We had an awesome opportunity to travel to Charleston, South Carolina to perform, visit family, and explore! It has been several years since I have been in this incredibly historic city so I was thrilled at a chance to return! Even though we were only able to visit in the city for a short time in between performances, we were able to get a lot of sightseeing accomplished!
Thankfully, parking was not so difficult. I was able to find a spot only a few blocks from the Charleston Market! The parking meter was a bit expensive though, so if you are planning to visit, make sure you have extra spending money planned for parking ($2 an hour for meter parking).
Even so, walking from your car, along the streets of Charleston’s French Quarter is more of an adventure than a chore! It reminds me so much of New Orleans’ French Quarter, just sans the hurricane drinks and gumbo puts on every other corner.
I was pretty excited to pass the Peninsula Grill on our trip to the market. It is a goal of mine to eat a slice of their Coconut cake one day! ( It has 12 layers guys!!)
Our first stop was at the Historic Charleston City Market. The market was established in the 1790s and is a National Historic Landmark. War general Charles Cotesworth Pinckney’s family made the market possible after donating a strip of land after the original ‘beef market’ was burned to the ground. Originally, the City Market housed primarily food vendors, but as of today, you will find mostly local, handmade crafts for sale throughout the vendor stalls. A specific craft you will find all over downtown Charleston is Sweet Grass Baskets! While you are journeying through the market’s stalls, you have the opportunity to watch artists craft these baskets.
After walking through all of the City Market stalls, we ventured on towards the Waterfront Park. There are beautiful fountains all along the waterfront. Also, if you venture out onto the dock, there are swinging benches to relax on and soak up the cool breeze from the ocean.
The city can warm up quite a bit in May, so it was really nice being able to cool down playing in the various fountains along the waterfront park area.
Another exciting part of historic Charleston is the incredible churches you can find. We walked from Waterfront Park to Church Street in order to visit St. Philip’s Episcopal Church. St. Philip’s was constructed in 1836 after the original church that had been built in 1680 was destroyed by a hurricane. The building survived from 1680-1835 until it burned to the ground. The present-day building that we visited was constructed shortly afterward.
I found the cemetery of St. Philip’s to be intriguing because some of the graves were of people born in the 1600s! One man had been born in 1666 and traveled from London to America and became an Admiral! I geek out so hard over cemeteries. It is just so fascinating to see the history of past men and women right in front of you like that.
Visiting Charleston was an amazing adventure. I love learning more and more about the history behind the city, both dubious and positive. Exploring the lush alleyways and gazing at the incredible architecture was wonderful & I am excited about my next trip there someday.
My next trip to this city, I want to take an entire day to spend visiting museums and devouring a slice of coconut cake from Peninsula grill. Most importantly, I want to spend time in the Old Slave Mart Museum. The Old Slave Mart Museum, previously known as Ryan’s Mart, is the first African-American Museum and it is run by those who have traced their family history back to slaves who came through Charleston. It was one of the largest open-air slave markets in the 1800s. A little known fact about the American slave trade is that almost 40% of America’s slave population came through Charleston, South Carolina. Can you believe the kind of things the streets and buildings of Charleston have seen?! (the ones that have not burnt down that is)
I believe it is crucial to educate yourself on all parts of history because when we know better, we do better.