An afternoon in Historic Charleston

Charleston is a city overflowing with bright colors, architectural charm, and palm trees. It’s very walkable, although there is also a free trolley that can get you to where you need to be. Parking can be a bit of a hassle, so if you plan on staying for a few hours I would suggest tucking the car away in a lot. With that out of the way, it’s time to hit the streets! We strolled towards the river and made our first stop the Waterfront Park [1 Vendue Range, Charleston, SC 29401]. We were greeted by two unique bubbly fountains and a cool breeze.

waterfront_park_charelstonTake a walk towards the long and partially covered pier. You can view some plaques that show the evolution of city planning in Charleston. Walk out onto the pier and maybe you can snag a swing and watch the boats go under the Ravenel Bridge or the birds fly by.

waterfront_park_charelston_We walked the park from one end to the other and noticed a parade of odd trees leading to a little boat yard.

waterfront_park_charelston_1From there we were close to the quick and cheery Rainbow Row [83 E Bay St, Charleston, SC 29401] photo-op.

rainbow_row_charlestonA line of vibrant homes adding pure merriment to a gray sky. Continuing down on our walking tour Jeff noticed that the sidewalk was beginning to look a lot higher than the street, eventually you even needed to walk down some stairs to get to down.

battery_park_charleston_scWe were nearing the Battery & White Point Gardens [2 Murray Blvd, Charleston, SC 29401]. This little scenic area is filled with history, it oozes out onto the streets.

battery_park_charlestonOnce used as a public garden, it became a fortification for the city during the Civil War. From the high sidewalk you get great views of the Atlantic and Fort Sumter. Inside the park there are many mortars and cannons from the Civil war,

battery_white_point_garden_and various monuments to assess.

white_point_garden_We were surprised by the birding in the small park as well! Lurking in the tree we saw a heron and a hawk. All of the sudden as I was trying to capture a better picture of the hawk, a blue jay came out of nowhere and attacked the hawk, incessantly, and we followed the action all around the park.

charleston_birdingIn the end the blue jay won claiming its territory and the park fell quiet again, that’s one tough little bird.

We took a quick ramble through the Charleston City Market [188 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29401], a good spot to grab local souvenirs. Local art, products, and snacks are found through the great hall and open air sheds. Notably, you’ll find handcrafted sweetgrass baskets intricately designed by African American, once used to separate rice seed from chaff. On Fridays and Saturdays, March-December there is a night market.

city_market_charlestonWe stopped for a history lesson at a museum called the Old Slave Mart [6 Chalmers St, Charleston, SC 29401]. The building itself was once an auction space for selling slaves, the only remaining structure which was a part of a larger complex. Today it is jammed packed with exhibits about Charleston, America, and the world’s relationship with the African slave trade. A mixture of information in the form of audio, authentic artifacts, and statistics are provided. Listen to harrowing personal accounts of former slaves and the perseverance of individuals who mastered skills and earned their freedom. An employee invited everyone outside and gave a more in depth presentation about the city’s connection to slavery. He explained how Charleston, and many American cities, were built by skillful slave labor. If you know where to look, you can see signs of it all around. He showed us fingerprints of a slave who pushed a warm brick into place on the side of the Slave Mart building.

old_slave_mart_charlestonWith a bit of time left before our dinner reservations we decided to walk around and get lost. Spring was in the air as we admired the blooming flowers, followed the cobblestones down narrow alleyways, snapped shots of pretty buildings, and discovered sitting squares.charleston_south_carolina

historic_charleston_We came upon a square dedicated to our favorite American hero, George Washington.

charleston_squaresTime flew and we were off to dinner at Magnolias [185 E Bay St, Charleston, SC 29401]. I had made reservations weeks before we came which was great because the place was packed. Perfectly pink on the outside, dim and intimate on the inside, the restaurant offers upscale southern cuisine. A little bouquet of fresh flowers brightened up our table and a warm basket of bread and butter mixed with cream cheese was served.

magnolias_restaurant_charelstonWe ate way too much of it! Boiled peanuts are a southern staple, so we decided to try out boiled peanut hummus with okra and hot pepper relish. It was an excellent appetizer! We both decided on the same main course, actually a small plate but big enough to be completely filling as an entrée. The Lowcountry bouillabaisse had local fish and shellfish, ham and sausage (which I did without but Jeff loved), corn, okra, potatoes, bell peppers, and grilled bread. Served up hot with a mild spice, this was such a comforting dish. I loved the fresh tender seafood, and the array of chunky veggies within. It was a splendid end to our wonderful day exploring Historic Charleston.

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