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Charleston South Carolina & Savanna Georgia

We were fortunate enough to get away and take a road trip to Charleston, South Carolina. We took into account the risks and followed mask mandates while visiting new locations. We used no contact check-ins when available and wore masks in public and throughout the hotel. I am so thankful for the time spent together as a couple and the new memories created. We drove 6+ hours in the car through flatlands that transformed into winding highways surrounded by misty mountains. We stayed the night halfway through and then continued driving to our destination Charleston, South Carolina.

Since I was not sure what to expect I made sure to keep our trip fairly open with one walking tour booked. We arrived Sunday afternoon and got settled into our hotel which was located across the bridge in Mt. Pleasant!


Walking Tour

Monday morning we had our walking tour through Two Sisters Walking Tour. Sisters Mary Helen and Therese grew up in downtown Charleston and had so much knowledge and history that they shared with us! Mary Helen was our guide and took us around the historic district for a fun-filled 2-hour history walk! She was the most charming sweet spunky guide. I highly recommend them if you ever get the chance. Their experiences and stories from growing up, history of the city's start, and modern-day Charleston were a blast!

Some points we learned on our walking tour:

- Charleston was first known as Charles Town and was named after King Charles II.

- Charleston is known as the Holy City. The earliest settlers came from England but were later followed by immigrants from Scotland, France, Germany, Ireland, and other countries. It is known for its tolerance for all religions and its numerous historic churches.

- As you scroll through the photos you will notice the beautiful houses had earthquake bolts in stylish shapes and colors to help secure the structures in the event of an earthquake.

- Houses were purposely built with piazza's which were open space porches facing the south or west side to allow the air and sea breeze to help circulate the house. A door onto the piazza was usually street front, allowing you to walk along the piazza to the actual front door.

- Soft blue turquoise paint on the ceilings of piazzas is thought to keep ghosts or malicious spirits from entering the home. They later learned it also helped keep bugs away.

- Kitchens. Due to the very real possibility of fire, Charleston’s kitchens were housed separately from the main house. Thanks to advances in cooking in the early 1900′s (food could be prepared on a stove instead of over an open fire) they began to connect the detached kitchen to the main house with a room called a ”hyphen".

- Slaves and workers for the house lived in the kitchen or were concealed hidden behind ornate houses and gardens. The places where enslaved people lived and worked were concealed by design. The enslaved were the backbone and hard workers building the city using handmade bricks. Leaving their literal fingerprints in the bricks themselves.

- Sweet water grass baskets. Gullah artisans can be found all over the town, especially in the City Market. These baskets are one of the nation's oldest and most beautiful handicrafts of African origin. Baskets use locally-harvested bulrush, a strong marsh grass that thrives in the sandy soil of Lowcountry. Originally used as winnowing fans to separate the rice seed from its chaff, sweetgrass baskets are regarded among the nation’s most prized cultural souvenirs.

- Charleston has strict building codes and rigid style requirements that must be followed if building or renovating a house. They keep the neighborhood looking consistent, preserve the history, and protect the natural wildlife. There are also areas of the city that fall prey to major flooding and hurricane damage. A lot of the homes there were vacation homes or we were also told stories of others leaving not wanting to keep up with the maintenance after reoccurring natural disasters.

The tour ended at a grand theater and as we parted they gave us food suggestions to visit while in the historic district. We ended up going to "Slightly North of Broad". A beautiful dining area with amazing fresh quality food!

St. Michael's Episcopal Church

Sweet Water Baskets

In the image below you are looking through a piazza where there is a peculiar-looking bench on the right. It's called a joggling board!

The board is springy and a person sitting on it can easily bounce up and down. In Southern lore it says that no house with a joggling board on its front porch has an unmarried daughter living there. Back in the days when proper young couples couldn’t be alone together without supervision, the distance of the joggling board was deemed adequate protection. So if the young lady sat on one end and her suitor on the other, they were far enough apart not to require a chaperone. But as they talked and joggled, they’d slowly move closer to each other.

City Market & Island of Palms Beach

We walked through the bustling fun City Market and browsed through the booths. We ended the day making a short visit to the Island of Palms beach. One of the many beaches near us. It was close to closing time so we just walked around as I collected seashells. We stopped at the cutest outdoor pizza bar called Coastal Crust where the vibes were amazing and chill. I absolutely loved it!


Middleton Place

The next day we booked some tickets to visit Middleton Place Plantation. The plantation was the primary residence of several generations of the Middleton family. The plantation now is used as a museum and is home to the oldest landscaped gardens in the US. Entering Middleton Place the smell of jasmine and sweet honey fills your nose from the abundance of Camellia flowers everywhere! You enter facing a long narrow reflection pool with paths taking you through the gardens.

Our general tickets allowed us to explore everything outside of the main house. The property and gardens were massive and we were able to spot some wildlife. Turtles, alligators, chickens, sheep grazing along the house entrance, as well as a sleepy tabby cat.

After walking the property we popped into a guided talk at the Eliza House called "Beyond the Fields". The tour talked about the workers and enslaved at the plantation. The world we live in is crazy and hearing about the history and seeing where we are today, we still have such a long long way to go. I'm happy tours are having these conversations and continuing to educate audiences everywhere.


Sailing Adventures & USS Yorktown

After Middleton Place, we booked tickets for a sunset sailing tour in the harbor. The tour company was Charleston Sailing Adventures and we had such a great experience! The tour had about 4 other couples along with us. The weather was absolutely perfect and we even got to see some dolphins swimming along with us!

The next day we stayed on the Mt Pleasant side and visited the giant aircraft carrier, the USS Yorktown. We toured along the winding hallways and endless rooms while hearing the history from a captain tour guide!

Angel Oak

At the end of our trip, we set out to visit the Angel Oak tree which was massive and oh so beautiful! It was so old and large that it had metal supports holding it together. From there we headed on our way to spend a day in Savannah, GA before we headed back home.


Forsyth Park

Savannah while similar to Charleston with its streets surrounded by live oak trees and Spanish moss, had a quirky city life personality. Whereas Charleston felt a bit more southern charm and proper, more close-knit community. Savannah felt mysterious with eccentric-filled energy. For how busy and bustling the city was it was also oddly quiet and serene.

As soon as we got to Savannah we stopped to visit Forsyth park! The park had a steady flow of people relaxing in the forever stretching grass and viewing the beautiful fountain. We walked around for a bit to get familiar with the city before returning to our hotel. The city had what felt like millions and millions of squares with each square having a monument or large grassy areas which split up the city and made it feel much less congested and so open and breathable. There are currently 22 historic squares ( not millions haha) but it was so refreshing seeing them!

Ghost Tour

Beyond Good and Evil

One of the things I felt we HAD to do before heading home was to experience a ghost tour in Savannah! Our ghost tour was through Ghost City Tours company and they offered 4 different types of tours. We chose "Beyond Good and Evil Tour" which was geared towards adults only. While the tour was not scary it was filled with some dark humor and loads of history! The tour started at 8pm starting at the Colonial Cemetary downtown. I won't give away too much information about the tour but I HIGHLY recommend it! I love hearing all history stories along with the legends and lore. One thing that stuck out from the tour was that the city has millions of unmarked graves all around the city. Most of the records were lost back in colonial times so they noted how the sidewalks are not so even as you walk the city... I will just leave it at that! I hope you get the chance to experience one!

We had such a great time I wish we could have spent more time in each but we look forward to going back to both Charleston and Savannah someday!


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