House Poor Summer Tour: Be a tourist in your home city

In the spirit of “staycationing” in our new home, these posts are about ways to save money and live frugally without being extreme or insane. I used these methods to save for my down payment, and I continue to use them to survive being a new, yet thrifty, homeowner.

Summer’s not over yet, and neither is the House Poor Summer Tour.


I’m fortunate to live in the beautiful, charming, and friendly city of Charleston, South Carolina.

When people find out I’m a runner living in Charleston, I feel like they envision me running on the Cooper River Bridge, on the Battery, or through downtown. A week after moving here, someone from my hometown actually asked me if I’d run over “the bridge” yet. I’d barely unpacked my running shoes- much less trekked 25 minutes to to attempt a bridge run.

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I have a Charleston address and ZIP code, but truthfully… I live in the suburbs. I’ve dubbed my neighborhood“Suburbia by the Swamp” because I can run a 3-4 mile down a humid, swampy, country road. When people visit Charleston, they usually don’t visit out here. This is where middle-class residents with Charleston addresses live, buy homes, and raise families.

Living 15-20 minutes from downtown has its perks. It’s close enough to go anytime I want, but far enough away to be more exciting than a trip to the mall.

On Sunday, parking is free so if you go downtown early, you can grab a cup of coffee (or afternoon gelato- yum!), walk around the city streets, and take pictures. That’s how I spent this past Sunday morning.

Sunday’s headline. Why yes, it is a religion, and it starts tonight.

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The Mills House hotel on Meeting Street. You can eat breakfast here in the garden.

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Corner of King and Queen Streets, looking down King Street.

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Charleston Library Society– pretty building with trees out front. Those trees are all over the city.

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Meeting Street.

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Quote outside the Unitarian Universalist Church, one of the oldest churches in Charleston. I’m not sure how often the quote changes, but it’s always fun to read and very insightful.

Being more spiritual than religious, I generally like the way Unitarians think.

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Another on King Street

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I hope you guys enjoyed a little peak at downtown- and I got all these pictures from a 15 minute walk around the block before church. It’s quite different than Suburbia!

Sometimes, the best staycations are right in front of you, and a 15-20 minute walk to escape reality is all you need.

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19 Responses to House Poor Summer Tour: Be a tourist in your home city

  1. ahellams says:

    The people that envision you on the bridge and the battery are envisioning me!! I am so spoiled getting to run these place every day, sometimes I need to remember not to take it for granted!! However I live in the hood, so I guess that is the trade off. 🙂

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I love running the bridge and battery, but definitely don’t do it every day! Maybe every 3-4 weeks or so :).

      I drive out to IOP on Saturdays to do my long runs. I am on the TrySports Ambassador Running Team- and I love having company on long runs and training with the team. But, when I just want to run 5-6 miles, I usually stick with something close to home in West Ashley just because I want to run and be done with it, rather than drive 20-25 minutes, run, then drive 20-25 minutes home.

      There are some great areas for running out here too, so I’m not TOO deprived!

  2. Wow, looks gorgeous! I’d love to visit someday 🙂

  3. Steph says:

    Charleston is awesome =) Can’t wait to come back!

  4. allieksmith says:

    Charleston is so cute! I love it! I also love being a tourist in my own city. It never gets old for me!

    I am also loving these “house poor” posts! I am probably going to be “house poor” in the next year or so, so I’m definitely paying special attention to your tips!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I’m glad you like them! Really, if you ever need any tips just let me know. I’m pretty good at managing money and being frugal but I can also point you to some amazing blogs that I use too.

      I’ve noticed you’re a tourist in your town too :). It’s definitely an advantage of living in a city, sometimes you don’t really need a vacation to have fun.

  5. Sounds like you have a great area to live in, The whole close to the city but far enough away is nice! I have been there a few times but not in many years!

  6. Amy says:

    Looks like such a great town. I may have to do this by taking pictures of Boulder sometime soon 🙂

  7. I did the same thing on Sunday in Chicago! Had a great time walking around the city. Charleston looks lovely! Reminds me a bit of old Arlington in D.C.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I haven’t actually been to Arlington Va, aside from the cemetery (which we’ve all seen pictures of)… but I’ll take your word on the comparison. I would love to visit Chicago one day!

  8. How I envy you. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Charleston, and I would LOVE to live by Folly Beach one day! 🙂

  9. Hi Amy! I We moved to Charleston in January so every weekend is like a “staycation” to us! It’s nice just to go downtown and walk or go to the Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning. And the restaurants…oh the restaurants!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Welcome to Charleston :). Yeah I’ve felt like I was on vacation ever since I moved down here, and living down here is actually more enjoyable than my last vacation, which was a cruise out of Tampa. There’s so many fun things to do!

      I’ve never been to the Saturday morning Farmer’s Market… I have running every Saturday, and when I’m done, I usually just want to go home and shower, haha. But downtown is amazing and I go down there probably 2x a week now!

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