Throw a dart at any map of Charleston and you’ll likely land on history.. That is how synonymous Charleston (South Carolina) is with rich history and also, plantations, cobblestone roads, horse drawn carriages and beautiful houses.
But that is not how I learnt of Charleston. It was after watching “The Notebook” that I discovered both Ryan Gosling and Charleston. I am one of those people who likes to read trivia about movies I like. I learnt that Ryan Gosling lived in Charleston before filming began. He built furniture and rowed the Ashley River in mornings to prepare for his role. Let me stop right here before I go into raptures about Ryan Gosling.
When it comes to exploring a place, I find walking to be the best way to do it. A lot of companies offer guided tours that take you to Charleston’s landmarks and hidden gems. You could also go on a self-guided tour like I did.
If I could say, I believe in slow travel, I like to take time to plug into the local culture instead of cramming into a tourist bus that rush and race though a list of tourist spots. Sometimes you don’t need that list. You need to make your own. Always remember that.
So the first stop in my list: King Street, the focal point of the city, housing a variety of art galleries, shops, restaurants and bars each with its own sense of style and flavor, but all uniquely Charleston.
For local shopping, go to the historic Charleston City Market on Meeting Street. The market spans across few blocks hosting local vendors selling everything from art, clothing, soaps, candles, sweet-grass baskets, souvenirs, etc.
Wear comfortable shoes.
Suggested streets to walk- King Street, Broad Street, Meeting Street, Church Street.
I ended my walking tour with Waterfront Park. After all that walking, my feet were begging for rest and this was just the place to sit and relax. The park overlooks the Charleston Harbor from where you can spot the Ravenel bridge. The park has beautiful lawn, walkways and two large fountains enhancing the beauty further more.
Visiting a plantation was on top of my ‘list of things to do in Charleston’. Middleton Place is a National Historic Landmark, just outside of North Charleston. The plantation was built in the 17th century and it’s along the pristine Ashley River. The general admission fee is $28. The property also has a restaurant and Inn open to guests. I was in awe of the beautifully landscaped gardens, Butterfly Lakes and reflection pools. I also got an insight into the lives of the slaves that were part of the plantation system of the old South.
The plantation will take you in a different time and setting. It can easily take 2 hours to tour the property. I would recommend visiting the plantation during the morning hours. I went there on a weekday so there were not many visitors.
For me Charleston, was part of a long and exciting road trip that started from Raleigh, North Carolina and ended at Key West, Florida. I would recommend adding some splash time to your Charleston itinerary since there are a few beaches in the proximity.
And as every travel experience comes to an end, I am more than glad that I could soak in all the beauty, charm and history of Charleston in a well planned trip.
Outfit details: H&M trench coat, palazzo pants from an independent boutique, top from Bevello, Aldo sandals, Michael Kors bag.