More than a decade has passed without bottled beverages from the Charleston Tea Plantation, but the product quietly re-emerged on local grocery store shelves recently.

This time American Classic Tea comes in plastic bottles instead of glass and in three flavors -- or three variations of sweet, really: original (made with cane sugar), sweet with lemon and sweet green tea. But bottled drinks aren't all that's new at the country's only tea plantation.

Visitors grew 15 percent year over year this spring, said Bill Hall, who oversees the farm's daily operations. With that growth, the plantation soon will offer a greenhouse stop on its trolley ride, where people can see in closer detail how tea grows. Hall said he might hold another event this fall in addition to the springtime First Flush Festival, which marks the start of the harvest season.

Top properties

Travel experts Fodor's recently named two local inns among the best 100 U.S. hotels in its Gold Choice Awards 2010.

Wentworth Mansion downtown took a spot among the "best urban escapes." Fodor's praised the property for its historical significance, architectural details and customer service.

The Dining Room at Woodlands Inn in Summerville earned a place in the "best hotel restaurants" list. The write-up lauds the restaurant's attention to detail and dedication to fresh ingredients.

Rooms available

The Ashley and Cannonboro inns, two cozy downtown lodgings, recently went up for sale for $3.5 million. Barry Carroll said he purchased the properties with a plan to keep them for five or seven years. Now, nine years later, he hopes to turn them over to another prospective bed-and-breakfast owner.

Reach Allyson Bird at