Charleston...Made me love 'The Notebook' even more
Trip Start Jul 02, 2011
36Trip End Sep 26, 2011
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Where I stayed
So following on from my awesome time in the lovely New Orleans city, I was back in my favourite part of America one last time, the Carolina's. As you know I love North Carolina not just because of Dawson’s Creek or One Tree Hill but because the state itself is just so beautiful and relaxing and if I could live anywhere in this country the Carolina’s would be it, preferably by the beach. So I knew that Charleston, South Carolina would be just as lovely as Wilmington. As I said in the last blog, I arrived late at night to Charleston and stayed at a best western hotel which was cheap and all I needed for a sleep and temporary stay until the next morning when I would head into Charleston itself.
I was up and out of the hotel by 9am after I had breakfast and I caught a taxi to the next hotel which wasn’t too far
Another thing about Charleston is that it is very old and historic. There is a lot of Civil War history here and many famous people who had a hand in making America what it is today were from here. It is a very beautiful city, a lot of churches and old buildings, especially historic homes which I saw a few of in my time here. Like New Orleans, there are a lot of Plantations here and as I only had a limited time here I could only go to one, but it was the best one I couldn’t have gone to for so many reasons.
So Charleston was an exciting city to be in. As I said before, I visited a mansion a few blocks away which is called the Calhoun Mansion. This mansion still has people living in it!! It is open everyday for a few hours and at night and on weekends, a family live here so it’s amazing when you go inside and see what looks like a museum of old artefacts and people actually live here. You wouldn’t want to spill a soda or anything on the carpet would you?
Anyway, I couldn’t take photos in here but I took photos of photos I have so you have an idea of what it was like and what I saw
I then walked along the Bay area which was lovely and it had stopped raining by now. I sat and ate lunch on a park bench looking out at the Bay and Creeks that were below and it was just lovely
It was about 3pm so I could now check into my hotel. It was a fancy hotel in the French Quarter and I had Champagne on arrival which was nice. The room was fantastic. I had a huge bed and a computer area even though I had my laptop, but it was still nice and I had a balcony which not everyone did and it was even better as I was on the top floor and the view was awesome. I could see the Arthur Ravenal Bridge out in the distance and on the other side I had a view of 2 churches (the top half of them) so it was really pretty seeing both of these from my room. I was very glad I was staying here and knew it would be nice. The hotel was full of Southern charm and was really beautiful even from the lobby so it would be a very good 2 nights here.
I relaxed for an hour or so as I had been walking around all day since 10am so it was good to have a little bit of a rest
The next day I woke up hoping for a clear sunny day because of where I was going today. Luckily for me, I got my wish. It was a beautiful day and I had a relaxing morning so I had a little sleep in and had breakfast which in a hotel like this, there was a lot of selection on what to have. I had organised a shuttle with a local company called SC BarCar for 10am. They were fantastic!!! They are just a local shuttle service that take people to Plantations, Beaches, Football/Baseball Games, Hens nights etc. They are 50% cheaper than taxi’s and will drop you off at a certain time and pick you up at a certain time. So it’s all done excellent really as a lot of nice places are 30 minutes outside Charleston so they give you the option to do these things. I booked the 10am shuttle to Boone Hall Plantation which was in Mount Pleasant about 20 minutes away, and would be picked up at 1.15pm, so it’s a stress free way to sightsee
There was a couple in my shuttle who were going to the Isle of Palm beach so as we dropped them off first I was able to see that area which was fun to see even just to drive through. I was then dropped off at Boone Hall Plantation which right from the entrance it is unbelievable!!! The driveway entrance is similar to Oak Alley in Louisiana that I visited a few days before, however if you thought Oak Alley was beautiful with that pathway this was so much more beautiful. It is a longer driveway and leads up to the house but the Oak trees are more fuller here and there is a lot hanging Spanish moss so it is just beautiful!!! Plus being a sunny day it was the best day to see it, as the sun streamed through the trees. I walked up and down this driveway twice it was so captivating to see and relaxing. I took heaps of pictures here so there will be plenty of different angles for you to see. I did the house tour there which was fantastic, and learnt the history of the Plantation which was interesting just like the other Plantations I have visited.
The most important thing to know about this Plantation is that the driveway of Oaks is the most photographed in the world
On a side note, other productions have also filmed here over the years. The mini-series North and South with Patrick Swayze was filmed at this Plantation many years ago which is cool, as well as Forrest Gump. For anyone who has seen this film, the running scene where Forrest gets tormented by bullies and runs away from them in many scenes with the leg braces on was filmed right on this Oak Alley driveway. It’s little wonder why they chose to use this in the film.
