Charleston, SC has become known as one of America’s top tourist destinations as well as a Top destination in the world (sorry Nat). I fell in love with the town 30 years ago. Funny, now that we have moved here, we don’t do all the touristy things anymore. But with the help of Dylan’s cousin Nikki and her family, who came down to visit and see her climb stairs, we had an opportunity to be a tourist this wonderful Saturday afternoon and go for a walk downtown.
Historic Charleston is a peninsula, at least the downtown historic part is. It is bordered by the Cooper River to the north and the Ashley River to the south. Both rivers converge with the Atlantic in Charleston’s Harbor. The tip of the peninsula is called the Battery. Here is where cannons aimed at a Union fort in the harbor, Fort Sumter, fired on it, starting America’s 4 year Civil War. But that is only a smidgen of the history that has took place is this beautiful historic town.
Charleston was home to much of the South’s super wealthy plantation owners, and cotton tycoons in the 1700 and 1800’s. Charleston was often a mecca for these rich families to live or ‘summer in’ where they can meet and socialize with much of the other upper crust in this new nation. Accordingly, the Charleston peninsula, was described to me as “2000 mansions side by side” on my first trip to the Holy City, or Chucktown as it is called locally.
So without further commentary let me take you on a walk from the historic Charleston Battery up East Bay Street on a sunny summer afternoon.
First, the Battery has always been one of my favorite places to run.
the Battery is the home to my favorite running course(s)
White Point Gardens at the Battery
the Battery Gardens and another wedding
So let’s go out to the water and take a left up East Bay Street and take a look at some magnificent houses..
Let’s take a walk up East Bay Street from the Battery
Virtually all these houses have some historical significance. If you like history you would find this place very interesting..
A nice little number with all the Square footage you could want
As I said, about 2000 mansions side by side…
..where the mansions are literally side by side downtown
They range in all types of architectural styles….
Various styles of architecture to appreciate
A pink flamingo colored property, reminiscent of the plantation owners in the Caribbean
The Charleston “Single House” and especially the porches, or Piazza’s. …
The front of the house is actually the side of the house
Wealthy homeowners could build massive mansions on narrow lots. But the idea for the Piazza’s is to capture the coastal breeze in the house (no a/c back then) as well as shade on their porches from the hot summer sun.
But common tourists really pass by the real beauty of these homes if they simply drive or walk by. The detail each homeowner puts into their house to make it unique is what I love. If you take the time to look down manicured allies, or backyard or front gates (I’m such a nosy tourist) the love for Charleston can really kick in!
Whether it is the landscaping…
or private courtyards…
Even curious signs warning too curious travelers…
Beware Ye Butt!
Each home is really worth taking the time to see individually. It’s quite a nice neighborhood to visit!
Yes, it’s a nice neighborhood to call home.
Here is a building worth seeing, the old Exchange and Provost Dungeon…all those flags have flown over it.
the Old Exchange Provost Dungeon
It once was a prison (dungeon) holding American prisoners during our Revolutionary War; as well as famous (Blackbeard) and not so famous pirates. George Washington read a copy of the Declaration of Independence to Charlestonians from it balcony. And it was used as an ammunition stock pile during our Civil War as well as many other uses over its 200+ year life.
We decided to take a side street…
taking a right down a side street to the Waterfront Park
Ahhhh…. shade in the summer afternoon sun!
Lots of shade at the Waterfront Park
The Waterfront park has been made famous (check these out) through pictures from its two fountains…
a few water fountains at the Waterfront Park
Our kids found one that suited them…
The park does face the Cooper River though as it meets the sea, where you can see two forts from our Civil War…
Castle Pinkney and Fort Sumter on the right, start of America’s Civil War
More modern attractions can be seen at the port, including Cruise ships, the Cooper river Bridge, home to the very popular Cooper River Bridgerun 10K, and the retired aircraft carrier the USS Yorktown.
Carnival Fantasy, Cooper River Bridge (Arthur Ravenel Bridge), USS Yorktown across the river
We then decided to get some lunch….
Something is always brewing here…
At the Southend Brewery and head back to our car. Travelers remember, this is just walking up one street in Charleston. There are many other spectacular views on the other less traveled streets, side streets, and even allies. The town is really easy to fall in love with!
It was a great afternoon with family sightseeing, topping off a great morning when my daughter carted off two great awards from our Stairclimb…
She received the medal for winning her age group (there were only 2 7-year olds there) and the giant Hershey Bar for bringing in $500 to the Lung Association (thank again to all you showing her some love and support for a great cause). All the other $500 fundraisers got a bottle of Champagne.
The Hershey bar promptly turned to soup in the car as we toured East Bay Street.
Today was a good day….