TO THE LODGE ALLEY INN WARNING POSTING
It is apparent by reading your post that you have no knowledge of Lodge Alley Inn or bluegreen corp. for that matter. Your 20. deposit is just that. A deposit. The people are making it available for you and your family to tour this 300 year old former merchant warehouses. The arrange the schedules for the people who shows you around. What would happen if people don't show up on and on ? Your 20 is promptly returned as soon as you walk in the door, we got ours back. This is NOT a charge.
Assuming you come to Charleston with a love of historical places, etc. Touring this beautiful place will not only be enjoyable but interesting and eases the pocketbook a little on anyone who likes to be wise with their money nowadays. They gave my family FREE TICKETS to the local tours in town for visiting the Lodge AND they HELPED with getting the most out of our visit to Charleston as we only had a couple of days and never been there before.
The tickets alone SAVED ME ONE HUNDRED dollars and we liked it all very much. No we did not buy the vacation club cause it did not suit our needs but the place is great,much much nicer that where we were staying and they were professional,not high pressure, superfriendly and honestly I would have loved to stay there and next time I go there I will stay at the Lodge Alley Inn. YES YOU CAN BOOK A ROOM AND NOT BE A PART OF THE VACATION CLUB!
It is THE nicest place to be in Charleston. Yeah. It is obvious that you are sorely lacking in appreciation and social skills. Best Wishes and thanks. You not being there makes it open for me and my family to be there!
Magnolia Plantation - a huge disappointment
I went to Magnolia Plantation for the gardens. The experience was very disappointing. The grounds looked unkempt and some bushes needed pruning pretty badly. Even my husband who is not a gardener noticed it. In some areas the flower array looked like an awful technicolor display with no apparent thought given to the design. There was nothing elegant about it. I have seen better looking FTD flower arrangements.
Fun Alternatives: If you want to see a truly beautiful garden go to Middleton Place instead. There is a restaurant at Middleton Place with a wonderful menu. Make reservations for dinner and plan to arrive one hour and a half before the sun sets. You won't encounter crowds and practically will have the gardens to yourself. When done touring the gardens, go to the restaurant. Note: On Sundays the restaurant does not serve wine or spirits due to local laws, so if you like to have wine with your dinner go a different day of the week.
lines lines lines
There really aren't many tourist traps here. During peak season Folly beach can get a bit busy, but it's still tolerable. To avoid crowds go to the Isle of Palms beach or Sullivan's Island beach. If you want to eat on Market St. or at Hman's Seafood Iwouldn't during peak hours...the lines can be quite long. Go to King St. to get food there..no lines and cheaper.
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel
- Food and Dining
Not sure exactly where this was, but I came across a road with all of the usual big-name stores like Banana Republic, etc. While I'm not necessarily opposed to these high end offerings, it does detract (at least for me) from the charm of Charleston.
In the shops on the Market Area you will find the lowest common denominator of junk souvenirs. There are very few shops that are actually what I'd call authentic. The shops that made The Market such a nice place to visit 10 years ago, have all been run out by generic tshirt and mug shops. YUCK.
You will be called down on every corner to join a timeshare, take a carriage ride or walking tour. Actually, some tours are really well done but the sideshow salespeople cheapen the Charleston experience. I live in Charleston and the street hustling is very tacky. If you want a great walking tour, look up Charleston Walks. That would be my pick for any visiting family or friends.
Nightclubs on the Market are tacky. Henry's is an exception. It's decent but still touristy.
Restaurants vary from hotwings, burgers and seafood. Quality varies as much as the foodtypes.
Generic candy stores, hat shops, t-shirts and mugs rule this area.
Unique Suggestions: North and South Market Streets run parallel to one another and down the center is the famed Old Slave Market. From what I understand, slaves were sold a few blocks away but not actually at the Old Slave Market. This story changes from local to local. Whatever the history, it's current use is for local vendors to sale rice and beans, handmade seagrass baskets, crafts, trinkets, souvenirs, t-shirts and sunglasses. If you do buy anything, buy it from the Old Slave Market - you will have a better chance of interacting with and supporting the locals.
I'll update my "At least do this" to include where to eat, drink or what to see soon.
Fun Alternatives: If you like the architecture, make up your own walking tour and head down towards the Battery. It's also known as "South of Broad." Take a map. Go off the regular path. Beautiful historic houses on narrow and sometimes cobblestone streets. Pack a lunch a picnic at the gazebo in White Point Gardens at The Battery. There are bike rentals available too. If you have kids, they will love climbing the old canons and canonball stacks - or YOU might like it.
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Budget Travel
former plantation or "Plantation"?
