In May of 2018, we joined family and friends for a trip  to Charleston and Savannah.  We'd heard raves about Charleston as a hip city and foodie destination, but had never bad a chance to visit.  We weren't disappointed. 

What I didn't realize is that Charleston is old. really old, by American standards. Founded in 1670, Charleston grew from a colonial seaport to a wealthy city of stunning historic homes due to the cultivation of rice, cotton, and indigo. It's also estimated that "nearly half of all Africans brought to America arrived in Charleston."

The city is a visual delight and  known for it's cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages and antebellum homes. Charleston's "vast inventory of historically significant architecture" is due to the city's decision to cost-effectively repair, rather than replace, the many homes damaged in the Civil War. 

We stayed on Kiawah Island, about 30 minutes outside of Charleston, and on our way into town we stopped by the Angel Oak tree.  This iconic tree is estimated to be over 400-500 years old and some say it's much older. Its shade covers over 17,000 square feet and the longest branch is 187 feet!  Walking over and around the twisting limbs was a bit surreal with sound-deadening leaves underfoot, the immense dark canopy above, and the strange twisting limbs all about you. If you looked closely, I swear they were moving.  

Angel Oak Tree

Once in town, we opted for a lovely horse-drawn Charleston Carriage Tour of the historic downtown area. I was initially concerned whether or not the horses were well cared for, but was reassured they're almost "unionized." They get six weeks on then three weeks off at the farm, 3-5 rides a day with an hour break between each.

Below is the very handsome Gary, the Belgian draft horse who pulled our cart.  In his previous life, he worked the fields for the Amish before coming to Charleston. And - he can out pull a Clydesdale. 

Gary, the Belgian draft horse

As we clip clopped through town, the historic homes with their charming doors and window boxes danced by.

The picture doesn't do it justice.

Single House

Charleston is famous for it's single houses, set perpendicular to the street to catch the sea breezes on hot and humid days.

It's not, according to our guide, to save money on taxes as is often told to visitors.

Food Tour!

Virginia's on King - Best Chicken and Dumplings EVER.  And Smoke BBQ was awesome too. Thanks downtown Charleston Culinary Tour!

Walking Around the City

Gin Joint

What am I drinking?

We stopped in the Gin Joint for a bit of libation. HInt It's not gin.

Answer: Absinthe

Final Stop - Fort Sumter, site of the first shots of the Civil War in April of 1861.

So long Charleston and off to Savannah!