Walking Through History in Charleston

Every house in Charleston has lush, colorful window boxes, and each is better than the last.

Every time I travel in the fall I’m met with some type of crappy weather, usually in the form of storms. One day, hopefully, I’ll travel in the fall without some extreme weather to dampen my plans. One day. In the meantime, I’ve realized I’ve got to be able to pivot to avoid a drenching. So, instead of heading to the mountains for leaf peeping and hikes this week, I hopped in the car headed to Charleston.

The Pink House, Circa 1712, on Chalmers Street in Charleston.

I scored a great deal on a room at the Elliott House Inn on Queen Street the day before I arrived, thanks to the Hotel Tonight app. (Man, I love that app!) Constructed in 1861 as a private home, the Elliott House Inn is now a beautiful boutique hotel in the heart of the city. The room was comfortable, the bathroom was modern, and they offered several choices each day on their continental breakfast menu. If you want to stay somewhere in town that allows you to get around easily, the Elliott House Inn is the place to stay.

The manicured garden of the Pineapple Gates (Simmons-Edwards) House.

Lions guard the door at a historic home on Legare Street.

This diminutive pink cottage beckoned me to came and take a photo.

Charleston, a.k.a Chucktown, a.k.a. the Holy City, is one of the oldest cities in the US dating back to 1680. Everything you want can be found in Charleston: history, architecture, art galleries, performing arts, music, festivals, a unique Southern culture and world class cuisine. What tickles your fancy?

Climbing fig covers the side of the house facing the courtyard.

This trip was one of the most relaxing I’ve taken in a long time. I left my camera in the hotel room (for the most part) and enjoyed the slower Southern pace without the pressure of taking photographs with anything but my phone.

I can still hear the water splashing into the fountain below. This is my favorite late night secret garden view.

Most of my days start at 4:45 AM and I’m lucky if I’m in bed by 10 each night. By Friday of each week I’m wiped out. Rather than keeping my typical frantic travel pace, I exchanged the frenzy for late mornings, long strolls viewing art galleries, historic houses, secret gardens, relaxing stops at restaurants and bistros, afternoon naps and late nights wandering the cobblestone streets.

Top: The Dock Street Theatre, St. Philip’s Church, and the French Huguenot Church on Church Street in the French Quarter. Bottom: Arrrrr! The Pirate’s House and St. Philips Church on Church Street.

A little rest and relaxation goes a long way in rejuvenating your spirit.

Art is found in the most unusual things, such as this “Skull” bike art at a local gallery.

Here’s a rundown of where I stayed, what I ate and where I roamed about in the Holy City.

Elliott House Inn

The coral Elliott House Inn on Queen Street is a great location for ease of walking around the Holy City.

Hyman’s Seafood

One word: hushpuppies. Hyman’s Seafood is a Charleston staple and stopping there to eat is a must every time I go to Charleston. The She-crab soup is creamy and crabby, the Carolina Delight is heaven on a plate, and the hushpuppies are the best I’ve ever eaten, seriously. If you do nothing else in Charleston be sure to get an order of hushpuppies from Hyman’s. You will not be disappointed.

Eli’s Table

Eli’s House Steak Burger. This was serious eats for for a serious eater. And those fries? They must have been double fried. Boy were they crispy!

82 Queen

Appetizer sampling extravaganza! From the top: house-made herb biscuits, barbecue shrimp and grits, tomato pie, she crab soup, and a crab cake.

Did you think that eating all those appetizers would keep me away from dessert? As if I could… Perfectly caramelized crème brûlée and the owners’ celebrated bourbon pecan pie.

I loved 82 Queen so much that I stopped by the next night for a late night bucket of sweet tea and a snack before exploring the streets and alleyways of the city.

A Southern Pickins’ platter (top) and fried green tomatoes (bottom) found its way to my mouth on the second 82 Queen visit.

Brown Dog Deli

Wes’ French Onion Grilled Cheese. I don’t know who Wes is, but he can serve up this cheesy grilled sandwich to me any time he likes. It’s that good.

Kaminsky’s Dessert Cafe

What happens when it’s too hot outside for a Chocolate Monkey Steamer but you really need that chocolaty banana goodness? You go frozen! This is a custom chocolate monkey milkshake made just for me!

If you’re looking for a short getaway, Charleston is hard to beat. This city is Southern soul, complete with Southern hospitality and award winning cuisine. It’s no wonder Charleston was voted the number one city to visit in the US and the number two city to visit in the World in the Travel + Leisure World’s Best poll.

The Sword Gate House on Legare Street.

The interior of the French Huguenot Church in the French Quarter on Church Street.