Charleston Journals

Under the Spell of Charleston

An April 2005 trip to Charleston by The Breeze

California Dreaming Restaurant Photo, Charleston, South Carolina More Photos
Quote: Although I enjoyed every minute of my 3-day stay in Charleston, it wasn't until I had left that I realized the power this city has to work its way into your heart and not let go! In spite of a history of hardships, this sparkling gem will never die.

Under the Spell of Charleston

Overview

A Charleston courtyard Photo, Charleston, South Carolina
Quote:
There is no way I could ever outline the "best things to do" in Charleston in 400 words or less. There is so much to offer in this delectable city that I would say that whatever you might be looking for, you will probably find here. Each new discovery that was made just by venturing around that next corner constituted a memorable moment for me. Quick Tips: The best tip I could make is to head straight for the visitor center (see my entry about this). Best Way To Get Around: To me, the best way to experience the city of Charleston is by getting out there and exploring. The weather is normally very mild and the locals are friendly, and you will see, hear, smell, and feel much more t...Read More

Best Western Patriots Point

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Hotel | "Best Western Patriot's Point"

Best Western Patriots Point Photo, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
Quote:
In order to save money for other things, my daughter and I opted to stay in a nice motel rather than a more luxurious but costly inn or bed-and-breakfast right in Charleston. This three-story Best Western in Mount Pleasant was less than 2 miles from the heart of town, reached by traversing the Cooper River Bridge (an adventure in itself), and had everything we desired for our restful evenings. It was very clean, quiet, and tastefully decorated. The staff was quite helpful and polite, and there was a computer available for our use right next to the front desk. Each morning there was a deluxe continental breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausage, bagels, muffins, cereal and milk, juice, and coffee wait...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 9, 2005

Best Western Patriots Point
259 McGrath Darby Blvd
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina 29464
1-843-971-7070

California Dreaming Restaurant

Restaurant | "California Dreaming"

California Dreaming Restaurant Photo, Charleston, South Carolina
Quote:
We went to California Dreaming on a weekday early in the evening. We got seated right in front of one of the huge picture windows overlooking the Ashley River (though, actually, every table has a good view). Soon afterwards, a busload of people arrived, but even then it didn't feel crowded in this airy, spacious restaurant, and the service didn't seem to suffer from their added presence. I would recommend the California Dreaming salad ($8), consisting of greens, cheeses, almonds, tomatoes, bacon, ham, and chopped eggs (which I would have omitted). They also offer steaks, seafood (the Cajun-crusted tilapia was good), chicken, sandwiches, and burgers. Top it all off with a nice slice of key l...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 4, 2005

California Dreaming Restaurant
1 Ashley Pointe Drive
Charleston, South Carolina 29407
(843) 766-1644

Cafe Blossom

Restaurant | "Blossom Cafe"

Quote:
The ambience and service in this fine restaurant, located between Queen and Cumberland Streets, were excellent. We opted to sit inside by one of the picture windows that overlooked the courtyard (another seating option). Fresh, local seafood and regional produce are featured, with fresh pasta and bread. Desserts are made in house.

I chose a wood-fired tomato and fresh mozzarella pizza with parmesan and fresh basil baked over the open fire right in the restaurant. To accompany it, I had a salad of mixed field greens, golden raisins, toasted almonds, and goat cheese topped with a blood-orange vinaigrette. Everything was superb, especially the dessert - milk chocolate creme brulee.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 7, 2005

Cafe Blossom
171 East Bay Street
Charleston, South Carolina 29401
(843) 722-9200

Sticky Fingers Rib House-Downtown

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Restaurant | "Sticky Fingers"

Quote:
Sticky Fingers is a Memphis-based chain, I know, but my daughter and I just loved this place, situated in the heart of historic downtown Charleston. From the moment we entered the light, airy, and pub-like interior, we were treated as welcomed guests by the entire staff. Even though the place was positively bustling with activity, everyone was smiling, anxious to please, and so polite. Being surrounded with such an upbeat mood makes enjoyment of the meal automatic. And the ribs!! My Carolina Sweet ribs ($12) were SOOO succulent and flavorful--I had to savor every last morsel! For dessert, by surrendering a coupon we clipped from a souvenir map, we were treated to free helpings of their peach c...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 9, 2005

Sticky Fingers Rib House-Downtown
235 Meeting Street
Charleston, South Carolina
(843) 853-7427

