Charleston to the Smoky Mountains

15th June – 113 miles from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, to Charleston, South Carolina

In the morning we started off with breakfast in a local mall, taking the opportunity to stock up on cheap T shirts to reduce the amount of laundry we’d need to do on the trip, and then headed south towards Charleston. It was, once again, a wet morning.

A rather wet stop on the route to Charleston

Charleston was a complete contrast to Myrtle Beach. It was a very pretty colonial era small town, with many interesting antebellum buildings and pleasant gardens and we spent a pleasant afternoon exploring the town. The southern end of the town, around the civil war era artillery battery and coastal defences, was particularly picturesque. Sadly, the only pictures I have of it didn’t really come out well through a combination of camera shake and poor exposure. Once again, digital would have been so much better, allowing me to check the images as I took them. It’s easy to forget the disappointment of waiting for developed photos to be returned, only to discover that they didn’t come out right.

A building in Charleston, South Carolina

Our hotel for the night was the Meeting Street Inn. It was more expensive than we were used to, but very central and the prices were comparable to the other city centre hotels. We did consider driving back out of town to find somewhere cheaper, but decided that we should make the most of Charleston and take advantage of being within easy walking distance of the bars and restaurants in the French Quarter.

The Meeting Street Inn, Charleston, South Carolina

It was a warm evening and we found a restaurant with outdoor seating so that we could watch the world go by as we ate some Jamaican jerk chicken with chips and dips and enjoyed some honey wheat beer. After dinner, we hit a couple of bars and got into a few random conversations with the locals.

16th June – 294 miles from Charleston, South Carolina, to Maggie Valley, North Carolina

Maggie Valley, North Carolina

Another long day on the road took us back inland to Maggie Valley, a small town in Smoky Mountains.

Maggie Valley felt like an inland version of a typical seaside town, as it’s a major stopping off point for tourists visiting the Smoky Mountains. There were some tacky tourist attractions, plenty of places to eat, and yet another crazy golf course.

Crazy golf in Maggie Valley

We ate at a table outside the Salty Dog Seafood Grill, which continued the seaside theme and felt a bit out of place so far inland. It was a great spot for people watching, and for overhearing conversations. Our waiter, in particular, ended up in deep conversation with a couple at another table, discussing what sounded, on the fact of it, like a cult program they were all involved with.

Our motel for the night in Maggie Valley

At night the hills behind the town were dotted with lights, and we could only imagine the tiny and remote settlements that they represented.

Previous: “On the trail of the Lonesome Pine”
Next: “In the Smoky Mountains”