Oh my, there is so much to say about how much I loved Charleston!! The scenery, the architecture, the food, the culture, all of it was so amazing!! I have always wanted to see trees with the Spanish Moss, and it was my absolute favorite!!! The first three days that I was there, I was at The Rise Business Conference (watch for future posts about that!), and I was so antsy to see the area! On the last day of the conference, we walked around for lunch, and I saw my first tree with Spanish Moss, and I couldn’t wait to start exploring the next day!!
Usually, when I travel, I am so bad at getting a plan and an itinerary, I know if I planned more I would be able to see a lot more of the area. I started organizing the places I wanted to see in Apple Maps during the breaks in the conference. You can create Collections in the app and then have all of the spots pinpointed on the map. It was super helpful to plan the activities based on the locations. I usually fly by the seat of my pants and probably waste time driving all over the place to see the things that I want.
Once the conference was over, we only had two full days, and I definitely could have done at least two more! We visited in November, so it got dark at 5:20 so that limited our day. I wish I could travel all day in the golden hour! I always plan the things that I am most excited about in the early morning or right before sunset. The weather in November is perfect, it was not too hot, and adding a jacket at night made it just right with the temperature.
We rented a car for these two days, which I think is a must! All of the plantations and sites were a bit spaced out. Driving around was super easy to navigate and way easy to drive downtown.
First stop, Magnolia Plantation. Since we had a time limit, we didn’t spend much time at each location. We could have spent several more hours here. We walked through the gardens, and it took us about an hour and a half to get through. The Camellia Trees were starting to bloom, and they were so beautiful. I love flowering trees, and these were some of my favorites!! And the Spanish Moss on the trees along the river?? Oh my, so dreamy!! I was dying to do a photo session. I need a cute couple or family to always travel with me!! Any takers?! Your cheeks would hurt by the end of the day!
Kiawah Island. My mom is a travel agent and a golfer, so she wanted to tour the 2021 PGA golf course, The Ocean Course. The drive to the golf course was so incredible, and the homes were all so beautiful! Before you get to all of the golf courses, there is an access point to the beach. Kiawah Beachwalker Park is the perfect place to get to the beach, and you could stroll all day looking at the various golf courses and homes.
On the way back to the city, we stopped at Angel Oak Tree, and it was so neat!! It is such an enormous, beautiful tree. We got there right before it closed, and with the thick tree canopy, I would have tried to get there a bit earlier to have a little more light.
We ended the day with a walk along the Battery, one of my favorite things to do is to take a long walk along the ocean, whether on the beach, boardwalk or pier, I love it! We had beautiful views of the harbor and the cool old mansions on Battery Street.
We picked up our car on this day, so we had a late start to our day, I would have loved to go to the Charleston Tea Plantation, it looks pretty picturesque too! If we would have started earlier, we could have stopped and had a quick tour.
For dinner, we went to a little southern bbq place on the side of the road. It was a fun environment!
We started the day at Cypress Gardens, and we arrived right when it opened, which is what I would recommend. I just loved visiting Cypress Gardens, and it was such an excellent experience. It was probably my favorite thing in Charleston and on the top of the list of favorite things that I have done while traveling! We did a self-guided boat tour, which was free after paying the admission of $10 per person to get in. It was so unbelievable and peaceful!! I highly recommend going and paddling around on your own. Arrows lined the path, and there was no way to get lost!! We paddled around for 45-60 minutes. We were the first ones out on the boats, and it was so peaceful! Paddling through the trees was soooo magical!!! We saw turtles, beautiful birds, and ALLIGATORS!! At first, I was a bit terrified, but they were sunning themselves on the logs, and didn’t even care that we got close in the boats! The baby alligators, on the other hand, scared the crap out of us!! After we boated around, we walked all around the swamp on the boardwalks, and we spooked several babies back into the water. We may have screamed and jumped a bit!! If we had had more time, I would have gone around again. And then probably another time! I could have spent an entire day there. They also have a little aquarium and butterfly garden to visit. I can not wait to come back with Cole. It was seriously my favorite. It will probably be the first thing that I do on my next trip to Charleston!!
Boone Hall Plantation. I think the primary draw for this plantation is the Oak covered driveway. It is so amazing!! Eighty-eight beautiful giant oak trees line the long driveway, and they originated in the 1700s! It takes 150 years for the trees to start canopying, Spanish Moss draped over all of the branches, and it was breathtaking. I wanted to bring some home in my suitcase for my wreath making! One of my favorite things was watching the women weave the baskets. I would have loved to take a Sweetgrass Basket weaving class! I wanted to buy one of the baskets. I thought they would be cheaper at the market, so I waited, but I shouldn’t have. The ones at the plantation were $80-$150, the ones in the market were $150-$600. You could easily spend a half-day here to learn all about it, but once again, with limited time, we just walked around the property a bit and did the house tour. I can only imagine how dreamy a wedding would be here!! Hollywood loves this plantation, several movies and shows took place on the grounds, the most popular ones are The Notebook, North and South, and a few other films.
We ended our day walking around Rainbow Row, which is a must! It was so fun to walk around the bright colored homes! There were so many beautiful window boxes and cobblestone streets! We got to the City Market right as it was closing, so most of the vendors were gone, but we got a little taste of it.
We had a lot of yummy Southern food!! I love Shrimp and Grits. I had that a few times, and now I have some more ideas for when I make it back at home.
Goat. Sheep. Cow. I loooove Charcuterie boards, and this is their specialty!! If you are like me, you will enjoy this place!! I loved seeing the way that they plated their board! It was a favorite, and the ambiance was perfect!
An upscale modern take on southern food. We started with William Deas She Crab soup, and it was so rich and buttery, the crab in it was so fresh and fabulous, I love crab!! They had a delicious version of Shrimp and Grits, with forbidden black rice grits served over cherry tomato gravy.
The Darling Oyster Bar
Cute restaurant on King Street, we had to wait over an hour to be seated. It wasn’t my favorite, but I don’t think I am an Oyster connoisseur. I got their shrimp and grits, and that was good, but the Brussel sprouts stayed on the stove way too long. The Clam Chowder was inedible and very disappointing and if you love a good clam chowder don’t have high expectations.
Traditional southern BBQ on the side of the road. Pretty good BBQ, delicious fries, and cornbread!