Charming Charleston: A City Where History Lives
Charleston is the oldest city in South Carolina and you feel it. As you stroll through the cobblestone streets, you see horse-drawn city tours, mid 18th century homes and sprawling old growth trees. It’s a city with deep-rooted culture.
Aaron and I were lucky enough to have our own personal tour guides in the form of our gracious friends/hosts Steve and Shannon. They’ve lived in Charleston for a number of years and know all the best restaurants, rooftop bars and walking tours. The informal exploration of Charleston was just our style. I honestly can’t think of anything better than sauntering around on a beautiful day with laid back friends, no agenda, popping in and out of places for a bite or drink. It’s the perfect way to experience a new city, in my opinion. We leisurely happened along the cemetery at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church and continued down the “Historic Homes Walk” (Meeting Street and the surrounding area). These mid 18th century homes are very well maintained and preserved. You can tell it’s a source of pride for the city and it’s home owners. Many were once home to great historical figures.
Our friends and Charleston hosts took us to some great spots to get our eat and drink on…
I highly recommend the following:
FOR LUNCH: Simply named “CO”, located off of Charleston’s historic King Street, is where you’ll find mouthwatering Vietnamese food in an airy, modern, urban atmosphere. Choose from a plethora of delicious, crunchy spring rolls to start. Choosing my meal at CO was the hardest decision I had to make during our stay in Charleston, everything looked so nom! I finally decided on the Curry Laksa (shrimp, shredded chicken, bun rice noodles, shredded cucumber, thai basil, baby bok choy, served in a spicy coconut broth)- it was smooth, spicy, savory, and HUGE. Aaron had the Beef Pho (rare beef, rice vermicelli, bean sprouts, cilantro, thai basil, scallions, hoisin & sriracha served in a beef broth)- so so good! Aaron and I could have easily shared a dish, but what’s the fun in that?! Our favorite way to dine is, “you get this.. I’ll get that” to enable us to taste more of what’s offered. My dream meal at any restaurant would be one bite of every single item on the menu- can someone please create this restaurant already?!
FOR DRINKS: Gin Joint– prohibition style “gin joint” where each drink is carefully crafted and even the ice is considered an ingredient. Classically made drinks with fresh components bring the term “mixology” to life. You can choose from their many rum, whiskey, agave and gin drinks OR you can have the bartender create a unique concoction not listed on the menu by choosing two words (see picture below).
FOR DINNER: Poogan’s Porch– If you really want to experience some Charleston, low country cuisine with an authentic southern feel, this is your spot. It’s one of Charleston’s oldest independent establishments. The restaurant was originally built in the late 1800’s as a spacious, Victorian home. While dining on my delicious seafood and grits, I felt as though I was enjoying dinner in my Great-Aunt Mabel’s home (I don’t have a Great-Aunt Mabel but you know what I mean). It was warm and cozy. A place to enjoy comfort food and good conversation. The restaurant was lovingly named after Poogan, the neighborhood pup, who hung around looking for belly rubs.
Our final stop in Charleston, and for me, the most awe-inspiring, was a last-minute recommendation from our friends, ANGEL OAK….
Angel Oak is perhaps the oldest Live Oak in North America, if not the World. Dated at 1500+ years, I’ve never seen a tree with so much character, think of everything this tree has seen! If only trees could talk, but as you stare in wonder at the Angel Oak, each crooked branch (the size of actual trees) kind of does tell its own story. Some branches even dip into the ground and come back out again. The tree’s shade covers 17,000 square feet. Truly magnificent.
Things to note:
- It’s free
- Hours: 9-5 M-S, 1-5 Sunday
- no dogs or pets
- you may have to get creative with parking if it’s busy (limited spots). We had to park our RV about a quarter of a mile down the dirt road.
- It was impossible to get a shot of the tree with no one in it (we were there on a Saturday at noon, week days might be less crowded).
Slightly funny side note: We encountered our 1st disgruntled citizen and obvious RV-hater while in Charleston, complete with an angry note and scowling looks.
** Special thanks to Steve and Shannon for their friendship, warm hospitality and knowledge of the city! Couldn’t have asked for better tour guides 😉 Can’t wait to see YA’LL soon!