Charlotte, North Carolina
March 22, 2005
The carriage tours are 1-hour tours that take you through 25 to 30 blocks of historic downtown Charleston. Our driver was David, who has over 20 years experience, and our cute mule was Bessie. The company uses mules as opposed to horses since they are better cut for hauling and have more stamina. On the tour you get to see the abundance of beautiful, historical houses and buildings in Charleston. You are given information about the architecture of the houses and buildings. You are also provided with a history lesson on Charleston. They take you to some of the well-known tourist spots. You will hear stories and gossip about residents that are pretty funny. Charleston has been featured in many films, so you hear about that and celebrity gossip, all fun and entertaining. The carriage’s pace gives you plenty of time for picture-taking, and it even stops a couple of times for some of the most popular places, allowing for a better picture.
Your tour will bring you back to the big red barn. This is where the mules are housed. Inside the barn you will also find chickens and goats, a big hit with wee ones and animal lovers in your group. I am an animal lover and often worry about the treatment of the animals in these companies. But from what I observed, these animals are very well taken care of and loved. The carriages are handicap accessible. Inside the red barn you will find bathroom facilities. The also have a shop inside owed by the Mishoe family. Dorothy and her daughter, Carla, run the shop together. Here you will find cold beverages (which hit the spot in the Southern heat), snacks, and souvenirs. The company does offer carriages for rent for weddings and private tours. If you go on their website, you will find a coupon for $2 off for each person in your party and for free parking. Their website is www.carriagetour.com.
While here, make sure to take the time to head over to the Straw Market. This was once the market where slaves were brought and sold. Today, the area has become a thriving market offering local produce, handicrafts, and locally made specialty items. Here you have the chance to purchase straw baskets. These baskets are made by hand with local reeds. These beautiful baskets are a dying art and may not always be around. These baskets are durable and last forever. These intricate works of art are displayed in various art and history museums, including the Smithsonian in DC. While these baskets do not come cheap, it is will worth the price for a bit of local history.
From journal Touring the Low Country