Fall for Charleston's Historic and Modern Treasures

Posted September 15, 2009 by Jamie Moore

Sc-charleston-grave-def To walk the streets of Charleston's historic downtown is like exploring a living museum. But modern elements also grace the visual display. Steep yourself in 300-year-old architecture and lore on a walking tour, sample creative cuisine in an eco-friendly dining room, then sleep soundly at an award-winning designer inn.

The Original Charleston Walks: Storytelling guides bring Charleston's history to life on eight themed walking tours. The city's elegant past, timeworn alleyways, and majestic 19th-century homes are on show during the historic homes tour. Check out the city's less genteel side on a ghost or pirate walk, where you'll either hear spooky tales in Charleston's creepiest cemetery or visit a pirate tavern and prison. Other choices include pub walks and a slavery-and-freedom tour. Tours cost $18.50 and up but there's a $3 discount for online bookings.

Fish: Inside this modern eco-friendly eatery are patio tables with tops made from recycled wine bottles, biodegradable to-go containers, and a $10 French-Asian fusion lunch menu. Try grilled shrimp, ginger aioli mooshu (rice wraps) with a side of paprika potato chips, pan-seared tuna salad with boursin dressing, or go simple with braised beef soup. Come pre-dinner for a signature cocktail and bar snacks like baked escargot or sweet chili calamari (each $6).

Inn at Middleton Place: National Geographic Traveler magazine put this inn on its 2008 "Stay List," and the American Institute of Architects recently gave it a design award. The gorgeous rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows, handcrafted furniture, fireplaces, and huge bathtubs. On the inn's grounds, you can explore Middleton Place, America's oldest landscaped gardens, visit the 1755 House Museum, go horseback riding, kayak, hike, or lose yourself in the elaborate labyrinth. Midweek room rates start at $170.

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(Photo: iStockPhoto/Shelly Perry)

Walk in the Footsteps of History in Charleston

Posted June 16, 2009 by Kate Hamman

SC-Charleston-DraytonHall-DEF With two major wars and natural disasters, Charleston has a fascinating and tumultuous history. Discover the real value of the city's past firsthand by touring a well-preserved estate, dining at a plantation, and staying in the home of one of our founding fathers.

Drayton Hall: As one of the oldest surviving examples of Georgian-Palladian architecture left in the U.S., Drayton Hall has weathered the American Revolution, the Civil War, earthquakes, and hurricanes. Remarkably, it still stands in nearly the same condition it did when it was first built. Take a guided tour of the home that has belonged to seven generations of the plantation owners, the Draytons, or take a self-guided walk along the river and marshes surrounding the estate. Tickets cost $14 per adult.

Middleton Place Restaurant: At Middleton Place, a plantation surrounded by 65 acres of formal gardens, you can dine on lowcountry fare. Try the okra gumbo or collard greens to taste some southern home cooking. You can wander the gardens for free if you come for dinner, but during the day you'll have to pay the $25 admission fee to enjoy the lunch specials.

John Rutledge House Inn: One of only 15 remaining homes of the 55 signers of the U.S. Constitution, the Rutledge House Inn is the only one that allows you to stay the night. George Washington even called here in 1791 to have breakfast with Mrs. Rutledge. The 19 guest rooms located throughout the three buildings are decorated with period furnishings to capture the essence of a bygone era. Rooms might be pricey at $220 per night, but remember you're staying in a piece of history.

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(Photo: The Charleston Area Convention & Visitors Bureau,

Southern Charm in Charleston for a Fraction of the Cost

Posted June 10, 2009 by Kate Hamman

SC-Charleston-RainbowRow-DEF Charleston invites you to admire its antebellum homes, listen to its Civil War stories, and discover Southern grace under pressure. Come experience the city for a fraction of the cost, with a cocoa-powered carriage ride, a tour into the heart of its history, and a restaurant that honors its homestyle dishes.

Francis Marion Hotel: When the winter weather starts to cool down, there's no better time to take a carriage ride through the streets of Charleston, with hot cocoa to keep you warm. And after your trip, you can return to your deluxe accommodations at the grand Francis Marion Hotel, a member of the Historic Hotels of America. The Charleston Getaway Deal is quite a steal at $139 per night.

Charleston Strolls: To really get to know Charleston, you must walk in the footsteps of its past and go where no vehicle or carriage can travel. Learn about the city's war-torn history as you traipse through the historic district with a knowledgeable guide leading the way. The two-hour tour stops at noteworthy landmarks such as Rainbow Row, a row of mid-1700's homes, and the Two Meeting Street Inn. Tours cost $18.

Poogan's Porch: This highly-acclaimed bistro takes its name from a friendly pooch who loved nothing more than to lie on the front porch. And as if this isn't enough reason to love the place, Poogan's Porch serves food that combines inventive and flavorful ingredients with traditional dishes. The fried green tomato BLT, with applewood-smoked bacon and goat cheese, adds flair to a classic BLT. The restaurant stays open 365 days a year for brunch, lunch, and dinner. Sandwiches start at $7.95, and dinner entrees start at $13.95.

To search for flights and compare prices to Charleston, please use our price-comparison tool.

(Photo: Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau)

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