Paolo's Gelato Italiano

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Restaurant

Quote:
I would describe this tiny spot, located around the corner from the Visitor's Center off of Meeting Street, as one of those spur-of-the-moment experiences that can truly enhance a grueling day of serious sight-seeing. The primary offering here is gelato--a cold, creamy confection that is lighter and softer than ordinary ice cream--made fresh daily right in the back of the store. Twelve of the 62 possible flavors are offered each day. Paolo's gelato is made from fresh ingredients and natural flavors--some sugar-free--and vegetable fat. The charming hostess will serve it in your choice of cup (edible or paper) or cone (regular or waffle). Rose was the flavor I chose, because I didn't think I would ha...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 14, 2005

Paolo's Gelato Italiano
41 John Street
Charleston, South Carolina 29403
843-577-0099

The Original Charleston Walks

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Attraction

The Original Charleston Walks Photo, Charleston, South Carolina
Quote:
The Original Charleston Walks is one of a number of companies that offer walking tours of Charleston. Its office is situated in back of a narrow courtyard between two buildings at 58 ½ Broad Street, and tickets can be purchased there or at the visitor center. Or, if you are planning in advance and want to save a few bucks, you can get a discount by purchasing them online through their website. The tours, which include a Civil War tour and a Historic Homes walk (among others), depart from the Broad Street entrance to Washington Park. Purely out of curiosity, I decided to try out their Ghosts and Legends of Charleston tour. About a dozen of us met at 7:30 in the evening, and a pleasant...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 7, 2005

The Original Charleston Walks

Charleston, South Carolina 29401
(843) 408-0010

The Original Charleston Walks

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Attraction | "Walking Charleston"

The Original Charleston Walks Photo, Charleston, South Carolina
Quote:
Charleston’s size does not make it difficult for the visitor to navigate its streets. For the most part, I had no problem locating the restaurants, shops, parks and other sights I wanted to see. Parking your car right next to each place of interest might, however, pose a problem. To me, it makes much more sense to plan your day ahead of time, locating a place to park that is central to your targeted interests. Early in the day, you might just be lucky enough to find a parking space right where you need it. The only problem is, there will probably be a meter by it, which you will have to worry about feeding every hour or two (depending on how long you wish to be away from your car). There...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 13, 2005

The Original Charleston Walks

Charleston, South Carolina 29401
(843) 408-0010

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

Attraction | "The Nature Train at Magnolia Plantation"

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens Photo, Charleston, South Carolina
Quote:
Three tours are offered at Magnolia Plantation, The Nature Train, The Nature Boat, and The House Tour. We chose to take The Nature Train, and were very glad we did. We met at the designated time and place, which was at the depot just up the road from the plantation house, and departed on this tractor-driven "train" that had the capacity to hold about 50 to 60 people. The whole tour took around 45 minutes to an hour, and the whole time it was packed with fascinating sights and interesting bits of information about the wildlife that inhabit this centuries-old nature preserve. Our guide was very pleasant and knowledgeable about the area and a plethora of birds, land animals, and swamp creatures...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 14, 2005

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens
3550 Ashley River Road
Charleston, South Carolina 29414
(843) 571-1266

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

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Attraction | "Magnolia Plantation"

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens Photo, Charleston, South Carolina
Quote:
The Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, known as America’s oldest major gardens and listed in the National Register of Historic Places, is not to be missed if you are ever in the area of Charleston. It’s an easy drive from the city, and you should plan to spend half a day there at the very least. Your admission to Magnolia Plantation entitles you to view all of its features and is actually worthwhile in itself. My suggestion would be to begin your day in the Orientation Theater (across from the parking lot), where you can see a 12-minute film on the plantation’s history. From here, you can step through the garden entrance and embark on a relaxing stroll along the winding paths with their numbere...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 14, 2005

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens
3550 Ashley River Road
Charleston, South Carolina 29414
(843) 571-1266

Charleston Visitor Reception and Transportation Center

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Attraction | "Charleston Visitor Center"

Quote:
Have you ever noticed how, as you grow older, you become your parents? I have. For instance, when we were growing up, my father took us on many vacation trips around the US (for which I am very grateful). This is undoubtedly how I became bitten by the travel bug. But, as a youngster, the experiences I craved always involved action: Anything that encouraged movement was fine with me. Something that could be described as a learning experience… well… weren’t we out of school? I dreaded visitor centers, historical exhibits, and photographic opportunities. But let me tell you - I have changed. Now I am like my parents. When I arrive at a new destination in my travels, I positively gravitate towards ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 14, 2005

Charleston Visitor Reception and Transportation Center
375 Meeting Street
Charleston, South Carolina 29401
+1 888 449 8687