Charleston Journals

A Holiday In Lowcountry

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A December 2002 trip to Charleston by Ishtar

Christmas Tree Photo, Charleston, South Carolina More Photos
Quote: We crammed Charleston during the year end holidays with help from Jim at igougo getting us into some incredible hotels for $25. Aside from the experience at Charleston Place , we managed to weave other wonderful memories until New Year’s Day.

A Holiday In Lowcountry

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Overview

Christmas Tree Photo, Charleston, South Carolina
Quote:
Our room at the Wentworth Mansion was a fabulous place to get into, shut the door and never come out. A memorable moment was our 4:00 am Jacuzzi experience replete with bubbles and bath crystals which Chuck swore were a mixture of rocks and sand, only topped by the breakfast-in-bed experience which came shortly thereafter. The walk through Middleton Place was magnificent, as it is the only one of the rice plantations which boasted landscaped gardens, one area of which is in the shape of a butterfly. The people we met and talked to, not necessarily because we knew them, are inseparable from the total experience. They were warm, forthcoming, informative, curious and quite accommodating. The discovery o...Read More

Wentworth Mansion

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Hotel

Wentworth Mansion Photo, Charleston, South Carolina
Quote:
The building from outside was quite impressive; parking to be found in the rear as was the entrance for check in. A middle aged woman was at the desk and greeted us with rehearsed politeness. We needed to wait for our room, so she suggested we check out the cupola which gives you a 360 deg view of the city. Take the elevator to the 4th floor, then scale the circular staircase to the top. The sun was warm and inviting; the most impressive view is unfortunately spoiled by what is a high rise building close to the waterfront. Wentworth Mansion has been an inn for the last 3 years as the previous occupant was a law firm which stayed for 40 years. There are 21 rooms in all, the average rate per night is...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 8, 2002

Wentworth Mansion
149 WENTWORTH ST
Charleston, South Carolina 29401
1-843-8531886

Francis Marion Hotel

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Hotel | "The Westin Francis Marion"

Francis Marion Hotel Photo, Charleston, South Carolina
Quote:
Having stayed at other Westin properties, we were assured of at least one thing here, which was that the bed would be dressed in goose down. This particular Westin is about 80 years of age and at its heyday was the grandest hotel in the Carolinas. It was named for an American Revolutionary General called Francis Marion . They claim to have invested an additional $12 million recently to have restored the structure, but I think the beneficiaries have been the lobby and reception areas only. The views of historic Charleston are not much different than the ones we witnessed from other elevated windows. On the recommendation of another traveler, we were able to get a suite on the 11th floor. ...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on January 7, 2002

Francis Marion Hotel
387 KING STREET
Charleston, South Carolina 29403
843-722-0600

Howard Johnson Hotel - Charleston

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Hotel | "Howard Johnson Riverfront"

Howard Johnson Hotel - Charleston Photo, Charleston, South Carolina
Quote:
Going from the sublime to the ridiculous is really hard, especially when you do it in less than 7 days, where we stayed in 5 different venues. In all fairness, however, for the rate that I was able to obtain on line, and the fact that it was year end, last minute kind of deal, it wasn''t bad at all. We were less than 1 mile from downtown Charleston by car, and nowhere had we a more magnificent view of the Ashley River. We also enjoyed a balcony in the room, which very quickly doubled as our natural laundry dryer. Room 705 faced the river, a few buildings in progress, and the road leading to Folly Beach. This section of town is not as gentrified as downtown, but surprisingly, there a...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 10, 2002

Howard Johnson Hotel - Charleston
250 Spring St.
Charleston, South Carolina 29403
(843) 722-4000

Sheraton North Charleston

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Hotel | "Sheraton - North Charleston"

