Charleston’s Greatest Museums

Charleston, South Carolina is one of Americas most hidden historic cities. The city is filled with rich culture and military culture. Charleston’s past lays in its various museums. According to the Travel Channel, these are the Top 5!

The Charleston Museum

The Charleston Museum

Founded in 1773, The Charleston museum is also titled “America’s First Museum.” If you take a look at Charleston’s museum mile, Charleston museum marks the beginning of a long line of Charleston’s history through art. Museum mile exists along Meeting Street where visitors get to enjoy the hundreds of artifacts defining Charleston’s agricultural and historical past. The museum also has some pretty awesome hands-on exhibits allowing visitors to examine cultivation tools and sweetgrass baskets that slaves used to harvest and cull rice in the fields. The museum also owns 2 historic houses, The Heyward-Washington House And Joseph Manigault House.

Gibbes Museum of Art

Gibbes Museum of Art

“Museum Mile” should have included the Gibbes Museum of Art. The art museum holds an intricate collection of paintings, sculpture and decorative art. The artwork is taken from eras including the Charleston Renaissance.

Karpeles Manuscript Museum

Karpeles Manuscript Museum

The Karpeles Manuscript Museum hold the worlds largest collection of historic manuscripts. The museum was originally a methodist church, the structure also served as a hospital mid Civil War. The Karpeles Manuscript Museum is sponsored by philanthropist David Karpeles, who also funds 7 other document repositories nationwide.  The museum interchanges exhibits regularly, so visit the website to find out what’s on view in order to plan your visit!

American LaFrance Fire Museum

American LaFrance Fire Museum

North Charleston holds the nation’s greatest collection of American LaFrance firefighting trucks, all admiringly restored. The museum contains shiny engines and horse-drawn fire wagons providing visitors with a lesson in America’s firefighting history. But don’t worry, the experience doesn’t stop there. There are also interactive exhibits! You’re able to lift the 00 pounds of equipment a firefighter wears on the job, while testing your knowledge of firefighting tools. The museum is also family fun! Children can climb a real firefighter’s ladder and slide down the fire pole on a large, indoor play set. Visit the site and plan a trip for the kids!

A Myrtle Beach Winter

As deep winter sets in and cold descends throughout the country, it’s easy to admit defeat to the cold, burrow into a blanket and anxiously await the coming of spring. However, while you’ll be warm, you will certainly be missing out on a ton of fun. Let’s make this winter an exception and head down to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Known for the Grand Strand, wide beaches and great golfing, Myrtle Beach is a destination year-round, but there are distinct advantages to visiting offseason during the winter. Winter visitors will find the area much more sparsely populated than during peak season, freeing up tons of space on the beach to stroll or relax, and eliminating the long lines that are common to Myrtle Beach bars and restaurants during summer.

Besides the fact that it is a beach with sunshine for at least two hundred days per year, Myrtle Beach features a host of activities, even during winter. Here are some common favorites:



For those looking to take advantage of being outdoors, there are tons of fun activities that don’t require you to take a dip in the chilly Atlantic Ocean. Hang out on the beach and take one of Klig’s Kites for a spin or go fishing either by yourself at Apache Pier, or let J&L Kayak Ecoventures take you on a guided fishing tour. You can even take a beachside horseback riding tour of the historic, 4,000-acre Inlet Point Plantation, once the home of the confederate Fort Randall.

If competitive sports are more for you, you might want to sample some of the area’s golf options.



With at least twelve golf courses to choose from at any given time during the year, Myrtle Beach is known as the “supermarket of golf” because of its variety in options for golfers of all levels and preferences. Myrtle Beach features two of Golf Magazine’s “Top 100 Courses You Can Play”. The Caledonia is a treacherous course that crams 6,526 yards of course into 125 acres and provides more than enough hazards for golfers to fall into. It ranks as Number 27 on Golf Magazine’s List.

The Dunes Golf & Beach Club is another iconic South Carolina course, with its devastatingly difficult, 590-yard, par-5 thirteenth hole. After undergoing minor renovations and a re-grassing last year, the courses are as good as new.

Need to work on your game before you hit the links? Visitors might be interested in the Myrtle Beach campus of the Golf Academy of America, which just moved into a behemoth 25,000-square foot building. It has a state-of-the-art 7,000 square foot practice facility that will allow golfers to fix their swings with video and 3D motion analysis, receive instruction in one of eight computer labs, or go more in-depth and learn how to employ the latest techniques in club repair.

5 Extremely Popular Restaurants in Charleston, South Carolina

Slightly North of Broad

A restaurant that most residents in Charleston know to be Slightly North of Broad has become extremely popular in Southern Carolina. Executive Chef Frank Lee helped establish the New Southern style that is now valuable and notable for go-to dining in Charleston.





192 East Bay Street, Charleston, SC 29401

(843) 723-3424

Hank Seafood Restaurant

Chef Frank McMahon re-created an antique menu serving a traditional blend of Seafood at Hanks Seafood restaurant. Hanks is modeled to resemble the great Charleston fish houses of the late 1940’s.  With intricate details aligning the restaurants mahogany frames, Hanks provides a New York feel with an added splash of southern comfort.

