CHARLESTON HORSE-DRAWN CARRIAGE TOURS + SURROUNDS
Five horse-drawn carriage companies are located in the bustling Market Street district. There are five different zones/routes, but drivers and riders never know in advance which one they will get because it is decided by lottery. A local says, “I haven't had a bad tour yet.” It is interesting to know that the only city with a larger historic zone is Rome, Italy.
|horse-drawn carriage tour of Charleston, South Carolina, with view of leaning St. Philip's Church|
Palmetto Carriage Works 6 Guignard St., (843) 723-8145. From 9am. Reservations recommended. Free parking.
This is the oldest carriage company in town, and it operates out of Charleston’s oldest and largest barn. Palmetto Carriage Works is known for having experienced guides and treating their animals well, and it is the only company that uses mules. Riders board inside an air-conditioned red barn, from a platform that allows passengers to walk right into the carriage--eliminating stepping up. Tours last one hour.
|boarding the horse-drawn carriage inside barn at Palmetto Carriage Works in Charleston, South Carolina|
My tour was of Zone 1, which took us through the oldest French Quarter in the U.S. and past a magnificent parade of vintage houses. It included:
●Rainbow Row (99-101 East Bay St.), which is seen on many of the carriage rides. Built between the 1720s and 1790s, it was considered a slum after the Civil War. A renovation in the early 1900s gave it the pretty Caribbean colors still seen today.
|Rainbow Row in Charleston, South Carolina|
Located just a block from the carriage rides,
●Charleston City Market Market St./between Meeting and East Bay sts., (843) 937-0920. Daily times vary by season.
This market is a must see. Built in 1841 to sell produce and meat, today this open-air covered market features independent merchants selling a variety of items that make good souvenirs. At the entrances, Gullah ladies weave and sell prized sweet grass baskets. At one end, a newer enclosed and air-conditioned section can bring welcome relief from the heat.
|sweet grass baskets at Charleston City Market in Charleston, South Carolina|
|Christmas ornaments at Charleston City Market in Charleston, South Carolina|
Among the food stands in the new section is:
●Hot Little Biscuit 188 Meeting St., (843-577-8900. Sweet little handmade Southern dinner biscuits featuring a variety of fillings are hard to resist. And because they are small, you don’t need to. (When you get home, make your own cream biscuits using my recipe, which I think is even better.
|yummy biscuits at Hot Little Biscuit at Charleston City Market in Charleston, South Carolina|
Outside the market, the street is additionally lined with specialty shops and restaurants. Located just a block from the carriage rides is:
●5 Church 32 N. Market St., Ansonborough, (843) 937-8666. L M-F, D daily, Sat-SunBr.
Situated within a former church that was desanctified in the 1960s, this unusual venue provides the opportunity to dine in a massive room with beautiful stained-glass windows. The high ceiling was hand-painted by artist John Norris with Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” written out in its entirety (his wife read the book to him while he wrote on the ceiling.) It took four months to complete and is a breathtaking sight to contemplate. The sophisticated-yet-casual decor includes a white concrete bar, black leather banquettes, and elaborate chandeliers. A more intimate dining room and outdoor patio adjoin. The innovative New-American cuisine menu includes a delicious Lamb Burger with gorgonzola fondue and a sweet Crispy Chicken Roulade. A variety of signature steaks and seafood are also options. The full bar serves up some tasty cocktails, including the mai tai-like Lucky of the Irish, which consists of pineapple, orange juice, lemon juice, orgeat, and Jameson whisky. I downed two with no trouble. More restaurants in former churches.
|dramatic interior of 5 Church restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina|
|dramatic hand-painted ceiling of 5 Church restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina|
More things to do in Charleston, South Carolina.
More ideas for travel adventures in California and the U.S. and around the world.
images ©2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers