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Charleston: A Family Vacation Destination
by Michael Williams | June 2014


Perhaps there is no other city in the southeast with a history as rich and colorful as Charleston. Located on the South Carolina coast, Charleston is one of the oldest cities in the United States and offers a variety of attractions and activities that would suit any interest. From family oriented fun attractions to fine dining, historical attractions and beaches, Charleston has it all.


The Cottages on Charleston Harbor (shown above) includes 10 charming cottages situated less than 20 feet from the water. The cottages provide a magnificent view of the harbor including Fort Sumter, where the first shots of the Civil War were fired. Less than a half mile away is the U.S.S. Yorktown Aircraft Carrier where the history buff can take a tour of the famous war-time vessel.

The cottages are elegantly decorated with fine furnishings providing guests a feeling of being at home. Each unit varies in size from one to three bedrooms with two to three baths and are nestled on a cove where ample palmetto trees provide shady relief from the hot summer sun. The units are equipped with the modern conveniences of home including wi-fi, satellite TV, washers, dryers and an ample selection of movies that may be played on the DVD. The master bedroom features a large master bath with a large garden tub, complete with Jacuzzi, which will comfortably accommodate two people in a romantic setting.

A wine rack in the kitchen offers a wide variety of fine wines that would suit any taste and cap off a romantic evening. The back porch is decorated with comfortable chairs, a table and a hammock for lounging while quietly watching the day fade to night and the reflection of the moon rippling across the water. The pier is located less than 100 yards from the cottages and provides guests a quiet place for a leisure stroll. The cottages have been featured in numerous travel magazines and is rated five stars on Trip Advisor. It is the perfect setting for a wedding or other milestone event.

On Charleston Harbor at 16 Patriots Point Road; 866-901-2688;

old village post house


When it comes to fine dining, the Old Village Post House is truly the gold standard. Situated in the heart of the quaint community of Mount Pleasant’s Old Village, the Old Post House is more than just a five star restaurant. It is also a bed and breakfast for those who enjoy the B&B experience. Each room is tastefully decorated with antique furnishings and equipped with its own restroom as opposed to the community bathroom featured at many B&Bs.

The restaurant epitomizes fine dining with a menu featuring fried oysters, steamed mussels, tenderloin, duck and much more. For the steak lover the tenderloin is not to be missed. The measure of a good steak is whether or not it needs steak sauce because a good steak needs no sauce. Such is the steak at Old Post House. The steak is very tender and juicy, prepared with a delicate mixture of seasoning and an orange flavoring that lends a succulent taste that is pleasing and not overpowering. It needs no sauce because it is perfect in the manner in which Chef Tim Pettit prepares it.

The roasted duck is prepared with sugar snap peas, polenta, roasted radish and blueberry gastrique. The duck is so tender it can be cut with a fork.

For the lighter appetite, the menu includes a variety of gourmet salads including a peach salad made with goat cheese, candied pecans and honey sherry vinaigrette. Wines are reasonably priced from $28 a bottle and up. The restaurant features an elegant setting providing a tasteful ambience in a relaxed atmosphere.

Reservations are suggested as the Old Post House is one of the most popular restaurants in the area. Come experience dining at its best. In Mount Pleasant, SC at 101 Pitt St; (843) 388-8935;

pirate tours charlestonPIRATE TOUR

For the history buff or anyone fascinated by the legend and lore of the pirates that once terrorized the city, a Pirate Tour featuring Eric Lavender provides great entertainment suitable for the entire family. Lavender is attired in the motley of the pirate complete with a parrot named Bob. Lavender takes the guests on a 90-minute walking tour of historic Charleston where he regales the tourists with tales of treachery, bravery and heroism as he recounts the golden age of pirates with stories of such colorful characters such as Blackbeard and Stede Bonnet and others. Blackbeard once held the city under siege as he anchored his ship off the harbor and raided any vessel that dared attempt to depart.

Lavender is dynamic and charismatic and practically brings these colorful characters to life in his vivid telling of the tales of the bandits of the high sea. Lavender has been featured on the Travel Channel. Tickets can be purchased at 79 Cumberland Street, Charleston; (843) 442-7299;


For those who enjoy delicious seafood, the Charleston Crab House is a restaurant that should be on every traveler’s itinerary. Trip Advisor ranks the Crab house #61 of 577 restaurants in Charleston.

The Crab House serves a cornucopia of delectable seafood favorites from including lobster, crab, oysters, tilapia and a variety of other seafood favorites. The she-crab soup and crab dip are not to be missed. For those who prefer turf over surf, the menu also includes chicken and other dishes that would please any taste.

The Crab House is situated on the waterfront and provides a view of a draw bridge. Occasionally dolphins can be spotted frolicking in the water. The meals are reasonably priced and reservations are suggested due to the popularity of the restaurant. Located in downtown Charleston at 41 S. Market St.; (843) 853-2900 and on James Island at 145 Wappoo Creek Drive; (843) 795-1963;


The Courtyard Marriott in the Charleston Historic District is the ideal place for tourists interested in history or fine dining or family attractions.

