Well, I have to admit it. I came up with an idea for this trip after watching the episode of Getaways Weekend Getaways at the Food Network. What I can say she did an amazing job of showing the local color and Charleston’s story and she did a very convincing case to visit.
Not that it takes a lot of convincing. Charleston is a city completely surrounded by history and intrigue. In 1680 she moved to her present place, so as far as America is concerned, she has a history. Charleston, a focal point in American history – he saw and was a major player in the slave trade, revolutionary war, and civil war – and often devastated by natural disasters, including earthquakes and hurricanes, manages to deny Charleston all this and maintain a quiet and refined atmosphere. You can just as easily eat a meal in the room that George Washington and other noble founding fathers once did, as you can visit one of America’s most stratified institutions in the Slave Market Museum. Haunted ghostly excursions and the history of piracy give you much to contemplate while eating in each of the city’s best restaurants. And there are many of them.
Charleston is definitely a tourist city – with a population of 120,000 inhabitants and 4 million visitors a year, it is a city designed to meet your needs. It does so with a whole class of old-fashioned Southern Hospitality and a city frozen with old money. Put simply, the gentleman who sat next to the plane was so eager to set an example of Charleston’s hospitality that he gave me a lift in his BMW to the place where I stayed. Talk about coming to the hostel in style!
Charleston was once home to 8 of the 10 richest families in the world. Karolin’s “white gold” was to a large extent responsible for this. No, not cotton – he reigned only later, and further from the lowlands around the ocean. It was rice and the knowledge of African slaves that allowed for its abundant upbringing in such a hot and humid climate.
But after all wars and natural disasters, Charleston seems to be ready to take him now easy. There are still plenty of beautiful old buildings that have never been destroyed and the locals want to make sure you can see them. They are much more interested in leaving everything that comes with it, as well as all the ups and downs that have brought with them for a more relaxed way of life that is common in America. Not relaxed like so much of the American South is more relaxed, but more like Tuscany or Provence. They seem ready to enjoy a good life.
And they should enjoy it because a good life is around them! Surrounded by the ocean, you can enjoy surfing on Folly Beach, great sailing opportunities and fresh seafood at any time of year. Sitting at the confluence of the Ashley and Cooper rivers and right next to Francis Marion National Forest, a 250,000-acre forest reserve, you have plenty of opportunities to have fun outdoors. The climate surprised me and reminded me of Florida more than anywhere else in the south. And that’s why everything grows all over the city. Gardens are everywhere and as many of the two-story areas mentioned above, people do whatever they can if there is room for it. Window boxes, handrails, and flower beds are everywhere. The city is ghastly in cultivation and the more beautiful the more beautiful for it.
But it is also a disadvantage to have a good life and know that others want it, and this is the price. It can be a VERY expensive city to visit. A quick search on the Expedia website shows many hotels in the $150/night range. Charleston is also difficult to navigate because so much water dictates the landscape. A hotel can be very close to the city center on a map, but it needs to cross a huge bridge to be there, making it difficult to explore the city without a rented car. To stay in the very center of the city, you can expect the average price to be closer to $250/night. What exactly is because I was in a local hostel, NotSo Hostel.
I can’t say enough about how perfect this place is. If you’ve never stayed in a hostel before, it will be the hostel to start with. Extremely attentive and friendly hosts, friendly guests (many people stay there every time they are in this area, including some business travelers, so they become like second hosts), and great amenities, including renting bicycles for a quick trip to the city center and free breakfast. All this for only 23 dollars per night in a bunk room and 60 dollars per night in a private room. One of the owners crossed the past in his work truck and honked and waved when he saw me wandering down the street.