Sheraton North Charleston Photo, Charleston, South Carolina
Quote:
Our stay here was aborted by an unreasonably early return flight to New York at 6 am. Sheraton North’s welcoming Lobby had all the elements to please: gigantic flowers arranged in an oversized vase greet you as the doors open to cede entrance. To the left is the Boogies bar and grill where things would be jumping this evening as they were preparing their own New Year’s Eve Celebration. As we left the hotel to go back to downtown Charleston, the sound of music was pervading the lobby. We had a very comfortable and spacious room with a king size bed and hardly had time to take advantage of any of the amenities. Had we had time to unpack our computers, there would have been...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 11, 2002

Sheraton North Charleston
4770 GOER DR
Charleston, South Carolina 29406
1-843-747-1900

Cici's Pizza

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Restaurant

Cici's Pizza Photo, Charleston, South Carolina
Quote:
After 3 hours at Middleton Place , we developed a fierce appetite. We started rolling and were discussing what kind of food to have, and Chuck spotted pizza and I thought to myself, how can you go wrong with pizza? So we found Cici's and were never prepared for what we experienced there. Cici's is a chain of pizza places with a heavy presence in the Southeast with some stores in the midwest. It offers an "all you can eat" pizza buffet for $3.99 where you can stuff yourself with 16 kinds of pizza, salad and desserts. Kids 3 and under eat free. For the ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 7, 2002

Cici's Pizza
630 Skylark Drive
Charleston, South Carolina 29407
(843) 556-2500

BJ'S Broadstreet Cafe

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Restaurant

BJ'S Broadstreet Cafe Photo, Charleston, South Carolina
Quote:
We were greeted by Patty who " darlingued " Chuck into having a seat. He was very pleased with the terms of endearment. The menu is simple, and offers "down home" food. Chuck ordered the Chicken Breast Sandwich -tender, grilled, marinated in BJ's teriyaki sauce on a sesame seed bun and served with home fries. I had the Portabello Mushroom (attention vegetarians) with grilled onions, swiss cheese, lettuce and tomato. I also ordered the steak fries which were cooked freshly. Coke for beverage. They were playing oldies on the radio which could be heard faintly; a TV with CNN was turned on, but it was impossible to hear anything there as well. Sylvia ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 7, 2002

BJ'S Broadstreet Cafe
17 Broad Street
Charleston, South Carolina
784-722-0559

Circa 1886

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Restaurant

Circa 1886 Photo, Charleston, South Carolina
Quote:
We had made reservations through the Mansion’s Concierge for 8:30 pm and arrived on time; We had to wait at the bar as there was one party ahead of us. The Maitre d’Hotel is also the sommelier. We look at the menu in the meantime, and learned they have what is called a progressive dinner for $95.00 which is really a great idea had the weather been warmer. You have your successive courses in different locales owned by the same man and you are transported by horse drawn carriages. It was the chilliest weather they've had in Charleston all year, so we decided against it and went for a la carte instead. We were finally seated and looking around, I realized that the restaurant is quite s...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 8, 2002

Circa 1886
149 Wentworth Street
Charleston, South Carolina 29401
(843) 853-7828

Piccadilly Classic American Cooking

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Restaurant | "Piccadilly"

Piccadilly Classic American Cooking Photo, Charleston, South Carolina
Quote:
Piccadilly gives the traveler the erroneous notion that it's "Bennigan's" of the South. At least those travelers from the North who have no clue what a Piccadilly is, other than a traffic circle in London. So much for that. So, for all of you out there who haven't heard of Piccadilly, know that the very first one was opened on the year of the Big Two (that's World War II). Making its debut in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, thus began the dream of one T. H. Hamilton, who endeavored to create a chain of 40 such restaurants that would cater to families who wanted good food at good prices. Well, Mr. Hamilton may rest in peace, as there are over 250 such cafeterias mostly located in the South and Midwest of t...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 12, 2002

Piccadilly Classic American Cooking
2401 Mall Drive
Charleston, South Carolina 29406
(843) 747-5813

Elliott's On the Square

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Restaurant

Elliott's On the Square Photo, Charleston, South Carolina
Quote:
Elliott’s in inside the Westin Hotel and is considered a bistro featuring Southern food which we earnestly wanted to sample, so we had dinner here on the evening of the day we checked in. It was fairly empty when we arrived, except for a group of extremely loud and rowdy folks by the bar area. This didn't add one iota to the ambiance of the place. By the way, the room service menu comes from this place for Westin dining service. They feature a weekend brunch from 10am to 2pm for which reservations are recommended. Our server was a jovial looking young chap who moved here from Michigan; at...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on January 9, 2002

Elliott's On the Square
387 King Street
Charleston, South Carolina 29403
843-724-8888

Port City Java Francis Marion Hotel

Restaurant | "Port City Java"

Port City Java Francis Marion Hotel Photo, Charleston, South Carolina
Quote:
After checking the Westin's breakfast menu, I decided to suffer less and find the Port City Java, whose menu I found in the sleeve of Westin services. They are inside the hotel on the lower level, and if you take the stairs directly facing the registration desk and make a quick left, you're there. This is a Starbucks "me-too", but the smell is great, the food is fresh and inexpensive. Both table and booth seating available. We had cheddar cheese toasted butter bagels as we had never had them in that flavor, and they delicious. I had café au lait which was strong enough to dye my hair roots and Chuck enjoyed what looked like a vase of the same. See photos and you'll understand ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 9, 2002

Port City Java Francis Marion Hotel
387 King Street
Charleston, South Carolina 29403
(843) 722-0600

Howard Johnson

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Restaurant | "BrittleBank Diner"

Howard Johnson Photo, Charleston, South Carolina
Quote:
The Brittlebank Diner is conveniently located inside HoJo and serves breakfast only from 7am to 10 am. On the weekend, and that includes Friday, it's buffet style and it's an a la carte menu otherwise. It's very simply decorated with the prerequisite magnolia prints on the wall, and a couple of non-distinct birds. There are booths along both sides of the walls and tables with armchairs in the center. The wait staff will help with beverages such as tea and coffee. The rest is up to you. A small self-serve hot buffet includes scrambled eggs , hot grits , sausages , bacon , wonderful home style biscuits , pancakes...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on January 10, 2002

Howard Johnson
250 Spring Street
Charleston, South Carolina 29403
(843) 958-9361

Meritage Tapas Bar

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Restaurant | "Meritage"

Meritage Tapas Bar Photo, Charleston, South Carolina
Quote:
We were, once again, somewhat misplaced looking for our car when we happened on this magical restaurant. The entrance had a trellised gate with an outer courtyard and you could hear lively music before you made it inside. We glanced at the menu, and went right in. It was quite crowded, but we were pleasantly surprised to find out there was no wait. Most restaurants downtown were jammed with people waiting for seats, no doubt influenced by the increased population of the Renaissance Faire folks. Our server, Brian Thomas , was a very helpful, high energy individual. We were seated at a table...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 10, 2002

Meritage Tapas Bar
235 East Bay St
Charleston, South Carolina 29401
+1 843 723 8181

Oops The

Attraction | "Oops!"

Oops The Photo, Charleston, South Carolina
Quote:
After inhaling all that pizza, we needed to get out of the car again and move our limbs! I had seen Oops! on King Street and in some of the brochures I had been reading and we stopped to take a look. It is a fun store that specializes in catalog label overruns, and irregulars with names like J. Crew , Abercrombie & Fitch , and some South Carolina Logo items. Their other 2 locations are listed below: 326 King Street, Charleston (843-722-7768) 696 Coleman Blvd, Mt. Pleasant (843-881-6935) Mostly furnished with sweaters, jeans, chinos and some other esoterics like dog collars, stickers, belts, caps and T shirts. Chuck found a wonderful Crew...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 8, 2002

Oops The
975 Savannah Hway
Charleston, South Carolina 29407
(843) 556-3222

Metropolitan Deluxe

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Attraction

Metropolitan Deluxe Photo, Charleston, South Carolina
Quote:
This is a huge emporium of a wonderful mélange of articles we would most likely love to grab and place in the rooms of our own homes. Three rooms of modern furnishings, bedding, and all sorts of home accents. There is a kind of clutter that may drive some visitors out the door, but I love to peer behind the table, under it, and on the sides of it as the search is half the fun! We never tire of going into these sorts of places, as something will always catch our eye which we will end up adding to our collection of memorabilia from around the world. Metropolitan Deluxe has five other locations in the South which are found in Atlanta, Birmingham, Nashville, Charlotte and Tampa. The retail stor...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 9, 2002

