It was time for another wonderful road trip to the coast of South Carolina!

This time our destination was first, to Charleston and then on to Beaufort
(that’s bu-fert), South Carolina.
(NOT to be confused  with Beaufort (pronounced bo-fert) North Carolina.

As I started writing this post and worked my way through all that we saw and did in Charleston I realized there was just TOO much to put into one post if I covered both of our stops. So, this week it is Charleston and next week will be Beaufort.

Let’s begin with one of the hundreds of beautiful gardens:

We arrived in Charleston for two nights and the weather totally cleared and warmed up. Thank goodness. The annual “Festival of Houses and Gardens” is sponsored by the Historic Charleston Foundation and runs each year for about a month. This year (you still have time to go!) it is from March 16-April 22.

Of course, garden gates are always a pleasure to see and photograph:

The Azaleas were spectacular. I hadn’t realized we would be there at their peak time of bloom, and what a nice surprise..

One of the prettiest poppies I have ever seen, in front of the Rutledge House:

Snapdragons were everywhere:

Here are my ideas and suggestions for things to do, events, places and my recommendations:

1. The tours above. (Festival of Houses and Gardens.)  There is quite a variety of garden and house tours including some trips out of the city to plantations. Take your pick! I went on The Anson Street Tour and enjoyed every minute and came away with ideas and certainly a better sense of that particular area’s history.  This particular tour page is no longer on their site as the two dates have passed! But look over the other tours.

2. The Gibbes Museum. I had been here three years ago just before it closed for a total renovation. And now it is open and better than ever and, I think, one of the stars in Charleston.

Lovely garden at the back of the museum:

Look who was here, finishing up his installation….
Patrick Dougherty. I had met him during his installation at the
North Carolina Botanical Garden.

This louder than life poster is on the main floor!

I am IN LOVE with these new mugs I bought in the gift shop!!
Unfortunately their gift shop is not yet on line…so I guess you will just have to go there to pick up some of these!

3. Eli’s Table. Very convenient to many hotels, this restaurant is right on Meeting St, next to the Gibbes. It is delightful! The service, the interior, the garden and the food are all first rate and I highly recommend it. We had been several years ago, one freezing cold evening and had liked it so wanted to try again. It did not disappoint. I had a small plate: the “Shrimp and Pancakes” along with a side of Grilled Asparagus. I’ve started to always order small plates and not an entree. And more restaurants seem to be stepping in line with this way of eating!

This is the “Shrimp and Pancakes”: Chai spiced shrimp, sweet potato pancakes, mango slaw and sherry glaze. Yes, it was delicious! And combined with the Grilled Asparagus Salad!

4. Historic Charleston Shop  I didn’t hold out much hope of this shop being anything special … and I was wrong! It has some really nice items, both for myself and for gifts. Their book selection is first rate. Many good cook books, many of them being local, Southern and regional cooking . The architecture selection was very good. And the garden section…well, there was so much to choose from I had a hard time walking away. Even the scented candle selection had some brands that were new to me and, surprise surprise, seemed very reasonable priced.

I bought this for myself. You can never have enough cookbooks, right?

5.Walk!   I put on my sneakers and walked and walked. And took pictures. And rested on stone walls. And then collapsed back in our room. Not a bad way to spend a few days!

And this week’s Friday Flowers will feature an update on my tulips!