If you’re visiting Charleston soon first check-out my Where To Eat blog post here! For today’s post I’ll be covering where we stayed and what we did.
Where We Stayed
We stayed at the beautiful Planters Inn and can’t recommend it enough! I found it from Conde Nast Travelers article “15 Best Hotels in Charleston.” First and foremost is the location. Situated right on Main Street and one block up from King Street you are just minutes away from the heart of the city. Running right along Main Street is also the infamous Charleston market which you’re just steps away from. There is a shortage of Uber’s in the country right now so having a place in the heart of the city was key — we walked almost everywhere!
Along with the perfect location, the hotel itself was beautiful. The courtyard had twinkle lights and lush greenery perfect for relaxing with a drink in hand. The rooms were state of the art overall making our stay feel magical. If we go back to Charleston (which I hope we do) we’ll definitely be staying here again!
What We Did
The most exciting thing to see while in Charleston is the iconic Rainbow Row. Rainbow Row is a street filled with pastel colored houses along Charleston’s waterfront. The historic homes are painted varying colors of pinks, blues, yellows, grey’s and greens. It was fascinating to learn that the houses were not always brightly colored. After the Civil War it was actually not a nice area and in effort to make the area look nicer and to draw in tourism, an owner of one of the houses painted it a bright pastel color and then the others followed suit.
Explore Historic Charleston
After exploring Rainbow Row I urge anyone to continue walking around and exploring the other historic neighborhoods of Charleston. Throughout the city are various signs that depict the rich history that Charleston is filled with. It seems every church, building, graveyard and street corner has a story to tell. One fact that I found interesting was that no building can be taller than the highest church steeple!
Since Charleston is such a lovely city to walk another must-do is King Street. King Street is always filled with people along the sidewalks and traffic lining the roads as people pop in and out of the various shops, restaurants and bars. At night the street comes alive with music and chatter wafting from the bars. Although we didn’t do much shopping ourselves, walking King Street is a must-do while you’re in Charleston.
Magnolia Gardens and Plantation
Another item we knew we wanted to do was visit a plantation. Although there are a few options, we had heard Magnolia Plantation was the best! Roughly a 30 minute drive from downtown Charleston, we first explored Magnolia Plantation’s stunning gardens. Wear proper walking shoes because these gardens are expansive — you could walk for hours and still not see it all!
After we explored the gardens we signed up for the Slavery To Freedom Tour. I can’t say enough good things about the tour. Our guide was captivating as he shared the history of slavery in the south. The Magnolia Plantation grew rice so the slaves on that plantation were rice slaves with an average lifespan of one to three years. Someone asked the question about escaping and the guides explantation blew me away. First, the slaves were literally only taught one thing, and that’s whatever their given task was. So if the given task was picking cotton or cooking, that is the only skill they were taught. They didn’t know how to read, write, drive etc. So with that perspective in mind, image not even being able to fathom a different life. They would have had no access to information to even know what possibilities were out there. But say that somehow they did have information, you’d then have to assume that they had a grasp on geography. For a slave on the Magnolia Plantation they could have gone North to a free state but would have had to travel on foot thousands of miles to get there. Traveling in the dark, no food, no proper equipment — all while being hunted down by men and dogs. And now to remember that they didn’t know how to read so reading any type of map would be out of the question and they certainly weren’t taught how to read a compass. So you leave your cabin, it’s dark, you know you want to go north, but what direction is north? When the pictured is painted in this way you realize that those forced into slavery had no options. It’s dark and heavy to learn about but it’s a really important piece of our history. We have to first understand the generational pain and suffering black Americans have faced and continue to face present day in order to be allies and advocate for real change.
A staple on every Charleston list is visting Waterfront park! The infamous pineapple fountain is here. Take a stroll along the waterfront and then weave your way through the beautiful homes in the historic neighborhoods.
One afternoon we decided to get out of downtown Charleston and visit Shem Creek. Located right on the water, you can walk or bike down the boardwalk and then grab some fresh seafood and a drink and enjoy the view. Fun fact — this is where the hit Netflix show Outer Banks was filmed!
The Charleston City Market
Unique vendors and the infamous straw baskets — this is a stop you can’t miss!
Take A Stroll
Without a goal in mind, just talk a walk! We ended up on the campus of The College of Charleston and hung out on the lawn enjoying the beautiful oak trees with the hanging Spanish Moss. As I’ve mentioned, Charleston is extremely walkable and has beautiful pockets on every corner — it’s worth exploring without an agenda in mind.