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A few questions regarding my upcoming trip to Charleston

A few questions regarding my upcoming trip to Charleston

Apr 17th, 2010, 07:07 PM
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A few questions regarding my upcoming trip to Charleston

First time to Charleston- leaving next weekend. Have read lots of the posts here, and have taken note of the many restaurant suggestions- I'm already hungry! But first-

Best way to get from airport to downtown? Cab- how much to expect for that? Is there a car service- like in NYC where we use Carmel?

Have gotten the impression a car is not necessary- but how do we spend a day visiting one or two of the plantations?

Is a day trip to Savannah feasible? Would we need a car rental for the day, or is there another way to get there and back? (Our hotel and airline plans are already set, so we can't spend the night there.)

There was a trip report I remember reading a year or so ago- it was from someone who lived sort of close-by, with day by day details of what they did- shopping, eating, etc- does anyone know which one that might have been? (Yes, I know it's a long-shot, but...)

thanks in advance for any answers-
nvl325 is offline  
Apr 17th, 2010, 08:40 PM
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You might do a search of charleston shuttles. It looks like Mt. Pleasant Shuttle charges $40-45 for 1-2 people to downtown. They are one of the many companies that offers shuttle service. Check with your hotel also. They might have a cheaper suggestion. By downtown, I'm assuming you are staying in the historic district. If that's the case, you won't need a car for that immediate area. A previous poster took a shuttle/bus to some plantations also, so that would be an option if you didn't want a car. A day trip to Savannah would be the most reasonable with a rental, however.

I'm not sure how much rental cars are running out of Charleston airport or whether you can get a deal. Also, whether your hotel provides free parking will make a big difference on whether you want a car for the duration of your trip vs. using cabs/shuttles.
dsgmi is offline  
Apr 18th, 2010, 02:20 AM
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Hello nvl, I believe this is the informative and interesting trip report you are thinking of.


A dear friend, another Fodorite, and I used this information when we went to Charleston for three days and it was a fantastic source of information. We drove from Atlanta. We parked the car and never used it until we were ready to leave Charleston. But we didn't go to any plantation, we just enjoyed the historical section of Charleston. By the way, I will never forget the dinner we had at SNOB's, their rack of lamb and the entire dinner was fantastic. Have a beautiful visit and I am sure you will!
LoveItaly is offline  
Apr 18th, 2010, 02:37 AM
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GoTravel's great report is still current! She is so right about the shoe places.

If you want to go to Savannah you will need to rent a car. I often recommend you rent one for a day anyway and drive out to Sullivans or Isle of Palms to the beach. If you decide not to do that, go to the Visitor's Center on Meeting Street for information on the shuttles to plantations.
suewoo is offline  
Apr 18th, 2010, 05:07 AM
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If you are a garden lover, now is the perfect time to see Charleston. I highly recommend reading "Mrs. Whaley's Charleston Garden" to get some flavor of Charleston's society. It is a fun read. Have a great time in beautiful Charleston.
cmcfong is offline  
Apr 18th, 2010, 09:36 AM
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Here's the thread about the shuttle that goes to the Ashley River Road plantations:


If you stick to these plantations and the attractions in and just north of Charleston's Historic District, you won't need a car.
bachslunch is offline  
Apr 18th, 2010, 02:27 PM
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Thank you all for the extremely helpful answers. Yes, that's the trip report I remember! And the shuttle to see the plantations sounds perfect- thanks for the link to the thread about it.

I was thinking about the day trip to Savannah because I thought that we had a lot of time for Charleston- maybe too much time. We'll be there 4 1/2 days, not counting travel days. But the more I read, I think there would be enough to do without leaving for a day- exploring the historic district, a day to visit the plantations, maybe a visit to Fort Sumter... opinions? I mean, we can't just eat at the fabulous-sounding restaurants the whole time!
nvl325 is offline  
Apr 18th, 2010, 02:40 PM
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I spent three very full days when I visited Charleston, which included one day for the three Ashley River Road plantations and two days for the Historic District, Ft. Sumter, and attractions immediately north of the Historic District (such as the Charleston Museum, Aquarium, and the Aiken-Rhett and Joseph Manigault houses). If you plan to see more than this, or you want to sightsee more leisurely, I'd definitely allot more days to this city.

I found two days was about right for Savannah, though I did not see any of the historic forts outside of the city.
bachslunch is offline  
Apr 18th, 2010, 02:45 PM
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We spent a week in Charleston and found plenty to do. My favorite plantation was Drayton Hall. We loved Anson's restaurant. I brought home a beautiful sweetgrass basket. We visited the Citadel, Folly Beach, Middleton and the Aiken Rhett house. Enjoy!
minnehappylis is offline  
Apr 20th, 2010, 04:12 AM
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I live in Charleson and I still haven't done everything. That pesky job!
suewoo is offline  
Apr 20th, 2010, 05:10 AM
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It is possible to do Charleston without a car, but I just always get "nervous" when I don't have anything I want available, at my "speed". A cab to downtown from the airport is plenty. Charleston is a very small town comparatively. Going to one or two plantations would really round out a Charleston visit. Savannah for a day and a visit to the coast along the way, stopping at Beaufort gives a BIG boost to such a visit. I haven't quite seen how long this trip is.
Gretchen is offline  
Apr 21st, 2010, 08:04 AM
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ok, I got the Mrs Whaley book to read on the plane, and have made some dinner reservations.

