Charleston turned out to be much more than the picturesque beach town that I had always imagined it to be. It is a city laden with history and blessed with beauty. Cobblestone streets are sprinkled among churches and homes older, in some cases, than the very state in which they reside.
Before John arrived Friday night, I had the wonderful opportunity to check out Folly Beach with my cousin, Lou, who is a new resident to Charleston. After dipping our toes in the sand and watching the sunset through the clouds, we stopped in at the first bar we came to. Chico Feo looks like a bar in the backyard of someone’s house. We enjoyed some better-than-expected beach food and a great steel drum player while sipping Coronas.
When the clouds got darker and thunder started rumbling, we headed to Snapper Jacks’ covered rooftop bar to watch the distant lightning and have another round of drinks. The one-man band was playing a great range from oldies, like the Beatles, to current music, like The Chainsmokers. From the roof, we scoped out our next bar The Sand Dollar Social Club. The band Moxie was doing a pretty good job covering some 80’s hits, but we decided to head home during their first break to get home before John’s midnight arrival.
Taylor and Lou stayed up to welcome me to Charleston on Friday night. After we had gotten some much needed sleep, our first order of business on Saturday was to find a brunch spot close to the beach. We settled on Page’s Okra Grill near the Mount Pleasant Historic District on Sullivan’s Island. We ate as much of our large meals as we could before we headed for the beach.
Streams of gray sand were blown along the shore by whipping winds and foiled our attempt to lie on the beach. Since we weren't having any luck sunning, we dipped our toes in the water for a little bit and decided to head downtown.
The Charleston Market would be our first attraction in the downtown area. Vendors of crafts, sweetgrass baskets, and countless other novelties fill the historic market. After nearly being enticed to leave with a keepsake, we trod down Church Street to find several historic establishments.
St. Phillip’s Church, the French Huguenot Church, the Pirate House, and the Dock Street Theatre adorn Church Street. These beautiful sites and their history are well worth the stroll down Church. A few blocks later we came to the intersection of Broad Street and Church. We turned onto Broad Street to find Washington Square.
Washington Square is named after the United States of America’s first president. His statue is present in the park, but the central spire commemorates P.G.T Beauregard and his soldiers. These prominent monuments are surrounded by a bust of poet Henry Timrod and markers in honor of Francis Salvador and Elizabeth Hutchinson Jackson. The beauty of these remembrances and archaic oak trees would be rivaled by the walk to our next park.
East Bay Street is home to the acclaimed colored houses of Rainbow Row. These beautifully painted homes are one of Charleston’s most iconic landmarks and exactly what I picture when I think of the quaint beach town. Another row of splendid homes were constructed along East Battery Street. Some are undergoing renovations, but the grand homes are an impressive sight along the way to White Point Garden.
White Point Garden marks where the Cooper and Ashley Rivers meet and flow into the Atlantic Ocean. Historic cannons are aimed out into the Charleston Harbor as if they are protecting the elder live oak trees and the several monuments that the park hosts. Once we had taken a stroll through the splendor of White Point Garden, we began to search for a place to cool down, have a snack, and quench our thirsts.
We arrived at the The Griffon just in time to avoid a short, summer rainstorm. A few local beers from the tap and a game of darts with a local Charlestonian kept us entertained until the rain subsided. We decided it was a good time to head back to Lou’s home in West Ashley to get ready for dinner and a night on the town.
Our aforementioned darts friend recommended 39 Rue De Jean for dinner, and it lived up to the local’s praise. After we enjoyed a delicious seafood platter and a few glasses of wine with Lou, we hit King Street to check out the nightlife.
First, we checked out Midtown Bar and Grill where we enjoyed a few drinks but soon decided to look for a music scene that was more our style. We found just what we were looking for at Smoke BBQ. The narrow bar was packed to the brim, but that didn’t stop Suffering Moses from laying down the blues until Taylor and I noticed a drastic spike in Uber prices. We had been warned that this would happen and decided to wrap up our night.
Reflecting on our visit produced a list of things that we wish we’d had time to do. A few of these wish-list activities are: The Haunted Jail Tour given by Bulldog Tours and ride a ferry boat out to Fort Sumter. I feel as though we could have spent more than a week in Charleston without experiencing a sliver of boredom.