Where else but in Charleston can you “hail, mail, jail and bail” all on the same corner? The intersection of Meeting and Broad Streets features The Corners of Four Laws: St. Michael’s church God’s law, United States Post Office federal, Court House state and City Hall for the city law.
This American jewel, The Holy City, will once again welcome art and history lovers to a spring extravaganza of exquisite houses and gardens tours, interior design and art exhibitions. The magnificent architectural display, master craft interiors, intricate horticultural arrangements and impressive art collections are sure to indulge your senses.
Start your journey with the 2008 Symphony Designer Showhouse open March 13th trough April 13th. Proceeds benefit the Charleston Symphony Orchestra. Attend the “Windows to the World” preview party and enjoy unlimited event visits. Located on the historic waterfront the house will delight visitors from the moment they cross the threshold. The interior architecture takes full advantage of sweeping water views featuring an open floor plan ideal for entertaining. Admire the gourmet kitchen, five bedrooms, six full baths, the private garden with pool and hot tub and an indoor putting green. Local designers transformed every room into a treasury of decorating concepts, capturing a casual historic Charleston look with an international flare. You will be able to purchase all pieces on display while indulging your taste buds to al fresco dining.
Immerge yourself in history with the 61st Annual Festival of Houses and Gardens from March 13th trough April 12th courtesy of the Historic Charleston Foundation. The Festival offers guests the rare opportunity to see inside 150 of America’s most distinctive historic houses in 12 colonial and antebellum neighborhoods.
Begin on Meeting Street, on March 16th and 19th. Note the County Records Building, the first fireproof building in America and the Hibernian Hall, the first semi-public building of pure Greek style featuring a stone from Ireland’s natural wonder the Giant Causeway and an original harp emblazoned over a massive iron gate.
You will be drawn to the white staples of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church painted black to be saved from destruction during the “War Between the States”, as local called it, since “there was nothing Civil about it”.
Continue on King Street, on March 30th and April 2nd. “The little street that runneth from Ashley’s River to the Broad path to the country” escaped the many fires that ravaged the city and “boasts an astonishing variety of architecture”. Like the Miles Brewton House, one of the few Palladin buildings in the South and the best double house in Charleston which retains its original gardens and outbuildings and an iron fence topped with a “cheveux-de-frise”.
All you love birds will be enchanted by the candlelight tours on Church Street, on April 1st and 4th. The “most romantic street in America,” features the Dock Street Theater and the St. Phillip’s Episcopal church the oldest congregation in South Carolina. Notice the “Pirate Houses” next to the graveyard legendary hangouts for eighteenth-century pirates like cruel Blackbeard.
Garden aficionados unite at the 73rd Annual Walking Tour of Private Houses & Gardens provided by The Garden Club of Charleston, March 28th and 29th. Expert club members will showcase each garden, provide tips and answer questions. Did you know that Charleston is quickly becoming a national favorite wedding destination? On this tour you will get divine decorative inspiration from all of the exquisite floral displays. You will be awed by the Calhoun mansion, the “Grande Dame of Charleston”. At over 24,000 sqft is the city’s largest residence featuring 35 rooms and fireplaces, khoi ponds, a private elevator, three levels of piazzas, a 90 foot cupola and more.
Continue your artistic discovery with the 8th Annual Kiawah Island Art and House Tour set for April 11th on Kiawah Island and benefiting the Gibbes Museum of Art. Explore five exceptional homes showcasing spectacular private art collections. Start at a secluded shingle style home featuring Chinese, African and American art. Next is an 18h century Creole style plantation. Tucked in the dense maritime forest is your third stop featuring contemporary art. The fourth house has an inverted floor plan and expansive porches with magnificent views of the ocean and the Ibis Pond. The tour ends at the Cassique Garden Cottage that incorporates wood and stone with Luteyns and Voysey style elements. While on the island enjoy Jack Nicklaus-designed Turtle Point golf courses and look out for loggerhead turtles, bobcats, and the great blue heron.
Conclude your journey with the Ashley Hall Tour of Homes and Gardens on April 12th. The self-guided tour offers a rare glimpse of unique private dwellings and gardens not seen on other tours. This year you will enjoy houses on Meeting, Broad and South Battery streets, all within walking distance.
Check out the building at 106 Broad Street, “The Dr. John Lining House”. Made out of “sturdy black cypress” is the city third oldest building and the only remaining house with a T-shaped chimney. How incredible that a wooden building will survive the many fires that swept across the city!
Glance over the house at 8 South Battery, the only pre Revolutionary war house on the street. Col. William Washington, cousin of George Washington met his bride to be on his way to the Eutaw Springs battle. As he had no flag for his command Miss Elliott made him one using her mother’s damask curtains, now most cherished possession of the Washington Light Infantry.
In Charleston “you are almost in a splitting distance of a ghost”. If you are lodging at The Carriage House Inn, higher up on Battery Street, you are in for a special treat. You may run nose to nose with the Gentleman Ghost “the well dressed and groomed ghost that likes to lie down besides female guests” or the Headless Torso, the ghost of a Confederate soldier who lost his limbs and head during a munitions explosion.
As you brush pass serene oak trees and mysterious iron gates and hear your footsteps on the cobblestone streets, as you smell the blooming symphony of azaleas, dahlias and peonies and gaze at the white pearl sailboats on the backdrop of the clear blue harbor, you will slowly be soaked in history. What started as a travel experience will quickly transform into soul searching and inner peace discovery.
All of the sudden you will feel right at home.
Filed under: Charleston, Historic Carolina Sites | Tagged: Charleston, Cypress Gardens, history | 1 Comment »