What’s Doing in Charleston, South Carolina

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DINING

Dining at Magnolias

Lowcountry cuisine refers to the indigenous cooking visitors will find in Charleston and other cities and towns along the South Carolina coast.  While there are some similarities to what is known as Southern cooking, there is greater diversity in seafood as well as strong influences from Caribbean and African cuisine.

Local seafood is an integral part of this cuisine, and is found in a variety of dishes including deviled crab cakes, fried oysters, gumbo, Lowcountry Boil, Red Rice, She-Crab Soup, and Shrimp and Grits. Other Lowcountry specialties include fried green tomatoes, baked mac-n-cheese, fried cabbage, and chicken bog.

Restoration at King, one-bedroom suite

Numerous excellent restaurants serve Lowcountry cuisine including Magnolias, Blossom, Fleet Landing, and the Hominy Grill.

IF YOU GO

Charleston is a very walkable city but horse-drawn carriage tours are available from several operators to provide an excellent overview.  Palmetto Carriage Works offers free parking for tour takers and provides private and group tours from its stables.

There are several excellent hotels. The newest is the Restoration on King, which opened in 2010.  The Wentworth Mansion is a throwback to the genteel homes of antebellum Charleston and worth a visit even if you aren’t staying there, as the views of the city from the cupola are breathtaking.  Other choices include the John Rutledge House Inn (Rutledge, a signer of the Constitution, built the house in 1753), and the Market Pavilion House, which opened in 2002.

GETTING THERE

Charleston’s skyline from the Wentworth Mansion

Charleston International Airport, the state’s busiest, shares its two runways with Joint Base Charleston, a U.S. military facility.  Delta Airlines offers non-stop service from Charleston to Atlanta, Detroit, and New York City’s JFK and LaGuardia airports.  Other airlines operating out of Charleston include American, Southwest, United, and US Airways.  Amtrak serves the city with two trains, the Palmetto (between New York City and Savannah, Georgia) and the Meteor (New York City to Miami, Florida).

Getting to Charleston by car from almost anywhere is simple thanks to numerous major highways that either pass through or near the city or have their terminus there, including Interstate 26, Interstate 526, U.S. Route 17, and U.S. Route 52.

The beautiful Arthur J. Ravenel Bridge opened for traffic in 2005 and is one of the largest cable-stayed bridges in the United States.  In addition to eight lanes of vehicular traffic, it offers a separate lane for bicycles and pedestrians.

The Port of Charleston is one of the largest ports in the U.S. and numerous cruise ships depart from the port each week.

“I’m going back to dignity and grace. I’m going back to Charleston, where I belong.” Clark Gable as Rhett Butler, in 1939 movie, “Gone with the Wind.”

(Photos: Jonathan Spira)

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