Charleston without a car?

Feb 25th, 2009, 09:36 AM
  #1  
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Charleston without a car?

We would like to fly to Charleston and stay in the historic district. Can we rely on bus service or do we need to rent a car? We like walking to bars and restaurants, but also want to see Ft. Sumter and some plantations.
rushed is offline  
Feb 25th, 2009, 09:50 AM
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In the historic district, all you need is your feet! We drove into Charleston (the Renaissance) parked the car and didn't get in it again until we left for Hilton Head. And this was steamy July! (of course, for a plantation tour, you'll need to take some form of transportation -- maybe a tour).
sf7307 is online now  
Feb 25th, 2009, 09:57 AM
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I'm going to Charleston in April. I'm hoping to use this relatively new shuttle service to get to the plantations

http://www.charlestoncvb.com/visitor...eptember_1-922

If anybody has any details, or has tried it, I'd love to know.
china_cat is offline  
Feb 25th, 2009, 03:48 PM
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china_cat wrote: "I'm hoping to use this relatively new shuttle service to get to the plantations"

Called this shuttle service up recently. There are three plantations out to the west of Charleston, all along a stretch of Ashley River Road about a half-mile apart from each other: Drayton Hall, Magnolia Plantation, and Middleton Place. They apparently will go to two plantations of your choice out of the three in a day. Given that you can't visit them otherwise without a car, this is very useful (the CARTA local bus apparently used to have a route out that way but discontinued it).
bachslunch is offline  
Feb 26th, 2009, 04:03 AM
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bachslunch, thanks for the info. I was under the impression that they would do a circle of all 3, and you could hop on or off. Did they tell you how late they head back? I will call them myself shortly, but it seemed to be a nice alternative to getting a car. According to the article, it's $20/person, which means for 2 of us its definitely cheaper. I plan to go to Drayton Hall first, then one of the other 2 (and I totally can't make up my mind which!)
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Feb 26th, 2009, 05:00 AM
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Thanks everyone for the input. It does sound doable.
rushed is offline  
Mar 29th, 2009, 04:55 PM
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Having recently gotten back from a trip including Charleston, I can vouch for the shuttle service that goes to these Ashley River plantations. They're the Charleston Chauffeur Company, and you need to call ahead at least a day to arrange things. The cost is $20, and they will take you to two of the three plantations. They typically take you to Drayton Hall first, as their house tour starts earliest, and of the three plantation houses it's arguably the most interesting. You than can choose between Middleton Place or Magnolia Plantation, both of which have very nice gardens, extensive grounds, and pretty nice furnished plantation houses. I was able to see both of these other two (more later), and of the two I definitely preferred Middleton Place, though Magnolia Plantation is worth a visit. But if you have to omit one, Magnolia would be it to my way of thinking.

The driver will drive you to and pick you up at two plantations. But on request, he will also drop you off at the third one with the understanding that you'll then call a cab to come get you at this third plantation. I indeed did this, and the upshot is that you can see all three of these places to a satisfying extent in one full sightseeing day.

Given that there's now no public transport between downtown and these attractions and I didn't have a car, this was a godsend for me.
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Mar 29th, 2009, 05:40 PM
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bachslunch, thanks for the update. I'll be going in a couple weeks, and will also use the shuttle service. I was planning on doing Drayton first, then heading to Middleton. Can yolu really fit in both Drayton and Middleton and be done when the shuttle comes to get you between 1:30-2?

When I spoke to Charleston Chauffeur company on the phone last week, they told me that with a simple increase to $30/person they would come back and get me later. I thought this was a great deal.

I'm hoping this gives me time to have a nice lunch at Middleton and spend some time seeing it at leisure, then head back around 4PM.
china_cat is offline  
Mar 29th, 2009, 06:08 PM
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china_cat, yes, you can see a respectable amount of both Drayton and Middleton and be done by 2 PM. I had enough time to walk the river walk (didn't do the marsh walk, which didn't look too inviting and from reports had no shortage of mosquitoes) and do the house tour at Drayton, which lasts under an hour. The grounds are not extensive here, and there are no gardens to speak of. Drayton doesn't actually take as long as the other two.

At Middleton, I did a house tour (about half an hour), took a gardens tour (about half an hour), walked the grounds and gardens a solid amount (these are indeed extensive), and grabbed a quick lunch at their equivalent to a snack bar (which was really very good -- pulled pork sandwich and okra soup that day -- and not nearly as time-consuming as a formal lunch in their dining room would be). Didn't spend time in the stable yards or doing a horse carriage tour there. I was done with both by 2 PM and felt like I'd seen most all of what I wanted at both. You could potentially spend more time at either, but having a car makes that a lot easier.

At Magnolia, where I was left off a bit after 2 PM, I did a house tour (about half an hour), walked through the gardens, visited the conservatory, saw the farm animals, and took a Nature Train ride around the grounds. Did not tour the Audubon Swamp Garden or do the boat ride (again, mosquitoes at the first, plus an extra charge for both). I was done at about 6 PM or thereabouts.
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Mar 30th, 2009, 06:16 AM
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thanks. that's really helpful.
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Apr 24th, 2009, 01:28 PM
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I wanted to follow up on this topic, as I am just back. Bachslunch, you were right. We did both Drayton and Middleton and finished up by 2PM, and headed back with the normal shuttle schedule. it wasn't perfect, I would have liked more time. But my mom thought it was enough. We did the house tour at Drayton, then headed to Middleton at 11AM. We did the house tour, than got a bite to eat at the garden shop (fried chicken wrap). Then we still had about an hour to explore the grounds. I would have liked to take the carriage ride, to see the further reaches of the grounds, but what we saw was pretty good. The driver would have probably come back for us later, but we didn't get so far as negotiating the cost. Also, there were only 4 of us in the van so if the other 2 had been interested in staying longer we might have, but they were not.

but the time spent was enough. And we got back to downtown in time to go see the Joseph Manigault house right by the visitor center, so that was good.
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Apr 24th, 2009, 01:30 PM
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oh, I should add, in relation to the original topic, that we used the Dash shuttle several times for getting around downtown. It was very convenient since it had a stop right near our hotel (we were a half block from Waterfront park), and we used it to get to the visitor center and back. We didn't get a pass, as I believe you need to ride it more than 3 times in a single day, or 8 times over 3 days, to make the passes worthwhile.
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