A major component of running a successful airline is being able to forecast and implement new and hopefully popular routes to entice your customers with. Realizing an under-the-radar destination’s worth or simply being the first to service an up-and-coming city can be key, especially if you’re an airline challenged by things like distance due to the limitations of your fleet.
With the recent additions of strategic seasonal destinations in the ski resort towns of Vermont (Burlington) and Quebec (Mont-Tremblant), this has been an area Porter Airlines has excelled in and on Valentine’s Day, the airline operated their inaugural flight to its seventh and newest American offering, Charleston, South Carolina.
While Charleston may be somewhat new to the Canadian vacation market (only Porter Airlines currently flies there non-stop from Canada), it is anything but ‘new’. In fact, it is South Carolina’s oldest city and operates under the tagline, ‘Where History Lives’, so maybe it’s just best to call it ‘unexplored’ instead. It has also been voted the Top City in the United States by the readers of Conde Nast Traveler in 2014, its third consecutive year winning the award. And while you’ll find buildings dating back to the early 1700’s, history isn’t Charleston’s only draw.
Voted ‘Top Small Airline in the World’ by Conde Nast Traveler, Porter Airlines flies round trip, non-stop, Saturdays, February 14th to May 2nd, 2015 from Toronto’s Billy Bishop Island Airport.
Take advantage of Porter’s new hassle-free flights and while in Charleston, take in the following not-to-be-missed attractions.
One of the biggest in the entire country, the annual BB&T Charleston Wine & Food Festival (March 4 – March 8, 2015) draws world-class local and international chefs and bakers, brewers and winemakers and is one of the most popular events in the state, year after year. Under a magical tent in Marion Square, guests are treated to samples of locally inspired dishes paired with beer, wine and spirits, live music and the perfect opportunity to experience the emerging new ‘Old South’.
Although it is opened daily, Charleston’s Old City Market is always an event. Browse countless aisles of vendor stalls for everything from jewelry and clothing to produce and souvenirs but whatever you do, leave some time to visit the famous basket-weaving ladies. Originating in West Africa, the art has been brought over by slaves and the skill passed down through generations over centuries. If you want to pick-up anything here, their intricate sweetgrass handicrafts are definitely it.
Historic Homes & Mansions
Many of Charleston’s historic homes and mansions are former plantations, such as Drayton Hall. Built in 1738, the building has never been restored and even today, the massive red-brick main house goes without heat or electricity. On the estate grounds you will also find a couple of scenic walking trails as well as The African American Cemetery. Tours with informative guides run on the hour.
Although less ornate than most of the mansions found in the Charleston area, the main house at Magnolia Plantation & Gardens is still worthy of a visit but the real draw here is the French-style garden and its inhabitants. Alligators, turtles and otters share the Audubon Swamp Garden and the on-site petting zoo and horticultural maze is a great place to bring the kids.
Other notable historic houses to consider are The Aiken-Rhett House Museum, the Nathaniel Russell House Museum and Middleton Place.
Kick off your sight-seeing shoes and head for the sand at friendly Folly Beach. Just 12 miles south of downtown, the area’s most popular beach draws everyone – families, teens and couples, locals and visitors and is the perfect place to soak up some South Carolina sun. Surf the break, fish the pier or stroll the shoreline admiring the rentable ocean-front beach houses perched atop the sand dunes overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
The beach on Sullivan’s Island is another popular spot, both for its quiet natural beauty as well as its history. Stationed on the island’s Fort Moultrie in the 1820’s, acclaimed writer Edgar Allan Poe used the island’s setting as the backdrop for his short story ‘The Gold Bug’ and his stay here is celebrated by the popular drinking hole, Poe’s Tavern. Other points of interest include America’s last built lighthouse which offers an annual open-house tour for visitors throughout the month of May.
The Isle of Palms promises seemingly endless beaches and does not disappoint. Rent a beach house, enjoy an intimate inn or book a stay at the island’s famous Wild Dunes Resort. While more family oriented than Folly Beach, the 7 miles of shoreline just 16 miles east of the city is also a hot spot for golf enthusiasts with two Tom Fazio designed golf courses to tee off on.
From true links style to low-country forest and several oceanfront gems, Charleston and the surrounding area is packed with a variety of courses (about 20 of them) to suit just about every taste and skill level.
The Wild Dunes Resort on the Isle of Palms offers players two challenging courses, Harbor Course and the Links Course. While the former is a Tom Fazio-designed course and presents hazards such as marshes, lagoons and the Intracoastal Waterway, the latter is one of the most scenic in the entire country, bordered by centuries-old oak trees, massive dunes and marshland.
Edging the Wando River and Horlbeck Creek, the legendary Arnold Palmer-designed course at RiverTowne is blessed with picturesque fairways surrounded by towering pines and challenging yet ultra-scenic finishing holes.
The historic Country Club of Charleston was founded in 1786 and is the oldest course in the United States. Unfortunately, you’ll have to buddy up with a member as the highly exclusive course is only open to members and their guests.
To book your South Carolina holiday using Porter Airlines’ new non-stop service, call a Flight Centre Airfare Expert today at 1877 967 5302 or visit a Flight Centre location near you.