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A Taste of Charleston

by Monica Conrady

hen my husband, Ray, joined the vessel Integrity, a ship taking relief supplies from east coast ports to Haiti, I arranged to join him for his final voyage.

This meant flying to Charleston, South Carolina, then making my way to nearby Georgetown where the ship was docked. I was delighted to be going to Charleston — a place long on my travel wish list. My visit would be short and sweet – only one full day — and the August weather would be hot
and humid, but — I went anyway.

It was after 7PM when I arrived at the Kings Courtyard Inn, a delightful place in the heart of Charleston’s historic district. After partaking of a welcome glass of sherry in the lounge, I retired
to my comfy room with its huge fourposter bed, so high off the ground it came with a little stepping stool. It gave real meaning to the phrase ‘to climb
into bed.’

A little named Poogan … became the restaurant's greeter from his spot on the front porch.

Next morning, I awoke refreshed and ready to make the most of my day in town. After a generous continental breakfast served in the Inn’s lovely courtyard, I made my way to the Charleston Visitor Center. Normally I walk everywhere when I’m
visiting a new city but this time I decided a tour was in order. A horse-drawn carriage or even a pedicab would have been nice, but in this heat, air-conditioning won out over romance and I opted for a minibus tour.

The 90-minute “Doin’ the Charleston” was my tour of choice. We meandered through the leafy streets of historic Charleston, past gracious old homes with wraparound porches, hidden gardens and unexpected courtyards while our guide, Marvin Katzen, a dapper gentleman, kept us informed and entertained.

We passed the Old Marine Hospital, original home of the Jenkins Orphanage, established for African-American street children, which operated from 1895 to 1939, and is now a National Historic Landmark. To raise funds, the Jenkins Orphanage
Band was formed, and eventually its young members, wearing discarded Citadel uniforms, performed all over the United States and even toured England.

We then made our way to the White Point Gardens on the waterfront, also known as The Battery, where we disembarked and climbed onto the seawall for a panoramic view of the harbor and the grand mansions that faced it.

That evening, I joined my fellow guests for a wine and cheese gathering in the lounge, after which I walked the couple of blocks to Queen Street and Poogan’s Porch, my restaurant of choice.

Poogan’s Porch was originally a family home, built in 1891. When it became a restaurant in 1976, one former resident stayed on — a little dog named Poogan. For him, the porch at 72 Queen Street was home. For years he’d been a neighborhood fixture, much loved by every family on the block. He then became the restaurant’s greeter from his spot on the front porch. He’s long gone but his spirit lives

For dinner I chose real lowcountry fare — she-crab soup (laced with dry sherry) followed by fried green tomatoes with pecan encrusted goat cheese and peach chutney. Yummy.

After a farewell-to-me sherry in the lounge, I retired to my four-poster bed for another perfect night’s sleep, and the next morning departed for Georgetown to meet my sweetheart.

One thing I know for sure. Spend just one day in Charleston and you’ll not rest until you return.

Charleston, SC: www.explorecharleston.com.
Kingscourtyard Inn: www.kingscourtyardinn.com

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The author, viewing where Poogan is Remembered
Ginny KIbler photo

A Lovely Courtyard — for a Quiet Rendezvous
Charming Inns photo

King's Courtyard Inn — a Perfect Hideaway
Charming Inns photo