We started the day early to start the drive from Asheville to Charleston in South Carolina. But before leaving Asheville we stopped at the famous Biscuit Head restaurant for breakfast. A very dangerous thing to eat before the start of a 4.5 hours drive, but Eitan was brave enough to try it. Eitan ordered the house specialty with basically all the ingredients in it (fried chicken, bacon, gravy, eggs, etc..), and it was absolutely delicious. Even Ariela was helping finish it.
With the potential of explosive diarrhea in the timeline, we continued the beautiful drive as the scenery changed from green forests in North Carolina to swampy in South Carolina.
We stopped at the city of Columbia for a quick coffee and toilet break. We stopped in the downtown area, but we didn’t stay long as it was kind of sketchy and insanely hot out. We drove through the nice Capitol and we were on our way! This is the only photo from here that we took from the car.
After arriving in Charleston and checking into the hotel, we drove to the historical center. We absolutely loved it at first sight. There are many streets full of stores, amazing restaurants, bars, and museums. Charleston’s culture blends traditional Southern U.S., English, French, and West African elements.
Charleston was founded in 1670 as Charles Town, honoring King Charles II, at Albemarle Point on the west bank of the Ashley River (now Charles Towne Landing) but relocated in 1680 to its present site, which became the fifth-largest city in North America within ten years. The city center is full of historical buildings and it is very walkable.
Charleston boasts the first public college, museum, and playhouse in the U.S.
In 1710, the English divided the territory into two colonies: North and South Carolina. Soon after, European settlers came to build plantations to grow rice and indigo, a natural dye used to color cotton. Slaves were brought from Africa to work on those plantations..
Soon South Carolina and the other American colonies wanted independence from England. This led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775. During the war, South Carolina hosted more battles than any other colony. It became a U.S. state in 1788.
South Carolina was the first state to leave the Union in the years leading up to the Civil War, which started in 1861. It rejoined the United States in 1868
We decided to take it easy and just walk around without any real destination. We stopped at the central market where many artists sell their arts and crafts (and other crap too).
In 1788, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney ceded the land to the City of Charleston for the express use as a public market, and he stipulated that the land must remain in use as a market for perpetuity.
To fulfill this requirement, the low buildings—sheds—that stretch from Market Hall to the waterfront were built between 1804 and the 1830s. These sheds originally housed meat, vegetable, and fish vendors; each booth rented for $1.00 per day, or $2.00 if the booth had a slab of marble used to keep the meat or fish cold. Butchers often threw meat scraps into the street, much to the delight of local buzzards, which were nicknamed Charleston Eagles.
Over the years, the sheds have survived many disasters, including fires, tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, and bombardment.
We continue walking while looking for a place to eat lunch.
The seafood here was supposed to be amazing, so we stopped for some tuna tacos that did not disappoint! We also started to notice a trend here with the beers, all the Hazy IPA’s we tried were amazing. Some are better than what we get here in San Diego.
Food here, at least in the restaurants in this area, is very expensive. Sometimes even more than what we are used to paying in California.
There are a bunch of horse and carriages driving around town, which Ariela loved every time they passed through. We thought about taking Ariela in one of these, but at the end we didn’t have time and we didn’t know if Ariela was going to stay still for the 2 hours of the tour.
The Peanut Congress was happening there.
We went to visit the Hotel Bennet, which is the #1 rated luxury hotel in the U.S. (according to U.S.A. today) and it was stunning. We were actually surprised they let us in without issues, but not only that, the door butler (is that what they are called??) was super nice and invited us to go see the rooftop bar.
The hand-painted mural shows a rendering of colonial Charles Towne’s 18th-century harbor and skyline, including one panel devoted to the Richmond plantation purchased several years ago by hotelier and businessman Michael Bennett.
The view was incredible from up there.
We continued walking towards the north side of the historical center where they have so many cool late-night spots. Each bar has its unique theme. We had Ariela with us, so we could not really enjoy the night life of this city as a lot of the cool places don’t even open until the evening. We will have to come back another time.
The next day we will explore all the civil war and slavery history of the state.
Bonus photo of the day:
The Charleston Hooker: A locally made and hand crafted Charleston original, all purpose cooking instrument that flips and turns a variety of foods on the grill.