I don't know about you, but when I travel to a new city, my homework has been completed before I arrive and I am ready for adventure! I have a good idea of points of interest, have made a few hard-to-get restaurant reservations and determined the best fit for accommodations. While researching Charleston for a recent family vacation, I came across a truly unique opportunity. Say Charleston! Private Photo Walking Tours provides a walking tour of the Historic District, as well as professional photos (landmarks + you) of the tour.
My husband and I invited our two grown children and their significant others along (since I found a Groupon deal that made it all-so-affordable!) for a group of three couples. We comprised our own private tour with Liz. That in itself was a treat - no large groups to contend with. Liz met us at Washington Square in the Historic District and provided a bit of historical/cultural commentary on the Charleston area, dating back to the 1700s. What truly made it unique was her personal connection with history as she described her French Huguenot family fleeing France during the religious persecutions and coming to America. It really put a face on history, imagining these young people, similar in age to our own kids, coming to this foreign place so long ago.
Liz expertly intertwined history, personal stories and cultural explanations with photo ops along our route of the Historic District and the surrounding neighborhood. I highly recommend a morning tour in summer months (along with comfortable, yet stylish shoes for the cobblestone streets, and water for the Charleston heat and humidity.) For two hours we walked and listened and photographed our way through downtown. Liz was open to questions and turned on the southern accent when needed, to make history sound more pleasant than it really was. We learned about DuBose Heyward (author of the book that eventually become the Gershwin opera, Porgy and Bess), Philip Simmons and his famous ironwork, the Holy City moniker and so much more. Liz pointed out architectural details of the homes and provided explanations (the fire protection seals, earthquake stabilization, the single house piazzas.)
We all agreed on the following: it was well worth our time, Liz was entertaining and informational, the photos are gorgeous, and the tour exceeded ALL our expectations.