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-   -   2 weeks in FL, Savannah and Charleston (https://www.fodors.com/community/united-states/2-weeks-in-fl-savannah-and-charleston-1009027/)

shelleyk Apr 25th, 2014 09:38 AM

kathleen-The decision to eat on the West Ashley side was a last minute decision based on the heavy rainfall. I will save your recommendations for our next visit to Charleston. I think you were the person who recommended Hunting Island State Park to me when I posted asking questions before our trip. If so, I am so grateful that you did as the day spent at this park was one of the highlights of our trip. To answer your question about the plantation house, it was Drayton Hall located about a mile away from Magnolia Garden. The combination ticket for both was $24, a savings of $11 over purchasing them individually. I was advised that Drayton Hall was a more "authentic" period house than the house on the grounds of Magnolia Gardens. Next time we visit Charleston, and I feel there will definitely be a next time, I would like to visit Middleton Plantation and Boone Hall Plantation. There is so much to do and see in Charleston that I could have easily spent 2 or 3 additional days there.

Ackislander Apr 25th, 2014 10:16 AM

I like your report a lot. You call a spade a spade without ever sounding like a tripadvisor whiner.

One of the things I like about this forum is how differently we all approach the world. I have been to all the places you have been including some of the same restaurants. I admire your taking time for lots of outdoor activity, and we try to do that, too, but I sure can't drive after dinner!

Dickie_Gr Apr 25th, 2014 12:49 PM

We visited Drayton Hall recently.

We also appreciated their honest approach to life on a plantation. Other estates wallow in tours which highlight dinner parties and the socialite lives of thier owners. Drayton describes themselves as a concentration labour camp.

Much of this history has been pretty much erased from British historical teaching, very little is covered by our education system. It was refreshing that in SC we experienced the hard facts of the salve trade.

If you like nature trails, try Botany Bay Plantation on Edisto Island next time you are in the area. It has a stunning two mile straight road approach draped in Spanish moss, several trail walks and a beach of deadwood trees with a huge range of shells which cannot be removed.

shelleyk Apr 26th, 2014 08:57 AM

Ackislander-Thanks for your kind words. I love being outdoors and always build lots of outdoor time into my trips. I try to leave the indoor activities such as house tours and museums for rainy days.

Dickie_GR-Thanks so much for your mention of Botany Bay Plantation which I will definitely include on our next visit. I googled it and the photos of the beach and moss draped entrance are beautiful. It looks like a great day trip from Charleston.

shelleyk May 1st, 2014 05:00 AM

On our final day in Charleston we awoke to light rain. We ate our included breakfast, checked out of the hotel, and drove into Charleston. It was St. Patrick's Day, but the town seemed like quiet, unlike what I pictured Savannah would be on this day. We parked at the Visitor Center ($1/hour or $16 for the whole day) and with umbrellas in hand walked 5 minutes to the Aiken Rhett House where we purchased a combination ticket for this house and the Nathaniel Russell House ($16pp for both houses).

These two houses were recommended by the docent at Drayton Hall when I asked her opinion of the 2 houses she would go to if she could pick only two. I think her choices were excellent. The Aiken Rhett House is conserved (not restored) and the Nathaniel Russell House is beautifully restored. Seeing both gave us an excellent overview of different architectural styles used in Charleston housing. It also kept us out of the rain for several hours.

The Aiken Rhett House is at the north end of Charleston and the Nathaniel Russell house is at the south end. We walked from one to the other in about a half an hour. On the way to the Nathaniel Russell House we stopped at Sr. John the Baptist Cathedral and at the oldest reform synagogue in the US. Both buildings were constructed at about the same time and the interiors looked similar.

We left Charleston at 5 PM and drove about half an hour in heavy traffic to the Best Western Plus near the airport. We unloaded our luggage, checked in and drove to the rental agency to return our car. The hotel picked us up at the airport that night and drove us back to the airport the next morning for our flight home. The Best Western was fine for an overnight stop.

Our US Air fight was on time. Our 35 minute connection time in DC worked fine , and we arrived at our home airport with no complications.

We enjoyed our 2 week trip to Florida, Georgia and South Carolina and intend to repeat it next winter.

CindyA Jul 1st, 2014 04:02 PM

Bookmarking

hopingtotravel Oct 25th, 2014 08:25 AM

Enjoyed this report. Am considering early next March. Is that too early for the azaleas?

JanetKMR Oct 25th, 2014 09:29 AM

Yes.

starrs Oct 25th, 2014 09:31 AM

The Savannah Garden tour chooses the week they think will be prime azalea time -
http://www.savannahtourofhomes.org/.

That's the last week of March. "Early" March may be too early or may be fine, depending on what kind of winter we have. The later in March, the more likely the azaleas will be at peak.

hopingtotravel Oct 25th, 2014 01:59 PM

I read the brochure. It's something I'd love, but DH probably no.

I hate to travel during spring break which was one reason for trying to go 'early' in March.

suewoo Oct 25th, 2014 02:08 PM

My azaleas always started blooming mid-March. Some of them are earlier than others.

hopetotravel, when you say spring break do you mean beach nuttiness? That crowd goes farther south, where the water is warm. No spring break madness in Charleston. St Patrick's Day IS very crowded in Savannah.

starrs Oct 25th, 2014 04:22 PM

As suewoo said, spring break is not a problem in Savannah. The only concern for crowds would be St. Patrick's Day and the weekend they celebrate. I've been there lots of time on March 15th and there's no indication of what's to come. It's just the 17th and/or the weekend they do the parade that one needs to be concerned about crowds. Otherwise, March is lovely in Savannah. You can come during the tour week and not take the tour - that's just when they predict prime azalea color will be. Too early and you may not have pretty blooms. I'll try to find a picture from the first week of March a couple of years ago = barely any blooms open. But if it's a mild winter, they may be blooming that week. I'd come as late in the month as you can.

All of my comments are referring to Savannah. :)

hopingtotravel Oct 25th, 2014 06:21 PM

I was just thinking it would be harder to get plane flights when people are traveling with their kids.

starrs Oct 25th, 2014 07:37 PM

Oh, THAT spring break. Families? Schools will be off for spring break in April, not March. Most spring breaks around here coincide with Easter.

hopingtotravel Oct 26th, 2014 07:59 AM

Good to know. Thanks.

JoJoSiestaKey Oct 27th, 2014 04:19 AM

""At the conclusion of the tour we drove back to our hotel, a little wet and pretty tired. We decided to forego driving into Charleston for dinner, so we cancelled our reservation at Poogan's Porch, and instead opted to go to Bessinger's BBQ""

This is why I always recommend visitors stay downtown Charleston and not in the suburbs.

Nice report, South Carolina has some amazing state parks. Love Hunting Island.


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