Friday, March 15, 2013

Charleston, SC - Part 2 - Sightseeing

Some of the sights in Charleston...
Rainbow Row

The homes at Rainbow Row were once the center of Charleston's commerce in the mid-1700s. Merchants had their stores on the first floor and they lived on the upper floors with their families.These old row houses are very popular to Charleston, representing one of  the first styles of Charleston homes. I love that everything in this city has so much history behind it!

City Market
The City Market is a historic market complex established in the early 18th century. Beginning at Market Hall (pictured below) on Meeting Street, it stretches for four city blocks through a series of long rectangular sheds, the last of which ends on East Bay Street. East Bay Street is in the area where our hotel was located.
Market Hall (gorgeous architecture) on Meeting Street
The City Market initially provided a convenient place for farmers and plantation owners to sell their meat, fish and produce. It also served as a social hub, a place for the locals to gather and socialize. Today, the City Market is a place for locals to sell souvenirs. Here you will find just about anything you can think of, from hand-crafted jewelry to fashionable scarves for ladies to gourmet food items and everything in between. It was wonderful strolling through each building, looking at the wares of the MANY, MANY vendors.
the other end of the City Market on East Bay Street
Our hotel was located about 2 blocks away to the left of the Market.
 I found this photo of an aerial view of the City Market.
This picture gives you an idea of how far this market actually stretches. The end of the building closest to the bottom of the picture is facing East Bay Street. That's the same shot I have shown in the picture above this one. And if you'll look almost to the top left corner of the picture you'll see Market Hall, which faces Meeting Street.
It took a LONG time to walk through each one of those buildings, stopping at each vendor's booth, looking, sampling food items, talking, and just enjoying the time. 
United States Custom House
The U.S. Custom House is located on East Bay Street with the harbor behind it. We passed this building many times as it was located close to our hotel and along our walking route. The records state that this is one of the most striking buildings in Charleston, reflecting the period when Charleston was one of the country's busiest port cities.
An interesting fact about this building is that during its construction, due to unforeseen engineering problems, it was unfinished at the outbreak of the War Between the States. It was damaged during the War and sat incomplete until construction began again in 1870. Finally in 1879, construction was complete and it has been in use ever since.
I read about the history of this building, and about the exquisite details of its interior design, about the marble used throughout the building, especially highlighting the office fireplaces, and about how the interior of the building revolves around a two-story center room with 14 Corinthian columns supporting its second floor gallery with the offices opening onto this room, and how the ceiling is ornamented with paintings of the American flag and other patriotic symbols.
I was extremely excited about seeing this building. And then I found out that this federal building is not open to the public. Well, what a major let-down!
Beautiful Old Homes

In all of our walking around the downtown historic district of Charleston, of course I couldn't help but to be captivated by all the beautiful old homes everywhere.
White Point Gardens
White Point Gardens is located at the southernmost point of the Charleston peninsula, where the Ashley and Cooper Rivers empty into the Atlantic Ocean. This place offers a spectacular view of Fort Sumter and the Charleston Harbor! It was first opened as a public garden in 1837, but with the onset of the War Between the States, it was fortified to protect the city against the Union troops.
just me

 Mike, checking out one of the many monuments in this park

The Battery
The Battery is a fortified seawall located at the southernmost tip of the Charleston peninsula. It has played a significant part in Charleston's history, including prominence in several wars and legendary pirates. It was occupied by Fort Broughton during the Revolutionary War and Fort Wilkins during the War of 1812. During the War Between the States, the Battery served as an artillery battery.

Strolling along the promenade, you feel as if you've stepped back in time, as the Battery hasn't changed much in the last few centuries. Beautiful, stately antebellum homes line the promenade and you just can't help but imagine what life must have been like during that time.

I noticed that one of these houses is up for sale. They're only asking 8 million dollars. :) In the 18th century, the Battery was home to some of Charleston's wealthiest, most prominent citizens.

Views of the Charleston Harbor from the sea wall/promenade...


Oh, Charleston is such a beautiful city! So much to see and do and experience, and so little time...

1 comment:

  1. Oh my, sounds like you had a lovely time! This kind of thing is what I would love to do- history and shopping and relaxing with hubby! So glad you got to get away.


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