Having arrived several days early for a wedding in Charleston, my husband and I had many hours to ourselves for exploring Charleston. We arrived at Charleston's Marriott Waterfront at 5:00 PM . (Let me say right here that the staff all over the hotel were friendly, happy, extremely courteous and helpful; any question you had, they knew the answer, suggested places to see, how to get there, where to eat, etc..). We checked in, dropped off the luggage and went back to the desk to ask if they could get us a taxi to downtown. Imagine our pleasant surprise at learning there are shuttle buses that pick you up at the hotel door and take you downtown every half hour!
That night we walked around for several hours, ending with a wonderful burger at a sports bar (whose name we most unfortunately cannot recall!) We returned downtown the next day. We strolled through the markets with their hand made arts including jewelry, paintings, purses, scarves, clothing, etc. At lunchtime, we went to Kaminski's - (a not to be missed bakery with the MOST delicious pies and cheesecakes!!) We settled on pie - I had coconut cream, my husband had banana cream. VERY rich, very delicious, and the coffee was excellent too.
After finishing our pie we walked to the park at the ocean, sat on swings that can hold 4 people, walked to the water, watched the men who were fishing and the boats coming and going to/from Charleston. After walking around and taking many pictures, tired and hot we hopped onto the shuttle to return us to our hotel, where we changed into bathing suits and jumped into the beautiful pool
The following day, we again returned to Charleston. After walking areas we had not yet seen, we signed up for a carriage ride (can't remember the name, but they have beige shirts and red 'flags').. The carriage ride took us.past the most gorgeous old mansions and gardens! These homes were built in the 1700's and were absolutely unbelievably large and gorgeous. One story that stands out in my mind is about the home a man built for his daughter in secret, and on the night before her wedding, left an envelope on her pillow at night with a key and a note that told her he had built her a house as his wedding gift to her! The house is still so very beautiful!
After the tour, we returned to Kaminsky's; rather than another piece of pie, we settled on sharing a Brandy Alexander ice cream shake - - yummy!!
Each morning we were there, from the first to the last, we tried different places for breakfast, but we had the same meal at each place: eggs, grits, bacon, biscuits and coffee. We could NOT get our fill of those southern grits and biscuits! We enjoyed our breakfasts more than any other meal we had there - - perhaps because we can't find grits and biscuits like that in Chicago!.
On the day of the wedding we took a ride to Foley Beach. A long beach at the edge of town, the sand was different from any we had ever seen - the sand was so hard walking on it did not leave foot prints, and, in fact, a young man was riding his bike on the beach with ease, and left no tracks in the sand. Very unusual - and SO easy to walk on!
I would highly recommend not only Marriot's Waterfront hotel, but the whole of Charleston, SC. The southern charm of the city and the people with whom we came in contact most certainly seduced us to wish to return at another time!