CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA
"Come On Back Now, You Hear?"
By Glenn Arnette, lll
It is a South Carolina necessity and one of the most historical places to visit. It is a journey into the Old South.
You will hear the clop, clop, clop of horse hoofs on the beautiful cobblestones and visualize the American way unfolding in front of you. It is a tradition and it is CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA.
I am not going to run the gamete of all the things to do while visiting one of America’s favorite cities, as time will not permit. I am going to give you a few of my favorite things to do, including favorite restaurants and places to visit.
Before heading out to the Charleston area, make a reservation and plan ahead. This is a tourist Mecca, and at certain times of the year, the City is packed. I have selected two Inn’s that I have enjoyed over the years. The Charleston’s Vendue Inn at 19 Vendue Range has one of the finest locations in the Historic district by the beautiful Waterfront Park at the Harbor. This in-town gem, famous for comfort and excellent service, is close to everything. (That is a plus because parking is impossible.) Vendue Inn has elegant guestrooms and suites decorated with 18th century style furnishings, oriental rugs and antiques. Many of the rooms have Jacuzzis and fireplaces. Included in the fare is a full Breakfast Buffet, Afternoon Wine and Cheese, Evening Cordials, Turndown Service, Bicycles and more. Now, does that sound good? It is a wonderful place to stay. (800) 723-7000 or E-mail www.vendueinn.com . Wait, there is one more thing for you to enjoy at the Vendue Inn. It is the popular Roof Top Restaurant and Bar and it offers great food, drinks and spectacular views of the Harbor, skyline and sunsets. Go up and have a mint julep or two!
My other choice would be the Indigo Inn at Meeting and Pinckney Street. It is centrally located and only steps away from the City Market. The Indigo Inn features 18th century charm and 21st century amenities. Experience the best of both worlds as you relax in the open-air courtyard. They offer the famous “Hunt” Breakfast, afternoon refreshments and morning newspaper. It is the Southern thing to do. (800) 805-7900 or E-mail www.indigoinn.com.
Now that you have checked in, it is time to shop. Shopping is essential to Charleston and it is another one of those Southern things to do. There is one area of excitement. The Slave Quarters (known as the Market or the City Market as slaves were never sold there,) offers boutiques, open air market, unusual items and lots to do. You could spend a good half day or more just wandering around. Put this as your morning thing to do and plan to lunch in the area as well. Most of the restaurants are good and you can find the typical lunch items and a few daily specials as well.
Now, I love the 82 Queen Restaurant at 82 Queen Street. It offers authentic Low country cuisine, desserts that make your mouth water and the best in She-Crab Soup. Voted by Southern Living magazine as the “Best City Restaurant” 82 Queen also won the “Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence” for two consecutive years. It pricey, but it is the place to be seen, if you are into that sort of thing. A reservation is a must. (843) 723-7591 or E-mail www.82queen.com.
Another choice would be Poogan’s Porch at 72 Queen Street. Named for the dog that greeted customers from the front porch, Poogan’s has been a “must eat” establishment. Nestled in the heart of historic Charleston, they specialize in contemporary Southern cuisine. Dine indoors or outdoors on the porches or patio. Great fun! ((843) 577-2337.
Now you must do the tours. There are many to choose from including boat tours out to Fort Sumter and horse and carriage tours around the City. Because of space I can not go into all the details, as I must tell you about the Fall Candlelight Tours of Homes and Gardens scheduled for September 16th, 2004 through October 23, 2004. Now you must plan ahead or there will be no space available. If you have not had the pleasure of this tour, this is the American way and you must attend. Join the procession under the fanlights of Charleston’s doorways during the 28th Annual Fall Candlelight Tours of Homes and Gardens. The Preservation Society was founded in 1920 by a small group of Charlestonians concerned with the increasing threat to one of America’s outstanding collections of 18th, 19th and 20th century architecture. They mandate to educate, plan and encourage the preservation of Charleston’s architecture, history and culture to make sure it is an integral part of this nationally significant historic community. Mark your calendar and make your reservation now. This is a real Charleston event! For tickets and information call (800) 968-8175.
Charleston offers history, class and a true Southern way of life. It is stepping into the pages of history and living the American dream. You must take the time to enjoy each and every minute of your visit. However, that is not the end of the adventure. You must cross the Cooper River Bridge and visit one of my favorite places in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina located about 20 minutes from the center of Charleston, The Old Village Post House Inn and Restaurant. It is so charming and nestled in the midst of beautiful homes and gardens hidden away from the public eye and the busy highways with not many tourists at all. The Inn has individually decorated guest rooms offering all amenities including baths with whirlpool tubs, removable massaging showerheads and including original heart pine floors with area rugs, high ceilings, and more. They have six guest rooms. Just enough to make your stay very private and quaint.
Now here is the must! The Old Village Post House Restaurant is located as a part of the Inn. They have two attractive dinning rooms with comfortable leather chairs and an abundance of natural light. They have a welcoming tavern and a wonderful outside patio for those afternoon cocktails. While stopping for a Sunday Brunch, Meredith McCutcheon, the hostess had a special window seat for me and I also had the pleasure of meeting Brian Mello, the assistant manager. After dining, Brian introduced me to Toby Adams, the Chef from Beaufort, South Carolina. By this time, my party was begging for all of the recipes, but most of all the Key Lime Tart recipe, and guess what, we got it! Wait, you can have it, but I am not to that part yet! You must go and try the She-Crab Soup. It is delicious! Follow that with the Coastalina Shrimp and Grits with smoked sausage, tomatoes, green onions and garlic over stone ground grits served by our waiter, Daniel Moody. Yankees have no idea how good the Southern life can be! The hospitality in the restaurant is charming and you feel like a member of the family. When you visit be sure to say hello to Brian and ask him to show you the original wine cellar. Most interesting!
Here is a recipe you must keep and try. It is the Key Lime Tart from the Post House Restaurant in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina.
1 14 oz can condensed milk
7 Egg yolks
1 cup Nellie and Joe’s Lime Juice
1 Line zest only
Combine all ingredients
For the Pecan Sandie Crust you mix
¾ 1b margarine
1 cup powdered sugar
2 cup flour
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 tablespoon Water
1 ½ cup of chopped pecans
Cream margarine and sugar, add remaining ingredients. Roll out to ¼ inch thickness and place in tart pan. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown. Put filling in and bake until set. (around 7-10 minutes)
And if you have any problems, you call Chef Toby at (800) 549-POST and tell him I told you to call! You should call for the Shrimp and Grits recipe.
Well, that is about all the room I have for Charleston. I know, I missed everything, but that is the excitement of the area. There is more to do than you can imagine. Just go and enjoy the world of history and take your family. It is a great way to bring everyone together for a nice vacation.
Until next time, keep the cards, letters and e-mails coming. Always nice to hear from you. VGArnette3@aol.com
Coming soon: Myrtle Beach and my favorite places!
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