Sunday, January 11, 2015

CHARLESTON, SC : JAN 2015 : LODGING + DINING

Elliott House Inn courtyard

When we visited Charleston in 2001, we stayed outside of the city and drove in to explore and walk around. One of the things we enjoyed was seeing the historic houses and their private courtyard gardens. When we decided to visit this time, I was interested in staying in the downtown historic district and was thrilled to find the Elliott House Inn, which had the feel of a historic Charleston home and had a lovely courtyard area. Since we went in early January, we were able to get off-season rates and a discount for staying two consecutive nights.

Our room had a king sized bed

The location was perfect. We were just a few blocks from the City Market area where there are a lot of shops, restaurants, and where the horse drawn carriage tours start from. We were also just a few blocks from the South of Broad area where many of the historic homes are. In fact, we parked our car in the garage across the street from the hotel ($20 maximum) and didn't get back in it until it was time to go home.

Because of the location, we were able to go out exploring but were still close enough to the hotel to go back to change clothes or go to the bathroom. (Interesting note, most of the parking garages in downtown Charleston have public restrooms.)

View from the hot tub at night

And if that wasn't enough, there was a delicious hot tub which we enjoyed. They had wine and cheese at 5 pm, and breakfast was brought to our room.

While I can't say enough wonderful things about this place, if the on-season rates are a little too much, there is also a Days Inn that is also convenient to walk from and has it's own parking lot. It doesn't have the courtyard or the hot tub, thought.

Charleston Dining :


There were several high end restaurants next to our hotel: Husk, Poogans Porch, and 82 Queen (which offered room service to our hotel). I'm sure these are all nice places, but we wanted to go back to the place we ate when we were here in 2001, Hyman's Seafood. They really go out of your way to make sure you feel at home and we really enjoyed the hush puppies and cole slaw. They have a huge selection of sea food and can prepare it just about any way you can imagine. They also have plaques on the table letting you know which famous person sat at that table.

For lunch we went to City Lights Coffee, which was funky in a good way.

CHARLESTON, SC : JAN 2015 : ATTRACTIONS

We visited Charleston, SC in Dec. 2001 and enjoyed it so much that when we had a chance to visit again this month, we jumped at the chance to go back. And there are benefits for going in January, during the short off season. We didn't have to wait in line and got great hotel rates. It didn't seem all that cold to us, we just threw on some extra layers. The down side was there were some things we wanted to do but couldn't because they were closed.

Scott and Tom the horse

Carriage Tours :
We did enjoy the horse-drawn carriage tour of downtown. There are five different companies that do these tours although I believe they all go the same places. They are all similarly priced and some have coupons on their websites that you can print off to get a discount.

Historic houses on East Bay St.

Walking Tours :
There are also companies that offer guided walking tours. We printed off some walking tours we found on-line and enjoyed walking around the "South of Broad" area, particularly Meeting St., Church St., and East Bay St., but if we went back again, I'd probably opt to pay for a guide.

Charleston Harbor



Harbor Tours :
There are several options for harbor tours by boat, but not in January, so we didn't do this. Perhaps next time.

Looking into the courtyard of the Gibbes Museum of Art from the back patio of our hotel room

Museums :
I was especially interested in the Gibbes Museum of Art, which was just around the corner from our hotel. The photo is of the museum's courtyard taking from the back patio area from our room. Unfortunately the museum is under renovations and won't be open until the Spring of 2016.

White Point Gardens


Historic Homes Tours :
There are several historic homes that offer tours. If we'd been there longer, we might have visited some.

Ft. Sumpter :
We didn't visit Ft. Sumpter on this visit, but we did go when we were there in 2001. We enjoyed it and I can't imagine that it's changed much. You do have to take a water ferry to get to it.

The Charleston City Market

Shopping :
If shopping is your thing, there are many options. The first is the Charleston City Market where you can buy souvenirs, jewelry, and hand made items such as sweetgum baskets. I really enjoyed Charleston Crafts, which is an artist co-op, so you're buying directly from the artist. If you like upscale shopping, the area on King St. from Market St. to Queen St. has been compared to Rodeo Drive. I enjoyed walking down it at night when all the shops were lit up but everything was closed so there was no one else around.

Just outside of Charleston

If you're visiting Charleston and want to go to the beach, Folly Beach is just 20 minutes from downtown Charleston.