Two Days in Charleston for the History Buff

For the history buff, the American south, specifically Charleston, is a treasure trove of discovery. As one of the United States’ most strategic naval and logistics sites on the East Coast, it has played an integral role in every major American conflict from the Revolutionary War to the Cold War. Here’s our two-day guide to Charleston for the history buff.

Fort Moultrie

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Start your first day with a trip off the peninsula to nearby Sullivan’s Island where you’ll find one of the most war-weathered military locations in the country, Fort Moultrie. In the Revolutionary War, it stood as the final defense of the city from invading British troops and helped American forces win a major victory due to its clever construction of shock-absorbent palmetto logs. It was a key strategic defense point in every major American conflict until World War II. The beach head beneath the fort offers one of the most spectacular views of the Charleston Harbor. Afterwards, grab lunch at Poe’s Tavern, named after the famous American writer who stayed at Fort Moultrie during his brief stint in the army.

USS Yorktown

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If you’re looking for some large-scale military history after lunch, drive over to Patriot’s Point for a tour of the USS Yorktown. Named after the famous ship that sunk during the Battle of Midway in World War II, this Essex-class (very large) aircraft carrier takes a prominent and eye-catching spot in the Charleston Harbor. Permanently docked across the river from downtown, this National Historic Landmark now serves as a military museum. Here you’ll see some of America’s most popular aircraft and learn about naval operations from World War II to the Korean War. Also at Patriot’s Point are the Vietnam Experience Exhibit and Medal of Honor Museum, as well as several decommissioned battleships and a submarine.

Fort Sumter

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Start your second day off with a sea voyage to Charleston’s most famous fort, Fort Sumter, from which the first shots of the Civil War were fired. The fort remains an iconic sight in the center of Charleston’s bustling harbor. Reachable only by ferry, Fort Sumter is an excellent place to commemorate our nation’s most divisive conflict while viewing the city from its most unique location.

The Battery

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To finish your travel through time, walk through Charleston’s historic French Quarter neighborhood to the Battery, also known as White Point Gardens. This public park south of Broad Street offers immaculate sunset views of the Charleston Harbor. Explore the arrangement of cannons and statues commemorating Charleston’s tumultuous yet fascinating past. Once the sun has set, scurry down to East Bay Street where a host of restaurants and bars line the avenue from fine dining to cocktail joints.

With its impressive military history and vital role in some of America’s most important conflicts, Charleston is sure to leave the history nut in you eager to explore.

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An Evening at the Theatre

Now that the hustle and bustle of the new year is settling down, it’s the perfect time to dress up, hit the town and treat yourself to a night out. Charleston’s vibrant and robust theatre scene is a great way to celebrate the coming year. From grand auditoriums to comedic hot spots, this coastal town offers a big city level of limelight options.

Gaillard Center

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If you’re looking for a grandiose experience that will stun your senses with some of the best artistic performances, look no further than the Gaillard Center. This immense, newly renovated 1,800-seat auditorium is the cultural center of Charleston and offers a wide range of shows from classical ballet and opera to modern dance. Perhaps the most iconic performance location in Charleston, Gaillard Center serves as the premiere venue for the world-renowned Spoleto Festival USA and the Charleston Symphony Orchestra.

Theatre 99

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If grand opera and folks in tights aren’t your thing, venture to Theatre 99 to enjoy some comedy gold. As Charleston’s best place for stand up comedy and improv, this comedic enclave will have your rolling on the floor laughing as you experience some of the South’s top talent. If you’re looking to take a step out of your comfort zone or even brush up on your comedy skills, visit during the daytime for one of Theatre 99’s improv training classes.

PURE Theatre

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You’ve tried the grand concert halls. You’ve had your go at the comedy troupes. You want something edgier; more modern. PURE Theatre has what you’re looking for. This reputable King Street Theatre showcases a strong ensemble of 13 professional actors that emphasize provocative, contemporary performances. Their focus on risk-taking and passionate commitment on the stage sets them apart.

Dock Street Theatre

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For those who want more than just a wonderful performance, why not visit the oldest theatre in the country? Dock Street Theatre, which has graced Charleston’s historic French Quarter neighborhood since 1736, showcased the nation’s first opera performance, Flora, and continues to wow audiences today. With its beautiful wooden auditorium, wrought iron balcony and sandstone columns, it regularly features one of Charleston’s most reputable acting troupes, the Charleston Resident Acting Company. The theatre displays a wide range of events from musicals to plays. The newly renovated bar and outdoor patio also offer a great spot to socialize during intermission.

Since the 18th century, Charleston has been considered one of America’s premiere cultural centers, combining the magnificent splendor of its European influencers with the boldness and individualism of the American spirit. Today, that heritage remains and is personified in its diverse and blossoming theatrical culture. Make it a night out to truly remember and enjoy a luxurious meal with live jazz at the Charleston Grill after the performance.

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The Conductor Holiday Cocktail

The holiday season creates an enchanting atmosphere at Belmond Charleston Place. With festive decorations and the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express (VSOE) train display, the hotel magically comes alive. Located on the lobby level, the Thoroughbred Club features special holiday drinks, available for a limited time. The Conductor, created in honor of the hotel’s VSOE train display, wraps the sweet smell of holiday treats into a must-try drink.

The Conductor:

  • 1.5 oz. Wild Turkey American Honey, infused with vanilla bean and cinnamon
  • 1 oz. Hoodoo Chicory liquer 
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 round lemon slice, for garnish
  • Granulated sugar, for garnish

Rub a lemon slice along the rim of a martini glass, then dip the glass into a dish of sugar. Combine all liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Stir,  then strain liquid into the glass.  Garnish with lemon slice.

For the bourbon infusion: Place one vanilla bean and and one cinnamon stick in the Wild Turkey American Honey bottle and let it infuse for at least a week. Strain before using. 

With an intimate setting and live music, the Thoroughbred Club is the perfect spot for a group gathering or to cozy up with a loved one. Stop by to indulge in this holiday drink or create it at home for your next holiday party. Toast to the season!

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