A July 2001 trip
to Charleston by vampirefan
Quote: Several years ago we went with a friend of mine from Denmark to Charleston. This is one of the most beautiful cities in the South. There are an abundance of things to do and ways to do them.
Hotel | "Red Roof Inn"
The room was very nice and appealing. We had two queen-sized beds, a table and two chairs, a chest of drawers, and a TV with cable hookup. The room is typical by moderate standards--nothing overly fanciful, but it serves the purpose. It is clean and well-taken-care-of. The location is excellent. The bathrooms were a nice size, and they had a nice amenities basket, which included Dove products. I loved that, since I very rarely carry my own soap. Since I have to keep allergy shots refrigerated, I was able to get a mini fridge in my room. They do offer them in some rooms--just ask. But if the hotel is sold out, you will need a medical reason to have one. We were able to store drinks and snacks for all three rooms that were with us.
The area around the hotel is very nice and clean. They have plenty of room to exercise Fido if you bring him along. Pets are welcome here, which is always appreciated by those of us without human children but who have furry children in tow. They have a pool, which is very much appreciated in the hot summer months. They do have a coin-operated laundry on the premises, which comes in handy for washing all your dirty laundry, leaving you some free time when you return home. There are several restaurants within walking distance. The front desk staff was very friendly and helpful. They know the area well, so we were able to get directions without a problem. They also have plenty of information on things to do and see in the area and in Charleston.
The city itself makes a perfect alternative to the more expensive Charleston. Summer rates here only ran $45, and I didn’t even need my travel agent rate. Here you are only 11 miles from the airport, and it only takes about 15 minutes to get into the downtown area. If you are hunting any of the plantations, then you are in luck. This is where you will find many of these. Boone Hill Plantation, which we visited, was only about 5 minutes away. The Yorktown carrier is located near here too.
Since they do accept pets, I am glad to say the Red Roof chain is a sponsor of the Humane Society. For reservations or for more information, you can visit them at www.redroof.com. You will love the location and love the rates even more.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 26, 2005
Red Roof Inn Mt. Pleasant - Patriots Point
301 Johnnie Dodds Blvd.
Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina 29464
Restaurant | "California Dreaming"
The food is general American fare and quite tasty. Menu items include salads, steaks, fresh seafood, ribs, chicken, and burgers. They have an extensive dessert and appetizers menu and a full-service bar. No matter what the weather is outside, try their baked potato soup. It is to-die-for and served year-round. In fact, I come here just for the soup. It is very thick and creamy, and you can get toppings added to it such as cheese and bacon, so it tastes like a loaded baked potato. Several people in our party tried the seafood and said it was fresh and some of the best they had tasted. My husband loves seafood and went with the fried crab claws. These are the claws of a blue crab, fried up in a handmade batter and served with fries. I had a tough time deciding and went with the 11-oz. prime rib, served medium-well. It was quite tasty and very tender. It came with a choice of fries or potato, and I went with the potato, loaded. Now, I was deciding between that and the Southwest bacon and quesadilla. Suzanne went with that and was kind enough to let me try a bit. It was mouthwatering. That will be my choice next time. It comes with spicy chicken, bacon, ham, cheese, scallions, and jalapenos. On the side, you get sour cream, green onions, and tomatoes. Perfection! John and I were both 3/4 full, so we split dessert. We went with the amazing apple-walnut-cinnamon pie with ice cream. Oh, my! Worth every calorie.
Sadly enough, the service was horrible. Since we had a large party, we were able to make reservations. We had tickets for a ghost tour afterwards and had allowed ourselves a very generous 1.5 hours at the restaurant. When we got there, we still had to wait. I finally had to say something to the hostess, who just huffed and rolled her eyes. We were crammed into our seats with barely any elbow room. The service was very slow. It took forever just to get salads and soup. We had to keep stopping our waitress to try to find out about our food. She didn’t seem very concerned, even after we explained we had plans. When it finally came out, we had to inhale it.
