We awoke to the sounds and smells of a cooked breakfast being prepared by our host, Dean. The night before we had arranged to all have breakfast together before we left for the airport, all five of us. We sluggishly got up due to the late night we had just had but tucked into an awesome spread that set us up for the day. After breakfast we packed and Dean kindly gave us a ride to the Merto station. We flew out of Ronald Reagan airport which meant we could get there by Metro, nice and easy.
We got to Charleston around 3pm and after picking up our rental car (Chevy Cruze RS, red) we drove into town for a quick look around before checking in with our next AirBnB host. Charleston is a nice city with an historic downtown area and buildings dating back to the early 1700’s. We checked out the visitors centre to search for vouchers and get a map before hunting down some food. I had done my research and had my sights set on a place called ‘Home Team BBQ’. It was on Sullivans Island, accessible by bridge from theainland and about 40 minutes from Charleston. The island is a clearly wealthy and right on the beach with people driving around the place in golf carts. The BBQ did not disappoint and rated high on my list of food experiences whilst travelling. We got a platter of pulled pork, pork ribs, smoked turkey, chicken chili, cornbread and collard greens. Delicious. Nice and full we set off towards North Charleston to meet Karissa, our next AirBnB host. We chatted a while before heading to bed, it had been a long day, made all the longer by the rum and whisky of the night before.
After lunch we headed for Boone Hall Plantation over near Mt Pleasant for a tour of one of the longest running plantations in the United States. It has changed hands many times over the years but the first planting began early on in the 1700s. They started with rice then moved to cotton before becoming a brickyard using the local clay. Nowadays they grow a bit of everything but the main income is from the tourists. We got a tour of the main house, walked around the slave houses, got a trolley tour of the grounds and a saw a performance of Gullah stories and songs. Gullah is a language developed from various African dialects and English spoken by the African slaves. It was an excellent set up and covered all the aspects of plantation life well.
By this point we were starving and opted to drive into Chalreston to eat rather than dine at the Boone Plantation cafe. We found a place called ‘Alluette’s’ which specialised in soul food of the South. It had rave reviews from Oprah Winfrey who likes the shrimp. We ate our late lunch and it was good although Oprah perhaps had given us high expectations. After lunch we went for a drive around town, being well over 30 degrees outside and too hot and humid to walk around. We drove around the old streets and looked in wonder at the beautiful houses here. We also got stuck behind many a horse and cart, with seemingly hundreds of tours taking place all over town. We went for a brief stroll around the Battery Point then settled in a cafe to leech some wifi and do some trip planning before the evening and dinner.
For dinner we put our names down at ‘Hyman’s Seafood’, a popular eatery in town especially with the celebrities amongst whom I can name Bill Murray and Oprah Winfrey (again). The restaurant occupies two floors and 4 shop fronts so it’s popularity is clear. We waited around an hour for our table, going for a walk around the much cooled down town centre in the meantime. For dinner we got a crab dip, hush puppies (deep-fried cornmeal balls), sautéed scallops and a low country boil (shrimp, crawfish, mussels, sausage, potatoes and corn cooked in a crab broth). It was as delicious as it sounds and all the rave reviews of this place justified. With a long drive ahead of us tomorrow down to Orlando we called it a night there and cruised home in the Chevy.