An April 2005 trip
to Charleston by Fanny S.
Quote: I am the group leader for first- and second-grade students from Decatur, Ga. We took a field trip to Charleston for 3 days and 2 nights. Many think a trip with children this young would be impossible... not true! They were great! Our tour company and everyone else did a fantastic job!
Immediately upon arriving in Charleston, we went to the South Carolina Aquarium. It was great. We were able to sit in on a presentation as the fish were being fed, and we listened to one of the divers give history about the fish, shark, and aquarium. We then left there and went to check into our hotel at the Quality Inn and Suites in Mt. Pleasant, SC. This is a very nice hotel. The rooms were clean and spacious. The continental breakfasts each morning were super! We left there and went to see a movie at the IMAX Theatre, and then enjoyed a scrumptious dinner at Bubba Gumps Shrimp Co. Restaurant.
The next day (Thursday), we met our tour guide at the visitor center. Al Miller was our guide, and he was wonderful. We enjoyed our African-American Tour. He is very knowledgeable. Highlights of that tour included a visit to Emanuel A.M.E. Church and Mr. Philip Simmons' Workshop. We were able to spend time with him, take lots of pictures, and get lots of hugs. Mr. Simmons is over 92 years old, and he was standing tall and tending to the fire in his stove. Wow! What a privilege to be able to stand in his presence! We then took a boat ride out to Fort Sumter. Later, we had dinner at CiCi's Pizza (yummy!). We then took a short stroll on the beach at the Isle of Palms.
On our last day (Friday), we were not ready to leave! We toured the Magnolia Plantation, and our swamp guide, John, did a fabulous job. The students went to the petting zoo, and we walked through one of the antebellum slave cabins. We witnessed some rich history. After having a wonderful lunch at Ryan's Restaurant (outside of Charleston), we headed back to Atlanta! Next year, we are headed to Gettysburg, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia. Until then…
You have to visit the Old City Market before leaving the area! Here, you can find all kinds of nice souvenirs and items/keepsakes for your home. There are many tables and street vendors to choose from. Allow at least 1 to 2 hours for this part of your trip.
Also, be sure to ride by Rainbow Row if you don't get to see these beautifully painted houses on a planned tour. We were able to see the owner of the Piggly Wiggly grocery stores' home. His house had huge concrete pigs lining the front walk!
The rooms are spacious and clean! The housekeeping staff worked hard to keep everything looking good. We were not able to enjoy the outdoor pool. It was open, but the weather was very cool, so we did not take the students outside. An indoor pool would have been perfect!
Our only complaint is the fact that we did not have phones (working phones) in our sleeping rooms. Other than that, it was great! This hotel is very close to all of the major attractions for Charleston and the beach at the Isle of Palms. It is located on the outskirts, so you don't have to deal with the downtown Charleston hustle-and-bustle. You will have to travel across the Cooper River Bridge to get there (with a beautiful sight of the harbor!). I will definitely stay here again when I am in the Charleston area.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 21, 2005
Quality Inn and Suites Patriots Point
196 Patriots Point Road
Charleston, South Carolina 29464
Restaurant | "Bubba Gump's"
Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
99 South Market St
Charleston, South Carolina 29401
First of all, our tour manager and parent volunteers had to wait because the lunches were not ready. After the lunches were delivered to the boat, we discovered that the juices for the students were not included as stated by the restaurant staff, so the tour manager and bus driver had to take off running for the restaurant (located several yards away) at the IMAX Theatre and get the juices. They had 2 minutes (if that) to spare by the time they arrived at the boat. It was about to pull off without them because they were getting juices from Just Fresh! Many of the sandwiches were soggy and seemed like they were prepared too far in advance. I feel the sandwiches were too small for the money they charged for them.
I doubt if our group will use Just Fresh again. We would have come out better making them ourselves, ordering hotdogs on the boat, or asking another food chain to deliver to us before boarding the boat. Individual orders may turn out a lot better than this group order. I'm sure there is a good explanation. We had a boat to catch and seagulls to feed, so we did not stick around to find out!
Member Rating 2 out of 5 on April 22, 2005
IMAX Theatre / South Carolina Aquarium
Charleston, South Carolina 29401