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comes to nar­row­ing down this un­ri­valed se­lec­tion. Just know that you re­ally can’t go wrong no mat­ter where you go. Seafood reigns supreme in the Low­coun­try, from steam ‘em and eat ‘em shrimp to Carolina crab pre­pared a dozen dif­fer­ent ways. And if you’re an oyster lover, you’re in good com­pany, as they are found on prac­ti­cally ev­ery menu in one form or an­other.

Dixie Sup­ply Bak­ery & Café, a hole-in-the-wall eatery fea­tured in South­ern Liv­ing, is known for its tomato pie, creamy stone ground grits, ba­con bour­bon pecan pie and sweet potato corn­bread. Charleston Crab House, an­other fa­vorite din­ing es­tab­lish­ment and wa­ter­ing hole, has been serv­ing lo­cal seafood for twenty years. Its Low­coun­try shrimp, col­lard greens, Carolina lump crab cakes, grits and melt-in-your­mouth hush pup­pies are just a few of the restau­rant’s pop­u­lar dishes. Fleet Land­ing is an­other fa­vorite. The build­ing it’s housed in used to be the home of the Cooper River Ferry be­fore be­ing taken over by the U.S. Navy. In 2003, it be­came a restau­rant with prime water­front lo­ca­tion, serv­ing shrimp and grits with An­douille sausage, fresh yel­lowfin tuna, okra fries, seafood gumbo, fried oys­ters with South­ern Com­fort BBQ sauce and crispy whole fried South­ern floun­der with apri­cot glaze. For your meal’s fi­nale, try the key lime pie or deca­dent white choco­late bread pud­ding. One of the best meals I had dur­ing my stay was at Amen Street Fish & Raw Bar, a ca­su­ally hip place serv­ing up such spe­cial­ties as She Crab soup with sherry, pan roasted wreck­fish, pop­corn rice, shrimp corn­dogs and fried green toma­toes, along with an ex­ten­sive se­lec­tion of chilled seafood cock­tails.

For an over­view of Charleston’s food scene, I’d rec­om­mend tak­ing Bull­dog Tours’ Sa­vor the Fla­vors Tour, which will in­tro­duce you to the area’s var­ied culi­nary in­flu­ences, from Gul­lah and Na­tive Amer­i­can to French, African and Bri­tish. You’ll walk, talk and taste your way through the city, sam­pling tasty spe­cial­ties from lo­cal restau­rants, mar­kets, bak­eries and other culi­nary land­marks, as your guide ex­plains the evo­lu­tion of Charleston’s cui­sine over the past 300-plus years. No need for lunch if you take this tour, as you’ll get plenty of good­ies to sam­ple along the way. And your sweet tooth will def­i­nitely be sat­is­fied, too, with op­por­tu­ni­ties to try pra­lines, Charleston Benne wafers and, of course, the prover­bial sweet tea that so many South­ern­ers can’t live with­out.

No trip to Charleston is com­plete with­out a visit to one of the area’s fa­bled plan­ta­tions: Mid­dle­ton Place, Mag­no­lia or Dray­ton Hall. It’s a colo­nial era Low­coun­try ex­pe­ri­ence that gives you a glimpse into the life­style of the land barons and their belles. Mid­dle­ton Place, for ex­am­ple, is home to Amer­ica’s old­est land­scaped gar­dens. Known as one of South Carolina’s most en­dur­ing icons, these en­chant­ing and grace­ful gar­dens or gar­den “rooms” are laid out with pre­cise sym­me­try and bal­ance, lead­ing to a cli­mac­tic view of the well-known But­ter­fly Lakes and the wind­ing Ash­ley River be­yond. Owner Henry Mid­dle­ton served as the sec­ond Pres­i­dent of the First Con­ti­nen­tal Congress and his son Arthur was a signer of the Dec­la­ra­tion of In­de­pen­dence. The main house is a mu­seum of rare fam­ily fur­ni­ture and por­traits, while the sta­ble yards are full of crafts­peo­ple demon­strat­ing the skills once per­formed by slaves.

Through­out your stay in this sul­try gem of a city, you’ll find your­self con­tin­u­ally em­braced by the hospi­tal­ity of its res­i­dents. Charlesto­ni­ans are gen­teel folks who are proud of their his­tory and cul­ture, and they are al­ways more than happy to share it with vis­i­tors. And if you ask po­litely, you might just get them to tell you the se­crets of their slow, con­ge­nial life­style.

If you go:

For all things Charleston, con­tact the Charleston Area Con­ven­tion & Vis­i­tors Bu­reau at: 800-774-0006 or


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