The Best Videos of Charleston’s Old City Jail

Charleston’s Old City Jail, one of the most haunted historical buildings in our country, has certainly caught the eye of Hollywood’s travel and paranormal fanatics. The jail first graced the silver screen in the mini-series, “Glory,” highlighting its use as an insane asylum during the Civil War. In recent years the jail has been investigated by “Ghost Hunters,” “Ghost Adventures,” “Paranormal State,” The Travel Channel, and “Ghost Brothers.” All the shows agreed: the jail is haunted!

When “Ghost Hunters” investigated the jail, scratches appeared on all the investigators’ bodies during this episode. A black mass also passed by on camera. They concluded the building was definitely haunted, and guests needed to treat it with respect because evil people were held there in life and their spirits should be treated as evil afterlife as well.

When “Ghost Adventures” explored Charleston’s most haunted building, they were successful in finding some very creepy evidence of what they believe is the ghost of Lavinia Fisher on their sound monitors. Check out the Travel Channel’s “Ghost Adventures” show at the Old City Jail in 2011.

Paranormal State” claimed they were in contact with the spirits of enslaved African Americans that were imprisoned in the jail. They said they found ghosts that felt as though they were being tortured and held against their will.

Samantha Brown of The Travel Channel toured the jail, saying “If you’re gonna be scared to death in the South, Bulldog Tours leads the most frightening ghost tour in all of Charleston, the Old City Jail.”

Some other notable videos regarding the jail are:

Still in doubt? Come see for yourself. Book one of our Haunted Jail Tours today.

Kicking Off the ‘Busy’ Season

We are excited to begin another full spring season at Bulldog Tours! March officially begins the busy season here in Charleston as we welcome the Charleston Wine + Food, which brings many tourists and locals out to downtown Charleston to frequent the city’s multitude of restaurants, shops and attractions.

Of course, Easter is in April so we’ll be welcoming families for a week of fun in Charleston. College spring breaks are often before Easter, so we notice more college students visiting the city as early as March.

St. Patrick’s Day is another holiday that brings people to Charleston to visit some of our wonderful Irish Pubs, such as Tommy Condon’s. Visitors – and locals – love to celebrate this festive holiday, so make your plans early. Easter weekend is a big one in the Holy City. Services in one of our many churches on the peninsula will be packed.

Runners in town for the Cooper River Bridge Run on April 1 will fill downtown Charleston and Marion Square, which is the finish line for this annual race. Last year, close to 30,000 people ran or walked in the event. You’ll be sure to see many runners at the local brunch spots afterward. And if you aren’t a part of the race, watch out for traffic entering and exiting the city for hours before and after the race.

As May gets underway, Charleston gets ready for summer and, by Memorial Day Weekend, the area’s restaurants, shops and attractions will be in full swing, ready to accept all the summer vacationers.

So here’s to another busy season in Charleston! Cheers!

Looking for Another ‘Best Of’ Kind of Year

The presidential election year is over, but we sure hope you aren’t tired of voting because we have just one more vote for you to cast. Vote for Bulldog Tours as Best Tour Company. That’s right, folks! The Charleston City Paper’s “Best of Charleston” contest is back, and we need your vote by Feb. 24. Find us in the Attractions and City Living Category under Best Tour Company. We’ve won every year since 2010, but what can we say? We love to win, and we hope to bring home the honors once again in 2017. You do not have to vote in multiple categories for your vote to count. Just vote! It’s quick and easy.

Wondering if we deserve to take home the title another year? Check out the Top 10 Reasons Bulldog Tours is the Best Tour Company in Charleston. We showcase the best of Charleston everyday as we give tours to visitors from around the world. It’s our specialty, and we take pride in our tours and our tour guides – some of the most experienced in the city. Check out this video if you need even more convincing.

If it’s been awhile since you experienced Bulldog’s hospitality, come join us for Free Night for Locals on Monday, Feb. 13. Pick from the Ghost and Graveyard Tour, the Dark Side of Charleston Tour or the Haunted Jail Tour at multiple times. These tours are for residents of Charleston, Dorchester or Berkeley counties – and you’ll need the ID to prove it. This offer is good for tours on Feb. 13 only; guests cannot reschedule to another night for free.