Metropolitan Deluxe
164 Market Street
Charleston, South Carolina 29401
(843) 722-0436

Charleston City Market

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Attraction | "The City Market"

Charleston City Market Photo, Charleston, South Carolina
Quote:
Charleston’s City Market is America’s only remaining complete market structure, and used to sell fish, meat and vegetables. It’s an alternative to King Street which sports the brand names everyone recognizes. We went to the market twice, as the first time, it was nearing closing as the cold had most vendors folding their tables for the evening. The Market is a mélange of flea market/craft fair items, and my quest was to discover the things which reflected the character of Charleston. Lowcountry artists take great pride in the color palette of the buildings and the vistas offered by the rivers hugging the Peninsula. The most outstanding example of civic pride came through in painted land ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 13, 2002

Charleston City Market
Meeting Street To East Bay
Charleston, South Carolina

Carnivals

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Attraction | "First Night"

Carnivals Photo, Charleston, South Carolina
Quote:
Most cities in the US have a "First Night" and I am surprised at the number of people who have no clue what that is. It is a sponsored planned event which is held on New Year’s Eve and celebrates the arts by way of music, dance, humor, food and drink with one ticket or button of which the purchase grants you admission to the various locales. In Charleston, it would have been fairly easy to walk from one to the other, however, because of the extreme low temperatures that evening, most people drove. Thankfully, the city arranged for all parking to be free at all city owned garages from 4pm to 3 am. Cost was $10 for adults and children over age 5. The best way to enjoy First Night is to look at th...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 11, 2002

Carnivals
Historic District
Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston Crafts

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Attraction | "Charleston Crafts - A Cooperative"

Charleston Crafts Photo, Charleston, South Carolina
Quote:
We were in between visits to the K. K.Beth Elohim and saw the sign for the Crafts Gallery which is right across the street. No matter how many such artists’ cooperatives we visit, we simply could not pass this one up. Each one is a bit different in that, aside from the artists’ disciplines, one can always find one or two pieces which will speak only of that particular state’s art vocabulary. So in we went. The gallery, by comparison to others I’ve seen, was small but utilized as much of the space they could find to suspend things, put them on glass shelving, or showcase them with other objets ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 11, 2002

Charleston Crafts
87 Hasell Street
Charleston, South Carolina

Getting to and Visting Middleton Place

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Story/Tip

This was the elegant brougham Photo, Charleston, South Carolina
Quote:
Middleton Place 4300 Ashley River Road Charleston / 843-556-6020 Middleton Place You can follow the same basic instructions to get to Drayton Hall , and Magnolia Plantation as they are all on Ashley River Road, and Middleton Place is the furthest west.From downtown Charleston, head to the Ashley Bridge south; there is a circular Holiday Inn on the left and palmettos begin to appear and then you'll see a sign that says "historical plantations" Route 61, bearing right. Go slow, otherwise you'll miss it, and continue following that sign. It's a limited access highway with a 40 mph speed. The a...Read More

Services at the Wentworth Mansion

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Story/Tip

Chuck and I sitting in the Parlor Photo, Charleston, South Carolina
Quote:
Quinton , who has been here for a bit less than a year showed us around. (He doubles as guide, bell person, and breakfast delivery person)). He described the Harleston Parlor, the library with its complimentary cognac, brandy and sherry. A European style breakfast is served between 7:30 am and 10:30 am in the breakfast room. You can also ask for your breakfast in bed, and we did. They also serve afternoon refreshments between 2 & 4 in the parlor, wines and hors d'oeuvres 5-6 pm, and turn down service is done from 7pm to 9:30 pm. The hostess at front desk is checking with ...Read More