If you read my last post, you know I was recently in South Carolina visiting one of my best friends, Rhonnie. After spending a day touring the capital, we woke up early on Sunday morning to make the 2 hour drive to Charleston.
One of the things I love most about South Carolina is the history. It was the first state to secede from the Union in 1861, and this plantation was founded almost 200 years before that in 1676! Established by the Drayton family, it has been under the same ownership for more than three centuries now. Rev John Grimke Drayton, the great great great grandson of the Magnolia’s first Drayton, is the one who really took the gardens to the next level. He was motivated by both his wife, for whom he wanted to create a beautiful oasis, and his own health which he hoped might get better by gardening. I learned all this and more by watching the 30 minute intro video they offer in a small room by the entrance. I highly recommend taking the time to watch, especially if you plan to take a self guided walking tour like we did. This is what we saw:
After the plantation, we were literally dripping sweat, so we headed to our Airbnb to get checked in and freshen up before hitting downtown Charleston. We stayed in a very cute but cookie cutter neighborhood in West Ashley. A good location for rooms more affordable than in the heart of the city.
Walking tour of Charleston (self guided) – starting @ Four Corners
Our uber dropped us off at the intersection of Broad and Meeting St in downtown Charleston. Commonly referred to as the Four Corners of the Law where you’ll find the Historic Courthouse and US Post Office, St Michael’s Episcopal Church, City Hall and County Courthouse. Jail, bail, hail and mail all in one spot! We still had a few hours before our dinner reservation so we took the time to meander the cobblestone streets.
The streets were easy to navigate, yet even easier to get lost in while admiring the beauty of the architecture and planter boxes.
This is really just a row of houses on Bay St. painted in alternating pastels, but it is beautiful and one of a kind, and I insist you see it!
Last stop before dinner was the fancy hotel rooftop bar, Pavilion, with refreshing fruity drinks, an amazing view of the city and lots of southern boys in colorful shorts and polos… if you’re into that sort of thing.
Dinner was delightful. This mansion turned restaurant, named after the owner’s dog, definitely makes sure no one leaves hungry! We drank sparkling wine, ate macaroni & cheese with bacon, steak, seafood and more.
A 400 year old Oak tree on John’s Island, about 30 minutes outside Charleston is definitely worth the visit. We went first thing in the morning, and it was such a peaceful and magical way to start the day!
Walking tour part 2
Back in Charleston, we started on King St this time. A prime street for shopping and dining, with the bonus of a super cute pastel aesthetic.
Making our way through the neighborhoods, pretending we are locals…
One of the beautiful mansions you can tour in Charleston. For the low price of $12, you get to experience, if only for an hour, how the other side lives. Well, no one lives there anymore, but when they did, it was fancy! Perhaps the most impressive part was the suspended spiral staircase though. To this day, architects cannot figure out how it was built!
An indoor-outdoor farmers market in the heart of the downtown. Open daily for tons of awesome southern treats. It is free to walk through, but does get a bit crowded so be patient and please don’t push!
A quick treat before heading to the beach! One of only five locations anywhere, so if you love ice cream, cookies and pie, you absolutely must try while you’re here! You do not get to mix & match flavors, but they have dozens to choose from, and trust me, it will be hard to pick just one!
It was the perfect day for the beach, we both ran straight to jump in the water. As a California girl, I was very excited to put my feet in the Atlantic Ocean for the first time.
Such a fun trip with the best friend and tour guide ever! I can’t wait to go back and explore more of the south!