Groups of six or more must be booked under one reservation so the group can stay together. If you are touring with friends, make sure you let us know at the time of the reservation or we cannot guarantee the same tour. All groups will be called 48 hours in advance and numbers will have to be confirmed at that time. And, only one tour per person that night. Reservations are required. Call 843-722-8687 to reserve your spot. Space is limited and reservations go very fast.

We look forward to another great year touring our beautiful city with you!

Lavinia Fisher Night at Bulldog Tours

For the third year, we’ll be offering a special paranormal investigation of the Old City Jail on the anniversary of Lavina Fisher’s death, Feb. 18. This year, that day happens to fall on a Saturday, so we are offering the investigation on both Friday and Saturday nights (Feb. 17 and Feb. 18). The investigations will begin at 11 p.m. and last until 2 a.m. Cost is $35 per person. Space is limited and reservations are going fast. We highly recommend calling as soon as possible to grab your spot.

In 1820, Lavina was hanged for her crimes as the first female serial killer in the United States. Reportedly a beautiful woman, Lavina was married to John Fisher. Together, they operated a hotel, the Six Mile House. During their time managing the hotel, the police received many reports about disappearing hotel guests. There are many versions of the story as to how Lavinia and John murdered the unlucky guests, but two of the more popular accounts were that she poisoned their tea and that once they fell asleep her husband would stab them or that they would pull a lever so their bed dropped them into a pit with spikes.

6 Mile House

Redention of the Six Mile House by Juliee Boatright

There are stories of a few who managed to escape the Fishers, which is how the murdering couple was ultimately captured and held in the Old City Jail until they were both publically hanged.

We look forward to sharing these stories and more during our special paranormal investigation on the anniversary of Lavina Fisher’s death. Please call 843-722-8687 for reservations and more information.

Looking Forward to 2017!

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We are really looking forward to 2017 at Bulldog Tours. Some of our plans for the new year include:

  • Free Night for Locals – This year’s Free Night for Locals is Monday, Feb. 13. Locals are required to present ID at check-in. Locals must be from Charleston, Dorchester or Berkeley Counties.
  • Lavinia Fisher Night – Join us for a special paranormal investigation of the Old City Jail on the anniversary of Lavinia Fisher’s death on Feb. 18. The three-hour event starts at 10 p.m. and the cost is $25 per person. Come and investigate with us! Call 843-722-8687 for information and reservations.
  • Military Night – Watch for a special military night in February or early March. All active and retired military will enjoy half-off tickets for our history and nighttime ghost tours. More information to come!
  • Ladies Night – We’re working on a special springtime event for the ladies. We’ll be offering half-off tickets for ladies on all our night tours, but especially our Dark Side of Charleston Tour and our pub tours! More to come on this special event as well.
  • Mother’s Day – All moms can tour for free on Mother’s Day (nighttime and history tours).
  • Father’s Day – All dads can tour for free on Father’s Day (nighttime and history tours).
  • Summer Photo Contest – This past summer’s photo contest was a huge hit! We look forward doing it again this summer and seeing visitors’ great Charleston photos. The contest winner receives a free trip to Charleston, including two nights at a downtown hotel, dinner for two at a downtown restaurant and tickets for our tours. More information to come!
  • Report Card Program – At the end of the summer we will offer free tickets for kids if they send us a photo of their all A’s and B’s report cards. Please stay tuned to our Facebook page for more information this summer.
  • Veterans Day – Military tour free on this holiday for our night and history tours.
  • Black Friday Special – Buy a gift card for a future tour (not for Black Friday) at half off – that includes culinary, history and ghost tours.
  • Holiday Strolls Tour – Every year we offer a special holiday Charleston Strolls Tour during the entire month of December. We highlight downtown decorations and special Charleston Christmas history tales and facts. The tour ends at the beautifully decorated Mills House Hotel where guests enjoy Christmas cookies and egg nog.

