I love Charleston! Give me a few hours on a bike, and I promise to smile the rest of the day! A South Carolina resident for 15 years, many times I brought my bike down to Charleston to soak up the history. Now married and living in California, my husband and I make an annual pilgrimage to Charleston to ride bikes.
Last summer, Charleston was named the best city in America and the second best city in the world by Travel + Leisure magazine. Read why Charleston is so loved by experienced travelers. (Kyoto, Japan, was ranked the No. 1 city in the world.)
Last week my husband and I went to South Carolina to celebrate my 50th birthday with friends. My friend Teri and I both turned 50 in March. After spending our 40th birthday’s together in Savannah, we planned to spend a weekend close to our 50th birthdays again this year! We talked about going to Paris once and a Napa a few times, but with a lot going on, we settled on the South Carolina state capital. Before all the festivities began in Columbia, we hit Charleston for a couple of days.
We stayed at an Airbnb house off King Street and enjoyed Charleston for a couple of days (more to come in another blog about where we ate!)
On Thursday morning, we rented bikes for $6 a hour from The Bicycle Shoppe. The Bicycle Shoppe was located across the street from College of Charleston and their service rocked! It was near The Trunk Show. The Trunk Show’s an amazing consignment store totally decked out in designer clothes, shoes, and accessories!
We started by riding bikes down King Street. I think my husband was shocked when we didn’t stop once to go into a store on King Street. There were hundreds! We then rode bikes along the Battery. When we stopped for a few minutes to look out over the water, we saw two different schools of dolphins headed out to Fort Sumter. We were delighted to see nature’s finest at work in the water!
I had to stop more than a few times to take photos of the gorgeous mansions on the Battery. There were many guided tours going on around Charleston. We stopped and listened near one when she talked about Rainbow Row before we started pedaling again.
My husband asked why the fountain in Waterfront Park had a pineapple on it. I explained to him the pineapple was considered a sign of welcome in the South. It’s a sign of hospitality. When someone’s door knocker is a pineapple – you know they know how to entertain!
There were so many amazing historical buildings. The building on the right was the South Carolina Society Hall. Read more about its history here.
We were able to go into St. Phillips Church on Church Street. All the times I have been down to Charleston, the doors to the church were always locked so this was a check on my mini bucket list for me! Established in 1680, it was the Mother Church of the Diocese of South Carolina. Read more here. The gentleman inside was kind enough to tell us about the church. He told us why the pews had locks on them (known as family pews, if you had a pew up front – everyone knew you gave the most money to the church).
While the church was gorgeous outside, I was more fascinated by the graveyard on the church grounds! Two men who signed the Declaration of Independence were buried here: Charles Pinckney and Edward Rutledge.
Walking on the cemetery grounds was one of the best parts of the day! There was so much history in the cemetery. It seems like spring brings the best out of this cemetery.
Because I was born a St. Louis Cardinals fan and I knew my mom would get a kick out of it, I took a photo of the gravestone with the name Robert Dewar Wainwright. I’m not sure if they were kin to Adam Wainwright, but since Adam was from St. Simons Island, Georgia – there was a chance.
We rode around some more and when I heard a tour guide tell her group “That’s the best store in Charleston!”, we parked our bikes and went in. The tour guide was right! I bought a birthday present for Teri as we chatted with the lovely ladies who run “The Boutique”. They were really funny, especially when we talked about being Gamecock fans (us) and Clemson fans (one of them). I took a picture of the street signs so I would remember where The Boutique was next time I went to Charleston (Church and Broad).
I had to keep stopping to take pictures of the many pretty houses, doors, and plants. My husband didn’t mind stopping – he liked reading all the signs on the historical houses.
The two photos below were from the same house. I loved the door bell as much as I loved the door! Notice the man’s head above the door! The color of that door was amazing in person!
Living in the Bay Area, we were excited to see a Warriors flag flapping in the wind outside of a house in the Battery. I was a little curious (we also walked around inside the shop Curiosity) when the Warriors flag was paired with a Davidson flag, the alma mater of two-time NBA MVP Steph Curry. Was this his house or maybe a relative?
We loved the house below with all the greenery growing on the walls. After riding bikes for almost four hours, it was about time to stop and get something to eat. We were thirsty!
How did we celebrate another successful day of bike riding in Charleston? Of course by stopping by Jestine’s Sweet Shop! A waiter the day before told us that Charleston was known for coconut cake. We settled for a coconut bar instead! It was as delish as the sights we pedaled past all morning!
About Traveling Charleston historical history jestines sweet shop king street nba south carolina south carolina society hall st. philips church steph curry the bicycle shoppe travel + leisure traveling warriors
Why Travel, Cooking and DIY? A creative type, I have always loved painting and decorating as a hobby. Upcycling is a real passion. My mom was a Home Ec teacher when we were growing up. I learned a lot from her and because I love hosting get-togethers, I had to step up my game in the kitchen as well. And lastly, my love of travel comes from my Grandma Schmitt.
An Illinois native, I worked in the White House Communications Agency early in my career (President Reagan), prior to returning to Illinois State University to finish my undergraduate and Master's. After a couple of post-graduate internships (minor league baseball and Big Ten Conference), I then worked in college athletics full-time for more than 22 years -- first at the University of South Carolina for 15 years and then at Santa Clara University for the last seven years. We moved to Tampa, Florida in Dec., 2016 after spending 8.5 years in Northern California.