Downtown Discovered: South of Broad

11226096_935230739852683_2492580045406181428_o

Downtown Charleston is typically referred to as the Historic District but within the city center, a host of smaller neighborhoods exist, each offering a unique personality and experience for visitors. In our newest blog series, we will introduce you to some of Charleston’s most notable neighborhoods, starting with arguably its most famous – South of Broad.

Location:
As its name suggests, South of Broad is located south of Broad Street, at the southernmost tip of the peninsula. Bordered by the Cooper and Ashley Rivers, this primarily residential area offers spectacular views of the Charleston harbor, where the two rivers meet the Atlantic Ocean. The neighborhood is also home to Rainbow Row, one of the most famous streets in all of Charleston.

Concierge Tip: A visit to South of Broad isn’t complete without a stop at The Battery. Wander along the newly renovated, raised promenade for unparalleled views of the harbor. See if you can spot Fort Sumter, where the Civil War began, in the distance!

HiddenChs_SouthofBroad

History: 
Considered the most exclusive and affluent of the downtown neighborhoods, South of Broad is also one of it’s oldest with residences dating back to 1721. While a variety of architectural styles exist, most homes were built by wealthy plantation owners or merchants in the Georgian-Palladian style. Located on one of the most picturesque streets south of Broad, The Sword Gate House (located at 32 Legare Street), is named after the distinctive “Sword Gates” that stand guard at the entrance to the property. Each half of the gate has a central cross, formed by a vertical spear and a horizontally placed broadsword. A matching pair mark the entrance to The Citadel, the military college located downtown.

Concierge Tip: While wandering South of Broad can be a history lesson in itself, consider a tour of one of the historic homes in the neighborhood. The Heyward Washington House, where George Washington stayed on his tour of the South, the Edmonston Alston House or the Calhoun Mansion, the largest private residence downtown at 24,000 square feet, are open for tours. The Old Exchange Building and Provost Dungeon, which offers daily tours, has hosted pirates, patriots and presidents since the Colonial era.

Points of Interest:
Famous for its lush gardens and detailed iron gate-work, South of Broad is best explored on foot or by horse-drawn carriage. Admire the flourishing window boxes and peak into the private gardens (but do mind your manners – these are private properties!) Look for urban alleyways like Stoll’s Alley, Philadelphia Alley or Price’s Alley, each offering an intimate view and journey back in time.

Concierge Tip: Plan to enjoy a picnic lunch at White Point Gardens after exploring the neighborhood. Stop by Goat. Sheep. Cow., with its 200-year-old brick walls and exposed beams, to pick up cheese, wine and charcuterie. Or, grab lunch from Burbage’s Grocery, a small, self-serve corner grocery in business since 1948.

While you may have known South of Broad as the title of a Pat Conroy novel (an author also see on our Portraits of Charleston wall), the neighborhood offers much more for visitors to Charleston. Grab a map from our concierge, and savor the best of the South as depicted through one of the most beautiful areas downtown.

0 CommentsLeave a comment

Explore Charleston’s Picturesque Parks

ocha_1366x955_destination_garden01

Historic downtown Charleston offers no shortage of Instagram-worthy spots, including a variety of picturesque parks and outdoor spaces. Grab some grub, a blanket and indulge in a leisurely picnic lunch or dinner at one of Charleston’s prettiest parks.

Just a seven minute walk from Belmond Charleston Place, listen to the bells of St. Michaels from Washington Park, while surrounded by a beautiful gated garden. This has been a favorite gathering spot of Charlestonians for more than 300 years and features beautiful statues, from historic to whimsical.

Sit under the gentle mist of the Pineapple Fountain at Waterfront Park, which is just a twelve minute walk from the hotel. This city park  features private alcoves, flower gardens, stone pathways, a pier with wooden swings and stunning views of Fort Sumter and Charleston harbor.

The Battery, one mile from the hotel, is located alongside the Charleston harbor. This beautiful shaded sanctuary filled with multiple monuments including Revolutionary and Civil War-era cannons and statues commemorating individuals notorious during the 18th century.

