Driving from Miami to Charleston: advice for stops & eats on I-95 and in Charleston?

Hello all,

I live in Miami, which might sound nice until you realize how far it is from EVERYTHING. In mid-April, I’m going to be the Best Man in an old college buddy’s wedding in Charleston, South Carolina. I’ve never been there before, and never attempted such a long drive alone. Mapquest tells me it’ll take 9 hours and 50 minutes, which sounds pretty miserable.

Now Miami to Charleston pretty much requires a straight shot up I-95, so I was wondering if anyone can suggest good places to stop, relax, and especially EAT along I-95, especially once I get into Georgia and South Carolina. Any advice will be appreciated, y’all!

Also, once I get to Charleston, I check into my hotel on April 15th, the wedding is on the 16th, and I’ll probably leave on the 17th. I know Charleston is supposed to be nice, but are there any Must-See areas of interest? Good restaurants that I can bring Dave (a vegan) to? Good places to have an impromptu bachelor party? Dave lives outside of Atlanta and I’m in Miami, so planning a bachelor party in Charleston would have been a logistical nightmare. He’s not expecting me to have lesbian dominatrixes pop out of a cake for him, but it would be nice to hang out at a nice bar or a club with live music on the night of April 15th. Any suggestions?

And because I’m also a geek, anyone know if there’s a good comic book store in Charleston? :cool:

It’s too bad you’re not going a little further up I95, because South of the Border is always an interesting stop.
We lived in Charleston for a while. I can’t really recommend any bars, because we didn’t do the bar thing too often, and when we did, we’d just go downtown and walk aroun dfor a while until we found somewhere interesting. My favorite place to eat there, though, was the Mellow Mushroom, they have great pizzas and calzones. They also have goot tempeh and avocado sandwiches. I don’t know if the bread is vegan, but if not, they’ve also got salads (I now, the boring thing to fall back on.)

Oooh, I loved Mellow Mushroom from when I lived in Gainesville, FL. Terrific pizza, garlic bread, and pretzels, and even though I’m not a vegetarian, I was addicted to their tempeh hoagies! That may be an option if I can’t find more “local favorites.” Thanks!

I’m sure Slainte will be along soon, but I lived in the area for several years.

Downtown Charleston is a great place to walk around and see the historical sites. Don’t go when it’s raining…downtown is below sea water, and it floods horribly.

Tommy Condon’s is an Irish pub that serves she-crab soup. You must have a bowl of she-crab soup during your visit. It’s the law.

Sticky Fingers is a to-die for BBQ restaurant. I would crawl across broken glass for a plate of their ribs. It’s really the only thing I miss about the city.

If you get a chance to visit Fort Moultrie or Fort Sumter, go for it.

82 Queen is a nice place to eat…it’s also the address, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find.

Ooh. I second the Sticky Fingers recommendation.

I don’t know about places to stop, but I can say that 95 is a Road From Hell. Is it your only option? If you have to do the drive in one day, with a drive time like that (though I always take an hour or so off of Mapquest’s times) then I suppose it is, but if it is at all possible I’d avoid 95. Though from Miami I’m guessing your choices are pretty slim…

Sometimes other roads are actually faster, if you can cut distances off – I’m probably driving to Austin in early May, and I can cut a hundred miles off by not going all the way to San Antonio on 10 the way they said to, but instead going just past Houston and then north on another road.

Hey BBVLou - any updates on the big test?

Although your vegan friend may be limited, I will second 82 Queen - good but expensive. I will add S.N.O.B. - Slightly North of Broad street - great restaurant right in the heart of old Charleston.

The food is great all over town, though - probably tough to find a bad place.

Oh my, so many great places to eat in Charleston. I’m envious.

I can’t speak to what’s good for vegans, but you might be able to check some menus online beforehand.

To the listed places I will add Anson and the restaurant in the Planter’s Inn (I think it’s Plantation Grill but I might be misremembering). Had great meals both places. I haven’t eaten there, but I’ve heard nice things about Carolina’s. Poogan’s Porch is supposed to have a good brunch and a little more reasonable than some other restaurants.

I got married in Charleston, myself. Lovely place for a wedding.

For a good chance at finding something vegan and yummy, I’d recommend The Mustard Seed (Mt. Pleasant location only). It’s not downtown, but over the bridge in Mt. Pleasant near the intersection of 17 and 526. They focus on fairly healthy and tasty food for all types of people from strict vegan to carnivore. The desserts kick ass too.
Alternately, there’s a great new-ish Thai restaurant (Basil) downtown on King Street, a couple of blocks north of Calhoun. Should be able to get vegan fare there, or at least vegetarian. I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews from my friends that’ve made it through the mobbish line … get there early if you go, or try for reservations.

