Raliegh, NC, Charleston, SC to Florida

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May 12th, 2013, 11:15 AM
  #1
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Raliegh, NC, Charleston, SC to Florida

Traveling from Raliegh,NC to Charleston, SC, then on South along the Eastern Coast of Florida around mid-February for a couple of weeks. Will then cut across Flordia continue up West Coast area on up towards TN to visit friends. Have never been on East Coast between Charleston NC and Fort Pierce, FL so looking for information on that area. Love historical areas, antiques, nature, good food, small Mom & Pop cafes, beach areas (even if its cool out), etc. Not interested in golf or resorts. Our schedule will be very flexible, willing to drive a little off road to see an interesting site. Any suggestions on areas that you have found interesting on your travels in that area? Are most things open year round in those areas?

Looking forward to your suggestions.
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May 12th, 2013, 12:17 PM
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Savannah and St. Augustine come to mind.
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May 12th, 2013, 01:00 PM
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I'm in St. Aug right now. It's very nice! I'll do a trip report when I'm done. I'm traveling down A 1 A tomorrow, then cutting across to Tampa for the rest of the week.
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May 12th, 2013, 02:47 PM
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Might need a little more info. Do you want to stop en route to Charleston.
A stop around LItchfield just south of MB and see Brookgreen Gardens would be very worthwhile.
Stop for the night in that area and have some GREAT seafood at a restaurant in Murrell's Inlet--I'd recommend Russell's. You can stay right on the beach at the Litchfield Inn. Charleston is an hour and a half down route 17, AND you could stop for lunch just outside Mt. Pleasant at the SeeWEe.
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May 12th, 2013, 03:06 PM
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Or stop off in Beaufort between Charleston and Savannah; stop off at Jekyll or St. Simon's island on the way to St. Augustine.
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May 12th, 2013, 05:51 PM
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Think about heading as far west as Apalachicola - there is a beautiful beach on St. George Island, not far from there, and there are a couple of nice inns in Apalach in addition to some good restaurants. Very different from the east coast. If you are headed to western TN it's not even terribly out of the way - you just keep going to Panama City and head north, and eventually you'll end up on I-65 in Alabama.
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May 12th, 2013, 07:23 PM
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Thanks All, for the good information.

Gretchen, we have no exact plans as to stopping. Litchfield sounds interesting & something we may be interested in checking out. Our only thought was maybe we would spend a couple of days in Charleston, as it sounds like there is a lot to do there. Will also check your suggestions Dukey1 and Barbara. Will be watching for your trip report suewoo. Appreciate all the suggestions, love planning trips.
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May 13th, 2013, 04:57 AM
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You could certainly do Brookgreen on the way to Charleston and not spend the night. However you would/could be on the ocean for that night which is nice--that won't happen in Charleston proper. But Brookgreen is quite unique not only for its gardens, but definitely for the art collection--and the way it is displayed. Lots of sculpture in open air. The Huntington summer home across Route 17 from Brookgreen is also "unique" (to say the least) and interesting--a Moorish architecture--right on the beach. It doesn't take long to go through it--it hasn't been furnished, but the architecture is the key.
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May 13th, 2013, 04:59 AM
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Oh, I might add that the original Litchfield Plantation house is just down the road also. It is now a B&B and has a guard at the gate, but if you ask, he will usually let you drive up the live oak pebble driveway to this classic plantation house. It is just beautiful. this is a "drive by" on your way to Charleston so no time!!
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May 13th, 2013, 06:20 AM
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Thanks again Gretchen. I haven't checked the weather sites yet, do you think it's warm enough in February so being by water will be that important? Looks like a nice place.
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May 15th, 2013, 02:24 PM
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I used to travel through this area often when I was on editorial staff at a shelter magazine that covered a lot of the Low Country and inland regions.....but had not been in ages and ages (we had to take a plane to Sapelo back in the early 80s, if that give an idea of the time frame and the not all too welcome changes that have ensued!!). This Yankee was neverthless ecstatic to return a few months back to the general area, if not to Sapelo.


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/26/us...anted=all&_r=0



Here is a bit of food info, look at the info on the St Simons/Darien/Lexington, NC area; the latter admittedly perhaps off your route.

http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...ea-islands.cfm



If you do not want to wade through all the detail, I would recommend, among others:

For chicken sandwich. among other items:

http://www.smokinpigbbqjoint.com/



Smiley's Lexington, worth the detour for the fried okra and pork shoulder in all permutations. as well a lots of things we did not have time to try in only two visits:

http://www.ncbbqsociety.com/trail_pa...eys_large.html



B&Js Darien, just off I-95; puts to rest the idea that there is no good food near the major N/S highways. Worth the detour, in Michelin parlance; I would skip the buffet unless you are a hefty eater, and just order the shrimp and the Apalachicola, oysters. Heaven on a million-calorie platter. Wine and beer; credit cards ok. If you are a northener whose idea of shirmp if that of the headless, pre-frozen, often farm-raised Asian variety, you owe it to yourself to make the easy trip from the highway to this happy eatery in a harming area that migh merit a few day's stay.


http://bandjssteaksandseafood.com/Menu.html




Darien seems to be a cool waterfront village with lots of antiques shops,incuuding: this one, mentioned in NYTimes; I did not have time to visit but have it on my list for next year. It might be worht an overnight near there; let us know if you do go!! Hope website prices are not indicative of the vast bulk of items on offer!!


http://southernpicker.com/




Not too far away is the Le Cresuet outlet near Yemmasse, SC, just off I-95 and with frequent sales not only of Le Creuset (both the French enameled cast iron and the Asian-made stoneware and accessories/utensils) but of Riedel glassware and other kitchen items. Nice folks, too.


Gas station next door.




PLEASE let us know what you find as far as interesting vintage shops and eating!
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Sep 28th, 2013, 09:28 AM
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While working on our winter trip plans, I realized I had asked for some information in May (memory is really getting bad) glad I didn't ask again for same thing again.

Checking out some of the advice, Gretchen do you know if Brookgreen Gardens have anything blooming around mid-Feb? Looked at website not sure from info there.

Thanks everyone for the info you gave, we are planning on making lots of little stops (some for day or two) along the way, no time limits, no rushing, just enjoying the areas, knowing it won't be sunbathing weather that time of year...so all of your suggestions are helpful.
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Sep 28th, 2013, 10:07 AM
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If there's not been a freeze, the camellias might be in bloom in Feb. Azaleas bloom in March.
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Sep 28th, 2013, 10:42 AM
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I don't know if there will be blooming but the gardens and layout are beautiful as they are--and it is really the art that is nestled into the gardens and landscape that makes Brookgreen so special. There is also a boat tour that is interesting if the weather is good.
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