← Back to Charleston Stories

“Ask a Tour Guide” with Bill Stanton

At LowCountry Walking Tours, we want you to make the most out of your trip to Charleston. Some of you have only a few days to spend here and want to see the best that Charleston has to offer without wasting your time. Others of you have visited before or live here and would like to explore the “off the beaten path” side of Charleston. There are so many articles and travel guides out there and it can be overwhelming to sift through all of that material. That gave us an idea for a series called “Ask a Tour Guide”. Who would be a better resource than a professional licensed tour guide who has lived in Charleston and is passionate about showing people around this amazing city! We are so fortunate to have the opportunity to offer you the best tour guides in Charleston and we want to share their knowledge with you here!  So, here goes…first up is tour guide extraordinaire, Bill Stanton!

Bill Stanton with Sweetgrass Basket Artist, Debra Greene.

What is it about Charleston that you want others to know that makes it so special to you?

Charleston has probably suffered more calamities, both natural and manmade, than any other city in America, and has always bounced back stronger than before; Devastating and numerous hurricanes, continuing to come to terms with it’s racial history, ie. Slavery and civil rights, secession and civil war, two long military bombardments, epidemics, five major fires, and the worst earthquake to ever occur East of the Mississippi River.  If you want one word to describe Charleston, it has to be RESILIENT!  That’s what makes it so special to me.

What is the one popular point of interest that you would say is “not to be missed”?

Philadelphia Alley, which by the way is included on the “Charleston’s Alleys & Hidden Passages Tour

Do you have a suggestion on where to stay?

Zero George Hotel.  It’s an impossibly charming boutique hotel in the historic district.  www.zerogeorge.com 

How about your favorite place for lunch? And how about dinner?

For lunch I recommend Normandy Farms on Broad Street. For dinner, my favorite is Fleet Landing.

Favorite local shop or place to get cool souvenirs or gifts?

The Charleston City Market.  I’ve done all of my Christmas shopping there and gotten really cool stuff!

Can you suggest something for guests to do that is more “off the beaten path”?

Bull’s Island. First of all I was the only person on the island the morning I visited.  You’re given an outstanding map showing all the trails.  The island has a diverse wildlife population, including alligators!  I seriously think I saw most of the different species of wildlife on my visit.  I also hiked to The Boneyard on the northern tip of the island and saw the eerie looking dead live oaks out in the water, killed quite a while back due to salt water intrusion from rising ocean levels.  Very eerie looking and so otherworldly! But part of what made it a great experience was knowing I was the only human being on the entire island that morning!

What area or walk would you suggest for guests to explore on their own?

White Point Gardens.

Do you have a favorite book for those interested in the history of Charleston?

“Charleston, Charleston” by Walter Frasier.

What is your favorite house museum in the Historic District?

Nathaniel Russel House Museum for the vibrant colors inside,  the elliptical staircase, the wonderful staff, outstanding gardens, and the coldest bottled water in town!

Can you tell us something that you find fascinating about Charleston that is not widely known?

The Great Earthquake of 1886…not widely known outside Charleston.

Do you have a favorite Charleston personality or character that you would like to share with your guests, historical or current?

Stephen Colbert and Bill Murray!

Which plantation do you recommend people visit and why?

Boone Hall for its close proximity to Charleston, the original slave cabins (some with the enslaved’s fingerprints in the brick), Alley of Oaks, Gullah performance, and because it’s still a working plantation.

And if there is a question that you have that is not answered here, let us know! We want to hear from you. Our goal is to make your time in Charleston the best experience possible!