The hotel is located in the heart of the historic district. Rooms are comfortable with mini-fridges and free wi-fi. Downstairs is a swimming pool, an exercise room, a Starbucks Coffee Shop and a friendly concierge that can help find any destination in the city. The Marriot is within walking distance of countless stores and excellent restaurants such as Virginia’s on King and the Fleet. From the Marriot visitors can walk to the South Carolina Aquarium, the Fort Sumter National Park, the Black Fedora Comedy Mystery Theater and many more sites. In Charleston at 125 Calhoun Street; (843) 805-7900;


Around the corner from the Marriot is Caviar and Bananas restaurant. The popular eatery serves up a cornucopia of sushi, wines, cheeses, fresh fruits and other delectable treats. The popular eatery is owned by former Knoxville native Margaret Seeley Furniss who has found great success in the old city. Furniss and her husband have opened a second location. Located in Charleston at 51 George Street; (843) 577-7757; and at 188 Meeting Street, Market Street Great Hall; (854) 577-7757;

fleet landing restaurant


The Fleet Landing Restaurant, located at 186 Concord Street, is open seven days a week serving lunch and dinner daily and brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. Regarded as one of Charleston's Best Waterfront Restaurants by Trip Advisor, The Fleet Landing has a view that is a distinctive destination unto itself.

The restaurant is housed in a 1940s retired naval building on the east side of the Charleston peninsula, and features Chef Drew Hedlund’s classic and contemporary Southern seafood fare in a setting that celebrates the area’s waterfront heritage. The restaurant’s “maritime chic interior” caught the eye of Food and Wine Magazine which featured Fleet Landing in their trend spotting “Where to Go Next” column.

Encased in a hurricane proof, 6,000 square foot concrete maritime structure, Fleet Landing juts out over the marsh on a reinforced pier and boasts oversized windows that offer an unobstructed view of the Charleston Harbor where dolphins are frequently spotted by diners as they enjoy top-notch seafood.

The building lay vacant after World War II until it was acquired by the South Carolina Port Authority in the 1960s and used for storage. In 1988, 21-year-old Tradd Newton pointed out the unique building to his mother and made the prediction “One day, I'm going to put something in that building.” Sixteen years later, with the guiding vision of Charleston architect Reggie Gibson and Newton's wife and business partner, Weesie, Newton has realized his dream.

Reservations are highly recommended. Despite the ample seating area, the popularity of the gourmet food makes this a hot destination for fine food. Downtown waterfront dining in Charleston at 186 Concord Street; (843) 722-8100;


The Black Fedora Mystery Theater is fun for the whole family. The show features clean comic whodunit shows that encourages audience participation. Appetizers and drinks are served. The theater offers four shows throughout the year. The pirate show is a hilarious look at pirates who are planning the Pirate Conclave with the likes of Blackbeard, Captain Bonnet, Mary Read and Anne Bonnet. Audience members have the time of their lives as they are drawn into the show. The show is perfect for the fun-loving individuals that don’t mind show casing their comedic talent.

This motley band of pirates is led by Captain Louisier, whose name is frequently mispronounced as Captain Loser. The Captain is a temperamental soul who disciplines her crew by shooting them. The show includes some karaoke. A Sherlock Holmes whodunit show is featured on alternate nights.

In Charleston at 164 Church Street; (843) 937-6453;

fort sumter


Fort Sumter National Monument is a must see attraction for the history buff and for parents who want to teach their children about our nation’s history. It was at Fort Sumter that Confederate forces fired on Union forces thus sparking the four saddest and bloodiest years in U.S. history known as the Civil War. In the aftermath more than 600,000 Americans lost their lives in the most costly conflict in U.S. history.

Much of the original fort was destroyed by the intense bombing that took place there in 1861. The fort is accessible by a ferry boat on which a narrator tells the epic story of the battle that shaped a nation and forever changed the American political land scape.

Ticket office is located at 360 Concord St in Charleston; (800) 789-3678;

virginias on king


Virginia’s on King is a magnificent restaurant located in the heart of town that specializes in traditional southern cuisine and lowland cooking. The restaurant is the epitome of old school Charleston familial. Charm.

The restaurant features brick walls and booths with leather seats. The menu offers a plethora of favorites including okra soup, frogmore stew, also known as Beaufort Stew, tidewater boil (A simmering serving of shrimp), corn on the cob, sausage, quail and many other favorites. She-crab soup is rich and creamy and contains just a hint of dry sherry.

The restaurant was named for Virginia Bennett, the mother of one of the owners. Deeply devout Christians, Virginia and her husband, Warren, firmly believed in attending church on Sunday and having their six children and their grandchildren over for Sunday dinner. The tradition was intended to create family togetherness while enjoying good company, conversation, and the familiar dishes prepared from family recipes, collected and passed down through the years. It is these recipes, passed down from Virginia, that inspired the menu at Virginia’s on King. The same cuisine prepared for the Bennett family is now being prepared for travelers from across the nation that venture into the homey restaurant to experience a bit of southern tradition.

In addition the menu features a variety of wines, beers and ales that would suit any taste. The breakfast and brunch menus feature omelettes, grits, shrimp, catfish, fried chicken and much more. The dinner menu offers selections of gourmet favorites but the quail is not to be missed. Save room for dessert. While the chocolate fudge brownie sundae is exquisite, the key lime pie is a southern tradition is not to be missed.

The restaurant has received numerous 5-star reviews from Trip Advisor and travel magazines alike. Due to its immense popularity with travelers and locals, reservations are suggested during peak lunch and dinner hours. Located in Charleston at 39 Rue de Jean; (843) 722-8881;

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