When John Drayton broke ground on Drayton Hall in 1738, he had no idea that his estate would survive the American Revolution, the Civil War, an earthquake, and numerous hurricanes. The stories contained in the building’s walls span seven generations of history tied to the Draytons and the Bowens family, an African American family that lived and worked at Drayton Hall before and after emancipation. Since 1974, when Charles and Frank Drayton sold their ancestral home to the National Trust, visitors have been able to transport themselves into the past with more ease than rubbing the beard at the Lincoln Memorial.
The main house, a sweeping example of Georgian Palladian architecture, is the oldest near-original, unrestored colonial home in the United States. Like a helpful ghost, the grand rooms and original fireplaces whisper history into the ears of all visitors, telling tales of British and colonial soldiers who occupied the house during the American Revolution. Views from the portico are filled with drooping trees, spanish moss, and a grand driveway. Surrounding the estate, an undisturbed historic landscape backs up to the Ashley River, and also encompasses A Sacred Place, the oldest African American cemetery in the country still in use.
Charleston Waterkeeper conducts four primary programs to gather data on Charleston’s waterways in order to protect the health and vitality of the water for the entire community. Water Quality and Stormwater Monitoring programs gather empirical information to identify and resolve water-pollution issues from sewage and storm-water runoff. The Permit Watchdog program researches permits and discharge-monitoring reports to prevent unlawful discharges, and the Patrol program helps keep the rivers clean and free of pollution by maintaining a physical presence on the water. Charleston Waterkeeper recently became a member of the Waterkeeper Alliance, a movement of 200 organizations that patrol and protect more than 100,000 miles of rivers, streams, and coastlines across the globe.
Nightmare on the Harbor immerses Halloween partygoers in a wild night of music, costumes, and rug cutting. DJ SkyBlu from chart-topping electropop group LMFAO will jump-start festivities with high-energy beats while Shwayze & Cisco set bodies moving with beach-appropriate rhymes. Charleston-bred electronic masterminds Klipart add their euphonic talents to the evening's brew, combining live-mixed tunes with mind-bending visual effects. A Halloween costume contest offers a $1,000 prize, perfect for offsetting costume costs or paying off costume-contest judges.
The English-style eatery boasts an attentive staff feting familial units and fans of comfort cuisine with a menu full of delectable sandwiches, burgers, salads, and more at three distinct and lively establishments. Devour a quintessential across-the-pond dish in portable form with the fish 'n' chips sandwich ($10.95) or shake hands with The Stranger ($6.99), which is actually just a Reuben you haven't met yet, packed with oven-roasted turkey breast, sauerkraut, melted swiss, and thousand-island dressing. The Sir Loin VIII ($9.49) dons a regal coat of sautéed onions across his 8-ounce center-cut meaty torso as he arrives on an open-faced chariot of texas toast. Herbivores hankering for historically delicious grub will delight in the Trojan Horse ($6.99)—a wrap designed to conceal an army of grilled seasonal vegetables and cheeses in a honey-garlic sauce—and adults in need of belly baby-sitting can dig into the D&D Daycare ($13.95), a medley of savory samples including boneless chicken bites, mini corn dogs, and mini cheeseburgers designed to elicit oversized grins of appreciation.
At the start of every game, fog fills Surf's Up Family Fun Center’s multi-level, underwater-themed laser tag arena. It’s one of several obstacles that up to 60 players tackle as they sneak up on opponents and navigate labyrinthine corridors decked out in black-lit murals of aquatic critters.
Laser tag isn’t the only adrenaline-pumping activity to be found inside the 18,000-square foot fun center. Four challenging paths lead climbers to the summit of a 24-foot rock wall equipped with an auto-belay system. Meanwhile, pucks zip across air hockey tables in an arcade with more than 60 games, including Dance Dance Revolution and its classic sequel Rest Rest Revolution. Otherwise, twisting tubes connect the multi-level play structure in a soft play area for younger kids, who can also ride down slides or play rounds of skee-ball.
To refuel hungry guests, an all-you-can-eat buffet serves 10 types of pizza, as well as pastas, salads, desserts, and soft drinks.
Charleston Beer Works boasts an impressive selection of draught beers and a menu brimming with sports-bar favorites. Commence preemptive celebratory snacking with loaded tater tots ($3.95), crispy fried calamari with marinara sauce ($6.75), fried pickle wedges ($6.50) featuring a remoulade for dipping, or, for those with more sophisticated palettes, the corn dog and fries ($5.95). A build-your-own burger, grilled chicken sandwich, or fried chicken sandwich (all $5.95) will please eaters needing to express themselves through personality-representing toppings ($0.25–$1 each) such as jalapenos, nacho cheese, or chili. Charleston Beer Works also offers wings (starting at $5.75 for six wings) that can be dressed in your choice of 15 saucy coatings, including a wasabi ranch, a jalapeno lime, and the house signature dry rub. Oil down esophagus tubes with one, or five, of the 40 craft brews on tap—hoppy helpings include the Atlanta-based Sweetwater Blue, the proletariat Pabst Blue Ribbon, and the age-old Yuengling, as American an alcohol as apple pie champagne.