IMG_6189

Relax under shaded trees and surround yourself with architecture dating back to the 19th century, just a ten minute walk from the hotel. The Cistern Yard is the core of the College of Charleston campus and home to national landmarks such as Randolph Hall. Built in 1828, this monument is one of the oldest buildings still in use in the U.S..

Enjoy the urban green space of Marion Square, a quick ten minute walk from the hotel, once used as a military marching ground before the Revolutionary War. This park, which hosts a Farmer’s Market on Saturdays, is the perfect spot to appreciate monuments such as the Holocaust memorial.

Amid the ruins of the old Charleston Museum and one mile from the hotel, Cannon Park provides a historic, stunning atmosphere. The remaining columns of the old museum create a beautiful focal point in this park designed by Frederic Law Olmstead, the designer of Central Park in New York City and the grounds at the Vanderbilt Mansion.

Staying at Belmond Charleston Place? Let us pack a picnic for you; A variety of menu options await. And please use the map below to guide you at your leisure.

map

 

0 CommentsLeave a comment

Explore Charleston’s Waterways

Screen Shot 2015-05-22 at 2.00.13 PM

While Charleston is known for its rich history, trendy boutiques and delectable cuisine – one of the Holy City’s greatest attributes is its prime location near the water. The city is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, fresh water lakes and winding rivers making endless options for water activities.

So, take advantage of what the Lowcountry has to offer and enjoy these outdoor recreations.

Schooner Pride Sail

Take an afternoon dolphin sail, sunset or moonlight journey around the Charleston Harbor and take in views of pastel colored homes along The Battery, historic church steeples and an upclose view of the Ravenel Bridge. Passengers can help raise and trim the sails or relax while listening to the history of the Holy City.

Concierge Tip: Beverages are sold on the boat, but if you want to eat be sure to bring your own picnic lunch.

Paddle Boarding

If you have never paddle boarded before then Charleston is the best place to do it, as the water is relatively flat and calm. Expect to see dolphins and indigenous birds while paddling Folly River, or if you are more advanced, adventure out on the ocean waves with Charleston Sup Safaris. If you choose to do a tour near dusk, you will see the most magical sunset and moonrise. Whether you are solo or with a group of friends, this is a great way to see Charleston’s sights and aquatic life.

Concierge Tip: Bring a disposable waterproof camera to snap a shot of the dolphins and breathtaking views.

Fishing in the Lowcountry

Saltwater fishing, inshore, offshore, fly-fishing – Charleston has it all! Experience an afternoon or sunset session of fishing on Charleston’s glistening water. Whether you are a fishing guru or a complete novice, the captain or crew will accommodate your skill level to help you catch the biggest fish out there.

Concierge Tip: If you catch a “keeper” size fish, the captain will recommend some restaurants where they will prepare it for you.

Eco Tour – Barrier Island Exploration

Curious about Charleston’s wildlife? Venture to Caper’s Island on a pontoon boat to explore the native fauna of this region and learn a thing or two. This island is one of the few existing undeveloped islands, which makes it a special place. You are bound to see dolphins, bald eagles, herons, pelicans and more. Once you reach the island, walk around its untouched sandy “Bone-yard Beach” and freshwater ponds.

Fun Fact: Married couple Shane and Morgan Ziegler started this tour company in 1997. Their dog, Princess Emma,  enjoys water activities and even partakes in some of the outdoor adventures.

Cypress Gardens Boat Ride

Cypress Gardens is a 170-acre preserve and gardens centered around a tupelo swamp enclosed with green lush plants and trees. Enjoy the tall, enchanting cypress trees while paddling in a classic wooden row boat. The ambience radiates romance, and is perfect for a couple looking for an unforgettable and intimate Lowcountry experience. As you paddle among the lily pads, keep an eye out for the turtles and birds while listening to the peaceful sounds of nature’s wildlife.

Fun Fact: A scene from the movie The Notebook was filmed on this very swamp in Cypress Gardens.

0 CommentsLeave a comment