I am finishing my Charleston posts this morning with a final look at some of the things that make Charleston so unique and so beautiful. For a right-brained creative like me, this is a city that is so inspiring! I honestly could walk around Charleston for weeks and months with a camera around my neck and never capture all that it has to offer. It's architecture echoes a day gone by and an era of history that is rich and specific to the lifestyle of Charleston's elite. There are details of both the aesthetic and the practical that melt into one another and make the "holy city" unlike anything the East Coast has to offer. All of my college classes on classic architecture, the history of design, and the application of interior design come to life in Charleston! In my three previous posts, I've shown you a series of beautiful doors and windows, historical homes, and famous plantations but today I want to show you some of the iconic details that make this city one of my very favorites!
Historic Charleston is truly a city of gated living. Almost every home is protected behind a gate of some sort, some elaborate and grand and others simple and functional. Great artisans crafted these amazing gates and they are still as beautiful as they were in their original installation, now with years of patina and history covering them. I love the brick work, the weathered stone and the moss covered walls as much as the wrought iron art. I love the gates of Charleston.
It's so charming to walk on cobblestone that has been around for centuries. Not only is it beautiful but if you use your imagination you can almost hear the "clippity clop" of a horse's hoof echoing on the stones beneath you. It's not easy to walk on cobblestone, it's very uneven and it's quite loud as well. I can't imagine the thunder of soldiers on horseback that stormed this city at various points in history or the echo of gunfire down some of the historic dueler's cobblestone alleys. Not all the streets are cobblestone here, but it's wonderful that many remain.
One thing that is immediately obvious when roaming the streets of Charleston is the sideways orientation of most of these homes. They were not built like ours are today, facing the street with grand front yards. Most of these homes are only feet from the sidewalks and curbs, meaning the front of the home is technically facing its' neighbor with an inner courtyard separating the two. So many of these courtyards are barely visible from the street and are protected by walls and gates for privacy. Every now and then you get a clear view of what's behind the walls and it's always ripe with manicured beauty.
So many of these gorgeous properties have ivy or some sort of vine covering their patina washed brick and stone. The gorgeous landscaping of these homes is typically a beautiful blend of manicured and natural.
Real Estate Listings
It's always a fun reminder that real people live here! These listings are common and fun to read. I can't imagine buying here or living in such a gorgeous, historic place but many people proudly call historic Charleston home.
A symbol for hospitality, these are cleverly displayed and sometimes hidden as subtle details but they certainly speak to the Southern hospitality that makes Charleston so charming!
I wouldn't say this is a common thing, but it is fun to see pets and their owners on the streets. Another reminder that these homes house families and animals alike. We stumbled upon Oliver, who was clearly out for a stroll on a very beautiful road!
Old Twisty Trees
This park, White Pointe Gardens, sits between the open waters and some of the grandest homes on The Battery. It's full of gorgeous trees and many paths that allow for slow strolls. This is the kind of city where it's easy to sip a latte and let time slip away while you get lost in its' charm!
Statues and Memorials
There is much history here, many battles and important events in history that unfolded in the streets and in the harbors of Charleston. It's unique positioning on the water meant trade routes and foreign attacks were sometimes a package deal. There are famous battles, courageous leaders, significant defeats and the nation's largest slave market that all took place right here.
Behind those walls and gates are places not meant for the public...
...but a little stretching of the arms and it's not hard to get a glimpse of such hidden beauty! I love all of these tucked away spaces and the surprise of what lies behind the brick fortress surrounding it! Charleston would make a great backdrop for an action/suspense movie with lots of darting around and hiding, ha ha!
There are no shortage of backdrops and spaces for amazing photography. I am partial to this home in particular with it's window boxes, wrought iron gate, ivy covered wall and gorgeous brick courtyard walls. We took a family photo here a few years ago and I loved it! You could never run out of possibilities or potential for photos in Charleston.
The Old vs. The New
It's a funny thing to walk down old streets and see homes and historic places, all the while dodging traffic and real reminders of modern day life. There is quite a balance between the two here, obviously cars are one of our best modern inventions and yet, they really mess up a good picture!
Maybe it's just because of my undying love for flowers, or maybe it's because Minnesotans in March are DESPERATE for color in our lives, but I could have spent the whole trip photographing window boxes and flowering plants. In Charleston they seem to drip with blooms that perfectly adorn all the right houses!
Horse Drawn Carriage Tours
This is one of the most amazing things to experience as a first time tourist! I highly recommend taking a tour and getting to hear stories and interesting facts about all the fascinating places in Charleston. There are quite a few companies that run tours all day and into the evening and it's worth it to make reservations with one of them!
The rest of these photos don't need much explanation, they are just more of the same details that make this city so beautiful and they happen to be some of my favorite photos from our few days downtown. Enjoy!
Go visit Charleston! You won't be disappointed!!