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What do Luang Prabang, Barcelona, Bali, and South Korea have in common?
For me, they were victims of timing.
I visited each of these destinations at the worst time — either at the tail end of exhausting adventures, or after an incredible destination that I hadn’t wanted to leave in the first place.
As a result, I didn’t go in with the best attitude possible, and as a result, I feel like I need to revisit each of them in order to be captured by their magic.
Charleston was like that.
It was the end of the #SouthUSA trip, and especially after falling for Savannah so hard and leaving before I wanted to, it was hard for me to be effusive about Charleston.
One of my readers told me that in her family, they say that you’re either a Charleston person or a Savannah person. Well, I am undoubtedly a Savannah person, with no disrespect to Charleston itself!
Had I visited Charleston as a standalone trip, I think I would have been bubbling over with praise for this city, its beauty and charm and deliciousness. People LOVE Charleston. I just didn’t feel strongly about it.
That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy myself. I really did have a good time in South Carolina’s prettiest city.
I loved exploring the beautiful mansions down the Battery.
If you’re into architecture — and I very much am — Charleston is one of the great architecture cities of the U.S.
This thirsty kitty was the star of the Battery — he was surrounded by people taking pictures of him!
If you’re looking for some Southern comfort in the heart of Charleston, make this place a priority — the food was fab!
Easily the biggest fried chicken I had across the South, cooked to bronze perfection.
Also, macaroni and cheese was listed on the menu as a vegetable. Because THE SOUTH.
I had a Coca-Cola cake for dessert: a sweet, sticky chocolate cake made with Coke instead of water. Because THE SOUTH.
After lunch, I headed out for some more strolling and a photo walk.
There’s a fire station right in front of Jestine’s, which makes a great Southern photo op.
Charleston’s market is a good place to stop for souvenirs and see the beautiful (and crazy expensive!) handwoven Gullah baskets.
Romance at the Custom House!
I loved this little park.
I can see why people love this city. It’s beautiful, friendly, a nice small size, and the food is fabulous.
The #SouthUSA Verdict
After traveling through the South, I came to the conclusion that the trip would have been better in reverse. I found New Orleans, Savannah and Seaside to be my three favorite destinations of the trip, and this trip spreads them out better.
Doing the trip in reverse would start off with Charleston before hitting with the even better Savannah, some downtime across Florida and a beautiful stop in Seaside, some quiet time in Mississippi and Alabama before finishing in New Orleans, the most impressive destination of all.
Where I Stayed: Country Inn and Suites, Summerville
Over the course of this trip, I loved my stays at the Country Inns and Suites. But the Summerville Country Inn had a very different ambiance to it. The Country Inns I visited were three-star hotels with service that made it feel like a four-star; this one was very lax and casual by comparison — I always felt like I was intruding when I approached the front desk.
The beds were made messily; the staff hung out in front smoking while on duty. I was floored when the breakfast service used not only disposable dishes and utensils but STYROFOAM plates — this seemed like an enormous waste and a complete 180 from the other Country Inns that talked about how they were helping the environment.
Plus, Summerville is a 30-minute drive from downtown Charleston, which is impractical (especially in a town where parking is expensive and tough to find).
There isn’t a Country Inn in downtown Charleston, but there is one in North Charleston — I’d stay there next time. As for my feedback on the Summerville property, it’s been shared with the company prior to this post, and I hope they implement changes so that it represents the brand better.
Rates at the Summerville Country Inn start at $99.
The #SouthUSA campaign is brought to you by Country Inns and Suites by Carlson and Holiday Autos. All opinions, as always, are my own.