Charleston Travel Guide

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Charleston Travel Guide

Charleston Local History

South Carolina was visited by the Spanish in 1566 and founded by British aristocrats in 1670. The settlement then known as Charles Towne quickly developed into a port serving the rice and cotton plantations. A third of all the slaves that were transported to the USA, came through Charleston and then sold at the market on the riverfront.

The American Civil War started on Charleston's doorstep, at Fort Sumter in the harbour. The fire that swept through the city in 1861 destroyed sizable portion of the city, but it received a much greater blow when it was taken by Union Troops in 1863. After the war, with the decline of the plantations, Charleston economy was in dire straits. Things started recovering during WWII when its importance as a port and naval base was restored.

The Charleston of today is a picturesque memory of the rich history of this town. Its cobblestone streets and stately plantations resonate with voices from a by-gone era.

Charleston Attractions

Top Attractions

Civil War Walk - When the city was seized by the Union and Confederate armies in 1863, the town was virtually devastated. This tour was founded and is led by Chris Phelps, author of The Bombardment of Charleston. The tour will introduce you to people, events and places that shaped that very important period of Charleston's history. Adult tickets are $15 and tickets for children ages 7-14 are $8.

Fort Sumter National Monument - On April 12, 1861 the first shot of the Civil War was fired on the Fort by Confederate troops at Fort Johnson. 34 Hours of fighting followed before Major Anderson surrendered but the siege continued for two more years. This National Monument stands as a symbol of Southern resistance. Tour boat: $11 Adults, $6 Children ages 6-11 and admission for children under 6 is free.

Spoleto Festival - Charleston is the home of the spring Spoleto Festival which takes place annually in late May. The original festival originated in Italy in 1958 where it is known as the Festival dei Due Mondi (Festival of Two Worlds) and it takes place in Spoleto, Italy. Charleston was chosen as site for the American version of the festival. This premiere American arts festival features over 120 performances including opera, jazz, theatre, dance, symphonic and chamber music. It is the only citywide arts festival in America.

Slightly North of Broad A must visit restaurant while in Charleston. Very classy, yet casual. Gourmet and delicious. You will remember your visit all year long.
submitted by Rebekah, 21/03/05

Charleston Shopping

Charleston Place - Located on the first floor of the luxurious Charleston Place Hotel, this posh collection of exclusive shops offers shopping at its most refined. For those who are not scared to part with their money!

Blink! - Is it an art gallery or a store? This place features fun and functional objects crafted by local Charleston artists. Whether it is a colourful picture frame or a hand-painted moon tile, the interesting and sometimes bizarre array of goods will beckon your wallet to open. The space is quite small, but you will find yourself spending quite some time discovering all the interesting objects. Have fun!

Charleston also offers quite a few open-air markets which is ideal for shopping for regional craft items and gifts.

Charleston Activities

South Carolina Aquarium - The structure of the aquarium extends out over Charleston Harbour. Guests enter beneath an exquisitely beautiful stained glass wall and as you enter the Great Hall, you are faced with the magnificent centre piece - the Carolina Seas Exhibit. Your day will be spent walking through a mountain ravine, exploring the rivers of the Piedmont region, visiting with swamp dwellers and marvelling at the 300,000-gallon Great Ocean Exhibit.

Frankie's Fun Park - Frankie's has enough fun on offer to keep the whole family entertained. While the kids play the 18-hole "tropical" miniature golf course, take a ride on the go-karts or have fun on the bumper boats, dads can practice their swing at the Golf Range. The large arcade provide many fun filled hours playing games. The batting cage and rock climbing wall is ideal for those who have energy to spare and the "Trampoline Thing" will thrill the really adventurous. Party packages are available. 100 tokens for $20.

Charleston Parks & Gardens

Magnolia Plantation - Some of the gardens in this 17th century plantation date back to the 1680s. The plantation has on of the largest collections of azaleas and camellias. Two of the older houses on the plantation were destroyed by fire during the raid by Union Troops. The house that is there today, was built in the 1870s. The plantation includes the sixty acre Audubon Swamp Garden with huge cypress trees. Magnolia is open daily.

Cypress Gardens - This black water swamp comes alive in spring when everything the dogwoods, azaleas and camellias are in bloom. These gardens were once a part of the Dean Hall Plantation and the remaining gardens have four miles of walking trails, a Butterfly House and an aquarium. Open daily.

