Earlier this year, I had to take a business trip to a small town in South Carolina. This left me with two choices: I could fly into the resort beach town full of golf courses of Myrtle Beach to the north or to the historic former Confederate stronghold of Charleston to the south. The history buff in me won out and I booked a flight into Charleston International Airport.
This was only a one nighter, so there wasn’t much time to see anything, but I did manage to get in a walking tour of downtown. I had a hard time choosing between the architectural or the Civil War tour, but the decision was made at lunch when I was buying tickets — the architectural one sold out.
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The city was very interesting to walk through as, although most of the old Confederate cities were destroyed during the war, Charleston was well-preserved. The Union was more interested in Fort Sumter and bypassed the city instead of using resources to occupy it.
I showed up to the tour in the park at the southern most part of the peninsula and was greeted by the tour guide and only two other people. Even though the group was small, I had an interesting time hanging out for a couple hours, walking to some of the sites and hearing about the history of the town during the war.
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It was like watching a show on the History Channel before its shows were all about pawn shops and aliens. The only difference was instead of sitting on my couch, I was able to stroll outside and visualize the events at the monuments firsthand.
I would definitely recommend a walking tour of a new city if you really want to get a taste of what the place is really like.
I would also recommend filling up on some lunch before going on a walking tour. I did so at a place called d.d. Peckers’ Wing Shack. I had never heard of this place before, I just Googled “best wings in Charleston” and then after it recommended a couple places in West Virginia, I searched “best wings in Charleston, S.C.”
One of those sauces was called “Hot Gold” and it is nothing a Yankee could order north of the Mason-Dixon Line.
Was there anything really special about a wing shack just off the coast of the Atlantic Ocean? Not much. It had your wooden, run-down decor, flat TVs and sports memorabilia hanging from the walls, and a colorful laminated menu with a cartoon chicken holding a beer with wings that were for sale with a large selection of sauces.
One of those sauces was called “Hot Gold” and it is nothing a Yankee could order north of the Mason-Dixon Line. Carolina barbecue sauce (or “Gold Sauce” as it’s called here) is different from the rest of the country — it’s made with mustard.
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The closest thing we have to it, and it isn’t really that close, is honey mustard. Honey mustard has the taste of the familiar yellow mustard that tops tables at every diner. Carolina barbecue is a sweet, smoky sauce that has a taste of mustard, but it’s more like tasting the mustard seasoning than what you think of as the yellow stuff that goes on a hot dog.
This sauce was the best part of getting wings there. Even though they were labeled as hot, I’d only give it a two out of four on the heat scale. The chicken itself was plump and piping hot since it came cooked to order. Overall, it was a pretty good value as it averaged a dollar per wing in price.
The main point when eating wings here is trying the Gold Sauce. Unless you can verify the authenticity of the southern recipe, I would avoid the sauces with mustard up here in the north, but it is a must-try if you’re getting wings along the southern Atlantic coast.