by VICTORIA HENLEY
Nearly 20 million visitors from around the globe flock to the beautiful city of Myrtle Beach annually to take in the vast array of thrilling entertainment, sandy beaches, sparkling blue waters, and prestigious golf courses.
However, the state of South Carolina is a trove of landmarks, natural wonders, and thrilling adventures just waiting to be discovered; therefore, Day Trips to Charleston and Southern Accent Tours offer several packages, providing visitors with the opportunity to explore an impressive variety of one of the state’s most world-renowned cities in the span of only one day.
Joined by Lynn (resident photographer) and my adventure-loving grandmother, Ramona (also known as “Mimmie”), my journey commenced bright and early upon boarding of the shuttle bus at 6:45 am.
Our driver for the day’s excursion, Wendy, was extremely personable and affable, providing a warm introduction to guests and informative info over the microphone system throughout the course of our journey.
Our group enjoyed the serene sight of the sun rising over the pristine, crystal blue ocean waters as we winded our way down the streets of the historic downtown city, picking up additional passengers enroute to our destination.
The two-hour ride to Charleston was smooth and relaxing, and we all felt in excellent hands under Wendy’s expert guidance.
Then, we made a brief stop at a rest area before switching buses to join the company owner, Richard Harvin, who provided superb customer service care and navigation skills as he transported us for the remainder of the trip.
Our initial stop was The Market, a center of commerce and networking for local artisans, farmers, confectionary artists , and merchants to promote their products and wares to the general public in a chic, al fresco setting.
During our visit to The Market, we had the pleasure of viewing some highly unique artwork, sampling made from scratch homemade goods, and viewing the lively architectural sights that the iconic city of Charleston has to offer.
Once our allotted hour to explore the expanses of The Market was finished, we boarded the tour bus and made our way to the legendary Fort Sumter, arguably one of the town’s oldest and most storied landmarks.
The generous and hospitable team at Day Trips to Charleston and Southern Accent Tours served up a light, yet satisfying, lunch of a turkey club sandwich, along with a side of chips and cookies, as well as a drink of choice (various sodas and water were available).
Upon arrival at the impressive Fort Sumter Ferry, we climbed aboard and savored the panoramic views of the Charleston Harbor as we charged ahead toward the legendary fort, which provided a strong and stately silhouette in the distance.
Originally constructed in 1829 as a coastal garrison, Fort Sumter has gone down in history for being the site of the first battle in the American Civil War.
Guests are given the opportunity to roam freely at their own leisure for one hour, and while some attendees chose to listen to the onsite rangers who provided a lecture in regards to the lives and times of the soldiers whom inhabited the fort, my group and I chose to roam the grounds of the fort, taking in sights including battalion units, cannons, powder rooms, and other fort sights that transport guests back in time to some of our nation’s most defining moments.
The onsite museum (free with park admission) provides artifacts, artwork, documentation, weaponr, and other memorabilia from the Civil War area paired with in-depth, comprehensive reading materials.
Upon the conclusion of our tour, we climbed back aboard the ferry, relishing one last look at the gorgeous harbor views, before we prepared to embark on an expedition to our next location: Boone Hall Plantation, a gorgeous and historically important, establishment founded in 1861 by Major John Boone.
Our Boone Hall experience began with a drive through the majestic, towering oak trees, which stand tall and proudly, lining the driveway leading to the plantation’s astute mansion.
Wendy informed us that we would be allowed exactly one hour to explore the grounds of the plantation, granting passengers the option to either tour the historic home, or roam the agricultural and farming areas of the plantation.
We opted to partake in the home tour, led by an extremely well-studied and personable docent, who carefully and thoughtfully walked us through each of the mansion’s rooms, creating vivid illustrations of what life and times may have been like for the residents of Boone Hall Plantation’s iconic mansion.
The masterful architecture, ornate crown molding, illustrious decor, and exquisite landscape cohesively make evident why Boone Hall Plantation has served as the backdrop for some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbuster films, including “The Notebook,” “North and South,” and the world famous day time soap opera series “Days of Our Lives.”
Our Boone Hall Plantation experience did not end upon our exit of the mansion as we took the opportunity to tour the working farm portion of the plantation (which included live horses, both working farm equipment and artifactual equipment for display purposes, as well as educational reading materials regarding the various crops that were grown and harvested onsite, primarily cotton).
The Slave Quarters, a compilation of smally houses made of brick, housed a wealth of information, including stories of the heart-wrenching trials, tribulations, and triumphs of the enslaved men, women, and children who lived and worked at Boone Hall Plantation.
We boarded the bus after exploring one of South Carolina’s most architecturally striking, historically rich, and culturally diverse cities — all thanks to the expert guidance and planning by the experienced guides at Day Trips to Charleston and Southern Accent Tours Team.
PHONE NUMBER: 843-509-9613