For our third day in Charleston, we decided to sleep in a little and grab breakfast from Toast, a restaurant a couple of blocks from the hotel and home to the bottomless mimosa. Unfortunately since the husband was driving and I didn’t want to drink alone, we did not partake in the mimosas… we’ll save those for the next trip. Breakfast was alright, pretty typical fare. The service was efficient and friendly.
After breakfast, we hopped in the car and drove out to Drayton Hall, a former plantation about a 20 minute drive from Charleston. This was one of my favorite places we visited on vacation. The house was built in the 1730s by John Drayton and was held for seven generations by the Drayton family until the 1970s. It is another property that rather than being restored is simply being preserved as it is, which means you get a unique perspective of how the home has weathered the last three hundred years. The home itself is stunning. Much of the elaborate architectural detailing is still present and breathtaking. Our guide, Peggy (who carried a beatin’ spoon), was full of great information about the house, its history, and the history of the Drayton family. We did walk some of the grounds along the river and visited the African-American cemetary on the property, but because of the heat and still having other places to visit, we decide to delay the marsh walk to another time.
After our visit to Drayton Hall, we proceeded down the road to Middleton Place, a former rice plantation. Middleton place was begun in the 1750s by Henry Middleton and today is referred to as the Versailles of the U.S. While I’m not sure I would go that far, the gardens are lovely and you can certainly spend the better part of a day getting lost in them. One can visit what’s left of the home for an additional fee, but we chose to stick with the gardens for our visit. The original main house was destroyed by Union troops during the Civil War anyway (damn Yankees). One of my favorite parts was the spring house which housed the slave Sunday school on the top floor- really intersting to see. One should be aware that there are lots of creatures on the property. We saw spiders the size of your hand. The husband saw a black snake on the side of the trail that he thankfully didn’t tell me about until after I had passed that point. And I found the alligators floating very nearby at the river’s edge. So beware!
After our visit to Middleton, we headed back to Charleston and chilled in the hotel room until dinner time. Tonight’s dinner was Poogan’s Porch, a supposedly haunted former house a few blocks from the hotel. You’ll hear a lot of about the restaurant online, and it bears mentioning that it is considered to be a tourist place, not somewhere that locals dine often. That said, I had heard that the food was pretty good so we went. It was nice and casual with a pretty decent sized crowd. Our server seemed nervous and scattered, but the food was definitely good. I was a big fan of my sweet tea glazed salmon with candied lemon and mint risotto. Yum.
After dinner, we had tickets for the haunted jail tour run by Bulldog Tours. The tour takes you into the old Charleston jail, used between 1802 and 1939. By day, it’s now a place where art restoration students can practice their craft, but by night, it’s wicked creepy and the perfect setting for a little ghost story telling. On the night that we went, it happened to start storming pretty badly during dinner and continued all thru the night. That only added to the already eery atmosphere. I really enjoyed the tour. Our guide was entertaining and knowledgable, and the rooms were pretty interesting to see. The tales about the treatment of the prisoners and some of their crimes and punishments were also incredible to hear. I don’t think we saw any ghosts and I don’t think we caught any in pictures either, but I swear I heard a voice in one of the larger cell rooms… OOOHOOoooooooOOOOOHH… are you spooked yet? 😉
After the jail tour we trotted back to the hotel as the rain started dying down and made it to bed for our next day’s adventures!