Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Charleston - The (Very Long) End

On Tuesday morning, the rains had stopped, but it was still cool and overcast. We decided to take a carriage tour of the city. We found it very interesting that the city closely regulates this industry. The carriages must each stop at a booth near the market, register their mules and driver with a city worker, and then get assigned their route for the tour. I thought we'd see all the famous sites, but it was completely random how we were assigned the route. They use a lottery type machine that spits out a ball telling the driver what route we are to take. It really makes sense, since they couldn't possibly have all those carriages tying up traffic seeing the same things all the time. Our driver was a young guy named Mike who did a terrific job.

Here's a picture of Laverne and Shirley, our mules. I don't know why in the world we didn't get a better picture, but oh well.

We toured the northeast corner of the city, south of Broad, and the homes along the battery. Mike pointed out a ton of interesting, historical things. We were really impressed with how well he knew his American and European history. Here's a great example of the wrought iron that is on lots of gates and fences in this district.

I thought these were the prettiest hanging baskets I have ever seen.

The houses were built one room wide and very long to try and take advantage of the sea breeze. The little door on the front faces the street and is called a privacy door. The porches, or verandas, run the length of the house and face a garden.

I can't remember the name of the family who lives here, but they have continually lived in this house since colonial times. The only exception was for the few years when Cornwallis lived here and made it his headquarters. After the war was over, the same family moved back in and its descendants still live here today.

This park, White Point Gardens, is right on the battery. We walked down to it Tuesday afternoon to do a little reading and relaxing on the benches under the oaks. It's also where 49 of Blackbeard's pirates were hanged. Charleston has a very colorful history!

These are just some pretty homes along East Battery Street.

This home was at one time the largest private residence in the US. It has over 24, 000 square feet. It's now a museum that you can go and tour.

The front doors of the home are Tiffany glass and are insured by Lloyd's of London.

The historical preservation movement is huge in Charleston. If you even want to get a new roof in certain areas, you must have committee approval and must post the permit during the work. There is a rule that nothing older than 75 years can be removed. This little hat man is painted on the side of a store. The building used to be a haberdashery. Now it's something else, but since he's older than 75, he can't be painted over. He has to be maintained just the way he is.

The Customs House where Cornwallis used to work and the dungeon is on the bottom floor.

Shortly after "The Late Unpleasantness" (aka the Civil War), Charleston was hit by an earthquake that measured over 7 on the Richter scale. Of course, the city was destroyed all over again. Many of the buildings that had survived the war were badly damaged, but there was no money to rebuild them. So someone came up with a bolt system. All over the city you can see lines of earthquake bolts around buildings. Apparently, it was a pretty good fix since the buildings are still standing.

The tour company we used is housed in a red barn. Brent wanted a picture with one of the other barn inhabitants.

looking up Broad street

White Point Gardens on the battery

looking down the battery

homes along the battery

Okay. Here's a picture that really shows off Jonathan.

While we were walking the battery, we saw a troupe of dolphins playing in the shallow water. This is the best picture we could get. They were jumping and splashing all around.

Rainbow Row. It is impossible to get a picture of it like you see on postcards.

looking up East Bay Street

Our last night, we had dinner with a friend from high school, Michael Sanders. He was nice enough to take a picture of the two of us together, looking more rested and relaxed than we have in who knows when.

We had a super time, and will definitely be back.

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