A Planner Trying to be Flexible

If you know me you know I am a planner.  If the tour calls for cash I have it in an envelope marked with the date I need it and tour information.  I keep each trip on a spreadsheet.

My version of being flexible is walking into Ben & Jerry’s on the way back from the ghost tour.  I did not realize that would be an almost $15 decision (ouch) and I will be flexible elsewhere in the future with my late night ice cream runs.  I would rather keep late night ice cream visits to $10 and under!

So of course I had a plan for after our Charleston historic district tour, then I had to just let it go.  Daughter instead wanted to spend the day in Charleston again before we headed to the airport.  I had worked it out that we could swing out to the Angel Oak tree and then tour Drayton Hall before dropping the rental car off at the airport.  I had my $32 in my envelope marked “Monday – Drayton Hall”.  I was prepared!

What did we do instead?  We visited the Old Slave Mart Museum for an hour right after our tour.  I was unable to take photos but please visit the museum.  Its very well done and again reminds us how horrible slavery was.  Adults are $7 and kids 5-17 are $5.  The museum is closed on Sundays and open other days from 9-5. I have a history kid and I need to learn to roll with it.  More information on the Old Salve Mart Museum here: http://discoversouthcarolina.com/products/2691#/_=_

We walked back to a gallery we had passed on tour. Daughter purchased the keepsake she had been looking for. We talked with a very interesting man and met his dogs.  If we are ever in Charleston we will stop back at the W. Hampton Brand Gallery.

We spend some time in a cemetery we had visited on the ghost tour the night before. And we went window shopping in the stores along the market after we walked through the market vendors again.  We took a carriage tour with the money I had marked for Drayton Hall. And we laughed over a late lunch of Lobster Mac-n-Cheese before heading back to the airport.  Trying to be flexible!

Unitarian Cemetery

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Free Tours by Foot in Charleston

I am a big fan of Free Tours by Foot.  We have used them in Philly, Savannah and previously in Charleston.  The process is simple, find the tour / date on the calendar and book it online. There is a $1 fee to book per person to cover the Charleston tour tax.  The tour guide tells you where to meet and what time.  Easy peasy!  Please book well in advance, they are allowed 20 people on the tour and even on a hot Monday in August our tour was full!

Free Tours by Foot

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CHILLING CHARLESTON MACABRE GHOST TOUR

When I received the surprise email from Wyndham hotels on my Go Fast redemption I clicked on a link that took me to Viator a booking site for tours and activities.  I figured the prices would be so inflated that my $10 code would not be worth using but I poked around for curiosity.

They offered food tours, carriage rides, walking tours, and ghost tours.  I know Daughter loves a good ghost tour so I tried to figure who the vendors were for the seven tours listed.  A little leg work and I knew that most of the prices were the same as the companies websites, so I was not paying inflated prices which was a pleasant surprise.  The down side is one very popular company was not booking on Viator for their weekend tours.  Bummer, so if I wanted to go into the jail on their tour I could not use my $10 voucher as we were only in Charleston for the weekend.

One tour had great reviews and was actually priced less on Viator than on the company website.  Chilling Charleston Macabre Ghost Tours by Ashley on the Cooper Walking Tours.  So I could use my $10 discount code from Wyndham that I received by booking a hotel on points! I love this crazy hobby! The tour cost on Viator is $15 a person.  After applying my gift code I paid $20 total for the two of us to book the ghost tour at 9pm.

We met our tour on the steps of the Gibbes Museum of Art just a block up from our hotel.  It had been plenty hot during the day so I happy to be touring in the dark. We easily found our guide and waited for the other guests to arrive while we chatted with her. Its easy to see she loves what she does!

Our tour took us around different sites in the city and gave us spots to sit along the way.  We heard about Zoe at Poogan’s Porch, Anna Ravenal, and Lavinia at each location.  Our tour took around 90 minutes and was very entertaining.  We would recommend it! Tours are offered at 7 and 9pm.

More information here: http://ashleyonthecooper.com/work/charleston-ghost-tours/

Macabre Ghost Tour

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Fair Trade Friday September 2016

I opened my mailbox this week eagerly anticipating a package (that still has not arrived) and found instead my Fair Trade Friday package.  How did August pass so quickly?

Fair Trade Friday Sept 2016

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I was a little worried when I saw that something appeared to be leaking.

Fair Trade Friday Sept 2016

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It ends up the soap melted a little.

Fair Trade Friday Sept 2016

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The black and white item is a jewelry roll that will be so handy for travel and it contained a pair of very pretty blue earring.

Fair Trade Friday Sept 2016

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The soap is scented with lemongrass and the green item is a much needed pot scrubby.

Fair Trade Friday Sept 2016

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They also included their new catalog of items that they offer.

