Trips and Tips: Charleston, South Carolina

One of my favorite things to do is travel, so I’ve added a Trips and Tips feature where I will highlight my favorite activities and tourist destinations along with tips from my experience.

1.)    Patriots Point

Patriots Point is the home of the USS Yorktown. Admission to the aircraft carrier includes six self-guided tours. The tour of the living and working areas was the most fascinating to me as I imagined living in such close quarters. The Medal of Honor Museum is part of the Yorktown and is worth visiting because it is a touching tribute to the recipients.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATIPS: Patriots Point has a ferry to Fort Sumter, and tours of both the fort and aircraft carrier can be done in one day, though you’ll want to start early. And ladies, don’t wear a dress if you’re planning to visit an aircraft carrier because you’ll be climbing many steep, narrow steps. (Yes, I learned this from experience.)

 

2.)    Hyman’s Seafood

Hyman’s Seafood has received accolades for their food and served lots of famous people. After visiting I understand why. The portions are generous, and you have many options of fish and other seafood. I tried boiled peanuts for the first time, and while I didn’t love them, they did have a unique flavor. The atmosphere is fun because each table has plaques with the names of famous people who have eaten at the table.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATIPS: If it works in your schedule, go during the week instead of the weekend because this is a popular destination. Also, look for free appetizer coupons in tourism books. We had a coupon for the delicious Wadamalaw Delight, which is fried green tomatoes on a bed of grits.

3.)    Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is famous for its gardens. While visiting, we took the guided nature train and house tours. The house tour was informative, but I enjoyed the nature train tour most because of the wildlife and plant life. I spotted alligators lounging in the old rice fields and learned how Spanish moss got its name. The nature train tour occurred in spite of rain and gave a feel for the entire plantation. The garden tour was self-guided.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATIPS: The guided tours at the plantation are sold in addition to the general admission price, but they’re worth the cost. I’d recommend coating yourself with bug spray because mosquitoes are rampant in the gardens and swamps. Warding them off will make your tours more pleasant.

 

4.)    Boone Hall Plantation

Boone Hall Plantation is known for the Avenue of Oaks leading to the house and for the movies filmed there. The Notebook is one recent example. A house tour is available, and the slave cabins give a history presentation on slavery.

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TIPS: Be sure to see the Gullah storyteller who gives a presentation about Gullah culture and language. If your schedule allows, try not to visit Boone Hall in the rain because the Plantation Coach Tour wasn’t available due to the weather.

 

 

5.)    Culinary Tours of Charleston

Seeing the Savor the Flavors Tour by Culinary Tours of Charleston mentioned on HGTV’s Dream Home 2013 episode inspired the trip to Charleston, so I was excited about this tour. I wasn’t disappointed. We sampled grits, sweet tea, and sweet potato cornbread at Dixie Supply Bakery and Café; barbecue, collard greens, and a cheese biscuit at Nick’s Bar-B-Q; and pralines and other candy at Market Street Sweets. The tour included the stores Charleston Cooks and the Spice and Tea Exchange.

TIPS: The website shows a mix of high and low ratings for the tour. Those who rated the tour low claimed you could visit all the places on your own, which is true. However, if you have a limited amount of time, you might not find the places, and you wouldn’t get the history of Charleston. Schedule the tour early in your trip so you can return to the restaurants featured on the tour.

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