If it seems like we have been MIA for a couple days, we apologize! The last few days have been a whirlwind traveling back home from a supersized vacation, catching up with work, and preparing for some big changes. But alas, here we are back at it with part 2 of our Charleston travel diary.
Have we mentioned how absolutely lovely Charleston was? Yeah? Okay well don’t mind me saying it again: Charleston was absolutely lovely. After our tour of McLeod Plantation and exploring some of the grounds on our own, we were starving. We hopped in an Uber and headed back to the historic Charleston area, where we were very excited to try out a restaurant that I had read awesome reviews about: HoM
We got there around 11:45 and the place was empty, so that made me a little nervous because although I hate crowded restaurants, a restaurant being completely empty makes me a little nervous. However, we walked in anyways and were promptly greeted by a man who I’m guessing was the manager. He instructed us to seat ourselves and we grabbed a game of Connect 4 in the process. HoM is a really cool restaurant
; not only do they have board games for you to play at your table, but they also have awesome decor and ping pong tables in the back. The whole brand identity was clearly well thought out, and the marketing nerd in me really appreciated that.
We ordered some cocktails (Bob chose a Hefeweisen and I ordered a Ren & Stumpy), and we both really enjoyed them. In fact, my drink tasted like liquid gold. Ya know, if gold was supposed to taste good. I had no shame ordering a second one, even though it was barely noon. (Side note: when the manager was greeting us, we joked with him about why the restaurant was so empty and he responded that it was barely lunch time. I’d heard that Charleston was a sleepy city and slow to wake up, but I wasn’t expecting 11:45 to be a revolutionary time to be craving some good eats. Oh well.)
Anyways, I ordered a Cowboy Killer and Bob ordered a Godzilla, and we shared their tater tots and fried chicken macaroni and cheese. Yes, you read that right: fried chicken macaroni and cheese. I also ordered a side of grits because #cheesegritsrock. Everything was flavorful, expertly prepared, and cooked to perfection. You can tell that, just like the restaurant’s ambiance, a lot of care was put into the menu as well.
[Speaking of which, I must add that in part 1 of our Charleston travel diary I neglected to mention how my brother ordered a burger at Smoke BBQ our first night, and when we were brought our dishes we were told that his burger needed to be prepared again (because the first burger had been overcooked) and they brought him out some complimentary wings to enjoy in the meantime. As if that wasn’t considerate enough, the cook who made his burger came to our table when the new burger was sent out, because he wanted to personally ensure that my brother was enjoying his food. We were absolutely blown away by the level of investment that this cook had in his food, and I wish I could tell him this again personally. At any rate, I just wanted to throw that in there as an aside to how the hospitality in Charleston was just as great as the food.]
Back to HoM. Our server was super friendly and was thoughtful enough to mention some fun places for us to check out if we wanted to go out that evening. This was helpful because Bob and I had planned to ask her for her favorite places to go at night, and she beat us to it. Perhaps she was psychic 😉
Anyways, we paid the check and headed off to the Old Slave Mart, a museum that resides in the actual building where slaves were bought and sold. As self-professed nerds and lovers of learning, I have to admit that it would have been nice if that museum was a bit bigger and interactive. There were some voice recordings to listen to — but they were simply recitations of a slave’s firsthand account, not the actual slave’s voice. The museum was small and cramped, with us crowding onto strangers to read the different displays, and I was hoping there would be many visual artifacts, but there were only a couple sets on shackles and a small hymn book in a display case. It was, however, incredibly intriguing (in a very somber way) to look at old advertisements for estate sales and opportunities to buy slaves. There was even a chart adjusting the price for an enslaved person with inflation and I was astounded to learn that a highly sought after slave would cost almost $40,000 in present day currency.
The tour of the Old Slave Mart was quick, and my family dashed off to finish their activity package while Bob and I had the afternoon to ourselves. We did some more walking through Charleston and headed to another attraction that I was eager to see: The Edmonton-Alston house.
I have to say, I was excited to see this home, as it is located right on The Battery and Robert E. Lee once spent time in the home when his hotel in Charleston caught on fire and he needed accommodation. Not to mention, it was amazing that a direct descendant of the Alston family still lives on the 3rd floor of the home. However, the tour was too rushed and loquacious for our liking. Our tour guide, while clearly knowledgeable and passionate, spoke way too quickly and went through the history of the home and its inhabitants in a way that was too hurried and overwhelming to be easily digestable. I will say that the parts I processed were absolutely fascinating, but the tour definitely should have been longer and in smaller tour groups. We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside the home, which stinks, but we could take photos on the piazza, where Fort Sumter can be seen in the distance.
While I was enchanted by the fact that the same dining room table was still there from the 1800s and that so much of the home was frozen in time, I wish that it was more interactive. Allegedly, there were diaries still in the library of the home and it would have been nice if they were in display cases or if pages were magnified and displayed somewhere for guests to read. I feel like that would have been more captivating and conveyed a better sense of the era about which we were learning. However, because of the lack of engagement I was disappointed. We learned some fun facts but all in all it felt like we paid money to take a tour of a beautifully maintained home and drink some cold water. If that’s all I wanted to do, I could just take a stroll through Bobby’s house. 😉 However, for a historical buff wanting to not only see the home but learn the stories that occurred within it, the Edmonton-Alston house left a lot to be desired.
All tuckered out from the walking we had down thus far, we headed back to our hotel and tackled some work for a bit before freshening up for dinner. My family was very tired as well, so they chose to stay in the hotel and order in, but us youngins (myself, Bobby, and my brother) decided that we wanted to experience more Charleston dining. We had raved about HoM’s awesome food, so my brother wanted to check it out. Yes, we ate at HoM two times in one day. #dontjudge
He was equally as impressed and he scarfed down his meal. Bob and I ordered the same meals — except this time I ordered the fried chicken macaroni and cheese without the fried chicken and Bob ordered a craft beer from a local brewery, but besides that our orders stayed the same — down to the two Ren & Stumpy cocktails I ordered again.
I’m a dessert girl, so after dinner we headed to a highly revered shop downtown for some sweet treats. Any Charleston folks or fans have a guess as to where we went? Stay tuned for the conclusion of our Charleston travel diary!