Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Walking the streets of Charleston, SC

Historic Charleston SC is really quite walker friendly.  A city I believe more beautiful today than during it's heyday due to the intense sanitary efforts that are observed.   Back in the day, there was a reason a home's main rooms were narrow and on the second floor; to be away from the smell of the streets as well as catching the breeze that came from the ocean.

We arrived early evening and enjoyed the fountain right by the waterfront.  We then strolled up and down the tourist friendly street in search of a bookstore to purchase a "walking tour" book.  Even if one is not in town for shopping, the window displays are charming (and tempting).

The above photo is of the United States Custom House.  I loved how it looked at night.

6:45 a.m. I was on top of our hotel roof.  The above and next two are taken from this vantage point.

The above is the tower to Phillip's Episcopal Church.

Original cobblestone street.  I can't even imagine how bumpy a ride this was with a carriage.

The homes I have highlighted in this post are not homes to tour and are not the "famous" houses such as the Nathaniel Russell House, Edmondston-Alston House, Aiken-Rhett House, Calhoun Mansion, Magnolia Plantation, Drayton Hall and Middleton Place (some are plantations outside the city limit).  This gives you an idea of the more "simple" homes and a true feel for the charming "everyday" architecture of Charleston.  The Calhoun Mansion is below:

 Rainbow Row.  I so wished I had a wide angle for this location and I had to crop out the cars)  Many paintings have been done of this  famous site.  These homes are revolutionary-era buildings but are painted with modern day colors, I believe.  I'm a little curious what the original colors were.  As I understand it, these were merchant buildings (shops below, living quarters above) The slaves weren't allowed to be taught to read, so their owners would tell them "Go to the blue house and purchase ..."

This blue crab was in the sands below East Bay Street. (Just below the railing in the next photo)  I felt a little guilty at lunch when I ate She Crab Soup, but not guilty enough to not enjoy this local favorite and very tasty soup!

This is Battery Park.  One can see Fort Sumter from here and the sidewalk above.

This is a Yellow Crowned Night Heron.  There were numerous nests above our head in Battery Park.  The male & female look alike.

 Everywhere one looks, beauty is on display.  The plaster and iron work in this city is incredible and I plan on focusing on that with my next visit.

A peak at St. Michael's Episcopal Church.  This tower was the target during many battles during the Revolutionary and Civil War.  It has survived wars, hurricanes, fires, earthquakes and cyclones with minimal damage.

Charleston cemeteries are very charming, even the lizard is enjoying himself.

A typical sidewalk view.  The magnolia trees (not pictured here) were just starting to bloom here and there.

I love the clip clop of these carriage rides.  And thank goodness the horses wear gear to capture their "business".  When they urinate, they immediately pour a solution on top in order to reduce odor.  This charming city would not be so fun to visit "back in the day"!

Sweetgrass baskets also called Gullah baskets.  This is an art form handed down from the first slaves that arrived from West Africa in the 1600's.  HERE is a Facebook site that highlights Cory Alston's basket business.  They are not inexpensive, and I have yet to purchase one - and of course, I always like the most expensive ones...  These baskets can be found at The Market - no slaves were bought or sold here, this is where the slaves were sent to shop.

More typical Charleston homes and porches.  Not the GRAND homes along East Bay, but more affordable homes - still worth millions each...

The above is the old jail.  Click "HERE" to see old photos of it and detailed history.  Just a horrible place and not good airflow - I can't imagine how people suffered in here during the summer months.  Supposedly this is also the sight of MANY ghost stories.  The land surrounding it is said to be littered with numerous skeletal remains.

And last but not least, these charming horses.  Thanks for taking the walk with me!


Carol Blackburn said...

Margaret, every one of these photos is a gem. So beautiful in their own way. You've outdone yourself, dear.

texwisgirl said...

Such a beautiful, historic city. I cringe, though, when I think of the slave days and everything it entailed while the 'genteel' folks went about their lovely lives in these streets and markets... Human beings create such beauty and yet such pain too.

Margaret said...

Carol - If you see one you want to paint, you know I would love that. I have some of Savannah that are beauties... I will be posting them soon.

Texwisgirl - I SO agree. One reason I really want to purchase a Sweetgrass basket from The Market - but the ones I adore are $300 ish.

lisa said...

I visited Charleston several years ago. It si such a wonderful place, and you have captured it so beautifully Margaret!
Thank you for taking us along with you!!

Mary Lake said...

What a treat to "go on your walk with you", my friend--simply beautiful!

Margaret said...

Lisa - it has my heart!

Mary - Thank you, Mary. The only thing that could have improved the visit is to have had the Lake family there!

Ginnie said...

It's a city I have yet to walk, Margaret...though I do recall being there almost 20 years ago. Surely I walked about then but I have few memories. You've really whetted my appetite to spend some time there. It's one of America's treasures, for sure. Your images are wonderful...all those incredible houses. I especially like the one with '132' on the door like that. I bet they all wear their numbers with great pride!

Claudia said...

oh wow - what amazing pictures-- thanks for taking us with you on this journey margaret..