Fair Trade Friday also offers single boxes on their website if you want to try it once or to give as a gift. You can purchase one here: http://mercy-house.myshopify.com/collections/fair-trade-friday

More information on Fair Trade Friday here: http://fairtradefriday.club

 

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Charleston Historic Market

The Charleston Historic Market stretches for 4 blocks under cover with an air conditioned store section in the middle.   We were able to walk through the market twice.  Once for the day time market and again Sunday night for the Charleston Night Market. The vendors were different for both.

Historic Market

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Do remember IF it is raining heavily do not hang out in the market area. This is the low spot in town and prone to flooding.  This is why its the perfect spot for a market that is dis-assembled each night.

There were T-shirts, soap, pictures and boiled peanuts.

Historic Market

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We purchased a couple of little items for Daughter. She picked out a cool wood burnt Christmas ornament for Charleston.  (We like to decorate our tree with ornaments we picked up on our travels.) And a beautiful 8*10 print of a line of oaks covering a drive for her room. And my favorite purchase was cupcakes from the night market.

Charleston City Market

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La Dulce Vida the Sweet Life cupcakes were so good. I purchased a peach and Daughter did a S’mores one.

Charleston City Market

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IF you are at the night market you need to try her cupcakes.  They were so good and she advertises with Sugar Skulls on her logo, what is not to love?

More cupcake information here: https://www.facebook.com/ldvthesweetlife/

The market is open 9:30 -6pm daily.  The Night market is 6:30-10:30pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Address: 188 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29401

More market information here: http://www.thecharlestoncitymarket.com/main/explore-the-market

 

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It’Sugar Store

When you travel with kids you are pulled into stores you normally would walk right past.  Daughter spied It’Sugar next to the Charleston Historic Market and was inside before I figured out what the store was.

It's Sugar

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This is kid heaven!

It's Sugar

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It's Sugar

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We spent five minutes poking around this oversized candy shop.  What a riot! Look at the size of those Nerd’s boxes on the shelf for $22.99.

It's Sugar

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And the worlds largest gummy bear did not come home with us.  I would not even know how to begin to eat that thing!

I had never heard of It’Sugar but looking at their website they have stores in many locations, not just Charleston.

More information here: http://itsugar.com/storelocator/index/index/

Location:

Downtown Charleston
50 North Market Street
Charleston, South Carolina   29401

 

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The Mills House – Wyndham Grand Hotel

I can watch people glaze over when I tell them to save those hotel points and miles.  Over time they do pay off!  Wyndham previously was an under used program for me.  It seemed to take forever to earn enough points for a decent hotel stay.  But then they changed their program for the better and I was happy to take advantage of the change.  All their hotels redeem at 15,000 points.  You read that correctly!  The Days Inn is 15,000 points as is the Super 9, Ramada or Wyndham Grand locations.

The Mills House was not on on my radar, I was hitting all my hotel programs to hopefully find a hotel close to Charleston. But when I searched Wyndham and saw the Mills House I was a little excited.  I remembered walking past the courtyard of this hotel back in 2014 and thinking it was a nice looking place in a great location!

Mills House

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So I quickly booked our Sunday evening in Charleston here for 15,000 points.  The average rate would have been $179 plus tax for our Sunday night. On weekends the rooms run $279 so this is a great place to redeem Wyndham points in my book!  Then I had an unexpected surprise in my email that I would be receiving a code for my “Go Free Plus Award from Wyndham” seven days before check in.  I was not sure what that meant at the time so I tucked the email in with my other trip notes.  Ends up when you book a Go Free Plus hotel they send you a discount code for $10 off a local attraction.

Parking is either valet or self parking is the attached garage on Queen street at $23 a day.  We easily found the parking garage and used the second floor bridge to enter the hotel. Taking the bridge allows you to pass the pool and pool side rooms.

Mills House

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Mills House

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The Mills House is very impressive and we have not even checked in yet!

Mills House

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Mills House

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Check in was quick and very friendly.  She gave us two food vouchers for use at the hotel which were much appreciated and unexpected!

Our two queen room was on the seventh floor and beautifully decorated.

Mills House

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The Mills House

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Large bathroom with lots of counter space is very helpful when traveling with a teen girl.

Mills House

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This was our view.

Mills House room view

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The Mills House is two short city blocks from the historic market area with all the shopping and food you could want. Its less then a ten minute walk to the waterfront park. Perfect location for our time in Charleston!

Breakfast the next morning was delicious.  There were several options but we usually pick french toast or waffles in our house.

Mills House

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Mills House

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Daughter went with the french toast and gave me her fruit. She loved the bacon that came with it.

Mills House French Toast

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I went with the pancakes and ham.

Mills House Pancakes

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The Mills House was amazing and I would love to stay there again!  We left our bags after breakfast with the valet and that worked perfectly until it was time to head to the airport.

