Day two, reposting our intro:
Just got back from a short road trip to Charleston SC with my sister (we're early 50's). I am a landscape designer in NY and love architecture as well. She lives in CA and loves the water, especially the beach (but rivers and lakes are fine too ...) We are on a budget, so no shopping and really high-end restaurants for us. We spent 3 days in the city and two days driving.
Our last day in the city. We decided to use the AAA walking tour guides to explore. We ripped the pages out of the large statewide book (OK, so I was the one who ripped them out and I messed it up and we were missing some words). We kept bumping into people who had done the same thing - a great conversation starter. The night before, we had walked the waterfront around The Battery and seen some of the big mansions, heading back to the hotel on King Street. The walking tours covered some of the same area, but mainly on Meeting and Church Streets. My sister was in charge of reading out loud, and I was photographer. We weaved around in this manner, go off-course when something else looked interesting. In between the two tours, we went to Poogan's Porch for lunch and sat on the back porch. I had she-crab soup that was out of this world. Everything was very tasty and the restaurant was in an old town home, an added bonus.
We had hoped to take a Gullah culture tour, but when we called we found out that they weren't doing one today. No reason given, but they suggested Sites and Insights black history tour leaving from the Welcome Center. We did a late afternoon tour with 6 other people. Al Miller, the tour guide, had his information down cold and was able to spice it up with 21 years' worth of anecdotes and funny comments from other passengers. He sang some Porgy and Bess as well as a few stanzas of a spiritual. He peppered his talk with Gullah phrases, complete with dramatic inflections. He was wonderful! We saw areas of the city we hadn't walked through as well as got more complete information on some familiar areas. It was well worth it.
Headed slightly out of town to meet a childhood friend living in the area. He suggested a bar/restaurant named Gene's Haufbrau, and I thought "uh-oh, hasn't he changed in 30 years?" but it was wonderful, full of cheerful noise, not rowdy, and a nice bartender. I had a really delicious burger and we spent a few hours catching up.
(This is really day four, but I wanted to include the info.) We drove back to NY with one detour - crossed west past Charlottesville VA and took the bottom section of the Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. We got there mid-afternoon and stopped at every overlook. We took a short hike to a talus slope (large sharp rocks tumbling down the hillside) which was gorgeous. The mountains were mid-fall color, with tons of witchhazel in bloom. Mountain laurel and sassafras was everywhere. Continued up I-81 into Pennsylvania through the night (boy, can that road get foggy).
A highly recommended trip. Can't think of one negative!
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Charleston SC trip report Day Three, plus a tiny bit of Skyline Drive in VA
Day two, reposting our intro: