Haint Blue and its Historic Ties

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If you have ever strolled through the charming streets of downtown Charleston, it is likely that you’ve caught a glimpse of the soft blue paint that graces the ceilings of the Holy City’s most iconic porches. From some of the most historic houses in the Lowcountry to modern single family homes, ceilings splashed with shades of “haint blue” have become increasingly prevalent throughout the years. While some believe the purpose behind the colorful accent is simply to create a charming appearance and a relaxing ambiance, others believe the baby blue ceilings represent an anecdote of historical (and spooky) significance.

 Now mimicked by paint companies, the first ever haint blue color is said to have originated from Gullah Culture in the Carolinas hundreds of years ago. The Gullah people created the faded blue color using a mixture of milk, indigo dye, lime, and other pigments on hand. Although there is no real evidence to support it, many Southerners claim that haint blue also has the ability to banish bugs, a reputation likely stemming from the original integration of lime, a natural insect repellent.

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Legend has it that painting porch ceilings, door frames, and window frames with a coat of the light blue color will protect homeowners by chasing away haints, or evil, restless spirits who have yet to move on from the physical world. While this might sound far-fetched, don’t be too quick to rule it out as a myth. In a historically haunted city such as Charleston, many local homeowners still believe there to be some truth in this longstanding tradition.

Superstitions aside, many people opt for the calming blue color on porch ceilings as a way to imitate the sky, extend daylight hours, and create a tranquil setting for an area often intended for rest and relaxation. Whatever the true purpose behind it may be, it is Southern traditions such as this that make Charleston so extraordinary!

Concierge Tip: Stop into the Calhoun Mansion on 16 Meeting Street between 11am and 5pm for a tour of the largest private residence in Charleston. Learn more about the home and its haint blue porch ceilings or follow this walking route to see more examples.

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The Holy City’s Most Iconic Fountains

In the charming city of Charleston, perhaps the most common background noises are the click-clacking of horses hooves along the cobblestone and the trickling water of a nearby fountain, creating an ambiance of southern serenity. Charleston has become known for its iconic fountains, spread amongst the veins of the city and speaking volumes to its visitors. Each fountain tells a tale and accompanies its own unique characteristics. Here is a list of our favorite sites, because whether you’re a Charleston native or traveling visitor, you are sure to appreciate the beauty of Charleston’s finest fountains.

1. The Pineapple Fountain: Located in the heart of Waterfront Park, this enchanting fountain has become a must-see monument since its opening in 1990 proceeding Hurricane Hugo. Its iconic pineapple acts as a familiar symbol of hospitality in the Lowcountry.

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2. The Fountain at Waterfront Park: Sitting on the edge of the peninsula intersecting Vendue Range and Concord Street, children of all ages can be found giggling in this spash-friendly zone in the summer heat. This fountain is easily one of the most frequented sites in Charleston and even dons pink tinted water in October in support of Breast Cancer Awareness.

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3. The Fountain at Belmond Charleston Place: Welcoming guests and visitors in the entry of Belmond Charleston Place, this signature piece named a “quadriga” was constructed by British sculptor John Mills after a visit to Charleston left him in awe of its historic architecture. A quadriga is a car or chariot drawn by four horses that is recognized around the world as a symbol of victory and fame. This unique structure greets guests with four bronze horses, each 9 feet tall and representative of the significance of the horse in Charleston’s culture and history. Read the full story here.

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4. The Fountain at Marion Square: This scenic fountain located on the corner of King Street and Calhoun Street sits on one of Charleston’s busiest intersections, bringing a sense of serenity to the popular area and welcoming visitors and locals alike to the Saturday farmer’s market.

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5. The Fountain in Cougar Mall: This fountain sits behind the historic Randolph Hall in the heart of the College of Charleston campus and accents the scenic common area.

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Come and experience another one of Charleston’s charming fountains at the first ever Cocktails in the Courtyard event! Held in the lush Palmetto Cafe Courtyard, this unique event starts at 4:30 PM and goes until dusk, inviting the public to sip on hand-crafted cocktails while surrounded by greenery in the heart of historic downtown. Follow us on twitter @CPHcourtyard.

 

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