Tag: "South Carolina"

Traveling around South Carolina looking for a retirement spot

Someone mentioned that his parents had just retired to Bluffton, SC. Spurred by that, my wife and I are headed to Bluffton in a couple of weeks to check it out. Her excuse is that they are having a marathon there and mine is that I want to get out of the cold. Retirement is still several years away but we are doing a meandering look at areas that might be potential places to settle down and gum our food.

So, I wanted to ask, is there anything in Bluffton that we should focus on while we visit, with the goal of a potential landing spot? We will check out Hilton Head and Savannah for tourism stuff so if there is something we shouldn’t miss from that respect that would be cool too.

In the retirement vein, next year we probably will look at Wilmington/Leland, and even New Bern in coastal NC. I heard that those places have higher than average crime though. We’ve also looked at Tempe/Mesa which were really nice. But when they said they had 116 last summer I got a bit scared. Also looked at Prescott and Sedona. Sedona was too pricey and touristy for me. I liked Prescott but it falls a little short of my top criteria of close to a medical university hospital and close to an international airport.

Answer 1: I have heard good things about neighboring Hardeeville. I can say you should definitely check out Savannah, a great town. The Olde Pink House is a cool spot, but if you go, try to eat in the bar downstairs. It is a really old bar, and has the same menu as the dining room. Alligator Soul and The Grey are other restaurants I highly recommend in Savannah. It is also one of 3 towns in the US that allows you to carry your drinks around town.

Answer 2: You should spend some time in Beaufort as well. Smaller town than Savanah but closer to Bluffton. Bluffton/Hilton head area has a range of “plantations” – Finding the right community for your circumstances could take some time.

Answer 3: That might have been me as my mom moved to Bluffton three years ago and LOVEs it. When we visit her, we go Savannah and take the trolley tour of the city. You can get on and off as many times as you want to walk around and check stuff out yourself. I also recommend going to Beaufort and taking the tour. Pretty cool little town and a ton of movies were filmed there. The Big Chill, Forrest Gump and Prince of tides are three off the top of my head. Hilton Head is great but better in the summer.

Answer 4: We moved to Summerville, SC and I love it here. I would check out Daniel Island, Mount Pleasant, Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island etc., all around the Charleston area. These keep you in a great position for North travels (Charlotte, Wilmington, Raleigh), South (Hilton Head, Savannah, GA, Jacksonville, Fla, Orlando, Daytona etc.) all within 5/6 hours.

Answer 5: It’s an awesome place. My daughter was in law enforcement there for 6 years, she recently moved back to upstate NY. My other half and I are definitely looking for a place there. There are several reasons.

1)The beaches are awesome, good sand, not crowded, without the touristy crap. You can even ride a bicycle on them.
2)The golf courses are top notch. Plenty to choose from and not that expensive. Do not go into the woods for balls, it ain’t worth it.
3) Bluffton is not on the island so it is less crowded. In my retirement I want quiet serene drama free days, kids being what they are these days….
4) The amenities, shopping, gas, restaurants are all close and easy to get to.

The drawbacks, there really is not an airport that close, Savannah is only a half an hour away, but flying into it is pricey and finding flight is a pain. South Carolina gets hot and humid even in October/November. I know that’s the reason to go, but maybe I’m not ready to retire yet?

Answer 6: A few years ago we vacationed in Isle of Palms. I loved Mt. Pleasant SC and had a realtor send me a ton of stuff. We know people that recently relocated there as well with great reviews. I have heard good things about Bluffton as well. Still many years before retirement but it never hurts to be prepared.

Mt. Pleasant is a frequent destination for retirees from the Carolinas. The Charleston area has a lot of attractive choices.

Bluffton isn’t bad – I really like that area, but if you are looking to travel North by car, the extra 90 minutes you save helps a lot. Plus, Bluffton and Hilton Head are both tucked away a little off the interstate, although with Bluffton you’re about 10 miles closer than in Hilton Head.

You’ll find air travel easier out of Charleston than Savannah, too.

Probably can’t go wrong in either place, but Charleston area living is more appealing to me.

