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A Young Bookworm’s Itinerary to Charleston
Charleston is made for young travelers with active imaginations. It’s a city where early America comes to life on its centuries-old streets and visitors are regaled with tales of ghosts, pirates, and rebellions. At its plantations, the antebellum world of Gone with the Wind seems, incredibly, not so distant. For a young reader, or writer, Charleston speaks volumes and offers up inspiration around every corner. The annual YALLFest only adds to its appeal. This two-day young adults book festival returns for 2017 on Saturday and Sunday, November 10 and 11, with talks on young adult literature as well as author signings. Lauren Maggard of Jet Set World Travel, a member of the AFAR Travel Advisory Council, has created an itinerary built around the festival, with added family-friendly experiences.
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    Day 1
    Arrive in Charleston
    Get to Charleston early on Friday, so you’ll have a day to explore the city before the book fair on Saturday. You can choose to stay at either the Meeting Street Inn or Zero George.

    The Meeting Street Inn is in the heart of the historic district, meaning that all the sites you’ll likely want to visit are easily reached on foot. The 56 rooms in the 19th-century building exude historic charm, with four-poster beds and other period details. The 18-suite Zero George is also in the historic district, if not quite as central, in several 19th-century buildings that share a common courtyard. Both hotels are about a 15-minute walk to the Charleston Music Hall, where many of the YALLFest events take place.

    After a quick lunch at a nearby restaurant, you’ll depart for an afternoon carriage tour of Charleston. You’ll get an overview of the peninsula—the mansions along the Battery, the atmospheric alleys, and the old warehouses along the water.

    For dinner, head five minutes on foot to Queology BBQ, one of Charleston’s most popular casual barbecue restaurants. Choose from pulled pork, spicy chicken wings, and sides including standards like corn on the cob and mac and cheese. After a long day traveling, the comfort food served here should satisfy everyone in the family.
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    Photo By David Strauss
    Day 2
    YALL Fest
    After breakfast head to the Charleston Music Hall for the opening of the YALLFest. The day consists of a packed schedule of talks by leading authors in all sorts of genres—fantasy, historical fiction, and nonfiction works. Since its founding in 2011 by Blue Bicycle Books, the event has grown and this year more than 40 authors and thousands of their fans are expected to attend. While the opening and closing talks occur at the Charleston Music Hall, other events take place at venues across the city. Pick which talks you would like to attend soon, as tickets for some events are likely to sell out.
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    Day 3
    Dive Deeper into Charleston’s Culture
    This morning you may struggle getting your young reader to put down the books he or she picked up yesterday, but you have one day to see more of Charleston’s sights. Lauren can customize your itinerary today according to your child’s, or children’s, interests. A Gullah Tour provides an introduction to the culture passed down from African slaves; a trip to one of the nearby plantations—Boone Hall, Drayton Hall, Middleton Place—reveals a glimpse into a lost world and way of life; and any child fascinated by stories of soldiers and sailors will appreciate a visit to the USS Yorktown on the other side of the Cooper River.

    Lunch and dinner suggestions will be provided based on the sites you choose to visit.
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    Day 4
    Return Home
    After breakfast, you will figure out how to get all the tomes you have purchased in Charleston into your suitcases, and then head to the airport.