CHEWIN’ ON CHARLESTON IN WINTER

Charleston Harbor

So I spent last weekend bathed in sunshine silhouette by palms – er, palmetto’s – in Charleston, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia. Yes, the temperature hovered around 35-45, definitely hovering around the lower extremes for the area, even in Februrary. Why Charleston? Why Savannah? Why now? Well, last February we undertook a 10-day Southern road trip and I figured an anniversary swing down to the only major coastal ports north of Florida I hadn’t been to yet was in store.

Five quick thoughts before I get into some pictures…

1) Charleston is a paradise in any season. Having been to San Juan (Puerto Rico), it seems cut out of the same Caribbean cloth. Not only that but it’s clean, accessible, fun, vibrant and friendly. I never understood why it was considered such a prime vacation destination – I do now.

2) Savannah is like Charleston-lite, a little more south-y and a little more mysterious (the Spanish moss adds to that effect). Savannah is also much smaller, about half the size (without consulting population statistics, I actually thought Savannah was the larger of the two. I may be a geo-nerd, but I still have things to learn!).

3) Charleston can be done “on your own” if you just want to admire the beauty of the city. Savannah, on the other hand, may be better done with a guide or some extra help. It’s harder to spot the prime spots in Savannah and it’s not as walk-able as Charleston. Charleston you can just enjoy wherever you walk, whereas Savannah seems more point-to-point. Savannah does have those famous squares, though, lots and lots of squares.

4) No journey to Savannah is complete without venturing out to Fort Pulaski and Tybee Island. This made the day trip for us! (I’ll post later about my visits to Fort Sumter in Charleston and Pulaski – we’ll keep the photos here generally restricted to the towns themselves).

5) Side trip! There’s always room for these on any road trip. We managed to stop in New Bern, N.C. and the birthplace of Pepsi-Cola as well as a quick dinner stop in Myrtle Beach on the drive from D.C. to Charleston. It made for a longer – 14 hours, including enjoying the stops – but more interesting drive through the eastern Carolinas. I also added a handful of counties to my tab, pushing the number to 663.

Onto the photos!

The market was pretty packed on a cool, but sunny, morning. I wonder what this place is like in Summer...

The Charleston City Market was pretty packed on a cool, but sunny, morning. I wonder what this place is like in Summer…

The famous Charleston City Market (and me). Get your souvenirs and other things you probably don't need here.

The famous Charleston City Market (and me). Get your souvenirs and other things you probably don’t need here.

The market shares a physical resemblance with Faneuil Hall in Boston, but Charleston's market is catered to craft and souvenir-hounds, not street foodies.

The market shares a physical resemblance with Faneuil Hall in Boston, but Charleston’s market is catered to craft and souvenir-hounds, not street foodies.

There are more than a few places to eat in the downtown area regardless of your taste or preference.

There are more than a few places to eat in the downtown area regardless of your taste or preference.

Each building in Charleston is a treat in its own right. Whether you want to know the history or not, it all makes for an eclectic stroll through the town.

Each building in Charleston is a treat in its own right. Whether you want to know the history or not, it all makes for an eclectic stroll through the town.

St. Philip's Cathedral towers above the waterfront skyline of Charleston.

St. Philip’s Cathedral towers above the waterfront skyline of Charleston.

A little art-deco goin' on in Charleston

A little art-deco goin’ on in Charleston

A southern treat! Fried Okra! The Early Bird Diner serves some of the best home cookin' around in the area.

A southern treat! Fried Okra! The Early Bird Diner serves some of the best home cookin’ around in the area.

Various Pepsi cans and collectibles on display at the Pepsi Birthplace Store and Museum in New Bern, NC

Various Pepsi cans and collectibles on display at the Pepsi Birthplace Store and Museum in New Bern, NC

That's me outside the Birthplace of Pepsi in New Bern, NC. Originally called Bradfham's Pharmacy after its owner, Caleb Bradham and where he created Brad's Drink, which would eventually become Pepsi.

That’s me outside the Birthplace of Pepsi in New Bern, NC. Originally called Bradfham’s Pharmacy after its owner, Caleb Bradham and where he created Brad’s Drink, which would eventually become Pepsi.

Get your Pepsi t-shirts at the Pepsi Birthplace in New Bern, NC

Get your Pepsi t-shirts at the Pepsi Birthplace in New Bern, NC

The charming waterfront of Savannah, GA

The charming waterfront of Savannah, GA

An old five and dime houses new occupants in downtown Savannah

An old five and dime houses new occupants in downtown Savannah

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil was famed for its cover photo depicting the "Bird Girl" (since moved to a local museum). The Bird Girl resided right here at the Bonaventure Cemetery.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil was famed for its cover photo depicting the “Bird Girl” (since moved to a local museum). The Bird Girl resided right here at the Bonaventure Cemetery.

Little Gracie Watson is the "star" of Bonaventure these days.

Little Gracie Watson is the “star” of Bonaventure these days.

A ship docked on the waterfront of Savannah. Kids were loving this...

A ship docked on the waterfront of Savannah. Kids were loving this…

The view of the top of Tybee Island, where the southermost point of South Carolina (across the shore)

The view of the top of Tybee Island, where the southermost point of South Carolina (across the shore)

Amazing meal of crab and shrimp at Stingray's Seafood in Tybee Island

Amazing meal of crab and shrimp at Stingray’s Seafood in Tybee Island

The lighthouse in Tybee Island, which, despite efforts to demolish it, stood throughout the Civil War.

The lighthouse in Tybee Island, which, despite efforts to sack it, stood throughout the entire Civil War.

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