David Mantek - Hanks David Mantek - Hanks

10 Hayne Street, Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 723-3474


Magnolias is known for the classic southern cuisine experience that it offers downtown Charleston. Magnolias provides the perfect mix of home style cooking with polished fine culinary. Be sure to check out the phenomenal fried chicken.



185 East Bay Street, Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 577-7771

Charleston Grille

Chef Michelle Weaver has created a very entertaining menu that combines unusual ingredients, classic techniques and a touch of creativity. The menu changes regularly and is divided into four categories: Pure, Lush, Southern, and Cosmopolitan, each section reflecting its title.

David Mantek, CG David Mantek CG David Mantek - Charleston Grille

224 King Street, Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 577-4522



Husk in located in the historic downtown area of Charleston serving grand traditions of the Southern lifestyle. Husk is known for their modern approach results in playful dishes such as Deviled Eggs with Pickled Okra and Trout Roe, and new classics like South Carolina Shrimp and Chopped Okra Stew with Carolina Gold Rice and Flowering Basil.The restaurant is as casual as it is chic and a destination dining spot for travelers.


76 Queen Street, Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 577-2500

Popular Destinations in South Carolina


Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

1. Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach is the heart of South Carolina, its known for popular areas such as Ocean Boulevard and the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk. Myrtle Beach is a known spring break vacation spot that also draws the attention of many families throughout the united states. Medieval Times is a popular theme for Myrtle Beach tourist allowing visitors to visit historic regions of medieval Spain right in Southern Carolina.






Charleston, South Carolina

2. Charleston

Charleston is a very historic area of South Carolina filled with southern hospitality. This historical city feels like traveling back in time with its authentic architecture and antique buildings surrounded by plantation like landscapes. Some significant areas to visit within Charleston would be Waterfront Park and Middleton Place. Charleston is known for its spooky ghost tour that takes place at night introducing visitors to a hidden part of the city.




Hilton Head, South Carolina

3. Hilton Head

Known for its four star resorts and exceptional hotel experience golfers usually gravitate towards hilton head for an exhilarating golfers experience. Sports enthusiast are known to throw various sporting events here drawing numerous celebrities and athletes. Hilton Head is also known for its natural greenery attractions such as the Sea Pines Forest Reserve and Harbour Town Light House.




Greenville, South Carolina

4. Greenville

Greenville is known for its one of a kind suspension bridge also known as  Falls Park on the Reedy. Greenville attracts most artist and is the home for many restaurants shops and boutiques. With the international airport residing in Greenville, traveling into one of America’s best downtowns just became so much easier.




Mount Pleasant, South Carolina

5. Mount Pleasant


Is known for bringing bed a breakfast to South Carolina. Mount Pleasant Is a large suburban town in Charleston County filled with endless relaxation and scenic suburban property. Most tourist visit Mount Pleasant for an escape from the city for a relaxing getaway with loved ones.


South Carolina Historical Society’s Collection Has A New Home

David Mantek - Fireproof BuildingThe South Carolina Historical Society (SCHS) is a non-profit founded in 1855 is the state’s largest and oldest archive of documents preserving South Carolina’s rich history. Its staggering collection of approximately 2 million documents has called the Fireproof Building in Charleston, South Carolina its home for almost a century.

Completed in 1827, the state of the art  fireproof structure was the first of its kind designed by Robert Mills solely for the purpose of housing and protecting public records. After all these years, the SCHS is moving its mounds of documents to a new home, about a mile away in the campus of College of Charleston.

The Fireproof Building, also known as the County Records Building, located in 100 Meeting Street is  is now being slowly emptied of its ancient collection and by late February will be unveiled in College of Charleston’s Addlestone Library. This move was brought on by two conflicting objectives of the Historical Society: to preserve the documents and to preserve the historical building and finally, the Society decided to move the archives from their longtime home.

It is estimated that shift will be completed by January 12 and the records, now being boxed up, are inaccessible till then.

Robert Mills, the famous designer of the Washington Monument and the U.S Treasury Building, designed the Fireproof Building in 1822. It was a revolutionary structure for its time with a combination of brick, brownstone and stucco making in inflammable, earning it the title of the ‘Fireproof Building.’ The building also has plenty of windows, flooding the rooms with ample natural light and reducing the use of candles.

The South Carolina Historical Society, however, did not begin leasing it until 1955 and moved completely in 1968.  John Tucker, SCHS’s Assistant Director, says that the Addlestone Library is a better choice in today’s time, providing advance climate and temperature controlled structure of the historical documents.

No document has mildewed yet in the Fireproof Building, but ideally the humidity levels for such documents should be in the range of 40-55, while its around 80 in the Fireproof Building and the Society’s Director of Archives and Research, Mary Jo Fairchild, recommends moving before the humidity level affects the documents.

Moreover, space issues in the old Fireproof Building necessitated the move as much as the humidity levels and the newly-renovated Addlestone Library, which opened in 2004, provides a solution for both of these issues.

After February, the library will become one of the major research libraries in South Carolina’s history, Southern history and Atlantic world history. The Society will retain ownership of the documents and will keep its office and other artifacts in the Fireproof Building.

