Finally, a dream come true!
Charleston Travel Blog› entry 48 of 50 › view all entries
The first time I heard of Charleston, the mere existence of a town named so was during my Dallas days. One of my colleagues was originally from this town. TBH, I never liked him (seemed too much of a narrow minded loud mouth opiniated bigot who thought he was God's gift to civilisation) and so my impression of the town was sadly, also not so positively coloured. Plus, from a commercial tourist point of view, it's not really in the LV, LA or NYC bracket so I thought it's just any other ol' town where all people do is fish and pull up in their trucks and eat steak!
But over the years, and we're talking since 2003/04 (when I first head the name), I kept hearing more and more about it.
I had the opportunity to visit twice - almost booked my tickets in 2013 on a business trip which got pulled last minute because of some stupid project deadline for which I had to be here. So I was delighted when I finally got to visit Atlanta and took a weekend detour to Charleston.
My flight from Seattle to Charlotte got postponed, and then apparently there was something wrong with the aircraft so we had to change planes.
The airport is nice - fairly functional and quite bigger than I had thought it would be. The weather was cloudy but it was hot hot hot. I caught the rental car shuttle - the Alamo rental was nearly 4-5 miles away from the airport! Anyway they found me a car and I was off off off to my hostel about 2 milles away from Downtown.
To my luck, one of the establishments Hominy's Grill was a block away. This place is famed for its grits and I'm told that patrons wait for nearly 2 hours on weekends! I absolutely loved it (and didn't have to wait). I noticed that people are very polite here, but either have short memory or don't understand what the phrase "no ice" means as I'd always get a glass of water loaded with ice! The grits were amazing but the dessert, a supposed chocolate cake with vanilla bean topping was awful.
Anyway, refuelled and stuff, headed back to the hostel - showered, checked in and was on my merry way to the Old Town.
I made my way to the old market (was empty) and then along Meeting Street that's home to several acclaimed restaurants when it started pouring. Like, all of a sudden. thank God I had the sense to carry my raincoat with me. But even that wasn't enough - but thankfully I sought refuge at FIG, one of America's most highly rated restaurants. I had to wait for an hour+ outside (well, under their foyer) but didn't mind too much: I wouldn't have walked much anyway as it was bloody hot. So the break was good (and gave me a chance to check on some office emails as well). Dinner was brilliant (I got a bar seat) (read review below).
By now, it was no longer raining cats and dogs. But the weather felt so tropical and Carribbean. Thank God the rain brought some cool weather so the walk back to the hostel (2miles) was a breeze. The roads were quiet (I chose some back alleys) but felt very safe. I don't know if the houses here are deserted or not, but some of them look run down (not in a bad way, but in a "someone needs to maintain this" kind of way). However, it is safe. And overall I felt this place has a very European way of using buildings: so many residential colonial houses haven't been brought down and new ones sprung up, but instead just reuse and modernise the interiors. It seems to work very well here.
First day in Charleston but I have to say, I was already falling in love!