Leaving Myrtle Beach and arriving in Charleston, was like graduating to college directly from grade school. Even though the city wasn’t on the way home, we just had to make the detour and experience this gem of the south. Luckily, the city managed to remain mostly unscathed during the U.S. civil war. The architectural beauty of the 18th and 19th century buildings will punch any history buff right in the solar plexus.
We only spent half a day in the city, but managed to cover a lot of the older part of town, market area and waterfront by pounding the pavement. Coming off the highway, we followed King Street all the way to the waterfront where we stumbled across a free parking spot. White Point Gardens was across the street so we walked along the path and chose Meeting Street to head uptown. It was there we stumbled across the largest private residence in town, the Calhoun Mansion. The tour was expensive, but we figured why not spend our money on the best mansion in the city.
With no set agenda, we wandered up and down the quiet and scenic streets, stopping at almost every house to take pictures. It was obvious to us that the locals take pride in restoring and keeping up their historic properties. Colorful paint-jobs and creative landscaping are pleasantly distracting, so watch out for the uneven sidewalks.
We strolled along the water and through Waterfront Park, which took us to the old French Quarter and market area. Tired feet and parched throats led us to the door of the Griffon Pub where we had a couple pints and delicious lunch. They had a good draft selection and food menu. My wife was trying to behave after a week of debauchery and had the chef’s salad. I asked for my Ruben on a hoagie bun; the owner was impressed by my selection and said he’d consider adding it to the menu. The food was great.
To amuse yourself at the Griffon you can personalize a bank note and stick it to the wall somewhere – if you can find an empty spot. If you can’t manage the walk around town there are lots of horse drawn carriages with tour guides on board who point out the historic landmarks and points of interest. If you can walk fast and dodge the horse cookies, you can follow the carriages and listen to the guide for free.