A Symbol of Southern Hospitality

A leisurely stroll along any of the charming and historic streets of the Charleston peninsula lend the eye and ear many enchanting sights and sounds. Glances to the left and right can reveal hidden gardens filled with sweeping ivy and the gentle sound of bubbling fountains. And there is always the faint clip, clop of horse’s hooves on cobblestoned streets. If you look closely enough, you may notice that one symbol in particular seems to pop up quite often, the pineapple. This has become ubiquitous to the Charleston area, but few know what the tiny emblem actually represents.


Sprinkled all over downtown, pineapples can be spotted on doors, atop gates, adorning houses and even on some pieces of jewelry. So what’s the deal with these little fruits, and why are Charlestonians so obsessed with them? It’s because the pineapple has historically served as a symbol of Southern hospitality. According to Levins.com, pineapples were often the main attraction of the large and decadent centerpieces commonly found at extravagant Southern dinner parties. The fruit therefore came to represent the warmth of friendship that was shared at gatherings, as well as the prestige of being in attendance. Some Charlestonians will also tell you that pineapples use to be given as presents on someone’s doorstep, as a sign of friendship. As architects and dignitaries began to pick up on the symbol and what it represented, pineapples were soon incorporated into many of the architectural details in Charleston.


The history of the pineapple explains the popularity of one of the most iconic, photographed spots in town. Visit the Pineapple fountain at Waterfront Park while sightseeing, or after a lovely dinner, as it’s a treat to see any time of day. If you visit the park during daylight hours you can snap a picture of the Charleston harbor behind the fountain, and as soon as the sun sets you can behold the pineapple lit up and glowing against a gorgeous starlight sky. The fountain is a landmark for many visiting the Charleston peninsula, and is a must-see experience.

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One of the best ways to understand what the pineapple truly represents is to visit Charleston for yourself. The city is known for making visitors feel right at home with its hospitable charm, and the pineapple is just a token of this feeling. The next time you visit the Holy City, take some extra time to notice the cheery way that locals greet each other. Charlestonians pride themselves on being welcoming to all who visit, and that is one reason why those who have experienced Charleston say that it is unlike any other city. In fact, Charleston has been consistently ranked by Travel + Leisure as one of the friendliest cities in the United States.

Because of the unique history of the pineapple, visitors and locals alike have come to sport jewelry that features this Southern symbol. Whether it’s a commitment to being hospitable to all, or a charming reminder of time spent in the Holy City, people seem to love all that the pineapple represents. If you want to add a piece of pineapple jewelry to your collection, you won’t have to look too hard, just venture down King Street and visit the many boutiques which feature a variety of pineapple-inspired pieces. The charm pictured below can be purchased from Pandora in The Shops at Belmond Charleston Place.


The Palmetto Cafe at Belmond Charleston Place especially prides itself on being welcoming to guests who dine here. As a token of this sentiment, and as a delightful end to your delicious meal, guests are served a candied pineapple slice that has been dipped in milk chocolate. Hoping that each guest feels the warmth and hospitality of Charleston when they visit, this pineapple treat is the perfect end to an exceptional dining experience.

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Downtown Discovered: The French Quarter

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Downtown Charleston, also known as the Historic District, offers a host of smaller neighborhoods within the city center, each with a unique personality and experience for visitors. Our previous post in this series had us exploring picturesque South of Broad and now the French Quarter, also known as the Art District, beckons.

Named the French Quarter in 1873, the area is roughly bordered by Market Street to the north, Broad Street to the south and extends from the Cooper River westward to Meeting Street. Most of the French Quarter is located within the area that comprised the original colonial walled city of Charles Town, the only walled city built by the English in North America.

Concierge Tip: The only above-ground portion of the city’s earliest defenses still visible is located on the site of the Old Powder Magazine, Located on Cumberland Street, this National Historic Landmark was completed in 1713 and housed the community’s store of gunpowder. Open Monday-Saturday for tours.

The name “French Quarter” was derived in the 1800s when preservation efforts began to protect warehouse buildings on the Lodge Alley block, largely occupied by French Merchants. Local vendors also sold their wares, including meat, vegetables and fish, at the city market. Built between 1804 and 1830, the land was ceded to the city by Charles Cotesworth Pinckney for the express use that it remain as a public market for perpetuity. The current Market Hall was erected in 1841, after the previous building was destroyed by fire. Recognized as one of the oldest in the country, the Charleston City Market is a beloved institution for locals and visitors, especially since it’s home to more than 50 sweetgrass basket weavers who carry on this Lowcountry tradition.


Concierge Tip: Following a $5.5 million makeover, the City Market now houses vendors and food purveyors. Grab lunch and then make your way down Church Street. One of the most photographed spots in the city, St. Philips Episcopal Church is home to the oldest congregation in the state of South Carolina. Notice the church’s foundation in the middle of Church Street. Locals say that the church was built this way so that even if you were not a believer, when you rode down Church Street you had to acknowledge the presence of God. Also worth a visit are the Circular Congregational Church and the French Huguenot Church, the only such congregation in the United States, both located on Meeting Street.

Places of Interest:
While the historic French Quarter is small, art and culture abound. The first building in the country designed for theatrical use, the Dock Street Theater, is located on Church Street. First opened in 1736, the theater still produces performances every year. The area is also home to numerous art galleries. Spend the afternoon browsing Gallery Row, located on Broad Street before visiting those located on Church and State Streets. Currently closed while it undergoes a multimillion dollar renovation, the Gibbes Museum of Art is slated to reopen in the spring of 2016 with a renewed focus on American Southern art.