We look forward to all that 2017 has to offer. Stay tuned as we add other events throughout the year, including special philanthropy opportunities. Thank you for making 2016 a great year! We hope to see you soon!

Stay in touch with use via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Bulldog Tours is Charleston’s Choice

choice-thank-you

We are excited to announce we won the Charleston’s Choice contest in the category of Best Tour Company. The contest, sponsored by The Post and Courier, recognizes the Lowcountry’s top choices in more than 300 categories.

The contest consisted of three rounds of voting. The first round and naming of the nominees was in the spring. We asked our fans for their votes and they came through, pushing into the second round of voting over the summer. Winners were announced on Sept. 25 in a special edition of The Post and Courier.

This was the first year The Post and Courier held this contest, and we were honored to be named the first tour company to win. Other area businesses that took home Charleston’s Choice accolades were Hanks Seafood and Charleston Stage.

We are looking forward to celebrating with all the other winners at the Charleston’s Choice party at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29 at TD Arena in downtown Charleston. The event is open to the public; tickets are $75 per person. The party will feature food tastings, cocktails and live entertainment by DJ NattyHeavy and Ben Fagan and the Holy City Hooligans.

We can’t wait to participate in next year’s contest. Thank you to everyone who voted for us. Cheers to another great year of touring our wonderful City of Charleston!

 

5 Ways to Stay Cool on a 100-Degree Charleston Day

things-to-do-on-hot-day-in-charleston

Sometimes, when Charleston temperatures are in the double digits, it’s hard to motivate yourself to step outside your air-conditioned house or hotel room. But the Holy City really is too cool to avoid exploring, no matter the time of year. These are just a few things us locals like to do to outside when the heat is hard to beat.

Waterpark Perks

We can’t cry over the heat when we have not one but two waterparks here in Charleston: Splash Zone at James Island County Park and Whirlin’ Waters Adventure Waterpark at North Charleston Wannamaker Country Park. At Splash Zone you’ll find everything from 200-foot slides to a 500-foot lazy river complete with waterfalls, while Whirlin’ Waters features a six-lane racer slide, 27,000-square-feet wave pool, a multi-slide complex called the Tubular Twister, a Big Splash Tree House with 66 interactive play elements, an 870-foot lazy river, and fun, fun, fun.

Float On

Charleston locals love to take to the Edisto River in the dead of summer for the ultimate lazy river. To take advantage of Charleston’s ultimate lazy river experience, grab yourself a good floatation device and prepare yourself for at least a six-hour float during which all you do is drink a beverage of choice and relax. Yes, for six or so hours. How do we do it? Many floaters leave a car at Messervy Landing, then drive ten more minutes and get in at Givhan’s Ferry State Park in Ridgeville. Six hours later, get out at Messervy and begin the process of taxiing fellow floaters back to their cars at Givhan’s. Enjoy, and you’re welcome.

Beach It

We have nothing in Charleston if not plenty of beautiful beaches — like Sullivan’s Island, Isle of Palms, Folly Beach, and Kiawah Island — on which you can relax in the sea breeze and let the ocean waves wash away any memory of the stifling heat everywhere else! Enjoy a frozen drink with that view at the beachfront bar behind the Tides Hotel or Banana Cabana on the Isle of Palms.

Sail Away

How can you get a better breeze than going to the beach? By taking a boat there, that’s how! Rent a small motor boat from the marina at Patriot’s Point, Mt. Pleasant, and go island hopping with the Ravenel Bridge at your back. See downtown’s steepled skyline from the water, and venture all the way to Morris Island Lighthouse. Or try your hand at sailing by chartering a sailboat at the City Marina (17 Lockwood Drive).

If you’re downtown for a stroll on a super-hot day, there’s little you can do to avoid sweating through your clothes a few times over, but we you can try these little things to keep cool. We recommend 1. running through the fountain at Waterfront Park, regardless of how old you are! 2. grabbing a gelato at Paolo’s on John Street or Belgian Gelato on Vendue Range, next to Waterfront Park 3. trying a craft popsicle from the King of Pops, a cart you can find at the Farmer’s Market on Marion Square on Saturdays, and 4. taking a break inside the Children’s Museum, Charleston Museum, or the South Carolina Aquarium.

