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Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston is a city known for its carriage rides, cobblestone streets and southern charm. It possesses a beauty that makes it a rare jewel, not just in the United States, but the world. This city’s uniqueness comes from its physical beauty, as well as its people – like the Gullah, a people with their own arts, language, and song. Add in great food, music and cocktails best sipped outdoors and it’s easy to fall in love with this town. See why Charleston, South Carolina is a place to love.

Charleston, South Carolina


Charleston Places To Love - Samantha Brown

Fresh air and a history lesson

Charleston is a city rich in history. One of the best ways to experience it? On foot! In 2001, Bulldog Tours started taking locals and tourists alike on historic walking adventures through this storied town. I walked its cobblestone streets with Bulldog Tours founder John Laverne, who seemed to know the history of ever building, landmark and tree in town. The Old Slave Mart Museum was a notable stop. This small building used to serve as the place where slaves were bought and traded—many people don’t realize that at one point during slavery as many as 35-40% of slave entered the United States through Charleston. Other places on the tour included a cemetery dating back to the 17th Century, the Circular Congregational Church  and the Old City Jail.


Bulldog tours is all about sustainable tourism. Over the last 15 years, they’ve raised over $3.6 million for the restoration and preservation of the Old City Jail, Circular Church’s graveyard and the Old Exchange. A portion of tour ticket proceeds benefit these efforts.


Bulldog Tours
18 Anson Street
Charleston, SC 29401

Charleston Places To Love - Samantha Brown

Preserving Charleston’s Traditional Trades

Where there are historic buildings, there ought to be a community dedicated to preserving them. Charleston has something very special in that regard– The American College of the Building Arts. This unique school educates and trains artisans in the traditional building arts—like preservation, blacksmithing, woodworking and more. I met with professor Christina Butler, who told me all about the origins of this school. Ironworker Philip Simmons, a man responsible for some of the most beautiful ironwork in Charleston, understood the importance of keeping fading traditional skills alive. His passion became the seed that founded the School of the Building Arts.

Student Ryan Woodhall gave me a crash course in his specialty: blacksmithing. Pounding out red-hot iron was a wee bit intimidating for me, but it was truly fascinating to see this process in action. Don’t worry—I am not quitting my day job!


ACBA offers courses to the general public during breaks. Think furniture restoration or forging a hatchet. Best part? Classes are open to all skill levels.


649 Meeting St
Charleston, SC 29403

Charleston Places To Love - Samantha Brown

The Best ‘Cue in Town (& Maybe in the Country)

Food fanatics will travel long distances to great barbecue. In the southeast, it’s pitmaster Rodney Scott who draws crowds from all over the world to taste his signature whole hog barbecue. His family is legendary in the ‘cue world, and for the longest time, they sold it out of Scott’s Variety, a convenience store and grocery located on the side of an old highway. In July of 2016, Rodney decided to start a new chapter and open his own place. Rodney Scott’s Bar-B-Que in Charleston still does whole hog barbecue, along with an expanded menu that features pit smoked turkey, wings, buttermilk chicken tenders, baked beans, hush puppies, mac and cheese and so much more.


Rodney is a James Beard Award-winning chef—essentially like winning an Oscar in the food world. He’s the first and only pitmaster to win the award.


Rodney Scotts BBQ
1011 King Street
Charleston, SC 29403
(843) 990-9535

Charleston Places To Love - Samantha Brown

A modern hub for Lowcountry handicrafts

I love supporting local artisans when I travel. That’s why visiting Charleston City Market was a dream. Open for 214 years, this lovely hub puts an emphasis on selling 100% locally-made goods. From body products to jewelry, clothes to home goods, it’s a one-stop shop.

It’s also where you can find one of the city’s most sought-after works of art – the sweetgrass basket. With more than 50 resident Gullah artisans, the Charleston City Market is the very epicenter of sweetgrass basketry. I met Corey Alston, a fifth-generation sweetgrass basket-maker. Called Gullah baskets, these creations are truly works of art. Their roots date back to 1,000 years before the slave trade, and came to South Carolina with the arrival of slaves. Today, Corey is passing on this traditional handicraft to his daughter, Yesmine. What makes Corey’s work exceptional is not just the designs of the weave, but a tightness to it as well, that gives the baskets their weight and strength.


The Smithsonian American Art Museum’s permanent collection includes a sweetgrass basket made by Mary Jackson, whose finely detailed, sculptural baskets first appeared at the Charleston City Market in 1980. Her devotion to the centuries-old craft was recognized on the world stage in 2008 when the MacArthur Foundation named Mary a MacArthur Fellow.


Historic Charleston City Market
188 Meeting St
Charleston, SC 29401

Charleston, South Carolina

Coming Face to Face with the Undead

Charleston has three types of citizens – those who are very much alive, those who are very much dead, and then… the undead. There’s no better place to meet these spooky residents than the Old City Jail. While in operation, over 14,000 people died in this historic building, including some of Charleston’s most infamous criminals. I’m talking 19th-century pirates and Civil War prisoners. Located on Magazine Street downtown, the Old City Jail was in operation from 1802 until 1939, and most of the building’s original structures — like the cells and warden’s quarters — remain intact.

I toured the place with Randy Johnson, a native Charlestonian and “recovering attorney,” who led me on a paranormal investigation. Even though it was daytime, this place gave me the heebie-jeebies!


Sign up for one of Bulldog Tours’ award-winning ghost tours, paranormal tours, dungeon and cemetery tours… fun, insightful, and goosebump inducing!


Old City Jail
1967, 21 Magazine St
Charleston, SC 29401

Charleston Places To Love - Samantha Brown

The Future of Food

Founded in 1681, Boone Hall Plantation is one of the oldest in the United States. Englishman Major John Boone came to Charleston and established a plantation and gracious home on the banks of Wampacheone Creek. In 1955, the McRae Family purchased the plantation. The following year, it was open to the public. The McRae Family still owns the property, and they continue to make improvements to the plantation so that our visitors can experience what plantation life was like.

Today, nine slave cabins remain on the property, each telling an important story about the people who once lived there. Boone Hall Plantation is the only plantation in the S.C. Lowcountry to present live Gullah educational performances, all centered on the culture created by African slaves.

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Once known for cotton and pecans, the plantation is still actively producing strawberries, tomatoes, peaches, and a variety of other produce throughout the spring, summer, and fall.


Boone Hall Plantation
1235 Long Point Road
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464
Phone 843-884-4371



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