Concierge Tip: Our restaurants, The Palmetto Cafe and Charleston Grill, are filled with art by local artists, included notable painter Robert Lange. Lange’s studio is open daily, and private tours can be arranged here and at a variety of other studios. If you find yourself here on the first Friday of March, May, October or December, enjoy the French Quarter Art Walk which is free and open to the public. Galleries open their doors for patrons to mingle with artists over refreshments. Stroll among gas lit lanterns and discover the works of more than 500 artists of various styles and mediums.

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Meet the Staff: Brenna’s Favorite Things to do in the Holy City


We recently had the chance to sit down with Brenna Emerson, the Travel Industry Sales Manager here at Belmond Charleston Place. Brenna has been with the hotel since 2012, first as the Front Office Supervisor and then the Reservations Manager. In her time at the Front Desk, Brenna worked very closely with the guests of the hotel, gladly offering her opinions of the best things to see and do while visiting. Her love for Charleston, and her appreciation for the finer things in life, has made Brenna a resident expert on how to make the most of your time in the Holy City. She shared with us some suggestions on must-see locales, as well as the best ways for you to explore while here. Consider this list your “Must Do” when taking your next trip to the Lowcountry.

Start the day with brunch
The city of Charleston boasts excellent food and rich history, and Brenna’s first recommendation combines a little bit of both. She believes that any great day in Charleston starts with brunch, and her favorite spot is Warehouse, located on Spring Street. While she does admit that it’s a little “off the beaten path,” she promises that it’s well worth it for the delicious food, and the hospitality she feels when visiting. The building itself has quite an interesting history, as it was originally an actual warehouse used to store dry goods and food. Brenna’s only requirement of visiting this spot is, “You absolutely must try the Truffle Tater Tots, they’re to die for!”

Explore and discover
In Brenna’s expert opinion, the best way to really see the city is to “strap on your tennis shoes” and just walk. You can discover quaint gardens and cobblestone paths by simply exploring the peninsula on foot. One of Brenna’s favorite spots is White Point Gardens, located at the Battery. The gardens are the perfect place to find a bench and take in all the sights and sounds of the Charleston harbor. She also loves to wander around the neighborhoods near the Battery and appreciates the stunning architectural details of the homes in the area. Insider tip: On the corner of Tradd and Legare Streets, there is a wall growing fresh rosemary that Brenna loves to show her friends when she’s on a downtown stroll. She says, “the smell is absolutely divine!”


Grab a boost
Sometimes a long morning of exploring in Charleston calls for a much needed mid-day pick-me-up. Brenna recommends popping into Whisk on Meeting Street and grabbing a juice to fuel your adventures. She loves that the staff is friendly and warm, and her go-to order is the “beeting heart” with added ginger. Bonus: Whisk is located right next door to Belmond Charleston Place; it takes less than a minute to walk there.

Treat yourself
The best vacations call for plenty of rest and relaxation, and Brenna definitely appreciates the need to indulge in luxurious pampering. She loves to stop in to The Spa at Belmond Charleston Place and freshen up before dinner, or treat herself to a longer facial or massage when she has more time to spare. A visit to The Spa is the perfect way to look your best for a fun evening in Charleston, and she recommends booking an appointment in advance so that it’s already set up when you arrive in the city.

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Underground dinner
If you just happen to be in town at the right time, Brenna suggests trying to find the elusive underground dinner club named “Bad Bitches.” A pop-up dinner series hosted by women in the food and beverage industry, the location of the dinner changes each month, and the proceeds benefit women in the culinary industry. It’s such a fun event and one that Brenna loves to support.

Get your chocolate fix
After a scrumptious dinner in Charleston, if you are anything like Brenna, you may find yourself in search of something sweet to eat. She recommends that you look no further than Christophe Artisan Chocolatier, located on Society Street. Brenna admits that the price tag on these chocolate treats is a little hefty, but worth the splurge. Each piece is hand-crafted, and not only exquisite to look at, but also quite decadent to eat.

Catch a show
After dinner and a delightful dessert, the best way to end the night would be to catch a show at the Charleston Music Hall. As far as Brenna is concerned, the Music Hall is “the best music venue in the Southeast.” Located on John Street, and situated between King and Meeting Streets, the building has quite a fascinating history. It was originally known as the Tower Depot, a passenger station of the South Carolina Railroad, and was designed by Charleston architect Edward C. Jones to resemble a medieval castle.


Evening stroll
And finally, on a cool, breezy evening in Charleston there is nothing better than to grab your best girlfriends and walk the Arthur J. Ravenel bridge. This is one of Brenna’s favorite ways to experience the charm of the city because the bridge has the best view of the harbor. Plus, it is a great way to enjoy Charleston’s mild weather. Insider tip: Look out for a friendly manatee that lives and swims under the bridge! Brenna has lovingly named the manatee “Barbara” and likes to say a friendly “hi” to her every time she visits.


BrennaTo find out what items almost made the list, or to know more about any of her recommendations, feel free to reach out to Brenna at 843 724 8136 or brenna.emerson@belmond.com. She is always available to help those who are visiting Charleston discover just why she loves the city so much!



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