Address:

The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel

115 Meeting Street, Charleston, South Carolina 29401

 

More information here: http://www.millshouse.com

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McLeod Plantation Historic Site

McLeod

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For her first trip south Daughter had requested to visit a plantation.  She must have missed some information in the AP Us History class last year because that is not really an option.   In fact I took her to the historic Sheldon Church ruins just to show her how damaging the Civil War was.  There are still plantation options but they either are mostly gardens or rebuilt homes.  The closest I had come previously was Drayton Hall and that was on my list to visit with her.

Then on TripAdvisor I stumbled on McLeod Plantation while looking up reviews on Drayton Hall.  Odd that I had never heard of this one or stumbled upon it on our last trip so I dug up some more information. This historic site was opened to the public in April of 2015 and is ran by the Charleston County Parks & Recreation Commission.  They offer guided tours four times a day that are not to be missed. I feel if you just wander the property you will be really missing some of the emotion of the site.

They preface the tour with a warning that this tour will make you uncomfortable at times.  They do NOT skirt around slavery here and they address it head on, this the main focus of the tour.  I will admit I was very uncomfortable and shocked at times. But this story needs to be told and being from the Midwest reading it in a history book was different than standing next to the slave cabins.

I would also add that older children will get more from this plantation than the younger kids.  We had a few children on our tour and they just looked a bit bored.  They were quiet and respectful but you could tell they were ready to be done.

This is the now front of the home that used to be the back entry.  The exterior was updated in the late 1920s to early 30s.  Changing the entry and the driveway to the other side of the home.

McLeod Plantation

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This was the prior front of the home overlooking the fields and land they owned.

McLeod Plantation

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This tour walks you through the long history of the home and its owners from 1741.  Pretty impressive!  When they talked about how much this plantation produced in the 1860s I could not imagine it. They had 74 salves in 23 slave cabins doing an unfathomable amount of work and not just in sea cotton. Prior to the tour I had never heard of sea cotton!

McLeod Plantation

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Several of the old out buildings are still standing and slowly being repaired.  Even the old two-holer outhouse is still standing near the house.

And I loved this twisty old oak! It is said to be over 600 years old, some say 1,000 years old.

McLeod Plantion

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This is the old driveway to the house through the oaks and past the slave cabins.

McLeod Driveway

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We learned about both armies using the home during the civil war and then the Freedmen’s Bureau.

McLeod Plantation

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Our guide allowed us to peek inside a couple of cabins and it blew my mind that these were still rented and lived in during the 1990s.  Farming had ended here in the 1940s.

McLeod Plantation

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McLeod Plantation

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I think our tour took about an hour.  Our guide was very interesting and had an ipad with old photos from the family so we could see more history that she showed everyone.

Afterward you are welcome to enter the lower level of the home and look around the unfurnished home.  The main home was build in 1858.

McLeod Plantation

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McLeod Plantation

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McLeod Plantation

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McLeod House

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The county currently owns 37 acres, at one time the family owned 1,693 acres here.

There is a welcome center with bathrooms that was built in an adjacent parking lot. Here is also where you purchase your tour tickets.  Guided tours are offered at 10am, 11:30, 1:30 and 3pm.  Adults are $10 and children 3-12 are $6.

Hours
Tues – Sun, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
(Also open on President’s Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day

Admission

  • $10 Ages 13 & up
  • $6 ages 3-12
  • Free ages 2 & under
  • Gold Pass membership allows free entry for 4 guests per visit

 

Address:

325 Country Club Drive
Charleston, SC 29412

More information here: https://ccprc.com/1447/McLeod-Plantation-Historic-Site

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Mabel’s Cupcake Emporium

We stumbled on a cupcake place near Ellis Square, my favorite type of stumble!

Mabel Cupcakes

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Another Stay at Foley House Inn

Since we were using airline miles/credit and hotel points I told Daughter I would be able to grant her request to stay in a bed and breakfast.  Oh the choices!  There are so many great room options in Savannah.  You need to start your search early because a few weeks out some places were booked solid.

I wanted to be futher from the river to show her a quieter side of Savannah. I really teettered with booking a superior king room with the balcony facing Broughton Street at the Marshall House.  And then there was the Eliza Thompson House and Kehoe House that looked amazing.  I was looking for a balcony and a king sized bed or two queens.

Ultimately I went back to Foley House Inn for its central location. Also Husband and I had such a nice stay a couple of years back.  They had the Westmorland room available which is on the third floor with a balcony over looking Chippewa square.  After Daughter found the E. Shavers Bookstore she spent even more time on the balcony reading her new book.  We had stumbled upon the book store on our way to the Cathedral during tour hours.

Foley House Inn

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