Charleston, South Carolina

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After spending two spectacular days in Savannah, we drove Highway 17 to round out our stylish getaway in Charleston. The drive was relaxing as we took in the sights, the early American plantations built next to antebellum rice fields and the abundance of swamps with  very tall  cypress trees. As we drove past these murky waters my imagination kept turning to what actually lived within these dark rippling bogs; such as alligators, water moccasins or some type of lizard, and while pleased to know of this interesting wildlife, I was extremely glad nothing slithered across the road.

What did cross our line of vision were the enticing fruit and vegetable stands. We stopped to purchase a small basket of peaches from a farmer who stated he travels 52 miles every morning to setup his stand. He had the most fabulous looking blackberries, the plumpest tomatoes and bags of Vidalia onions that hung on the wooden stakes of this open market.

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We arrived in Charleston as the sun was beginning to set over the Ashley River and the view was spectacular because you could see out to the Charleston Harbor.

My primary purpose for being in this refined city was not only to see the historic sites, but also to focus on the elegant gardens and if possible come away with a few creative ideas for my own.

IMG_0491{Sweetgrass Baskets along Meeting Street}

The history on the art of “sweetgrass baskets” is steeped in tradition. Rice was a major crop during the Colonial period and though the conditions were perfect for growing this crop in South Carolina none of the plantation owners had knowledge of this particular plant. So slaves were brought from specific regions of West Africa because of their expertise in growing rice. These slaves also brought the craft of basket making to the new world, and did not allow the art form decline after the Civil War. The descendents and their culture remain throughout the Low Country area and are referred to as “Gullah” and their language is “Geechee”.

You can see the stands dotted along the highway as you enter the city, as well as on most street corners, setup to sell the most artfully designed wares.

IMG_0503 IMG_0505{Me posing against the Civil War cannons at the Charleston Battery}

Quaint homes were tucked along “The Battery” which is a defensive seawall and promenade to these stately manors and is named for a Civil War coastal defense artillery site.

IMG_0531{The Heyward-Washington House}

IMG_0529{Entrance to the “parterre garden” at the Heyward-Washington House}
IMG_0533{The remains of the 18th century garden are still seen in this present day field}

One of the prettiest gardens on our tour was at the Heyward-Washington House. I focused on the symmetry of the garden and how it was maintained with annuals and colorful plants in the midst of summer. The “parterre beds” were delineated by short, clipped boxwood hedges and filled in with a variety of plants. This formal garden was designed on level ground with gravel paths laid between the planting beds.

IMG_0556{Calhoun Mansion circa 1876, an Italiante House Museum and Charleston’s largest private residence}

IMG_0551{Calhoun Mansion water garden}

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The final garden that captivated my attention was at the Calhoun Mansion. The current owner is a collector of fine art and objects, and has filled this 24,000 square foot home to capacity with rare and beautiful pieces.

IMG_1684{Pralines and Fudge from The Fudgery on Market Street}

Now who can leave Charleston without eating some of the most delicious food in the south and trying their “pralines” which were absolutely fabulous. We stopped at The Fudgery on Market Street to taste the treats as they were being made and to talk with the sales staff, who coincidentally all sang beautifully together, which was an additional treat!!!

IMG_1694{Coconut cream cheesecake from Kaminsky’s}

We also tried slices of coconut cheesecake and key-lime pie from Kaminsky’s a few doors down from the Fudgery on Market to go with our “iced coffee’s”.

As always it is wonderful to be able to take in history, the beautiful sites and gardens, as well as taste such wonderful food all within the confines of historic Charleston.

K

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9 thoughts on “Charleston, South Carolina

  1. My Dearest K,
    Thanks to you,I got to know one more beautiful place.God Bless America!
    Thanks for sharing my friend, thinking of you.
    Take care!
    Kiwee

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  2. Hello Stylish Heath. After viewing your post I can see that Charleston is another beautiful city in the South. Love the various gardens and the Calhoun Mansion is absolutely mesmerizing. Are you serious, 24,000 square feet? The desserts look mouth watering. Yummy!!!!! I’ll take a slice of the coconut cheesecake, please. Nice pics and enjoyed the “easy read.”

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  3. A great read with outstanding pix. The South is definitely loaded with culture, charm and ambience. How about your rendition of coconut cream cheesecake over the holidays when I visit? Might as well throw in some key lime pie while we’re at it. 🙂

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