Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Charleston the Non-Running Stuff

A few weeks ago we went to Charleston, SC so Holly could run the city's marathon. With the race being held on Dr. King's Weekend we were able to stretch the trip out over the holiday.

Borrowed from the web

We landed Friday morning and had an hour to kill before the race expo opened (which was near the airport). We hit Wal-Mart for supplies and browsed a few nearby outlet stores. We were delighted to see the outlets were on a street named after Darrius Rucker. Our friends Stan, Pam, and Michael met us at the expo before making our way downtown. After dropping the car off at the hotel we headed on a non-scenic route to the Waterfront Park area for lunch. We chose Fleet Landing based on using iPhone maps scanning for seaside dining. We chose well! Great food, sandwiches, beer (Hi-Wire Bed of Nails Brown), and an outdoor table with temps in the low 70's. We had views of Castle Pinckney and Fort Sumter in the distance.

Castle Pinckney
Fort Sumter

After lunch we walked Waterfront Park to The Battery at the tip of the peninsula before turning up King Street to take in the real estate. This was the oldest part of the city with a mixture of colonial and antebellum homes that were restored so well they looked as if they could have been built last year.

A few of us ended up at the Barony Tavern in the Renaissance Hotel for a beer. It's worth checking out for its strange taxidermy displays (according to their website the restaurant is now closed). We headed back to the hotel before walking a few hundred feet to our pre-race day dinner location: Vincent Chicco's. They were able to accommodate our table of ten with top-notch service and excellent food.

The waitress at the Barony Tavern gave us the tip of check out JohnKing, a bar near our hotel. It was the post-race rendezvous point for our group after the marathon. This was a great place to go for burgers, gourmet fries, and some incredible mac & cheese. We all decided we needed a place with a better beer menu so we went up the street to Charleston Beer Works. The place was packed due to the football playoffs so they sat us at a picnic table in the beer garden. It was a tad bit too cold for us out there. To make matters worse our waitress screwed up our beer flights so our drinks were a bit of a mystery. The final stop of the night was The Silver Dollar. The historic bar had just opened for the evening so we were able to comfortably spread out at the bar and enjoy some conversation.

The next morning we had brunch plans with Julie and Alex at Magnolia's, but before dining we took a carriage tour. In Charleston horse carriage tours are pretty popular. The several companies operating tours are pretty well controlled by the city so there are only 20 carriages out at a time, and the route is assigned to the coach at time of departure. Our hour long tour took us to the west side of the city. This is the least scenic of the three routes, but we still had a great overview of the city and got to see the inspiration for Tara from Gone with the Wind.

Magnolia's was one of those great dining experiences. The four of us shared the fried green tomato appetizer and then moved on to entrees of Parmesan crusted fish or shrimp and grits. Next time we are in Charleston we will book a dinner here. After lunch we browsed the craft vendors at nearby Charleston Market. This was followed by a drink on Henry's rooftop bar while we waited for some of our party to meet up. A few of us headed to The Griffon, a dank old bar.

We had declared Sunday date night. We decided to walk to our destinations and we were surprised how quiet it seemed for a tourist town. We started with a cocktail at 5Church. They transformed an old church into an amazing looking restaurant and bar. Dinner was at Poogan's Porch. Our meal was good, but not great. Both entrees were slightly overcooked. On the plus side the restaurant was cute and the service was very good.

Our final morning was spent touring the Old Slave Mart and taking a quick walk through St. Phillip's Cemetary. The Slave Mart was a building where slaves were sold up until 1865. Very powerful exhibits about the process of trafficking and the economics behind the system. The museum had several audio files of former slaves that were recorded in the 30's.

For lunch we headed back to Fleet Landing to enjoy a few more minutes by the water. It ended up being a good choice. The she crab soup and shrimp and grits were excellent. We had time for one more beer so we stopped in Craftsmen Kitchen. The beer list was massive, but well organized by style.

We'll definitely return to Charleston. There are plenty of places for a great meal and still a lot of historical sites to see.


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