I'm not used to rain/thunderstorms when it's warm out- do you all wear raincoats, and closed-toe shoes, vs sandals?

I looked at the list of places included in the Heritage passport, and since we'd be going to all, or most of them, I assume it makes sense to get that? Is going to all 5 of the houses redundant? Can you take the plantation shuttle, and use the pass when you get to Drayton and Middleton?
nvl325 is offline  
Apr 21st, 2010, 01:04 PM
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I thought the Heritage Passport was a great deal. I got it when I was visiting Charleston, and it saved me several $$$. If you're going to visit enough attractions to warrant it, yes by all means buy it. You can also use it for your entrance fee to any plantations you visit via the plantation shuttle, though the shuttle cost itself isn't covered.

I didn't find the five historic houses on the Heritage Passport to be redundant, myself, but then again I enjoy visiting historic houses and tend to find the detail niceties of such places interesting. Different people may feel differently, of course. On a superficial level, the Aiken-Rhett House was unique in this group of five because it is not restored inside (the ancient, decaying furniture and obvious wear on the walls and ceiling and mouldings is eerily evocative) and it still has many of its outbuildings. The other four have been period restored and furnished but have subtle differences between them; at least one (I think it's the Nathanial Russell House) has its kitchen outbuilding intact as well as some nice garden areas.
bachslunch is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2010, 02:59 AM
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You will love Mrs. Whaley.

Rainshowers are usually quick. I just make a point not to wear my good shoes on rainy days.A raincoat and shoes you don't mind get wet will work. You'll likely be able to duck in somewhere til it's over.

Looks like we may get a little rain but it shouldn't get in your way. Have fun.
suewoo is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2010, 04:21 AM
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Or just an umbrella--no rain coat. It can be hot.
Gretchen is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2010, 06:51 AM
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We did the 4 houses the Manginault, Heyward Washington, Nathanial Russell and Aiken Rhett. And then we did the Calhoun which is completely different (and many don't like it, but we found it very amusing). Like Bachslunch, I didn't find them redundant, but then visiting historic houses is what we went to Charleston for (and I'm also not sure, but I think Heyward Washington was the one with the kitchen outbuilding. I'd have to go back to my pictures to be sure).

We also spent 3 very full days there, and never even managed to get to Fort Sumter.
china_cat is offline  
May 2nd, 2010, 04:32 PM
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thought I would report back after our trip, since I got such great help with answers to my questions. The weather was fabulous, we left just before the humidity and higher temps came along!

We did get the Heritage Pass at the Visitor Center, and went to all 9 places on it. The historic houses were interesting, and different- not redundant at all. The plantation visit worked out well with the shuttle, although more time at Middleton would have been nice. (We also visited Fort Sumter; again, an hour there was not enough but the boat ride was nice.) Lots of walking, and admiring the wonderful architecture. Thanks again!
nvl325 is offline  
May 2nd, 2010, 04:51 PM
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OK the most important question: Where'dja eat????
suewoo is offline  
May 3rd, 2010, 09:24 AM
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well, since you asked...

arrived in historic district on Sunday about noon. (Late flight arrival the night before so stayed at the airport.)
Had brunch reservation at High Cotton- our first Southern Cuisine experience. Shrimp and grits, and duck hash. Just fine, but I thought very small portions for the price. Had dinner reservation at Poogan's Porch- I know, I've read the pros and cons, but had a nice mint julep, she-crab soup, and the fried chicken was terrific. DH had shrimp and grits, he enjoyed it.

Actually had made several reservations for the upcoming 5 nights, but after those two meals the first day, had to rethink that! Mon- early lunch at East Bay Meeting House, Monday night we had dinner at the hotel restaurant, the Wentworth Grill, very nice 3 course dinner for $25. Not particularly southern, though!

Tues- breakfast at Virginia's on King- we chuckled at the 3 starches you got with your eggs- biscuit, grits, and hash browns! Tues night- King St Grill- couldn't handle a regular dinner. Had read about that on Fodors, sandwiches and beer were fine.

Wed was plantation day- had a fantastic pulled pork sandwich at the market at Middleton. Dinner at Jestine's- for fried chicken and collard greens. (We don't eat much fried food at home in Calif, so figured I'd eat fried chicken every chance I got!) Their pecan pie was the one we liked the best- lots of chopped pecans, not so much of that gooey bottom layer.

Thurs was sandwiches at East Bay Deli before heading to Fort Sumter, dinner- our last night- at Magnolia's- wonderful! Fried green tomatoes was incredible, fried chicken for me again, DH had double pork chop. Such a nice dining room (we were in the back room) the place was full but not noisy. Was sorry after eating there that we hadn't gone to SNOB earlier in the week, but we can do that next time...
nvl325 is offline  
Jul 18th, 2010, 08:24 AM
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For anyone interested in "Mrs. Whaley's Charleston Garden" I just discovered that Emily Whaley's garden, now cared for by her daughter, is open to the public on weekend. Garden and Gun has a good article about it:
Eliza_J is offline  
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