Monday, May 04, 2009

last part of our charleston trip

i wanted to add a few more of my "artistic shots" from friday--and some more details since i just gave the bare bones of the day.

we started off at the charleston tea plantation and got to see how tea was made. this was after, however, we made an emergency stop at payless to buy justin some sneakers for the weekend. he has a thing about remembering to pack shoes that are not on his feet. we've bought new "church" shoes in fayetteville before, too, and granted, since justin doesn't go shoe shopping but maybe once a year (if that) it probably was time for some new ones anyways. here he is on the tea trolley, showing them off.
it was really interesting to find out how they made tea and to try some of the varieties that they grow and make there. i remember going on the celestial seasonings factory tour in denver, but this was much more hands on (and obviously a much smaller factory.)

the vineyards were just a few miles away, so we stopped in to see what they had to offer. they grow muscadine grapes, similar to the scuppernong grapes that we've tried in the duplin county wines. it was interesting to compare them and to talk with some of the locals about the island lifestyle away from the city. their bottles even feature artwork from local artists, with different scenes from around the charleston area.
the angel oak was a great stop, and i loved taking photos around the tree. it's just such a massive, massive tree, and it was a nice change of pace before we headed into the city.

once in charleston, we strolled down the oak-lined trees and took in the sites of the historic neighborhoods. we parked by the market and then walked all the way down meeting street and back up east bay st. by the battery.

though i had just done this same walk with linda a year ago, it was interesting to hear justin's point of view as he noted the architectual details of the homes and the unique designs of these multi-million dollar mansions. and then next to these extravagant neighborhoods are the small little cottages that have been there for years--and then people living their lives, doing the everyday things like fishing and walking the dog.after a full day of walking around, i was gross and sweaty and envious of the couples i saw walking around in their "nice dinner" clothes, looking clean and refreshed. so we headed back to the hotel and got cleaned up before going to dinner at southend smokehouse and then on up to the roof-top at vendue inn. what a wonderful way to end the day.

on saturday, we got up and made our way out to middleton place, exploring the plantation and the acres of gardens and stables surrounding it. they had an awesome historic re-enactment area, with displays of plantation life during the civil war period.
we ate there in the garden area, snacking on sandwiches and some delicious tea that they sold there at the plantation. i'm gonna have to find some of that near us--so good! i had the mint and honey flavor and ended up getting a second bottle at the next planation--the boone hall plantation.

quoted as "the most photographed plantation in america," it was well worth the trip over to the mt. pleasant side of charleston. the 3/4 mile "avenue of oaks"--with 87 live oaks lining the drive in--was quintessentially southern. i was hopping out of the car trying to take pictures as we drove in, attempting not to hold up traffic or get hit :) the butterfly pavilion, gullah presentation and house tour were all interesting and very well done. we even got to see a wedding (and subsequently hear the reception music as we toured throughout the grounds.) i feel like this was the best value as far as plantations go--with our AAA membership, it was only $15 a person to include the house tour, tram around the grounds, gullah show and butterfly pavilion. comparatively, it was $25 just for the gardens at middleton, and an additional $10 for a house tour and $15 for a carriage ride around the property. just my two cents...
we stopped for dinner at the charleston crab house in mt. pleasant for dinner, where i had some delicious shrimp and grits. we made it back down to the marina for our haunted harbor tour, where we boarded a small "water taxi" size boat for the evening. the view of the shoreline at night was beautiful, and i was so impressed by our tour guide. he was funny, knowledgable and a great storyteller--we loved it and had the best time with our group on board.
i also enjoyed taking pictures on board, even though it was challenging with the low light and moving boat. i still managed to get a few good ones, though.

saturday evening, we realized that we missed out on the carriage ride--something i just felt like we couldn't leave without doing. after a little bit of research, we got tickets for a 10 am tour, which motivated us to get up and moving sunday morning.
bill was a great horse, and we thoroughly enjoyed our tour around the city. the tour guide was young, but a charleston native who seemed to know EVERYTHING about the city. as a past tour guide, i have a great respect for good tour guides. when you're paying that much for an hour long tour, you want it to be entertaining and informative. he did a fantastic job and we left for home with just a bit more information about this charming, historic city.
the last collage--charleston houses. just because they were so gorgeous.
it was one of those perfect weekends, and i can completely see why people come back to charleston over and over again. there are things we missed that we still want to go back and see the next time we plan a trip. i'm also reminded that i have the travel bug--bad! i love traveling, i love exploring new towns, and if i could figure out a way to steal samantha brown's job, i would. are there travel blogging jobs out there? i could do that.

and it was also a great weekend away with my wonderful husband. happy anniversary, sweetheart. let's start planning another trip :)

*tons more photos up on flickr--check 'em out!*


  1. I'm glad you had a great time in Charleston - not that anybody doesn't lol.

    Did ya'll get a chance to stop by Shem Creek for some seafood?

  2. Great photos, especially that night shot of the bridge. Quite impressive.

    Glad to hear that you've got great tour guides. Quite agree that a knowledgable and humourous tour guide can make a memoriable tour.

    Hope you will refer good guides to, a global tour guide booking website.

    Happy Exploring! :D