My adventures of exploring the south continued last weekend with a trip to Charleston. Last year some runners from my Minneapolis running club decided to run the Charleston marathon. Since Charleston is only 3 hours from Charlotte, I decided to meet up with them for some sight-seeing and spectating.
I had heard nothing but great things about Charleston and it did not disappoint. It is a very charming southern city with so much history and character - and good food! We lucked out and were there during restaurant week so ate at some great places at a reasonable price!
I will say that I did a horrible job of taking photos on this trip... I have no excuse, I just did not pull out my phone very often! But I did take a few photos that are worth sharing! Here is a recap of what we did!
On Thursday, I had a big client meeting in the area so headed into Charleston after the meeting and arrived mid-afternoon. We walked down to King Street which is one of the main thoroughfares of Charleston. After spending most of the day in a car/in a lunch meeting, it felt great to stretch my legs and get some fresh air.
On Friday, we headed into downtown Charleston, checked out the Battery area (which has lots of beautiful, historic homes), walked along the Ashley River, and saw the Cooper River Bridge from afar.
There is a museum on slavery as Charleston was a huge hub for slavery, so we checked out that museum next. The museum was very interesting and is something I'd recommend to others visiting the area. After lunch, we took a 2 hour tour of Charleston. I was hoping to do a Carriage tour but no one else was interested in that and it was a bit cool so I will have to save that for another trip. Instead, we took a tour in a small tour bus, which was very informative. He drove us through the various areas of Charleston and explained the history of different areas of the city - and provided color on how much properties in the Battery sold for (as much as $6 million!!!). The tour ended with a tour of one of the historical homes in the Battery. I totally regret not taking pictures of the homes in the Battery!
Saturday was the marathon so that pretty much took up most of the day. I had 2 friends running it and had some company while spectating as the wife of one friend and the aunt of another came along for the weekend. We had a really hard time getting around with all the road closures but managed to see our runners at miles 18, 22, and the finish. The weather on race day was not great. It was pretty cool and very windy, and the course honestly looked pretty ugly so I was actually not sad that I wasn't running it... But they both ran great races and recovered well.
After the marathon, we had a late brunch at a cute Southern cafe and then relaxed until our dinner reservations at a seafood place along the water.
On Sunday, we headed out to a plantation outside of Charleston. There are several to choose from but we went to a smaller one called Drayton Hall. I would love to see Magnolia plantation some time, but would rather see it in the spring when the flowers are in bloom, so hopefully I will get back to Charleston in March or April.
We took a guided tour of the home which was really interesting. This plantation was purely for the entertainment of guests and was built around 1750. The guide did a really good job of explaining the architecture of the home and the way it was used by the Drayton family.
I will say it's a little weird to be touring a plantation because it is just such a sad, shameful time in the history of our country since the plantations were ran by slaves. So while I can appreciate the beauty of the home and setting, I had an unsettled feeling while touring it.
After the tour, we walked around the grounds, which were beautiful. I love the old trees with spanish moss!
After the tour, we headed back to downtown Charleston, had a light/late lunch, and did some shopping before heading back to the hotel to get ready for dinner.
On Monday I hit the road around 9 am so I could have most of the day in Charlotte to prepare for the week ahead. All in all it was a great weekend and I really hope I can fit a trip back there in March or April as I'd love to visit it during a warmer time of year. The weather was ok, but some of the days were definitely chilly!
Have you been to Charleston? It's definitely a place I would recommend visiting as it such a cute, charming southern city.