A Walk About Charleston’s history-heavy guides boast more than a decade of experience navigating the city’s most notable landmarks. The 90-minute daytime tours visit vintage locales, including the site of the Civil War’s first shots, the East Battery Street sea wall, and a selection of pre-Revolutionary War residences. Sightseers will spot some of Charleston’s mansions and manicured gardens, where green thumbs can admire arrangements while guides keep their ears open for cars pulling into the driveway. Walkers will also visit the filming locations of several well-known movies including The Notebook and The Patriot.
Aromas specializes in providing the best Asian, Thai, and American-inspired cuisine all in one comprehensive restaurant setting. Machete your way through the tough outer hull of its menu to reveal the delectable, savory fare within. Burgeoning grumbles can be quickly sated with an appetizer of larb, a dish of minced chicken or steak with ground rice, onions, and Thai spices served cold with a cabbage wedge ($6.95). Chow down on some Americana with Aromas' low- country fried shrimp, served with a house salad and ranch, bleu cheese, or balsamic vinaigrette dressing ($9.95), or combine both Southern and Eastern classics with a crispy fried basil catfish, with basil leaves, onions, and bell peppers in a brown Thai sauce ($13.95). The creamy fried ice-cream dessert ($4.95) is a much tastier end to a meal than devouring fried snow or frozen chicken. Aromas' downtown location is just one block from the historic Market Place and is stocked with a friendly, knowledgeable staff, making it a perfect place to launch an outing, cap off an evening, or open a rift in the fabric of time itself.
Since 1983, Old South Carriage Co.’s tour guides have been introducing travelers to the city’s sights and history while dressed in Confederate uniforms, complete with red sashes. The company’s shaded, surrey-style carriages, pulled by a fleet of draft horses, can shuttle up to 16 people with an insatiable hunger for American history. During one-hour residential trips around the city, licensed guides point out gardens, antebellum mansions, and important landmarks, all while sharing historical anecdotes and interjecting humor.
Alfred Ray enthusiasm for Charleston's history is infectious. This passion carried him through the rough-going early days of his tour-guiding career, which started in 1980, he says, “with a pitchfork atop a pile of hose dung in a carriage barn on State Street.” Today, the Charleston native—whose forefathers arrived in the city in 1792—shares his deep knowledge during three themed tours through Charleston's walled landscape: the Old Walled City Walk, the Home and Garden Walk, and the Slavery and Freedom Walk.
Tours casually wind down the city's cobblestone streets, past precolonial and postcolonial buildings that display a confluence of architectural styles, from Georgian to Greek Revival. As tourists snap pictures of wrought-iron gates, classical columns, and carbonite-encased cotton gins, Ray shares stories about the people and events—such as the approximately 40% of slaves who entered the United States through Charleston—that transformed a 1670 pioneer settlement into a cultural hub of the South by the mid-1800s.
Charleston Culinary Tours’ guides introduce visitors and locals to the cuisine of a city rich with Southern charm, grace, and history. Their tours explore the historic districts of downtown and King Street, allowing visitors to gain knowledge of the area, taste innovative cuisines, and meet the owners and chefs responsible for crafting the meals. They also offer a farmer’s market tour, which allows guests to pick out their own ingredients, venture to a partner restaurant as a group, and watch as a chef creates a customized meal from the ingredients.
It's safe to say that when it comes to Charleston's history, Tricia Goron knows her stuff. A native Charlestonian, she used her studies of local lore and training with veteran tour guides to delight passengers as a rickshaw and carriage driver before moving to walking tours in 2008. Now, she peppers her historical and haunted tours with facts previously known only by locals or well-studied ghosts. During daytime or nighttime strolls, she shares the stories of local figures and landmarks with attentive and wide-eyed visitors. From revealing the origin of the city's famous nickname to revealing interesting tidbits hidden along Rainbow Row, her tours expose the city's history through easy-going, engaging anecdotes. Tricia also contributes a little local color of her own; in addition to her job as a tour guide, she once wrangles spirits on a ghost-packed episode of A&E's Flip This House set just up the road in Georgetown.