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  • Writer's pictureKen Murray

Charleston, Here We Come!

Day 1 - Travel to and an Evening in Charleston

Dear friend, Kate Coleman, Shelly and I decided to plan a trip to Charleston, SC. We had not been before, and wanted to sample the charms, sites, and food of the city. We booked a two-bedroom, 1st floor apartment on the corner of Cannon St. and King St. (the main thoroughfare for restaurants, shopping, and nightlife) right in the center of the city through Airbnb, and laid out our itinerary. We planned to leave on Sunday, April 24th and return on Friday, April 29th. We figured 4 days and 5 nights would allow us to visit our selected sites, and enjoy the "low country" cooking.

For trip planning, I used the app, Wanderlog, for the first time, and I like it. It's for itinerary building, is easy to use, and works well either on a laptop or phone. You enter the name or address of the place you are staying, then add sites and restaurants you want to visit. You then copy or drag-and-drop the sites and restaurants to specific days in your itinerary. From there, you can add notes, times to visit, costs, etc. When you click on the site or restaurant, Wanderlog displays summary information, address, website link, hours of operation, and phone number. If your plans change, you can drag-and-drop new activities or your sites/restaurants to new days and times. Try it out!

Shelly and I packed our suitcases, said goodbye to Lennon and McCartney, and left at 6:00am to pick up Kate. We settled in for our 552 mile, 8-hour drive. I set the radio to SiriusXM 70's on 7 and cruised away. We hadn't seen Kate for two weeks, so we chatted and caught up on our lives.

Being a Sunday morning, the traffic was relatively light. After 2 1/2 hours, we made our first stop at Crackle Barrel just outside Richmond, VA, and had breakfast. Back in the car, we listened to Casey Kasem's American Top 40 show for April 24, 1978. The tunes were great and helped speed the ride, and the weather was gorgeous, sunny in the high 70's. We stopped once more for gas in North Carolina, and commenced the final leg of the trip.

We arrived at our Airbnb around 3:30pm. It's located at 3 Cannon St., and is a two apartment (upper and lower) house built around 1860. It's literally steps from King St. and it's offering of restaurants, bars, and shops. It has two reasonably sized bedrooms, and small living room, large kitchen, and bath room. It has a driveway with space for 4 cars (two spaces are included for the rental), which is important as both street and off-street parking is expensive and hard to come by. There are plenty of windows in the apartment so lots of natural lights beams in. Being so close to King St., it is a little bit noisy with both street traffic and club-scene people walking the sidewalks late at night, but the apartment has been equipped with sound-proofing, so that helps.

We unpacked the car, and then headed to King St. to get acclimated and find a restaurant. We chose and oyster bar and seafood restaurant, named The Darling Oyster Bar, for dinner. All tables had been reserved, so we sat ourselves down on the last three stools at the bar. We met the bartenders, who were great, and Kate ordered an Old Fashion, Shelly a Miller Lite, and I a coke. One of the bartenders, Tristan, was originally from Baltimore, so we chatted him up and got some recommendations on other restaurants. He was gracious enough to write down a list of other restaurants to try.

Here's a photo of the three of us:

Kate and Shelly both ordered the fried clam strips with cabbage, cilantro, carrots, sweet chili, and avocado mayo. They shared sides of collard greens with ham, and hushpuppies with sorghum butter. It was a pretty big plate of clam strips, and with a side was only $13. I tasted the strips and it reminded me of bang-band shrimp, but with clams. They both enjoyed their meals, and Kate especially loved the the greens.

I ordered a lobster role in a split-top bun, scallion, and mayo for $27. Spices were added for a local twist, and it was good. Not like getting one in New England, but still good.

We chatted with a nice, young couple from New Hampshire, and then a local couple who met and lived in Washington DC for a number of years. We got some tips on places to visit, including Folly Beach, which is on our itinerary for Thursday. We spent about two hours at the restaurant and really enjoyed ourselves.

We walked south on King St. and check out the shops and menus of other restaurants. We stopped in a shop called Sewing Down South and Kate bought a t-shirt. We had reservations for a one-hour horse-drawn carriage ride of Charleston's market and French Quarter for tomorrow. So we decided to walk to the starting location of the carriage ride so we knew where it was. It was 1.5 miles south of where were were staying, so we really got our steps in after a long drive. It was good that we went, as we decided we'd drive to it in the morning for our tour.

So our first full day of touring tomorrow will start with a carriage ride, shopping at the Charleston City Market, then walking tours of sites in the French Quarter and Battery, famous for it's antebellum houses.

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