Courtesy Charleston Culinary Tours
Even for the hungriest of diners, it can be daunting to try to ferret out the best treasures of Charleston, South Carolina’s burgeoning culinary scene. But on an expedition with Charleston Culinary Tours, visitors eat their way through some of the city’s most valued culinary spots with the help of expert guides.
Charleston Culinary Tours is one of many guided tour experiences that can help groups make the most of a visit to destinations in the Southeast. In this region that overflows with food, history, culture and tradition, tours guided by local experts give visitors a chance to experience the very best of a city without having to do advance research.
Guided tours in the Southeast also highlight the great diversity of the region. Beyond eating in Charleston, groups can have an expert-led expedition into the swamps of Louisiana, see behind the scenes at a Kentucky horse farm or explore the mountains of West Virginia on an all-terrain vehicle.
Ghost tours bring the haunted history of Fredericksburg, Virginia, to life, and a guided walk through Vicksburg National Military Park gives groups a new perspective on the Civil War.
Next time your bank group visits the Southeast, enlist the help of locals for one of these great guided tours.
Charleston Culinary Tours
Charleston, South Carolina
One year ago, Charleston locals Glenn Morehead and Oscar Hines created Charleston Culinary Tours to introduce visitors to their favorite food spots in this historic city.
“People come down here for food — we’re the culinary mecca of the South,” Morehead said. “They also come for the history, so we combine those two elements. We do a two and a half or three-hour tour, and you get a history of the city in between restaurants.”
The tours take most of the afternoon, and participants eat so much along the way that the experience often counts for lunch and dinner. Morehead and Hines have selected some of their favorite restaurants in Charleston’s historic district to include on the tour.
At each one, the chef or manager comes out to greet the group and tells them about the theme of the restaurant and the food they’ll eat. At each stop, participants sample three or four dishes; the tour ends with a stop at a dessert shop.
The food can vary from trip to trip, but the team always makes sure to include some classical Southern fare.
“We try to mix it up on each tour,” Morehead said. “It’s definitely a Charleston tour, so we make sure that shrimp and grits are available on every tour. And because we’re right on the water, we always have a catch of the day from the water straight to your plate.”
The company is introducing a second tour this year, which takes participants to restaurants on Upper King Street.
Ghosts of Fredericksburg Tours
With a history that dates back to 1608 and includes four Civil War battles, Fredericksburg is fertile ground for ghost stories. Since 2006, the Ghosts of Fredericksburg Tours have highlighted the area’s haunted history for visitors.
“There were over 100,000 casualties in the four battles in the area, and Fredericksburg was one of the places where they brought all of the wounded,” said the tour’s creator, Mark Nesbitt. “That’s the type of situation that would produce a large number of ghosts.”
During tours, which take place at dusk and are led by lantern-toting, costumed guides, groups visit different sites around Fredericksburg that are said to be haunted. At each stop, the guides introduce the history of the building and tell the tales of the ghosts said to inhabit the sites.
One of the highlights of the tour is a home called the Chimneys, which dates back to the 1700s and is said to be inhabited by a noisy child ghost who likes to rattle the silverware in the dining room.
One of the most memorable tales is of a woman who “fraternized” with occupying Union troops while her husband was off fighting for the Confederacy.
“When he came home, he found out about it, and she was so ashamed that she hanged herself on the second floor of her home,” Nesbitt said. “To this day, people will be walking past a stairway to the second floor and get a brief glimpse of a woman’s body hanging up there.”