Charleston, South Carolina: Heart of Antebellum, Beauty of Millinium

One of America’s most historical and beautiful cities, Charleston, SC, inspires as much as it thrives.  As you walk through the streets of this diverse, colorful, and delicious city, its charm and beauty stimulate the senses and energize the historian.

On a walking tour of this robust city, the historic and famous “Rainbow Row” presents itself as both beautiful and historic.  Rainbow Row is to Charleston as the Brooklyn Bridge is to New York, an icon of its essence culture.  In the early 20th Century, It was a woman, Dorothy Porcher,  who in the post-Civil War economically devastated South purchased a section of the row houses and began restoration.  During the process of restoration, the homes were painted in pastel shades, a reminder of the feminine heroine historian who brought a breath of life to this small and once down-trodden street in Charleston, SC.

Today, if one is fortunate enough to be able to afford one of these fantastic homes, it is important to adore the outside color of the home.  The local historic society will no allow a change in the colors of the homes on Rainbow Row.  Dorothy Porcher’s first steps in renovation not only created this famous icon and set a “color precedent”, but inspired renovation around the city of Charleston.

As you stroll through Charleston, senses truly are delighted.  Gardens, tress, and fresh sea air provide a delightful appeal.  Horse-drawn carriages wind through the quaint streets of downtown Charleston and leave behind no “essence” of horse.  The city is clean and gardens line the paths at every turn.  The substantial concentration of wealth is obvious and Southern pride is evident welcoming visitors and locals alike.

Stroll through Charleston, but be sure to look under your feet and watch your step.  Cobblestone streets are scattered around the downtown area, along with stone steps used to help a gentleman down from his horse before industry brought automobiles.  Interestingly enough, no stone is available in the area in or around Charleston.  All of the stone that makes up the cobblestone streets and any other historical structure was brought in on ships from England for the most part.  They were used as ballast on the ships.

The history of slavery in Charleston is evident today.  Traveling through the streets of the city, the gates of the Slave Market welcome all to some exhibits of the early trade through the abolitionist movement.  While the buildings are gone and the market has gone through numerous structural changes, the history of the location is a solemn reminder of America’s past.  The cultural influences of the Africans and African-Americans gives the city flare and diversity with food, sweet grass artisanship, clothing, language, and so much more.

This 18th Century brick building is a slave structure located on Boone Hall Plantation.  It was one of dozens like it that housed the household and skilled slaves on the plantation from the mid-18th Century up until slavery was abolished.  These particular quarters were located on the front side of the property literally in front of the home as an indication of the family wealth.  There were many more wooden and temporary structures located at the back of the property that housed the field slaves and children.  The living conditions were horrific in these crude shelters and the slaves who occupied them were undernourished.

Today, there is a Gullah presentation given that helps to educate visitors to the plantation of not only its’ glorified Antebellum history, but that of the enslaved Africans and African Americas who lived on the property.  Excellent presentation and touring the slave quarters was eye-opening as one tries to envision 15 people living in such a small structure.

The Charleston experiences cannot be complete without mention of the fabulous dining!!!  The food in Charleston is amazing.  Low-country food is the best.  Magnolias and Jestine’s top the favorites list.  This tuna plate was from a bar/restaurant inside of an old church!  Fabulous experience in a wonderful city!

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