This Halloween season we spent some time haunting the Charleston, SC area while journey south to Florida. For two days we toured what the Charleston area had to offer, trying to squeeze in as many destinations as possible. Costumes applied and put together, we were out the door as a parrot and birder our first night in town. Deciding to leave the campsite in Francis Marion National Forest temporarily for the historic streets of Charleston. Derek and I were thrilled to make time for a leisurely stroll through the city, do some window shopping, and throw back a cocktail or two while we celebrated my favorite holiday!
Our first destination in Charleston was the Battery, located along the Charleston peninsula and bordered by a harbor formed from the Ashley and Cooper Rivers. This landmark used to be a defensive seawall and artillery battery during the Civil War. Parking is free along the streets of the Battery and lends well to stopping for a stroll through the park and surrounding streets. We were met with blustery winds and the thick smell of sea water upon stepping out of the truck. I was a little nervous my costume feathers would be snatched away. Battery Park, an unofficial name for the park located near the water, was full of life as a tour group took in the local history, dogs practiced off-leash training with their owners, and several artists tackled the scenery. Ancient trees reach out overhead trickling Spanish moss while cannon replicas line several sidewalks seeming to salute to the old Civil War statues and relics scattered throughout the park. Located on the Battery across from the water are decadent and gargantuan antebellum homes. Among these grand home are the Roper House, William Ravenel House, James Spear House, and Villa Margherita. As we were leaving the Battery trick-or-treaters were just starting to fill the sidewalks.
Ready to window shop and see some of spooky Charleston we parked near the Charleston Market, one of the U.S.'s oldest public markets that boats over 300 vendors throughout its Great Hall and open air sheds. Even though the market was closed for the evening, we got to walk through the open stalls and appreciate the architecture of the building. We decided on a walking tour of the local shops and eateries nearby. Derek was excited to visit this particular part of town because he had previously spent time working in Charleston. Mad River, a local restaurant, requested the services of a technical support company Derek previously worked for. We were sad to find out that Mad River has since closed its doors, but the location is now home to a super chic and inventive eatery called 5 Church. We kept it simple, enjoying a pint from Devil’s Backbone Brewery that was on special for happy hour.
After a short break to rest our feet and take in the vaulted church ceilings and stained glass we strolled the streets to find peek in a variety of shops from Byrd’s cookies to Gemstones and Fossils to Life is Good. Our feet took us directly in front of Kaminsky’s Dessert Bar. As we walked past the sophisticated classic joint the name piqued my interest; it didn’t take long until my sweet tooth convinced me we had to turn around and give this place a try! Part coffee house, bakery, and bar this cozy spot offers a unique and fun atmosphere. I was drawn to the dessert beer floats and sampled stout topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Powered by a sugar rush we window shopped, zooming down the boutique and designer shop lined King St. Our Halloween evening out got us home with enough time to curl up on the couch and watch Halloweentown while chomping on sugary sweets.
The following day Derek and I planned to get an early start and travel to a few places south of Charleston. Boone was able to join us on our adventures because each destination was dog friendly. The further south we go, the more we notice dog friendly establishments! We drove first to Wadmalaw Island, the home of the Charleston Tea Plantation. Asia, Africa, and South America are home to the many hundreds of tea plantations around the world, but Charleston Tea Plantation is the only tea plantation in North America. First we stretched out legs and burned off some of Boone’s energy by walking the plantation pathways, taking in vast regimented fields of tea bushes for acres. A gift shop and factory tour are offered at this location. Trolley tours around the property are also available for an additional fee.
North of Wadmalaw Island on John’s Island, still south of Charleston, was a giant roadside attraction that would also be our next destination. The Angel Oak is a southern live oak located in Angel Oak Park. Last admission to the park is at 4:50 pm and the park stringently closes at 5:00 pm. On our visit the entrance gate was close by 4:10 pm. However, there is ample parking outside the gates just a short walk from the park entrance. Anyone traveling with a trailer or other large vehicle should plan to park outside the tight parking lot.
Some boast the Angel Oak as the oldest tree east of the Mississippi, and it is estimated to be around 400-500 years old. This gentle giant stands 66.5 ft tall with a trunk measuring 28 ft around. Ferns and mosses sprouted from the ancient gnarled branches at they stretch outward; branches twisted widely and jetted into the ground, only to grow upward once again. Rules and regulations to aide with preservation of the Angel Oak kept Boone, and all that energy I was talking about earlier, at a safe distance in a nearby picnic area. This destination is free to visit, but donations are highly appreciate and help to preserve the Angel Oak.
Charleston was an awesome city for us to get our Halloween on! Derek and I enjoyed a night on the town and also some local tourist destinations. As we travel along I keep finding that there is never enough time in one spot. Each city has its own flavor. I feel like we could have spent weeks strolling the streets of Charleston and find something new to do each day. We left Charleston with the idea of heading... you guessed it, south. This time our eyes were set on Savannah, GA. As always, if you want to know more about our travels find us on YouTube for the latest video content and an inside look at what we’re up to. Facebook and Instagram work too! Stay in touch and follow along by liking, subscribing, following on whatever social media platform you use.
Until next time,
Tie Dye Travelers