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From food to museums to history: Charleston’s got it


May 03, 2018

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As the oldest city in South Carolina, Charleston is known for its well-preserved historical buildings, its pivotal place in some of the major events of our nation’s young history, and its vibrant culture.

The most famous and certainly most photographed location in Charleston is Rainbow Row, 13 Georgian homes on East Bay Street. The pastel homes are the longest cluster of row houses from that period remaining in the United States. Though these homes are not open to the public, Charleston boasts countless historic homes restored to period shine and preserved as museums including the Russell House, the Manigault House, and Middleton Place, which boasts the oldest landscaped gardens in America.

Charleston is home to many more firsts, including the first shots of a four-year war that would result in over a million Americans dead. The infamous Fort Sumter, maintained today by the National Park Service, can be visited by a ferry which leaves from the Visitor’s Center off Concord Street. Charleston harbor is also the final resting place of one of the Civil War’s greatest feats of engineering and its most enduring mystery: the H. L. Hunley. Uncovered by NUMA scientists in the late 90s after over a century lost to history, the world’s first successful combat submarine was raised and conservation efforts began. In conjunction with Clemson University archaeologists continue to examine the artifacts found within in an attempt to answer the question of the submarine’s mysterious sinking. In a similar vein, if it’s history you’re after, the Charleston Museum is a required stop. Established in 1773, it proudly claims the title of America’s first museum and houses a large natural history collection as well as a permanent exhibit dedicated to all of the facets of life in the Lowcountry.

The Avery Research Center for African-American History and Culture is a museum and archives dedicated to preserving the history and culture of African-Americans in the Lowcountry. Nearly half of African-Americans living in the United States today can trace their origins in this country to the Carolinas. The museum seeks to honor the legacy and celebrate the ongoing contributions which African-Americans have made on the United States. Charleston is one of the few surviving bastions of Gullah culture where African language, music, and arts thrive and their impact on the region cannot be overstated. Charleston was one of the hubs of development for jazz music along with New Orleans, even inspiring a dance craze which swept the nation in the 1920s. The city holds an annual jazz festival every winter but various clubs and restaurants around town invite guests to enjoy the music nightly.

Speaking of restaurants, I would be remiss in my duties if I didn’t talk about food. In the annals of Southern food culture, Charleston may be its crowning jewel. From seafood, to barbecue, to food that’s just good for the soul, Charleston has it all. Trendy spots like HUSK (and its neighboring bar specializing in traditional southern cocktails) compete with local favorites like The Glass Onion and the Hominy Grill. Whatever you’re craving on your visit, it’s almost guaranteed to be unforgettable.

For more detailed information or to plan your visit I recommend visiting the Charleston Visitors Bureau at https://www.charlestoncvb.com/.


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