Charleston Beaches

Beachwalker Park - This park has a 300 ft beach frontage with seasonal lifeguard service, rest rooms, outdoor showers, a picnic area, a snack bar and a 150-car parking lot.

Folly Beach County Park - This park has 4,000 ft of ocean frontage and 2,000 ft of river frontage. Facilities include dressing rooms, outdoor showers, picnic areas, rentals of beach chairs and umbrellas and parking.

Charleston Restaurants and Bars

When you visit this area you have to sample the low-country "calabash" style cooking. The southern style cooking is usually heavy on spices, often fried and unique to the area. Be sure to try southern biscuits and calabash shrimp.

Charleston Restaurants

A.W.. Shuck's - Tel (843) 723 1151. This seafood restaurant is located in a 70-year-old building that was once a speakeasy. The casual atmosphere lends itself to lengthy meals spiced with interesting conversation. If you prefer to dine outdoors, the patio allows you to do some people-watching while enjoying a meal fresh from the ocean. Be sure to try one of the restaurant's specialities - the Steampot for One. This hearty concoction of shellfish cooked up with smoked sausage, new potatoes and corn will have you begging for more. For a taste the sea itself, order some oysters on the half shell, served up with Shucks signature spicy sauce.

Charleston Grill - Tel (843) 577 4522. This restaurant, one of the few four-star restaurants in the Carolinas, will greet you with a feeling of warmth and sophistication. The dark wood interior and the wonderful display of art combined with the live jazz adds to the upscale feel. The menu offers lengthy descriptions of its low-country and coastal specialties. Sauteed Southern Frog Legs appear as an appetizer and Fried Green Tomatoes and Low-Country Succotash accompany several entrees, leaving no doubt that this restaurant remains true to its southern locale.

Anson - Tel (843) 577 0551. Historic charm and traditional Charleston decor makes this restaurant special. This southern eatery is graced with understated elegance with lots of windows and a full, wood-panelled bar. Anson prides itself on its hospitality and offers attentive professional service with a friendly Southern flair. Try the Charleston Bouillabaisse which is chock full of local seafood.

Charleston Bars & Clubs

Music Farm - Tel (843) 722 8904. This historical railroad storage depot, has been converted into the Music Farm. While the outside of the building looks like a train depot. the inside has been changed to convey the feeling of a farm gone electric. The majority of acts that play here are not your typical mainstream bands, but some well known jazz, bluegrass, reggae, folk and rock music acts have performed at the Music Farm since 1991.

Cumberland's - Tel (843) 577 9469. If you don't feel like dressing up and just want to hang out with the locals, Cumberland's is the place to go. The club is very popular with 20- somethings and local downtown workers. There is live music most nights, featuring bands playing a variety of music genres. The club also serves as a platform for the more popular Charleston groups.

Momma's Blues Palace - Tel (843) 853 2221. You will have to go far for better music than what you'll get to hear at Momma's Blues Palace. It is the only Blues club in town. Co-owners, Momma and Poppa Dupree Wall with their son Jo Jo appear five nights a week as "Momma and the Misfits". Momma and Poppa Dupree have been performing together for 28 years. Their passion and dedication to the Blues can't is demonstrated on stage. The club is open until the last person leaves.

Charleston children's activities

South Carolina Aquarium - The structure of the aquarium extends out over Charleston Harbour. Guests enter beneath an exquisitely beautiful stained glass wall and as you enter the Great Hall, you are faced with the magnificent centre piece - the Carolina Seas Exhibit. Your day will be spent walking through a mountain ravine, exploring the rivers of the Piedmont region, visiting with swamp dwellers and marvelling at the 300,000-gallon Great Ocean Exhibit.

Frankie's Fun Park - Frankie's has enough fun on offer to keep the whole family entertained. While the kids play the 18-hole "tropical" miniature golf course, take a ride on the go-karts or have fun on the bumper boats, dads can practice their swing at the Golf Range. The large arcade provide many fun filled hours playing games. The batting cage and rock climbing wall is ideal for those who have energy to spare and the "Trampoline Thing" will thrill the really adventurous. Party packages are available. 100 tokens for $20.

Useful Charleston Links

Folly Surf Cam
Live cams showing the Folly Beach, South Carolina washout and Morris Island Lighthouse. Surfboards and surfing gear available.

Your definitive Charleston restaurant and nightlife guide
Site is an online restaurant and nightlife guide

charlestoncocktail.com
Your definitive restaurant and nightlife guide to the greater Charleston area.

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