I would give the food five stars and service two. They offer call-ahead seating. You can visit www.newyorkprime.com and then click on the restaurant.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on March 26, 2005
California Dreaming Restaurant
1 Ashley Pointe Drive
Charleston, South Carolina 29407
The house was built in 1825 by shipping merchant Charles Edmonton. Finances forced him to sell his beloved house to rice-planter Charles Alston. The house still remains in the Alston family. Today, the house is run by the same organization that runs the Middleton Plantation. The house has been painstaking decorated to look is if you were visiting the original owners themselves.
Your tour starts in the main dining room. This room is decorated with beautiful antiques and family heirlooms. You also get to visit the dining room, kitchen, and several rooms upstairs’ rooms. The third floor is not open to the public. In the dining room you can't help but marvel at the very huge dining room table. You could serve a small country on this table! The rooms are just gorgeous, and anyone who loves antiques will fall in love with this place, though I did see quite a few antiques very similar to my own collection. They had a Duncan-Phife that looked just like mine, which makes me very thankful that my relatives took such care of their furniture. You also see many family heirlooms, such as photos and journals.
It is interesting to note that General Robert E. Lee stayed here when a fire destroyed the hotel he was staying in. And, in 1860, General Beaureguard and the Alston family got a front-row view from the second-story piazzas as Ft. Sumter was bombarded. The tour only last about 45 minutes, and tours run until 4:30pm. If you get a chance afterwards, you really should check out the lovely Middleton Plantation. A large portion of the movie The Patriot, starring super-hunky Mel Gibson, was filmed here. You can check out the website at www.middletonplace.com for information on Middleton Place and click on the Edmondson-Alston house for further information on this lovely house.
21 East Battery Street
Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Thomas Stone built Boone Hall in 1681. One of the many people who owed the house was Major John Boone, for whom the house was named. It served as a private plantation for many years. Eventually everyone moved out, leaving the beauty to fade away. But in 1934, the McRae family purchased the home and set about restoring her to her former glory. In 1959, they opened it to the public for tours. The family still owns the plantation.
The plantation used to produce cotton and pecans. Today, they produce strawberries, tomatoes, and pumpkins, among others. Today, you can pick your own produce or purchase it from one of the stands. It stands as the oldest working plantation in the nation.
You can tour the first level of the house, and you do have to take a tour to be in the house. The rooms are beautifully decorated with the family’s antiques and personal items. The first room you walk into is the family room, and it is huge. Walking around, you get a feel for what the life of a wealthy plantation owner must have been life. The guides are dressed in period costumes. Some of the guides that were there were high-school students. They offer students a chance to work in the summer, but you must have high grades in order to work here. The tours of the house last about 30 minutes.
I will finish the rest of this up on a free-form page, so keep reading.
Boone Hall Plantation
Highway 17 North
Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina 29465
+1 843 884 4371
Outside of the house, you can walk around the grounds at your leisure. There is a beautiful lake beside the plantation, and the riverbank is lined with ancient oaks and magnolia tress. One tree is belived to be over 600 years old. They offer a nice, cool break in the heat of the Southern summer. You can also visit the formal gardens, which are beautiful in the summertime, with dozens of roses growing. You can see the smokehouse where the meats were cooked. You can also visit the slave quarters. Here you are given a somber reminder of what life was like for the slaves in the plantation. When you first drive in, you will be in awe of the Avenue of Oak. This mile-long driveway is lined with magnificent oak trees on both sides. Many of these trees have stood since 1743.
The former kitchen now serves as a restaurant on the top floor and a gift shop on the bottom. This is where you will find restrooms and vending machines. If the house looks familiar, it should. It served as the house in the movie "The North and The South" with hottie Patrick Swayze, as well as "Queenie", with the beautiful Halle Berry. Parents should note that younger children must be kept under control. Children are not allowed to run around inside the house, and you will be asked to leave the property if they do. Again, it is one of the things that should not have to be mentioned. Photography is not permitted in the house, but you are free to take as many photos as you would like outside. They do host a number of events throughout the year. To find more information, just visit them at www.boonehallplantation.com. To find the plantation, you need to cross the Cooper River Bridge into Mt. Pleasant on highway 17. Also while there, you have a chance to purchase sweet grass baskets. You can see one of the basket ladies making these beautiful baskets. This is a tradition carried over from slave days and is a dying art. These beautiful baskets have been featured in countless museums including the Smithsonian. So take one home so you, too, can have a museum piece!
