USA Southern Charm in Charleston

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Our retirement Road-Trip of two weeks through the Carolinas and Georgia was delightful, with Charleston, South Carolina, being a standout experience. Previously, I hadn’t encountered the “Southern Charms” that this region is known for. The full account of our trip is detailed at the conclusion of this article. Films like “Gone with the Wind” and “Forrest Gump” piqued my interest in this distinctive American locale.

Horse Carriage Tour

Charleston offered a memorable horse-drawn carriage tour, providing a relaxed way to see the bustling tourist city. With a knowledgeable driver at the reins, our group of twelve gained valuable insights during the hour-and-a-half ride. The tours, regulated by the city, ensure no single route becomes overcrowded, thanks to a randomized assignment system. Impressively, the city also employs a GPS-monitored cleanup crew for the horses. Typically, these carriage horses are retired from Mennonite farms, finding a new purpose in tourism.


Strolling along the waterfront promenade, we admired the grandeur of presidential-style mansions and the colorful “Rainbow Row.” Some homes have begun to lean due to their foundations on old landfill sites and earthquake damage. A unique solution involves steel rods and bolts to gradually straighten the structures.

The city’s distinct architecture is further highlighted by gas-lit porch lamps and decorative false doors that invite neighborly visits. Many homes feature non-invasive ivy and porches painted robin egg blue, a color believed to ward off misfortune in bygone times. One particularly striking sight was a three-story house elevated on stilts above the harbor.

(Click on images to see full sized version with captions, and slide show option)


We had never tried the Deep South cuisine before, so the famous Paige’s KRA Grill and a great waiter provided an insightful experience. We sampled FRIED GREEN TOMATOES (like the movie), grits, collard greens, okra, hush puppies, corn bread and various sauces. I liked the cheesy one with red pimento. Perfectly cooked beef short rib roast, and Cathy enjoyed the FRESH sea bass with lemon. It was fun trying the “fast food” places like “Bojangles” for Southern fried chicken with their famous biscuits, “dirty rice” and more.

Whole 2-week road trip

We started our circle road trip in Charlotte, mostly because the flights were cheaper there than Charleston. We saw the plantations there, as well as the city. Then up to the “Blue Ridge” Mountains Parkway from Asheville towards Atlanta; down to Savannah, and up to Myrtle Beach. We avoided the freeway as much as possible, because it much more interesting taking the slower side roads.

The Boone Hill Plantation near Charleston, provided great insights into the times of enslaved people, and continues today to be a working farm, as well as a movie set for many popular movies.

Biltmore Estate mansion, near Asheville, NC is one of the largest mansions in the USA, seated on 4000 acres, originally built by the Vanderbilts. Tour provides total access to the home and many gardens.

The Blue Ridge Mountains have a 500 mile long woodland parkway, with many pull offs to admire the views.

Coca Cola was invented in Atlanta, Georgia, and they have a great history and tribute with tastings of Coke from around the world. The secret recipe is safely in a vault.

Myrtle Beach, SC is a unique 30 mile stretch of beaches, restaurants, hotels, resorts, and tourist attractions.


Great way to enjoy warmth of late spring and gain better understanding of the Southern culture.


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