time for another installment of "Places you should go before you
can't tell a presidential executive order document from one of your
White House German Shepherd's training pads!" Yes, recently my wife
and three teenage daughters took a week-long family trip to Charleston,
SC also known as "The city where every meal will cost you
at least two C-notes."
Because we enjoy turning our buns into geological formations, we
drove the entire 14-hour trip from East Texas to downtown Charleston,
stopping only occasionally to sample the delights of various southern
powder rooms, usually in rural gas stations tempting us with boiled
peanuts and pickles in a bag.
Similar to nearby Savannah, GA, where we dislocated our credit on
vacation a couple of years ago, we noticed that almost everything
in Charleston is extremely historical, meaning it costs a lot of
money to see, and it usually has a gift shop selling souvenir refrigerator
magnets. In fact, upon our arrival, we immediately forked over a
chunk of change to a tour company that hauled us around town in
a historical-looking wagon behind a Belgian draft horse's fragrant
hind quarters as the guide showed us the historical sideways-facing
single houses with their grand piazzas and other historical
still hadn't had enough historicalness, we spent a couple of more
hours (and another hundred bucks) on a guided walking tour down
cobblestone side streets and through historical alleyways where
the horse's hind quarters don't fit.
The historical highlight of our trip was a jaunt aboard the Spirit
of the Lowcountry across Charleston Harbor to legendary Fort Sumter.
For about the price of one of my daughters' prom dresses, your family
can cruise across the harbor and occasionally glance up from their
cell phones to see the majestic Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, Castle
Pinckney, and finally, Fort Sumter where the first shots
of the Civil War were fired. Although the tour of the fort itself
was educational and moving, the cruise back to Liberty Square included
the bonus of a pod of dolphins racing within inches of where we
were standing on the lower deck at the bow of the boat-and the dolphins
didn't even charge extra.
After each of these tours, we were feeling pretty darn historical
ourselves and hungry even hungry enough to eat something
like shrimp and grits. And to be honest, touring the historical
aspects of Charleston was really just something for us to do between
meals. Devouring vast quantities of Lowcountry fare took up the
bulk of our itinerary.
We broke the bank (and our waistbands) at eateries like Poogan's
Porch, Millers All Day, Toast! All Day, Fleet Landing and Rodney
Scott's Whole Hog BBQ, where we enjoyed some of the most scrumptious
carbohydrates and saturated fats that we'd had since we left home.
And, yes, Charleston restaurants can even make a dish like shrimp
and grits edible, and she-crab soup seem non-hazardous.
Our trip to Charleston, SC, was a truly wonderful experience, and
I encourage you to plan a visit as soon as you get the chance (or
win the lottery). Our three daughters even appreciated it, except
for the walking, stair climbing, and other activities requiring
In addition to thoroughly enjoying the food, we learned a lot of
the history surrounding this charming city and its importance in
shaping our country's heritage and we've got the refrigerator
magnets to prove it.