Where will you get up to when you need to cool down in Charleston?

Charleston First Friday Art Walk: How to do it right

art-walk

Each season, the Charleston Gallery Association holds an art walk in downtown’s French Quarter and beyond, a now long-time tradition and an event the city holds close to its heart. It’s not only a great way for tourists to see the city and all the art it has to offer, but it’s a chance for local art lovers and collectors as well to congregate, socialize over sips of wine, and check out each studio’s seasonal collections. The walk is held the first Friday every March, May, October, and December, so if you’re in town during one of those weekends, it’s probably a sign that you’re meant to make your way through the city’s best art galleries!

So how does the art walk work? As tried-and-true veterans, we have some advice on how to do it right.

1. Plan Ahead

The next walk is set for Fri. Oct. 7 and Fri. Dec. 2, 2016 from 5 until 8 p.m. There is a lot of ground to cover during these walks, so you need to do a little bit of homework prior to take-off. Plan before you go by grabbing a downloadable/printable map from charlestongalleryassociation.com. Browse the association’s site to see the sort of art each gallery has to offer, so you can tailor your own walk to your specific taste.

2. Make a Dinner Reservation

While some galleries serve snacks, most serve wine — and that means you’re going to need some sustenance come 8 o’clock. Good thing you’re in the best city in the States for insanely wonderful food, right? Some great spots near Broad Street include Husk, Slightly North of Broad, Magnolias, Cypress, Oak, and High Cotton — to name a few. On Meeting Street, we love F.I.G. And if you wind up on Upper King Street (the great Mitchell Hill Gallery is up that way), you can’t go wrong at Rarebit, Rue de Jean, Fish, or The Grocery.

3. Bring cash

You can’t plan love, can you? Meandering through some of the Southeast’s most stunning art galleries may make you fall head over heels for anything from a piece of jewelry to a grand piece of one-of-a-kind wall art. So plan ahead — and plan on the possibility of taking home some pretty unique souvenirs.

4. Wander Away

Simply start at any of downtown’s galleries, have a wander through the space, and mosey on through the city’s historical streets and to as many studios as you please. With galleries everywhere from Broad to Church to East Bay to State to King to Queen, you have your work cut out for you, but don’t ponder for too long at one spot or you’ll miss out on so much more. Some names to look for along the way include Ann Long Fine Art, Birds I View, Atelier Gallery, Courtyard Art Gallery, Grand Bohemian Gallery, LePrince Fine Art, John Carroll Doyle Art Gallery, the Audubon Gallery, and the aforementioned Mitchell Hill Gallery, which is further up King Street.

5. Take a Rickshaw

So you’ve done the walk and gone to your dinner reservation, right? Finish the night off right with a rickshaw to your final destination. There is nothing like a late-night rickshaw journey to top off an exhilarating night out in Charleston, South Carolina.

Will you make it down for a First Friday Art Walk?

New Upper King Street Pub Tour

king-st-pub-tour

We are excited to announce our Upper King Street Pub Tour coming to the popular Upper King area of downtown Charleston. We couldn’t be happier to add this tour to our repertoire. The Upper King Street area has been taking the city by storm ever since more bars and restaurants started opening up there about 10 years ago. Now, this trendy portion of King Street is the place to be and be seen. So we can’t wait to take our customers on a tour of the cool, new establishments in the north part of town.

The Upper King Street Pub Tour will focus on Charleston’s seedy and sordid history. We’ll discuss prohibition, bootlegging and the old speakeasies. Learn about the sultry history of Charleston’s brothels and the city’s crime and torture while sipping on a craft beer or a glass of wine.

We’ll visit Charleston Beer Works, 492, Smoke BBQ and Prohibition. The tour will start on the front steps of the Charleston Visitors Center. The tour is from 4-6:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and costs $25 (not including alcohol).

