Friday, July 15, 2011

So your coming to the Colonies ( Or Some tips for our friends visting from across the pond)

Portsmouth have some great fans to be sure.  For all they have gone through over the last couple years you can't help have a soft spot for someone who has stood beside their club.  And while they have one of soccer's most recognizable and (in?)famous fans in John Portsmouth Football Club Westwood, there are scores of others that are  equally as passionate about the club.

On July 17, Portsmouth FC will take on our local boys, the Charleston Battery.  Portsmouth will also spend the majority of their time training here in the States based in Charleston.  So for those supporters making the trip over, here are some tips and suggestions while you are staying in the Charleston area.

1.  Its hot and humid.
You likely will get of the plane and think you've walked into a steam bath.  Most visitors are going to want to take advantage of all the sites and scenery Charleston has to offer but pace yourself.  Drink plenty of water and try to do things early in the morning or late afternoon.  Take lots of breaks.  Charleston is a laid back type of place so popping into a bar or pub while downtown in the middle of the afternoon is totally acceptable.

Make sure you wear sunscreen or a hat, getting sunburned the first day can make things pretty miserable for a couple days. 

2. Things to see
There is a lot to do and see.  Of course, everyone has their own likes and dislikes, so here is a link to the local visitor center be sure to check out the video gallery (25 different videos) and links to most things in the area.

For me here is the top places to visit and things to do while in town in no particular order:
Carriage ride -good way to start the visit as it gives you a some history of the city plus you can get a good layout of downtown and go back to visit some of the places along the tour if you wish
Market Street- four blocks of local vendors selling everything from paintings to jewelry to Charleston's famous sweet grass baskets. 
The Aquarium - not the biggest or best in the States but it is nice and a good way to get out of the heat for the afternoon
The Beach- lounging around on holiday is always a top priority.  Folly Beach, Isle of Palms, Sullivan's Island are all within about 15 min of downtown.   If you want to try your hand at some local fishing, you can get a single day license and rent all the kit at the pier on Folly Beach.
Take a walk- You really will appreciate Charleston by walking.  You can wander the streets looking at the houses and gardens and our famous wrought iron fences, gates and ornaments or you can check out one of the many walking tours including Ghost walks, Pirate walks, Garden walks and a few others.
Get on the water-whether you take a harbor tour or rent a kayak on Shem creek.  One of my favorites is the sunset sails on the Schooner Pride 
Fort Sumter- for history buffs, its where the American Civil War began.
USS Yorktown- an American aircraft carrier with a lot of static displays of aircraft,
Check out a plantation  Boone Hall, Drayton hall, Magnolia or Middleton Place are all nice.  Boone Hall feature the quintessential oak lined avenue leading to the front of the house.

Some other cool things;  Charleston Museum, Firefly Distillery (sweet tea vodka), Charleston Tea Plantation, Morris Island lighthouse, Waterfront Park, Ft. Moultrie (fort that was attacked in the movie "Glory" by the all black unit the 54th Massachusetts during the Civil War), and Charles Towne landing.  

3.  Eat
Charleston is a great place for food.  Everything from upscale to down home.  Seafood, fresh vegetables, pork.  There are some dishes which you have to try; Shrimp and Grits, pulled pork with a mustard based BBQ, boiled peanuts, steam local oysters, Fried Green tomatoes and any local seafood.  Generally, servings are big and prices are reasonable.  Feel free to ask for recommendation based on what you want and how much you want to spend in the comments area and I'm sure we can help you out.

4.  Bars and nightlife
There are several places downtown that are pretty good,  The Gryffin and Liberty Tavern for more traditional pub feel.  Big john's Tavern for those that want to experience a true American dive bar.  For those wanting to let there hair down, Market Street Saloon (think of the movie Coyote Ugly were the girls occasionally dance on the bar)  Outside of downtown,  our local bar that shows footie if its on television is the Madra Rua (owned by a Liverpool supporter but we all get along (normally) when we watch matches) ,  very quaint and a place the locals go. Not really in the nicest part of town but definitely worth stopping by for a match and a couple pints.  Again, let us know what type place your looking for and we'll direct you in the right direction.

5.  Shopping  I'm sure someone will want to go shopping,  There are four retail shopping malls in the area,  Northwoods and Citadel malls are traditional shopping malls,  couple big department stores, with tons of smaller stores.  There is an Outlet mall where most major stores sell last years lines or overages usually for a pretty good discount.   there is also a big outdoor style mall in Mt. Pleasant area.  Another good place for shopping is King Street downtown (near the Market).  Many of the high-end shops have stores their but there are quite a few locally owned shops that are pretty reasonable as well.

Charleston is a great city, and different from most American cities.  There is a sense of community pride normally found in small towns.  People are mostly friendly and it is easy to strike up a conversation. 

No comments: