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Help with Charleston

Old Oct 2nd, 2003, 06:03 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 9
Help with Charleston

I am planning a surprise trip to Charleston for our 25th anniversary and would appreciate any help that can be given on accomodations, activities, and dining. I have been looking at the Hayne House, Elliot House, or Planters Inn as possible places to stay for 6-7 nights. I would be grateful for any help/advise on our first trip to Charleston!

David Brandt
Belvidere, NJ
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Old Oct 2nd, 2003, 08:43 AM
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Of those, I would choose The Elliott House. That is just my opinion though. As for the other questions, tell me when you are going and what types of restaurants and activities you like and I will provide more help.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2003, 09:00 AM
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We ALWAYS stay at the Elliott House- It is right in the historic district near the slave market..
The Inn offers continental bkfst in bed on a silver tea and chees out by the patio in the afternoon and free bikes to go sightseeing..

The Inn also has a large outdoor jacuzzi under a grape arbor that is TERRIFIC the Charleston Heat!!

You will Love this Inn- we have been staying there for over 20 years..The rooms are done with Schumacher prined wallpaper, 4 post beds, armoires...rooms are a little on the small side but the ambience is so nice you really don't care!

For dinner, make reservations at ANSON's or Magnolia's( reserve in the back room)....

Make sure your take the carriage ride thru the battery area--

Whay time of year are you planning on going as Spring-just berfore Easter, is the HOMES TOURS in the Historic District , which is phenomenal....
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Old Oct 2nd, 2003, 09:01 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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Favorite nicer restaurant: McCrady's.
Also Circa 1886 at Wentworth Mansion, Peninsula Grille.
If you want even more extravagant experience, consider driving out to Summerville to the Woodlands resort for dinner or even to stay.
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Old Oct 5th, 2003, 11:53 AM
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As a local, I cannot recommend McCrady's. Overpriced and very small portions. Not worth the hype, and we travel a great deal. Better bet: Fancy evening out: Cypress. Casual evening: Blossom Cafe. Also, take a carriage tour to get a good overall feel for Charleston. The Visitor's Center is a good first stop for information. Hope y'all have fun!
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Old Oct 5th, 2003, 12:09 PM
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The Planters Inn is one of my favorite hotels anywhere! The location is excellent, rooms are very romantic, service impeccable, and gorgeous building.

As an aside, the market isn't called the slave market because they sold slaves.
Old Oct 6th, 2003, 07:25 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2003
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Thanks everyone for the help!

The anniversary trip that I am planning for is in July. Is this month considered to be off season because of the heat? We do not mind going this time of year as we often spend summer vacation in the Keys. I would like to make my reservations as earlier as possible so that we are guaranteed to get a room at the place we decide to stay.

Things of interest I am planning to do would be: visitor center, carriage tour (Palmetto?), explore Battery and Market areas, Middleton Plantation, dining, and checking out the shops (along with exploring the surrounding area).

Thanks again, any suggestions are greatly appreciated!

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Old Oct 8th, 2003, 05:27 AM
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It's always interesting how people can go to the same places and have exactly opposite opinions.

I have liked McCrady's better than most Charleston restaurants even though I agree it is awfully pricey.

Blossom I found to be an example of everything that is wrong with Charleston restaurants (and many of the restaurants trying to be upscale here in Greenville): all style, pretension, & cliched southerisms with second rate ingredients and mediocre preparation.

Good thing we don't all have the same opinions or the lines would be too long at the "good" places!

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Old Oct 8th, 2003, 07:56 AM
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I'm from Charleston and I would say that the Planters Inn is hands-down the most romantic small hotel. Also, a suite a the Market Pavilion Hotel (new since 2001) is fabulous and comparably priced to the Planters' best room.
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Old Oct 14th, 2003, 08:35 AM
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I don't know your budget, but Planters Inn is much more expensive than Elliot House. We have stayed at Elliot House and it is a great place to stay for the price. Good location, attractive rooms and breakfast on a silver tray (and a patio with table and chairs to enjoy it on). Also they have wine and cheese in the afternoon. If you go out to Middleton Plantation, have lunch or dinner. If you go after 5:00, I think the gardens are free (the house is not much to see). The grounds are terrific and the food is great. Magnolia's is also very good. And for an inexpensive meal try Sticky Fingers for barbeque.
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Old Oct 14th, 2003, 10:01 AM
Join Date: May 2003
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Congratulations on your 25th! You've chosen a great destination. We celebrated our 20th there and Savannah. Can't say enough good things about Two Meeting Street Inn in the Battery. Great photos and virtual tour at If $ is a consideration, you will be happy with a 3rd floor room if you don't mind a smaller but manageable room and still nice. Worth the $100/night savings from the rooms below.

Peninsula Grill was great food & service. Tell them it's your anniv. and they will make it even more special for you. Dine in the courtyard if weather permits.

Hit the big nice visitor's center and take a city tour - first if you can. We were there 5 nights and not a bit too long! Hope to go back again. Your 6-7 nights is perfect and enough time to explore outside a little. There's no shortage of useful info on Charleston on this site - just do a search.

We enjoyed Middleton but was not blown away by it. It got VERY hot that day walking the grounds (even though it was Sept.) Had it been Spring and in full bloom, I might be raving about it. There's not much house to tour, but it does have some nice things and at least one STERN guide.

We found Chas a very walkable city and very relaxing yet plenty to see and do to keep you on the go at a steady pace.

You don't have to worry about going wrong whatever you do there. Have a wonderful time. Your wife will be so thrilled and think you are awesome!
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Old Oct 14th, 2003, 10:24 PM
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If you are driving down, you should really give some thought to spending a day or two of the 6 in Savannah.
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Old Oct 15th, 2003, 09:17 AM
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I second Geechee. IMO, they were equally charming, Sav just smaller so less time needed there. 5-Chas, 2-Sav would be a good balance. That's what we did and were pleased. Then there is Beaufort, SC. Just had time to drive around, but wish we would have had at least one full day and maybe one night.
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Old Oct 15th, 2003, 11:54 AM
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We were in the Beaufort/Charleston area last week. Stayed at the Charleston River View Hotel.. nothing special ..typical convention hotel.

Next time,we'll stay in the Historic District at either the Embassy Suites or Hampton Inn primarily because most everything is within walking distance. Parking is a real problem.

We recommend purchasing a sweetgrass woven basket as a momento of your occasion. The baskets sold at the Market are really overpriced. We brought a large basket on Sunday from a friend of a friend on James Island. It's beautiful and it cost us $275. A similiar size basket in the Market would be between $500 -$650. Email me and I'll send you her information if you are interested

Beaufort is an hour drive south of Charleston and I highly recommend you spend a day there..tons of history and site for several motion pictures. Try shrimp and grits for breakfast or lunch..wonderful ! you might not return to leave Beaufort.
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Old Oct 15th, 2003, 01:01 PM
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Pardon me for not being familiar, but why would someone pay almost $300 for a woven basket? Seems to me I've seen those baskets and their streetside vendors in Charleston but never inquired about price. What's the deal?
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Old Oct 15th, 2003, 02:19 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Here is some brief information regarding sweetgrass baskets. This information is taken from this website:

Sweetgrass basket making has been part of the Charleston and Mt. Pleasant communities for more than 300 years. Brought to the area by slaves who came from West Africa, basket making is a traditional art form which has been passed on from generation to generation. Today, it is one of the oldest art forms of African origin in the United States. Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, an old village and modern suburb on the north side of Charleston Harbor, enjoys the distinction of being the only place where this particular type of basketry is practiced. Here, the descendents of slaves from West Africa continue the tradition.

During the days of slavery, rice cultivation, and the flourishing plantations of the Old South, these baskets were in great demand for agricultural purposes. They also brought extra income to slave owners, who often sold baskets to other plantation owners.
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Old Oct 16th, 2003, 06:11 AM
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Thanks again everyone for the advise!

I have narrowed my accomodation choice down to the Hayne House (6 rooms $145-$295) or the Planters Inn (62 rooms $105-$275). I am leaning toward the Hayne House because of its intimacy and the numerous outstanding reviews that it has received. Any additional comments/recommendations would be appreciated.


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Old Oct 16th, 2003, 08:39 AM
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Dave, though I've not stayed at the Hayne House, the Planters Inn is one of the nicest hotels in the country. It is so worth the stay and the location is excellent.

travleis, the sweetgrass baskets aren't just baskets, they are art. It takes a couple of weeks to make one and they last forever. My mother has some (she uses) that she bought when I was a little girl and that would make them over 30 years old.
Old Oct 16th, 2003, 10:19 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 232
You can hardly go wrong and have some great choices. Get a Frommer's Portable Guide. It is small but has everything you need in it for a quick reference. Mine was Charleston/Savannah and included environs like Beaufort, Hilton Head, etc. and was still a very small pocket-size book.
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Old Oct 23rd, 2003, 05:37 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
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As another local, I do NOT recommend McCrady's for dinner. VERY small portions and very over priced. Peninsula Grille is by far the best restaurant downtown (located IN the Planter's Inn!). Other suggestions for fine dining include Tristan, on Market Street, and Fish, on King Street. Don't miss breakfast at Baker's Cafe on King.
In July, a fun outing out of downtown might include the Mount Pleasant Farmer's Market, on Coleman Blvd. every Tuesday from 4pm-dark. Live music, produce, prepared food to eat there or take to go. Also, Boone Hall Plantation has a farm that may still be doing u-pick peaches in July. Depends on the heat and date in July.

Go to and check out the location of the loggerhead turtle nests. They usually begin hatching in July. If you go out to the beach at dusk or first thing in the morning (7:30am) you may catch a hatching or an inventory. (no flashlights or flsh photography!)

Call a marina and book a sailboat for a private harbor cruise. Take a bottle of wine and some take out and enjoy the sunset on the water.

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