Charleston Beer Works has a laid back vibe focused on cold beer, good food and sports. This is a great place to meet and watch a Saturday football game in the fall. The beauty of 492 is definitely different from the atmosphere at Charleston Beer Works. This classic restaurant/bar has an upscale quality, yet maintains a friendly and welcoming environment. You’ll want to try a mixed drink here and maybe one of the delicious appetizers.

Next on the tour is Smoke BBQ with a hard rock décor theme and divine barbecue. The bar is comfortable and familiar – like you’ve been there a 100 times even if it’s your first visit. Lastly, Prohibition is a great place to talk about, well, prohibition, of course. The selection at Prohibition is vast. This place has everything you could ask for in beer, cocktails and wine. Enjoy culinary delights and fine live music. The restaurant’s theme: Prohibition celebrates the bacchanalian decadence of the 1920s.

Join us on our new Upper King Street Pub Tour. Please book soon for your Friday or Saturday reservation at 4 p.m. Space is limited to just 12 people. Call 843-722-8687 or book your Upper King Street Pub Crawl online.

5 Charleston Graveyards Worth a Wander

circular-church-graveyard-skull

Here in the Holy City, churches are simply part of Charleston’s makeup — and the city’s breathtaking skyline! And with that often comes the graveyards. Many of our downtown places of worship also have stunning, historical, and intriguing graveyards that visitors are always welcomed to have a meander through. We’ve narrowed down our favorite graveyards here, all of which are within walking distance to one another, with the exception of the churchless graveyard of Magnolia Cemetery.

Unitarian Church and Huguenot Church
Both of these places of worship are on Archdale Street, so we’ll combine them as one bullet point since their graveyards are adjacent. You’re actually able to meander through one and to the next as they’re also connected. We recommend accessing it from the somewhat secret walkway on King Street to get the full effect — the feeling that you’ve encountered a wondrous secret garden and a peaceful retreat from the bustle of King. This one’s particularly gorgeous as it’s overgrown with flowers, making it seem ever more seeped in mystery. If you’ve heard that in Charleston we refer to graveyards as “gardens,” well, once you step foot into these gardens, you’ll understand exactly why that is.

St Michael’s Episcopal Church
St. Michael’s, the oldest surviving religious structure in Charleston, sits at the four corners of law at the intersection of Meeting Street and Broad Street. Dating back to the 1750s, you can imagine the old graves that await in its graveyard, including that of John Rutledge.

gravestones at the Circular Congregational Church

gravestones at the Circular Congregational Church

Circular Congregational Church
Some of the most ancient gravestones in town are here at the beautiful Circular Congregational Church on Meeting Street. Plan to stroll for a few minutes here, since there are over 500 gravestones to observe. In fact, the oldest one in the city is here and dates back to 1675. While you’re wandering, note the incredible gravestone art at work throughout these grounds, a common practice in the 1800s of using slate to create images and medallion portraits. From the skulls, a symbol dating back to the 1600s, to portraiture, a characteristic that hasn’t been located in any SC or Georgia graveyard.

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graveyard at St. Phillips Episcopal Church

St Philip’s Church
Only a block from King Street, St Philip’s Church is home to many important historical figures in Charleston, like John C. Calhoun, Edward Rutledge, Charles Pinckney, Christopher Gadsden, and Dubose Heyward, the latter of which immortalized Charleston forever with his Porgy and Bess.

Magnolia Cemetery
Off the beaten track and relatively far from the above walkable downtown cemeteries, Magnolia Cemetery is only a short car drive away on Morrison Drive (East Bay St. turns into Morrison as you drive farther north to the cusp of North Charleston) and it is certainly worth finding. Once there, enjoy a slow wander through the beautiful final resting place of people such as Langdon Cheves, Robert Barnwell Rhett, Horace L. Hunley, and Thomas Bennett and the many unique, grand graves of a very long list of notable figures.. Spanish moss-covered oaks make this spot especially stunning and so, so very Charleston.

To delve much deeper into the fascinating history of Charleston’s graveyards, go on one of Bulldog’s Ghost and Graveyard Tours.