Discovery

Five Things to do in Charleston on a Rainy Day

Charleston has so much to offer that one cannot afford to miss out on a day of exploring, even if it is raining. Whether you are here for the day or a week, on business or pleasure, the possibilities are endless in this All-American city. From the under sea adventures at the Aquarium to exploring Lowcountry cuisine, here are a few of our favorite things to do during a wet day in Charleston.

South Carolina Aquarium – With daily dive shows and exhibits galore, the South Carolina Aquarium is the perfect rainy day outing for all ages. Guests are given the opportunity to touch sea urchins and Atlantic stingrays, feed the rays at the Saltmarsh Exhibit, explore the Blackwater Swamp featuring a rare Albino American Alligator and be captivated by the 385,000-gallon Great Ocean Tank.

Museums – From Civil War artifacts to ancient fossils, the museums in Charleston offer a unique insight into the city’s past.
Gibbes Museum of Art – Located within walking distance of the hotel, the Gibbes Museum is recognized for its distinct collections of art. The museum host’s seven exhibitions each year, including one permanent collection of fine art, primarily American with ties to Charleston and the South.
The Charleston Museum – Nestled within Charleston’s Historic District, The Charleston Museum is recognized as America’s First Museum founded in 1773. The museum’s exhibits include natural and local history featuring a variety of artifacts, Southern furniture and textiles from the Civil War.
Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry – Nine interactive exhibits, including a pirate ship, two-story Medieval Castle and an art room, allow children to explore the arts, sciences and humanities in order to create their own hands on experiences.
Historic Homes – One of the best ways to experience history is to walk through it. Historic house museums are perfect for seeing Charleston’s classic and sophisticated taste in architecture first hand.
Nathaniel Russell House – The Nathaniel Russell House is recognized as a National Historical Landmark and one of America’s most important neoclassical dwellings. From its free-flying staircase to the wrought iron balconies, the Nathaniel Russell House is a true example of Federal architecture.
Heyward-Washington House – Charleston’s first historic house museum was the Heyward-Washington House. Known as “Charleston’s Revolutionary War House,” it was built in 1772, within the area of the original walled city. Records show that the city rented the house for George Washington’s use during the President’s weeklong stay in Charleston.
Edmondston Alston House – Dating back to 1825, The Edmondston Alston House is one of the first dwellings built on Charleston’s High Battery. It has often been said that Robert E. Lee was a guest in the house during the Civil War.
Aiken-Rhett House – Among one of Charleston’s historic house museums, the Aiken-Rhett House is recognized as the most intact townhouse complex that has remained virtually unaltered since 1858.
Cooking Classes – Looking to bring some Southern cooking back home with you? Learn the tricks of the trade from Lowcountry cooking experts. Trust us Charlestonians; there is no better way to experience the South than with real Southern cooking.
Southern Season – Located just over the bridge in Mt. Pleasant, Southern Season’s has a multitude of classes taught by a wide variety of expert instructors from popular restaurants around Charleston. From the beautiful marble counter tops to the fabulous Viking kitchen, Southern Seasons is sure to make any class a memorable experience.
The Shops at Charleston Place – Conveniently located within the hotel, The Shops are your one-stop shop for all your wants and needs. From high-end designers to vacation wear, you are sure to find that much desired item right at your fingertips.

Rain or shine, Charleston is always open for exploring. No matter which activity you partake in, all will show a unique snapshot of Charleston’s historic past and rich culture. If you have questions or need any more recommendations, please do not hesitate to ask our knowledgeable and friendly concierge staff.

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Arts & Culture, Discovery

Architectural Styles in Charleston

Designated as the first historic district in the United States by the Board of Architectural Review, Charleston has become the #1 City in the World, partly because of its unique, visual appeal. People travel far and wide; some come for the delectable, savory food, while others come in search of Southern culture. Particular features spotted are earthquake bolts, copper lanterns, and hitching posts that hint at a bygone era. In the historic district, picturesque buildings and elegant houses have always added charm to the architectural composition of this city.

Here is a guide to the popular architectural styles found around Charleston.

