A Half-Day in Charleston

Following our stop in Washington, we endeared a grueling 7 hour drive to Myrtle Beach where we stayed the night at a nifty hotel with dozens of pools, hot tubs and lazy rivers. Though we hardly utilized these amenities (or even the beach for that matter) as we had another 6 hours of driving ahead of us to reach our next city, Jacksonville.

As I was plotting out the route on the map, I came across the city of Charleston which we could pass through if we detoured by a mere ten minutes. This route change ended up being a wonderful decision as Charleston, South Carolina had plenty of culture and allure that made for a fun half-day adventure.

Before even entering Charleston, there’s this impressive bridge named the Arthur Ravenel Bridge that crosses over the widening mouth of the Cooper River. Opening in 2005, it had replaced two former bridges that were in service for nearly 80 years.

The first thing we did once we crossed was drive straight to the Historic Charleston City Market, as the old-timey markets are almost always the most interesting in any city. Charleston was no exception to this — in fact they had the largest small vendor market I’d ever seen!

This market spans four blocks and has been in operation for over 200 years. And the best part? Small business owners and local vendors are the exclusive operators of the space.

Surrounding the market are a plethora of local restaurants that deliver not only phenomenal dishes, but terrific indoor atmospheres. Horse drawn carriage rides frequent the cobble stone roadways outside the marketplace as they work their way through the crowds of people. It was as if I had briefly travelled back in time… and I absolutely loved how convinced my brain was that we were in the 1800s again.

As we made our way to the waterfront, this gorgeous Custom House caught my attention. Construction began in 1853, but was halted in 1859 due to growing costs and the possibility of South Carolina seceding from the Union. It took another 9 years after the Civil War to finally complete in 1879.

The primary public park, Waterfront Park, was a delight to visit as well. The main attraction here is this pier that extends out onto the harbour with views of a collection of naval carriers and war ships turned into museums on the other side of the river.

Adjacent to the pier is a walkway of trees whose branches are so extensive that they create a canopy of leaves over the entire stretch, making for a serene stroll. There’s also a pretty sweet pineapple fountain.

Every alley and street we walked through appeared to have a story to tell. Charleston was brimming with charm and character.

We also visited the gorgeous St. Philip’s Church; home of South Carolina’s oldest congregation. Fires and hurricanes severely damaged two former churches on this site causing the congregation to build the stuccoed brick and porticoed structure that stands today. It was completed in 1838.

Since we had to reach Jacksonville by day’s end, this church would be our final site to explore. Overall, I was very impressed with Charleston and can’t wait to thoroughly explore this community upon a revisit.

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This blog entry is part of the publication Robert Cekan Travels

Robert Cekan is a young entrepreneur and proud Hamiltonian. He is the founder of the Hamilton discovery website True Resident, as well as Cekan Group, a property management group. He is also a Hamilton REALTOR® with Ambitious Realty Advisors Inc., Brokerage and an active blogger.

For all of Robert’s projects, please visit robertcekan.com