Charm & elegance

Trip Start Mar 23, 2009
Trip End Jul 23, 2009

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Flag of United States  , South Carolina
Friday, April 24, 2009

We are actually camped in the same place as before, at Ravenel/Hollywood, just outside Charleston:
We were here briefly on our first trip in 2006, but then we were trying to outrun the winter on our way down to Florida so we didn't linger. How times we spend winters in the far north and we have slowed down a bit since that first hectic dash to see as much as we could in 6 months. We thought we would only be in the US for one visit and so traveled from NH on the east coast, down to the keys then along the Gulf coast and up to Vancouver all in that first 6 months. Little did we know how we would get 'hooked'.
Anyhow, we are back and this time with friends who have never been - here we are recommending venues to Americans, all a bit topsy turvy really. Charleston is a beautiful city, one that impressed us enough to want to visit again and it is just as delightful the second time around.  Doug & Trish decided to take the boat to Fort Sumter, which we found very interesting when we did it, meanwhile we walked to one of the many wonderful houses that are open to the public. The dwellings here are absolutely amazing - the sort of houses we would love to live in but could probably never afford - even at today's depressed market! Everywhere you turn the shady streets are lined with majestic mansions that ooze old world charm, many the legacy of the rich plantation owners who made their wealth on the back of slavery. 
The one we chose to visit this time is a little different in that it has not been restored but conserved as it was in the 1800's  it was very interesting to wander through the rooms and learn about the people who lived there, right across the street are two identical houses (two of an original seven) that Aiken built to rent out

 The house had been in the same family for many decades and some of the rooms had been shut up for 60 years or so before the historical society took it over. This has meant that they have remained virtually untouched. One interesting artifact outside the stable was a 'jiggling seat', there's another downtown...

After we met up again with D&T we wandered off to Meeting Street and down to the market. Taking our time we sauntered through the stalls selling everything from spices to the sweet grass baskets being woven on the spot. One lovely thing about coming back is that now, in the spring all the flowers are blooming - there is blossom everywhere. Charleston has loads of magnolia trees (my favourites) but these are not quite ready yet, however look at these - amaryllis as bedding plants - I wish! The beautifully manicured shrubs and hedges all look so bright and neat,
they give the downtown a certain elegance.

One house...the Calhoun house is the largest private residence in Charleston - all 24,500 sq ft of it!! 
There are trolley and carriage tours that run continually, but we preferred to wander. I have to say I felt very sorry for some of the horses (and mules) pulling full carriages in the heat of the day; they looked tired as they trudged 'home' after work.

We walked right along the 'prom' and admired the houses here too; imagine needing curtains on your verandah! z15 I have fallen in love with the idea of having a porch/verandah at the back of our house at home, complete with pillars or gingerbread fretwork and a rocking chair of course. We returned to the car via East Bay St where we happened upon a tavern, no we didn't sample the wares but take a look at the flag Malc & 'Nita! 

Next morning we said farewell to our companions as they left to start their journey home, for us - well we're lucky home is still a few months away - it's another day or so here before we too hit the road. We want to check out a few more places before we move on. 
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