Answer 7: Bill, we checked out all those beachy towns leading up to retirement…..we chose Summerville SC just outside of Charleston. In my opinion Charleston has more to offer than Savannah or Wilmington. We were looking for Restaurants, History, Entertainment and we found it all in Chuck-town. They play a game called “Golf” down here if you’re interested. Oh and there’s the Yankees Minor-League Team, when they play the BoSox farm team from Greenville upstate — it’s a Rumble.

Beaufort has a nice “small town” feel but is still close to things. New Bern is much the same. I have not been to Bluffton, but it seems kind of remote to me. You should make a few trips to these places as you get closer to Retirement. New Bern, NC is also worth a look.

Travel Plan Idea – Spring Break Destination with more than parties – Charleston, South Carolina

Spring Break is just around the corner, and you are probably thinking of going some place warm, affordable, and not far from home. Charleston is not a tropical island in the Caribbean Sea or a resort on the Mexican coast, but it is a great place to visit. With a mild climate, good beaches, beautiful gardens, and interesting historical attractions dating back to Revolutionary and Civil War days, Spring Break in Charleston can be inexpensive and fun.

Day One – Arrive at Charleston International after noon and take the shuttle bus 10 miles to 26 Vendue Range Street (19 Vendue under renovation). Located in the French Quarter on a waterfront park, the Vendue is within walking distance of dining, shopping, and many attractions. Junior and king suites are tastefully done with antique furnishings and artwork. Some guestrooms feature themes based on a specific person or event in Charleston history. The 4-star Vendue Inn offers continental breakfast, afternoon wine and cheese, and evening cookies and milk. Highly recommended for excellent location and friendly staff. Free bicycle rental.
Rates: From $150-$214/dbl. Romance, City & Beach, & Spa Packages available.

Spend the afternoon exploring the 3-story Old Slave and Provost Dungeon nearby. Relive stories of colonists and pirates, traders and slaves, and the Revolutionary War on a narrated tour through this National Historic landmark. Hours: 9-5pm. Last tour 3:30pm. Admission: Adults – $9, Children (ages 7-12) & College Students – $5.

Dinner and live jazz music at the High Cotton, rated 5 stars for outstanding food, wine, and cocktails. Menu features traditional Southern Low Country, fresh seafood, steak, and a few exotic selections. Prices: $20-$40. Hours: Mon-Fri, 5:30-11pm. Sat, 12Noon-11pm. Sun, 9:30am-10pm.

Day Two – Tours & History

The weather is perfect for a carriage ride and harbor tour on your first full day in Charleston. Bring your camera and join the tour at the Old South Carriage Company on Anson Street at 9am. Narrated by a guide in Confederate uniform, the one-hour tour covers 30 blocks of old, pre-Civil War mansions, churches, and gardens.
Hours: Daily, every 20 minutes, no reservations.

After the carriage tour, you can meet the Spirit Line Harbor Tour leaving at 11am from Aquarium Wharf (use the Market/Waterfront downtown shuttle service). This relaxing, educational tour is skillfully narrated and includes Ft Sumter, Battery Point, Castle Pinckney, and the Cooper River Bridge. Snack bar & beer. Not handicap accessible.
Carriage Tour: Adults – $22, Children (4-11) – $15
Carriage Tour & Harbor Cruise: Adults – $35, Children – $24.

Casual lunch at the Brown Dog Deli on Broad Street. Menu of salads, subs, and hotdogs, all under $10. Hours: Mon-Thurs, 11-6pm. Fri&Sat, 11-8pm. Sun, 11-4pm.

This afternoon, visit the Nathaniel Russell House Museum, a carefully restored National Historic landmark built in the prewar architectural style of the Old South. The 3-story “flying staircase,” fine furniture, paintings, and elegant interior of the grand Russell House are definitely worth seeing. Admission: $10
Hours: Mon-Sat, 10-5pm. Sun, 2-5pm. 30-minute tours, last tour 3:30pm.

Enjoy the atmosphere, fun, and music at Tommy Condon’s Irish Pub tonight. Go Irish for dinner with corned beef or shepherd’s pie along with a Tommy Creation of Guinness and Bass beer. Family oriented, indoor or outdoor dining. Prices: $10-$25. Hours: Sun-Thurs, 11am-1am. Dinner till 10pm. Fri&Sat, 11am-2am, Dinner till 11pm.