Here’s an earlier thread with lots of recommendations:

Thank you all for the recommendations! Sticky Fingers’ ribs and the she-crab soup sound like must-haves for me. And Dave and Julia will have plenty of vegetarian-type food at their wedding, so I’m gonna have to go off on my own to try the best local restaurants unencumbered. Please keep the suggestions coming, and Earl, thank you for the link!

WordMan, I should find out my status before I leave on that trip, so middle of April. I’ll definitely let you know.

Ya know, I didn’t mean to sound like a downer, it sounds like a great trip. I’ve only been to Charleston once for a weekend and spent the whole time in a hotel, though, so I don’t know it at all.

It sounds like the food options are good!

I’m late to the thread and I see everyone has already made some great recommendations. The Mustard Seed also has a Summerville location but if you’re staying downtown, the Mt. Pleasant location would probably be easier to get to. I concur with The Mellow Mushroom suggestions as well.

I do love Sticky Fingers, but I’m not sure how vegan-friendly it might be (salads but that’s probably about all).

I also like Southend Brewery & Smokehouse (161 East Bay St.) for good beer as well as food.

I don’t know of any comic book stores though, sorry.

Enjoy your trip. :slight_smile:

Oh, by the way, I’m staying at the Sleep Inn on 1524 Savannah Highway, and the wedding is in the historic district (downtown, I assume), at a place called the Confederate Home and College. I don’t have an address for that yet. How are the areas, and are they at least close to each other?

Savannah Highway (also called Highway 17) will lead you right downtown. Take 17 N (turn left out of the hotel, basically) and follow it down to the East Bay St. exit, turn right onto East Bay. It should only take you about 10-15 minutes or so.

The phone book lists the Confederate Home and College as being on 62 Broad St., which should be easy enough to get to from taking 17 to East Bay. I don’t know exactly where it is but I’m sure your friends will sort you out on that.

Your hotel is in a safe but unscenic area (lotta car dealerships on that road, they call it Savannah Highway Automile) - hopefully you don’t mind that.

You can also visit Charles Towne, which was the site of the orignal settlement, and Drayton Hall, a Southern plantation. I think that’s where they filmed the mini-series North and South.

Downtown was a lot of fun, though. Lots of shops and old architecture. Oh, and don’t let anyone tell you the Marketplace was where they sold slaves. The Marketplace was the grocery store back in the day. IIRC, slaves were not sold en masse in Charleston. At least, not at the Marketplace.

I have no clue about food but a thread in the last few days was extolling the virtues of talking books for long drives. Someone mentioned Audible and I was amazed at the variety available. I’m off to the library next week to see what I can get for my next long road trip.

I looked in the phone book and found a comic book store. It’s called Atomic Comics, it’s located downtown at 451 King St. (King St. runs parallel to East Bay, two streets over IIRC). Their phone number is (843) 534-2866.

Hope that helps.

And Atomic Comics is just a few doors down from Juanita Greenberg’s Nacho Royale, which has really good food. (Vegetarian available, not so sure about the vegan part.) If you grab a Charleston City Paper you can find listings of vegan friendly restaurants. They are available in a lot of places, they’re free, or you can go online here Also, I believe Atomic Comics is the only decent comic book store left in Charleston.

These two places are also just doors down from Basil (the yummy thai place mentioned, which usually has a good wait time) and AC’s Bar and grill, my personal favorite watering hole. :smiley: Cheap drinks, and a very “Moe’s Bar”/“Cheers” kind of place. If Lenny or Eric is bartending, tell him Kerri misses him.
(It’s been so long!)

The drive on 95 is not that bad. Just make sure you have plenty of music available, because from outside Ft. Lauderdale to about Daytona there’s nothing on the road. Then there’s nothing on the road until about Jacksonville. It’s just a dead stretch of highway. (I used to drive to Ft. L once a month from Charleston when a friend lived there.) It’s best to do the driving in one stretch, unless you’re the kind of person that gets antsy really quick. IIRC, it took me about 12 hours to drive from Miami to Charleston, but I was driving a crap car that wouldn’t go above 60mph.

If you’re looking for an impromptu bachelor party place and strip clubs are an option, don’t waste your time at the Joker or the Southern Belle. The girls are much hotter at Diamonds, although the Southern Belle does have full nudity. :wink: Just a friendly suggestion.

Have fun!