Today, Charleston is once again a thriving community with a commitment to its past. Many of its former residents would see a place that hasn’t changed a lot since the Golden Age of many years ago. Could be that is why Charleston is filled with so many ghosts? Heck, I love Charleston and can see why anyone would want to stay around, even after death. Today, Charleston relies heavily on its tourist trade, as well as the movie industry. Movies such as The Patriot, Forrest Gump, and Glory Days, as well as TV movies like Queenie and The North and the South have used the beauty of Charleston as their backdrop. Visitors to Charleston can walk along its historic streets, taking the time to stop and admire the beautiful historic homes along their paths. You can visit many of these homes and can even stay in many of the homes now converted to bed-and-breakfasts. Charleston is also set to once again become a major port city. More and more cruise lines are offering cruises from Charleston. And with the events of 9/11 and people wanting to stay close to home, cruise lines are offering American tours, having Charleston as one of its stops.
Today, you can take in Charleston in any number of ways with the many tour companies in town. You can take tours by foot, trolley, or carriage. You can enjoy the many plantation houses open to the public. You can check out the many historical museums found throughout the city. Several times of year you can get lucky enough to take a tour of these lovely historical homes from the inside. The wonderful aromas from wisteria and azaleas can be found in gardens all over Charleston, including the famed Magnolia Gardens. Charleston is a shopper’s paradise. The gamut runs from beautiful antiques to tacky tourist T-Shirts and everything in between.
The arts are alive and well and well represented in Charleston. The Spoleto Festival is a 17-day arts festival brings the best of the arts world to its doors. Jazz, opera, theater, and dance explode in this city every year in May or June. If you can’t get enough, stay for the Picolo Spoleto, which focuses on regional talents, that follows. And the MOJO arts festival celebrated in September celebrates the African-American and Caribbean arts. There are a number of local theater groups. Charleston also boasts the Charleston Ballet Theater, The Robert Ivy Ballet Company, and the Charleston Symphony, all which are amongst the best in the country.
Food connoisseurs will also love this place. The diversity of foods abounds in this city. The regionally specialty is Low Country and Southern cooking. These meals blend both African-American and Caribbean influences. While many people think of fried chicken as the only Southern dish, we have evolved way beyond that. Today, healthy Southern meals can be found all over Charleston. Also make sure to check out some Southern barbeque, especially at Sticky Fingers, which has several locations in Charleston. Since Charleston is near the sea, seafood abounds in this charming city. And many restaurants offer stunning views of the water to go with their fish. Food TV chef and super-cutie Tyler Florence is from here and got his start in several local restaurants. With all the food that abounds, I guarantee you won’t go hungry.
There is not a bad time to visit Charleston. Each season brings its unique charms to this grand lady. Spring is my favorite time, when everything is anew and the gardens are bursting with flowers of every variety. The summer is the busiest, bringing many visitors, and many places extend their hours to accommodate visitors. In the fall, the visitors and intense Southern heat have been replaced by cooler (but still nice) 70°F weather and the luminous colors of the fall sky. In the winter, many snowbirds are enjoying the warmer climate, and you will find fewer crowds that at any other time of the year. Summer, Christmas, and during Spoleto are the busiest times of year and require advance planning.
You won’t find any mega high-rises here or an explosion of theme parks and shopping malls. Charleston charms its visitors with its Southern hospitality, slow-moving pace, and a chance to soak up some history. Chances are you will not be able to see everything in one trip. That is okay, though, as this city has been around hundreds of years and has no plans to go anywhere soon. Once you visit this most charming city, you will already start planning when to come back. For more information on one of my favorite cities to visit, please go to www.charlestoncvb.com.
Charlotte, North Carolina