Day Three – Plantations & Gardens

What to do today? You could go to the beach on Sullivan’s Island or the Isle of Palms, but the beaches during Spring Break will be very crowded (especially Folly’s). Why not visit a historic plantation instead. The fascinating history of the Charleston Tea Plantation on Wadmalaw Island began in the 1700’s and it remains as America’s only tea garden/farm today. Enjoy the 6-hour Island Sip & See Tour on a trolley ride though the beautiful acres of more than 300 varieties of tea with stops at the Irvin House Vineyard and Firefly Distillery. Gift shop. Hours: Tues & Thurs, 9:30am (from the Visitor’s Center)
Tour Price: $52. Includes catered outdoor lunch, tea, and complimentary glasses.

Return to hotel, relax, and refresh before going to A.W. Shuck’s in the City Market for an informal dinner and cold pitcher of beer. Oyster bar, Low Country shrimp boil, or steamed snow crab legs are popular choices. Try peach bourbon bread pudding, a southern favorite, for dessert. Prices: $15-$30. Hours: Sun-Thurs, 11-10pm. Fri & Sat, 11-11pm.

Day Four – Shopping Spree

Begin a busy walking day with breakfast at Toast, highly recommended by visitors to Charleston. Open – 6am. Prices: $10-$15. Head on over to King Street for upscale shopping at the Copper Penny for ladies apparel & jewelry, Berlin’s for sportswear, and Ben Silver’s for men. Stop by the Charleston Crafts Gallery for wonderful handmade items, and go to Christophe’s Artisan Chocolatier-Patisserie for lunch and unique gifts of French chocolate. You’ll find designer and estate jewelry at Croghan’s Jewel Box, and for a glimpse of Gullah (Low Country) culture, go by Gallery Chuma on Meeting Street. Stroll through the open-air City Market for bargain shopping including baskets, candles, candy, and souvenirs.

Return to the hotel with your purchases and enjoy afternoon wine and cheese. For something different to do tonight, have an early dinner at Bocci’s Italian before the 7:30 comedy show at the Dock Street Theater. Bocci’s features seafood, lasagna, chicken, and veal. Hours: Dinner – 4-10pm, 4-11 (Fri&Sat). Lunch – 11am-4pm. Prices: $10-$25.

The famous old Dock Street Theater, destroyed by the Great Fire of 1740, was eventually rebuilt within the Planter’s Hotel and reopened in 1937 with performances year round. Renovated and updated in 2010, the Theater is currently presenting the award-winning comedy “The Foreigner” by Larry Shue. Tickets: Adults – $34.50-$53.50. Seniors – $2 less. Students & active duty military – $10 less.

Day Five – More historical beauty

After breakfast, consider spending the day on a tour through another great, historic plantation, the Middleton Place. You’ll see America’s oldest landscaped gardens, visit the museum housing Middleton family memorabilia from 1740-1880s, and watch craftsmen in the stableyards recreate the activities of an 18th century rice plantation. The Middleton Place gardens are absolutely beautiful with rare plants, flowers, and trees. In addition, there’s a rice mill pond, butterfly lakes, and Arthur Middleton’s tomb, a signer of the Declaration of Independence who lived on the property. Visit the Garden Market & Nursery, have a light lunch, or dine on typical plantation food at the onsite restaurant.
Hours: Noon-3pm. Prices: Avg $15

Spend-a-Day Package (all inclusive): Adults – $55, Students – $44, Children (6-13) – $39
(Note: Other tours available on website.)

Enjoy the ambiance and gourmet cuisine at McCrady’s near the hotel on your last evening in Charleston. Elegant & expensive. Hours: Sun-Thurs, 5-9:30pm. Fri&Sat, 5-10:30pm. Prices: $65 – 4-course meal. A-la-carte also available. Variety of wine and cocktails.

Day Six – Leaving Charleston and its history behind, Spring Break has gone by much too quickly. With lots more to see and do, you are probably thinking about a return visit to this captivating city.

Getting there: Some travelers may prefer to drive to Charleston and avoid the airline hassle, but if time or distance is a problem, most major airlines fly into Charleston International Airport.
(Note: Tours are probably the best option to see Charleston. Information and tickets available at the Visitor’s Center, 375 Meeting Street, 8:30-5pm Daily.)

Sharon L Slayton