Another southern city checked off the list. Well, maybe not totally and definitively checked off since we were only there for 24 hours. But I think we’d be safe in awarding it at least half a check. First of all, before we get to the cool architecture, stunning flowers, and southern cuisine..let’s talk about our swanky overnight digs. Judging by the amount of comments and questions this photo got on Facebook, you are all really interested in our newly acquired habit of city parking lot camping.
Here’s the details. This parking garage has 10 RV specific spots where you are allowed to park for up to 24 hours. The fee is $16 for 24 hours. Or $1 for every 30 minutes. So if I am doing the math right, that means if you’re going to park for more then 8 hours you might as well go for the full 24 hours and get your money’s worth. The spots are somewhere between 40 and 45 feet long. Our 25′ trailer + truck + hitch measures around 45 feet, and as you can see by this photo, we almost fit all the way in the spot. There was a ton of extra space behind us so we didn’t worry much about sticking out a foot or two. The clearance listed at the top of the garage entrance is 12′ 8″. I have no idea how tall the average RV is, but I know that was more then enough room for us. And the motorhome near us fit as well.
We arrived around noon on a very busy Saturday and found plenty of open RV spaces. Some nice person had put cones in front of the spots so normal sized cars wouldn’t be tempted to hog up the spots. When we came back to the Airstream after dinner the cones were gone and the spots had filled with cars. They have a cheaper evening rate (a flat $4 fee if you arrive after 5pm and leave before 8am), and I suspect they open all the available sites to anyone after 5. So if you’re planning to get an RV spot, arriving before 5 is probably a good idea.
There are two entrances to the garage. One is on Meeting St. and only has a 6′ 7″ clearance. The other is on Mary Street — 63 Mary St. to be exact. This is where you will find the RV entrance. The RV spots are on the right as you pull in. There is no security. It’s a public parking garage. The exit is manned by an attendant, but they are not there to keep hoodlums or would-be thieves away. That said, we did not feel unsafe. It was a Saturday night and we did hear some rowdy kids late in the night, but nothing that worried us any more then if we had spent the night at a Walmart. It was somewhat noisy. We could hear cars on the street and honking horns in the distance. Luckily, most people used the other entrance so not many cars drove past. Also, we were pretty tired from walking around for hours and both slept fairly well.
The location was perfect for exploring the historic district on foot. The visitor center was only one block away and we stopped there first to get a map. After that we pretty much just wandered around aimlessly for hours. Warning: lots of photos coming up. I tried to narrow it down, I really did.
For dinner we decided to indulge in some good old fashioned southern cuisine, aka fried chicken. A few places had been recommended to us, but since they were on the outskirts of town and we were limited to places we could walk to that ruled out some of the great recommendations like the Glass Onion and Angel Oak. Instead we ended up at Jestine’s Kitchen where we both ordered a platter of fried chicken along with some traditional southern sides. Oh my god was the chicken good. Funny fact — neither of us had ever had real southern fried chicken before. Like those tasty fried green tomatoes I had last week, I won’t be making fried chicken a regular part of my diet, but as a special treat it was pretty awesome!
The next day we hemmed and hawed over how to spend our morning. First, we considered taking a horse and carriage ride through the city. But since it was only 34 degrees when we woke up that didn’t sound so appealing. Then we thought about a museum, but the one we wanted to visit, The Charleston Museum, didn’t open until 1pm. In the end we settled on a quick and simple breakfast of fresh biscuits and scrambled eggs at Kitchen 208. We had to walk almost a mile to get to the restaurant, and along the way we admired more of the gorgeous southern architecture while trying not to freeze our butts off.
By the time we got back to the Airstream it is was about noon, and time to wish our parking lot and this great southern city goodbye. Next stop: courtesy camping with small town charm.