It's important to think in advance about what you want to get out of plantation trips. Most plantation in the coastal South, in my experience, have been "gussied up" with decorations, signposts, big-ass plaques, etc. and become real tourist traps. They are, in my historian-traveler opinion, supremely disappointing. See my tip on Drayton Hall for a great exception to the rule.
Unique Suggestions: Decorated places and signposts may be your thing. If so, I'd suggest going in the summer when there's no schoolkids. The heat will be crazy, but lots of kids at tourist sights are crazier.
Fun Alternatives: Ask around for the least touristy experiences. Trust locals. Go to National Preservation Trust places, which are not allowed to alter the houses or grounds they preserve.
- Historical Travel
Magnolia Gardens and Planation
While this certainly qualifies as a tourist trap, I'm actually glad I visited. It is currently $13 to just enter the grounds and $7 to tour the plantation house. Nothing in the house is original, yet it is kind of nice to take the tour. It is very short and not really worth the $$, but the Europeans on hand seemed to really like it. The people from the U.K. were particularly interested in the different perspectives on what is generally referred to as the Civil War (many folks in Charleston refer to this as the "War of Northern Aggression". The grounds itself are SPECTACULAR and you can see some original dwellings where slaves resided.
Unique Suggestions: The cypress swamps around the grounds are very beautiful and worth strolling around for many scenic photo opps.
All kinds of tours...
There are all kinds of downtown tours here. Being a local, I've only done a carriage ride once, but I know they have other tours for the harbour, ghost tours, and walking tours. These are tourist traps, but you'll learn some interesting things here too.
Stay away from The Lodge Alley Inn!
The goons in green will try to nab you at least once in your travels here. They wear misleading 'Tourist Info' hats and shirts, but they are really time-share high pressure salesmen. They have shops, booths and mobile cart stands all over the place. They position themselves strategically on corners, near the market and waterfront park, so there is no escaping them. Just don't buy into their pitch. They will offer savings for your stay there, but only after collecting a $20 fee to make sure you show up to a sales pitch. Be smart, save yourself !
Unique Suggestions: The only advice I can give is to keep walking. Don't buy into it. Just keep going! We only lost 10 minutes of our time, we were lucky not to lose any money. Other legit businesses nearby despise them and talk of them like they're the crazy uncle in the basement nobody can get rid of.
- Budget Travel
- Historical Travel
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
The Market is basically a...
The Market is basically a tourist trap, but you should still go. Everything is overpriced and has its 'Southern' aspect amped up to about twelve, but these gifts (sweetgrass baskets, pecans, ten-bean soup mixes, benne wafers) really are indigenous to the area, so you might as well buy some for the friends back home.
Hyman's Seafood is the biggest trap of em all!
The food is medocre at best. Although they do give you a good portion of it. Don't be fooled when someone tells you it's the best seafood then hands you a coupon for free crab dip. They get free food points for referring you.
Also the restaurant can be almost empty and they start a wait line outside to make more people think it must be good. It's a ploy.
Unique Suggestions: Know you're getting dupped.
Fun Alternatives: A.W. Shucks in the Market is reasonably priced with good food. Hank's Seafood is good but very pricey and noisy.
Ghost tours!Most ghost tours...
Most ghost tours are about as spine-chilling as your high school geometry class. BIG letdown! If you insist on spending lots of money on touristy spots, go to the Aquarium. Still overpriced, but at least you'll see something!
Hank's Seafood - Don't let the...
Hank's Seafood - Don't let the 'best of Charleston' plaques fool you. We here in the city are always amazed at who wins. Too loud, food too pricey (for the amount and quality). Exists on the coattails of its sister reastaurant Pennisula Grill.
Everything in Charlesotn is a...
Everything in Charlesotn is a tourist trap. Don't go to the aquarium. Very expensive and not many exhibits. Drive an hour and a half up Hwy 17N to Myrtle Beach and see the aquarium there. Be expected to pay alot for nothing. Even restaurants downtown are beyond belief. Have no idea if any of the restaurants downtown are any good because they are so expensive...and I worked in alot of them! Also, the Carriage Rides can be quite tricky. Check around for prices, and don't be fooled with the scratch off tickets some of the people pass along for 10% off... that 10% off just gives you the regular price of the carrige ride...very tricky!
As Charleston has a compact...
As Charleston has a compact historical area, it's best to explore it on foot. The carriage rides though surely informative and perhaps entertaining are aimed at tourists with money to burn. A pamphlet at the tourist information desk will point out for instance, that the Louis DeSaussure House (pictured)at 1 East Battery street was built between 1858 and 1861 by its namesake autioneer who delt in everything from ships to slaves.
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