The most distictive view of Charleston is not the famous church towers or the low rise skyline but it is the six year old Cooper River Bridge. Two tall support towers strung with numerous strands of cable holding 8 roadways connecting the city and Mt. Pleasent. From almosrt any angle the bridge reminds one of the days when Charleston was the busy southern, commercial port for Clipper ships and freighters all under full sail.
After our full days drive from Atlanta to Charleston via Augusta on a "blue highway" we enjoyed a steamed artichoke and shrimp gumbo at our hosts condo over looking the river and the bridge.
The following day we did all the normal tourist things; horse drawn carraige, walking tour, garden lunch( fried green tomato's) and a drive along some of the commercial dock area.
That evening we dined at "Circa 1886" the restaurant at the Wentworth Mansion, 149 Wentworth St. 843-853-7828. The restaurant is across the lawn in a separate house with attached stable. As fitting to our rank we had a table in the stable, sans horses. This is the kind of restaurant where each dish is described, in detail, with constant references to "the Chef'". We shared an "Italian Red"( Barberra) and I ordered a light meal with an eye on one of my favorite desserts.
A lightly dressed salad of greens, pecans, cheese and crutons was my starter followed by sauteed Sweetbreads accompanied by a small amout of steamed spinach. Marilyn had a very good sliced strip steak served on a bed of cut vegetables. My forebearence was rewarded with grilled pineapple upside down cake accompanied by Banana gelato.The atmosphere and food was all "high end" and we were all satified if not stuffed.
The next day we toured the "Isle of Palms" with special attention to "Wild Dunes", a gated community build between golf courses and the beach. The whole area reminded us of Hilton Head, but, of course, much closer to the city( less than a 30 minute drive). Lunch at the "Morgan Creek Grill" (843) 866-8980 was in a dining area 3 stories above the marina with a wonderful view of Morgan creek, the tidal flats and all the water activity( boats) in the vicinity. We all indulged with various forms of Southern water delicacies, flounder, shrimp, oyster and solf shell crab( all fried) and the compulsorary beers to go with each dish. It was a terrific experience in a very relaxed resort area.
That night in search of more soft shell crabs we visited "Carolina's Restaurant" 10 Exchange St. Charleston (843) 724-3800. We were seated in the fairly busy, and noisy, bar but this in no way detacted from the quality and interest of the food. Marilyn and I shared a sizeable asparagus salad, thin, perfectly cooked asparagus with marinated slices of mushrooms and scallions mixed with greens. Marilyn again had flounder( this time grilled not fried) while I had my first full portion of Soft Shelled crab, for the trip. The crabs came atop strongly seasoned green vegetables, string beans, kale, scallions, spinach and possibly a thin slice or two of green pepper. I was very impressed. Do not see seasoned vegies like this often topped with fresh crab or any other way.
None of the Charleston restaurants could be considered a bargin and when the over 10% tax is added the amount rises rapidly. The city economy is based on the tourist trade and all things are geared to make a good return on investment, the way capitalism is supposed to work.