To See and Do in Charleston, South Carolina

A Menu Board at the Market, Karon and Tack during Segway Training. Wall Art that says "Life is Better Blonde, an overview of the Marketplace, The CopperRiver Bridge as viewed from Waterfront Park, Charlene's The perfect crab cake.I do not intend for this to become a travel blog. but I know I’m always interested in personal recommendations, so I thought I’d share my thoughts on some of the things we did in Charleston.

Wyndham Vacation Rentals – The goal of this trip was to relax, reconnect with friends and see some sights. We knew that more than anything, we just wanted to hang out, kick back and relax. So we needed someplace with a living room. We were only staying a few days, so maid service wasn’t crucial. We ended up at a Wyndham time share on the Isle of Palms (a beach community just outside of Charleston).  The downside was we had to drive to everything, but the upside was a comfortable place to hang out (decor not withstanding).  If you find yourself with similar lodging needs, I’d recommend this and would consider staying at a time-share resort again.

The Old Slave Market – An open air marketplace where vendors sell their wares is not an uncommon tourist attraction, but what set this one apart was the quality of the items for sale.  In my experience, these types of markets tend to have either kitschy touristy junk or fine art that is out of my budget. At The Marketplace in Charleston, you could find magnets and shot glasses, but those stalls were far outnumbered by local vendors selling beautifully hand crafted wares many of which were very affordable.  I started my Christmas shopping for those people on my list who are hard to buy for.  I even picked up a hand thrown pottery bowl for myself and a hand painted sign that is oh so apropos to our family.

For lunch that day we ate at The Charleston Crab House  The roof deck was airy, the iced tea (ordered half and half) was cold and frequently refilled and the crab cake was full of lump crab with just the right seasoning. My mouth is watering as I type.  There are several locations around Charleston, go fourth and enjoy!

Segway of Charleston  – Segways are really fun to ride and require minimal body exertion to participate (you must be able to stand for an extended time). Two of us had ridden Segways, two of us had not but they picked it up really quickly during our training session.  Unfortunately the City of Charleston had outlawed the use of Segways in the city limits. so we were relegated to Mt. Pleasant the next city over. Tack (the owner)  was a fun and personable tour guide and showed us the sights of Mt. pleasant including gorgeous architecture, a few historic sites and the location for the shooting of the movie adaptation of the Nicholas Spark’s novel The Notebook. While fun, this is not a tour of the sights of Charleston proper.  That said, Segways are a blast to ride and we had a great time.  We definitely felt it was worth the money and it was fun to do something different that your average canned tour.

Saturday for lunch, we enjoyed the Charleston Farmer’s Market in Marion Square in downtown Charleston. The Market borders the park on two sides.  You can find anything from fresh fruits and vegetables to hand made tables and hand bags. There were a number of vendors preparing food for immediate consumption and the offerings varied from vietnamese to crepes, greek and even gourmet grilled cheeses. I had greek from My Big Fat Greek Food Tent and it was great. For dessert, I had a peach popsicle. From The King of Pops, that was just amazing! It wasn’t too sweet and had pieces of peach mixed in.

The Wreck – While on the Segway tour, Tack took us by The Wreck of the Richard and Charlene known to the locals as just The Wreck. It’s basically an oversized screened in porch that overlooks Shem Creek and includes a dock for guests who wish to arrive by boat. The building is scrunched between a boat storage facility and a shrimp processing company (can you say FRESH seafood?). The name memorializes a boat (the Richard and Charlene) that came to rest on the same spot during hurricane Hugo. The food was fantastic.  The service was meh, but to be fair, we arrived half hour before closing on what had clearly been a busy Saturday night. You had the feeling that you’d stumbled on to a secret held dear by the locals. I had a she crab soup that was to die for.  I also had my first taste of fried green tomatoes and they were just delicious. The beer was cold and given the chance, I would definitely return.

Sunday afternoon after The Waffle house for breakfast and a quick stop at Trader Joe’s. We made a trip out to Memorial Waterfront Park. There is great play ground for kinds and a long pier for fishing. It also features oversized front porch swings for well, swinging!

Afterwards, we had some time to kill before heading home, so we headed to Kudu. I knew we’d hit the jackpot when the sign out front announced fresh coffee and local craft beers. We picked up our beverages found a table in the adjoining courtyard where we could enjoy them.  The fresh brewed iced Tea was perfect. The only downside was the cigarette smoke.  It’s a jarring encounter when you rarely encounter it in your daily life. But, this is the South, so I guess it is to be expected.

I enjoyed our trip to New Orleans last year, but felt like I just didn’t connect with the city.  Charleston was all together different. It brings together Southern Charm and hosptialty, with a funky side and some high tech thrown in for good measure. We really only scratched the surface of New Orleans, but I feel like I’ve seen enough.  Charleston on the other hand feels like there is so much left to see.

Have you ever been to Charleston? What did we miss?

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