The Society also has ambitious intentions for the Fireproof Building, with plans to turn in museum-like in motion. For full article on South Carolina Historical Society’s renovation and relocation plans, click here.

What to do in Charleston

We know that Charleston is the friendliest city in the country.  But what else does this place have to offer?

Quite a lot actually.  No matter where you came from in the United States it is likely you’ll find something to love about Charleston.  A recent Huffington Post article talked about some of the best places for you to visit while in the city.

davidmantek_whattodoKnown for its food, Charleston evinces some of the best dishes in the country.  The south is plentiful with fantastic ingredients and more and more the chefs of Charleston are putting those fresh finds on the plate in a delicious way.

The article suggests to swing on over to Butcher and Bee when you’re in the city to get a hold of a double cheeseburger that is to die for.  Butcher and Bee has all of the classics you could expect but they are put out in a gourmet fashion and the results are amazing.  Also on the menu you’ll find fried chicken, another southern staple, sausages and Carolina Trout among others.

After loading up at Butcher and Bee, why not find a place to take a rest and maybe curl up with a good book while you’re at it?  Head on over to Blue Bicycle Books, a boutique book store that the article states is a place, “will make you wish every day was a rainy one so you could explore the store for hours and curl up in a comfy chair.”

If books aren’t your thing why not check out some of the city’s shops?  Some recommendations would be Library by Lauren Lail where you can find vintage pieces with a modern spin.  Or you could head to Dandy for a similar style complete with a custom styled head piece.

As previously mentioned, there is something for everyone in Charleston and you don’t even have to look very hard to find it.

Homebuying Tips

The thought of purchasing a home for first time buyers can be absolutely terrifying. Inexperienced buyers are known to make mistakes and go with the first house they see or even forget about being a homeowner all together and continue to rent. There are numerous steps and things to consider before you buy your home.

davidmantek_homeforsaleFor starters, identify what home would best suit your needs. You have several options when purchasing a residential property: a traditional single-family home, a townhouse, a condo, or a multi-family building with two to four units. Each option has its pros and cons, depending on your homeownership goals, so you need to decide which type of property will help you reach those goals.

Next, figure out what characteristics your ideal home would have. This is the biggest purchase you have made so far in your life. While being flexible is a good thing, it is important to find a home you deserve that you can afford and serves your needs as good as possible

Once you have figured that out, determining how much of a mortgage you qualify for is a must. Before you start shopping, it’s important to get an idea of how much a lender will actually be willing to give you to purchase your first home. You may think you can afford a $300,000 home, but lenders may think you’re only good for $200,000 depending on factors like how much other debt you have, your monthly income and how long you’ve been at your current job.

Now how much home can you actually afford? sometimes a bank will give you a loan for more house than you really want to pay for. Just like with the purchase of a new car, you’ll want to look at the house’s total cost, not just the monthly payment. Of course, looking at the monthly payment is also important, along with how much down payment you can afford, how high the property taxes are in your chosen neighborhood, how much insurance will cost, how much you anticipate spending to maintain or improve the house, and how much your closing costs will be.

For more information read on at

Charleston Still Friendliest

In a USA Today article by Nancy Trejos, you’ll find that Charleston, South Carolina is still the most friendly city in the United States.  Based on a survey from the Conde Nast Traveler which polled more than 80,000 adults, the south still is one of the friendliest places in the country to be.  The 80,000 adults surveys from the 2013 Conde Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice Survey put up over 1.3 million votes to list their top ten most friendly cities in the United States.  Charleston, who won the previous year, got the nod for their fantastic culture, said voters.  A city that has people living in a naturally beautiful environment, locals continue to show travelers a good time in hospitality and entertainment.  Charleston’s food scene was also noted as a big factor for travelers.  

Also on the list of friendly cities was Savannah, Georgia.  Those who took the survey labeled Savannah as a city that help them step back in time and their friendly tour guides were also mentioned.  The combined experience earned Savannah second on the list of friendliest cities.

The full list of the top 10 for friendliest cities on the Conde Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice Survey were:

  • davidmantek_charlestonfriendlyCharleston, SC
  • Savannah, GA
  • San Antonio, TX
  • Telluride, CO
  • New Orleans, LA
  • Fort Worth, TX
  • Jackson Hole, WY
  • Key West, FL
  • Nashville, TN
  • Asheville, NC

These same survey takers also input the most unfriendly cities in the United States and unfortunately for Newark, New Jersey, they took the title for the second straight year.  The city’s mayor, Cory Booker was praised for trying his best to improve upon the city, however many saw the city as an airport city that is overcrowded.  Oakland, California was mentioned as the second most unfriendly city.  Below is the full list of the nine most unfriendly cities according to the survey:

  • Newark, NJ
  • Oakland, CA
  • Hartford, CN
  • Atlantic City, NJ
  • New Haven, CN
  • Detroit, MI
  • The Hamptons, NY
  • Wilmington, DE
  • Miami, FL


Welcome to David Mantek’s blog!

 This is his first post but there will be a lot more so keep in touch.