Boone Hall is an actual residence still so again during the day they give tours. They also still grow things here mainly fruit and vegetables but back in the day they were producing cotton. The owners who live there have been here since the 50s and opened it up to the public since then. But this plantation has been around since the 1800s after the trees were planted and was a major part of Charleston history as a result
After the Plantation visit, which included the House, backyard and Creeks surrounding it, Slave Cabins and the Oak Alley of course, I was picked up by SC BarCar as arranged and taken back to my hotel. I still had the entire afternoon so I wasn’t done yet. I walked not far from my hotel and shopped at the market which they have in Charleston every day. I bought a book on historic homes, so the places I visited that I couldn’t take photos in, I have some pictures of the inside instead of nothing. I also bought 2 other books since they were percentage off and just basically shopped around.
After that I went to the College of Charleston University Campus. This campus was also used in the Notebook when the fantastic James Marsden waits at his car for Rachel McAdams, so I enjoyed seeing that as it is a really beautiful campus and historic place in the city, so it is a must stop destination here. After I left here there were fire trucks everywhere and fire men all over the street near the College. As I walked towards where they were, it appeared they were looking at the Pottery Barn store, which is a homeware store. There wasn’t any smoke so I’m not sure exactly what was going on there, but there were people everywhere and trucks everywhere so it must have been something
I walked back to the area my hotel was in and bought some souvenirs including a really cute 'The South' shirt which I took a photo of the back so you can see it. I decided to go out for dinner again that night too, I guess the town is just so pretty that you want to be out enjoying it and not holed up in a hotel room. So I went to another Italian restaurant called Bacci’s and I had Gnocci pasta and Bolognese. It was very nice, better than the night before’s meal of spaghetti and meatballs. The oil you dip your bread into is divine!!! Rather than pretty up the bread like most do they have standard bread but the oil has garlic and herbs etc it was beautiful!!! I really enjoyed my meal there from start to finish and since I was on my own, my waiter was attentive and got things out quickly so I wasn’t waiting around for too long.
It was another beautiful day the next morning which was fantastic! It also made me not want to leave it, just like Wilmington when Paul and I were there. I love the Carolina's. They are just so beautiful, coastal, scenic and historic. I really didn’t want to leave Charleston, especially since I wouldn’t be in the South again on this trip. It was really hard to leave!!!
I checked out and left my bags at the hotel and then walked to both of the churches I could see from my lovely balcony. I then went and did the tour of the Nathaniel Russell House. It was magnificent this house!!! You couldn’t take photos inside so I will include photos of the postcards I bought, but this house was awesome!!! It is 2 stories and has 9 rooms, each floor has different shaped rooms but the same on each floor, rectangle, oval and square. The staircase is beautiful and is free standing, even back then it was. The house is just beautiful and was built in the early 1800s by him. He was a shipping merchant like the builders of the Calhoun Mansion so shipping was huge here back then, with a lot of wealthy people
After the house tour, I just walked back towards the hotel area and took photos of the standard Charleston houses. Many of the houses you see in this city are side on so the houses don’t face the street. They do however have balconies which face the back of the next house. They are just beautiful houses and I like that they are side on. It would be lovely to sit in the shade on the balcony looking out at the street on a hot day. I can’t even describe how nice it is here, but it’s just as Southern as you would expect, so you can’t not love just walking around the streets.
I then ended my time in Charleston with a walk along the pier on the Bay. It was beautiful and warm but so lovely to just sit and bask in the sun here one last time. It was just a beautiful sight to see and hopefully the pictures show you that.
I arranged for the guy at SC BarCar who took me to Boone Hall to take me to the airport as well, as they do airport runs too, so I got to the airport in plenty of time
It was boiling in D.C, it had been for weeks. Even though it was 4pm at this point it was so hot!!! I went shopping at the Georgetown area shops as this is where my hotel was. Georgetown is a college area for George Washington University. It is a very nice area and only 15 minutes from the White House if you walk which is central to everything. I got some dvd’s which was exciting. Found National Velvet, the classic Elizabeth Taylor film for $6 which you can’t even get in Australia so that was a great find!!!
After shopping, I walked back to my hotel and saw a large group outside the hotel across the street. People had cameras and everything...so i am thinking Celebrity right? Well kinda. The Barcelona soccer team were in town and they were leaving the hotel for the game. People were going crazy. I saw a lot of Messi shirts so when he came out everyone was screaming. I was like who cares? I don't even know these people, or care so I walked off after that and I just relaxed in the hotel and had a relaxing dinner just watching tv. I then did my laundry as it had been 2 weeks since the last load and that took me about 2 hours at least, so atleast that got done which was good. I could relax for the remainder of my D.C trip and just see the sights now. D.C was going to be great!!!
Love to you all,