Subject: Charleston, SC
Hi Graziella,

By now you know I have found Urbino, thanks to all who wrote.

Yes, we live about 2.5 hours from Charleston, SC, in a small town called Winnsboro, just 25 miles straight N of Columbia, the capital.

The music festival we are going to is called Spoleto, a 2 week long collection of music and arts, started by Carlos Menotti in 1977 and was designed after a similar one in Spoleto, Italy.

It starts about May 30 and ends about 16 days later. It is difficult to get good reservations for this as we waited so long to decide.

We agree about B and B's, but this one is so special. It was an accidental find when we went to Charleston about a month ago. It has been open about 6 months. It is called the Market Street Inn and is right in the center of Charleston, over Henry's restaurant, beside the Market. They have 5 huge rooms, all newly refurbished and decorated, a delightful breakfast, and run by 2 enthusiastic 30 year olds. Tom cooks and Michelle is the carpenter. All the rooms, including the lobby are connected by a center deck that is adorned with flowers, reminding me a great deal of Europe. The phone is 843-723-2177 and the fax is 843-723-8847. Prices vary according to the season and we are paying $110 a night for our room with breakfast and afternoon wine, sangria, lemonade, etc.

The places to stay that have parking is: Market Street Inn, King Charles, and Days Inn.

We liked the couple so much that we bought them a bottle of our favorite wine last time and this time we are taking them to dinner. They have some great ideas about locals' choices that we are going (again) to eat where they suggested.

They are getting a website up, but I have not checked lately to see if it is there. http://www.marketinn.com If it is not there, I assume it will not be up until after Spoleto.

Charleston is a fairly large city (for SC), but the historic district is located in a small area and parking is absolutely impossible so we like to stay within the area in which we could like to walk. Within this area is: the Charleston Place Hotel which is going for about $300 a night right now, a Doubltree in which we could not get a room the last time, King Charles Best Western, really a hotel, Days Inn, Mills Hyatt House, and a few Inns that are impersonal and have good reputations--Planters, Lodge Alley (which I have heard is wonderful and would be my pick for an impersonal Inn). There are many other well established Inns as well. There are a few hotels outside of my walking limits--Embassy Suites and the Francis Marion. The rest of the hotels are out on the highway before you get to the city and there are a few down by the Marina--Sheraton, and a new one my friend says is wonderful that is across the Ashley river--Harborside. Then, across the Cooper river, there is Shem Creek Inn (a motel) where you have a lot of choices of fish restaurants and you can watch the shrimp boats come in. My friend loves Shem Creek, but she has been to Charleston on a regular basis for many years and is not interested in the historical area.

My personal choices other than where we are staying would be Lodge Alley, and the DoubleTree.

Gretchen