The first time I visited the Charleston area was after my newly-married sister moved there with her husband. I was only ten, but I really liked the lower part of the state– especially the live oak trees with their long, swaying branches. We went to Charleston several times during the next couple of years.
I again visited Charleston in my mid-twenties, and it still had allure for me. A few years later Hurricane Hugo hit, and much of the vicinity changed, but buildings have been rebuilt and trees have grown, and it’s a lovely place again. My husband and I visit as frequently as we can, and we vacationed there recently.
We actually stayed in Mount Pleasant, just a few minutes from Charleston, across the Cooper River Bridge. It’s more quiet than the city, and has it’s own array of restaurants, movie theaters, and shopping. Our favorite place to eat is Water’s Edge, which is on Shem Creek. The service and food are excellent. Sitting inside or out, next to the water, one can enjoy yachts, sea gulls, pelicans hoping to get scraps from a fishing boat, and an occasional glimpse of a dolphin. There are also kayaks floating by, which can be rented at a shop next door.
Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island are just beyond Mount Pleasant, and they have beautiful beaches as well as restaurants and shops. We especially like Medley Cafe, which has some of the best brownies I’ve ever tasted, along with ice cream, coffee, and sandwiches.
We did go over to Charleston a couple of days, eating lunch at 82 Queen, which is a wonderful place with indoor/outdoor dining. It’s at 82 Queen Street, with a less than obvious entrance. We love to eat in the garden with its plants, trees, gazebo, and partially enclosed section.
After visiting Charleston Place Hotel with its huge chandelier, shops, and restaurants, we got into a pedi-cab and ventured into the quieter, residential part of the Historic District. It was so much nicer than walking in the heat. We had a breeze on us the whole time; especially as we approached The Battery. We sat back and relaxed while our fit driver took us around, then back to our car. It’s less expensive than some of the other private tours, and you don’t necessarily have to listen to a history lesson.
If you plan to visit Charleston, wear comfortable shoes that can take cobblestones and lots of walking, and be prepared for a crowd–especially during the summer. It’s worth it, though, to see Rainbow Row and all the lovely historic homes, and to dine at prize-winning restaurants. Maybe I’ll see you there the next time I go.