Georgian
Beginning in 1774 to approximately 1820, the Gregorian style featured rough-faced limestone trim, stone arches and granite pedestals flanking the front door. This elite style is symmetrically designed with decorative molding and cornice embellishing the entry and commonly has two story porches. Drayton Hall, located at 3380 Ashley River Road, was heavily influenced by a range of pattern books, which is often only seen when wealthy individuals wanted to direct construction of their estates. Drayton Hall has never been restored, making it a great opportunity to see original materials and architecture from the 18th century.

Federal
Growing out Italian Renaissance trends, Federal-style architecture became popular throughout colonies after the American Revolution, and was dominant until about 1820. These buildings are typically designed around a central floor plan, with heavy classical elements detailing the exterior. The elaborate, delicate and elongated details of elliptical fanlights above grand palladian windows and oval shaped rooms give Federal structures its distinctly classic look. Explore the Nathaniel Russell house, located at 51 Meeting, to take a peek inside a prime example of this antebellum trove filled with antiques, artifacts and historical heirlooms.

Greek Revival
An organization established to provide aid for Irish immigrants, the Hibernian Society’s gathering spot, happens to be the quintessential model of Greek Revival architecture. Six massive Ionic columns support a pediment decorated with modillion style cornice and an arched window. Stepping inside Hibernian Hall, visitors are lead into a larger stair hall, centered by an open rotunda covered by a dome, held by three different style columns, all Greek influenced. Located at 105 Meeting Street, this 1840s stately establishment and its classic ornamentation are hard to not take notice of.

Gothic Revival
From 1840 to 1880, Gothic Revival architectural styles dominated, drawing its inspiration from the medieval era. Romantic and picturesque, castle-like towers, parapets and pointed arched windows are most identifiable on these structures. Elongated, vertical facades with steeply pitched roofs decorated  by intricate vergeboard transport you to a different time. Gothic Revival in Charleston manifested itself in a variety of forms. From the Citadel to the Old City Jail, and the iconic French Huguenot Church at 136 Church Street, this architectural style continues to captivate in the Holy City.

Italianate
Inspired by traditional Italian villas, the Italianate style was prominent from 1837 to 1900. Masonry, stone and stucco are typical facades found on this distinctive architectural style. Tall, slim arched windows are paired with decorated crowns and cornice elements. Often recognizable are square cupolas adorning the low pitched hip roofs. Wide overhanging, emphatic eaves supported by corbels are defining characteristics from this Romantic style. The Colonel John Algernon Sydney Ashe House located at 26 South Battery Street was constructed in 1853 and exudes sophisticated Italianate architecture.

Queen Anne
Multiple gable roof lines, wrap-around porches, delicate spindle work trimmings and bay windows are all defining features of Queen Anne architecture. From 1880 to 1916, these asymmetrical yet interestingly elaborate and eccentric designs appeared in Charleston with textural variations, plans and tend to feature rich, bold paint colors. A stunning example of Queen Anne architecture is the Wilson-Sottile House, located at 11 College Street. Now owned by the College of Charleston, this house showcases the ornate and unique nature of Charleston architecture.

Charleston Single House
A unique and vernacular form of house, the Charleston Single house is not a singular style and can be made of any material. Taking into consideration limited space on the peninsula, these one room wide structures take up very little space. Typically, front facing piazzas – a double height porch – are added to the house as a means for more airflow. The oldest documented Charleston Single dates back to the 1730s but these recognizable houses can still be found on practically every street in Charleston.

Art Deco
The Riviera Theater, located at 130 Market Street, is a Charleston example of the iconic Art Deco Style that started in the 1920’s. Combining modernist styles with rich materials, Art Deco’s eclectic style was influenced by geometric forms of Cubism. Art Deco is not a singular style, but rather a collection of various styles that was in reaction against Art Nouveau in Europe. Featuring sleek modern materials of smooth-facing stone, Terracotta, steel, aluminum and glass, this style was seen as financially practical and endured throughout the Depression due to the simplicity of its design. After being purchased by Belmond Charleston Place in 1997, the Riviera Theater underwent a $4 million restoration that preserved 90 percent of its original interior.

Explore the rare and iconic architectural styles of Charleston’s private houses and gardens found in some of America’s most beautiful neighborhoods. Manicured lawns and glimmering gardens make for a botanical and visual wonderland. The 71th Annual Festival of Houses and Gardens will run from March 16 until April 22nd.

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