Sweetwater Cafe for some authentic, down home, breakfast grub.
The collards were eye-opening. Well done Charleston.