Drayton Hall, An American Icon

When a city is as old and historic as Charleston, preservation tends to be more highly valued than modernization. Dating back to 1738, Drayton Hall is an icon of this philosophy. The site has survived seven generations of ownership, wars, hurricanes, and earthquakes. In 1974, the National Trust of Historic Preservation chose to stabilize the estate’s architecture rather than restore it in effort to maintain its true colonial identity. Southern landscape historian Suzanne Turner once described it as, “the most significant, undisturbed historic landscape in America.” Located just 12 miles from Belmond Charleston Place, Drayton Hall offers a unique opportunity for discovery and education. Here are four reasons why you should visit this historic home. The plantation is one of America’s oldest that still welcome visitors, and offers experiences such as walking tours of the house, an exhibit gallery, gardens and a river view.Some visitors will appreciate the historic architecture and details of the structure while others will be enthralled with the native and exotic plants that embellish its stunning landscape. The oldest display of Palladian architecture in the country, the stabilization of this structure provides a glimpse at each period of life and design that it has encountered in it’s almost 400 year old history. From its iconic portico to African American tenant houses, the site has a million stories to tell about culture, ethnicity, art, and war. One of the main reasons the plantation has survived for as long as it has is credited to the community of laborers that continued to live on the property and maintain its structure and gardens until 1960. The Drayton family remained in possession of the property from 1738 to 1969. Now under ownership of the National Trust with the support of donors, such as the Drayton Hall Preservation Trust, historians and Charlestonians can be confident that the preservation of Drayton Hall will be maintained for years to come. Admission to Drayton Hall is available from 9am to 3pm Monday through Saturday and 10am to 3:30pm on Sundays. Tickets are available for online purchase or through our Concierge. The plantation also offers the Distinguished Speakers Series, where invited professionals host a lecture and conversation about history, art, and culture. Make sure to check out Drayton Hall’s upcoming featured events: February 23, 2019 Historic Entertaining: A Seminar and Wine Tasting at Drayton Hall This event invites you to take part in a historic and entertaining tour followed by a wine tasting led by Rudi Barberi of Rudi’s Cafe and Wine Bar at Drayton Hall. This tour will uncover stories that are not included on house tours and immerse you in the history of the Drayton family and property. March 13, 2019 Distinguished Speaker Series: Mitchell Owens of Architectural Digest on Connoisseur with a Crown: George IV — Collector, Tastemaker, Spendthrift This lecture will kick off the week of Winter Antiques in Charleston with Architectural Digest’s Editor of Decorative Arts, Mitchell Owens. He will delve through the styles and collections of George IV, including his homes, furniture, china, and art selections. April 18-19, 2019 Two-Day Landscape Painting Class with Drayton Hall Artist in Residence Laura Lloyd Fontaine Join Drayton Hall’s Artist in Residence for a two-day landscape painting class on the grand lawn. Known for her contemporary impressionism with a traditional flair, local artist Laura Lloyd Fontaine’s work can even be seen in our lobby.
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Arts & Culture, Discovery

An Evening at the Theatre

Now that the hustle and bustle of the new year is settling down, it’s the perfect time to dress up, hit the town and treat yourself to a night out. Charleston’s vibrant and robust theatre scene is a great way to celebrate the coming year. From grand auditoriums to comedic hot spots, this coastal town offers a big city level of limelight options.
Gaillard Center

If you’re looking for a grandiose experience that will stun your senses with some of the best artistic performances, look no further than the Gaillard Center. This immense, newly renovated 1,800-seat auditorium is the cultural center of Charleston and offers a wide range of shows from classical ballet and opera to modern dance. Perhaps the most iconic performance location in Charleston, Gaillard Center serves as the premiere venue for the world-renowned Spoleto Festival USA and the Charleston Symphony Orchestra.
Theatre 99

If grand opera and folks in tights aren’t your thing, venture to Theatre 99 to enjoy some comedy gold. As Charleston’s best place for stand up comedy and improv, this comedic enclave will have your rolling on the floor laughing as you experience some of the South’s top talent. If you’re looking to take a step out of your comfort zone or even brush up on your comedy skills, visit during the daytime for one of Theatre 99’s improv training classes.
PURE Theatre

You’ve tried the grand concert halls. You’ve had your go at the comedy troupes. You want something edgier; more modern. PURE Theatre has what you’re looking for. This reputable King Street Theatre showcases a strong ensemble of 13 professional actors that emphasize provocative, contemporary performances. Their focus on risk-taking and passionate commitment on the stage sets them apart.
Dock Street Theatre

For those who want more than just a wonderful performance, why not visit the oldest theatre in the country? Dock Street Theatre, which has graced Charleston’s historic French Quarter neighborhood since 1736, showcased the nation’s first opera performance, Flora, and continues to wow audiences today. With its beautiful wooden auditorium, wrought iron balcony and sandstone columns, it regularly features one of Charleston’s most reputable acting troupes, the Charleston Resident Acting Company. The theatre displays a wide range of events from musicals to plays. The newly renovated bar and outdoor patio also offer a great spot to socialize during intermission.

Since the 18th century, Charleston has been considered one of America’s premiere cultural centers, combining the magnificent splendor of its European influencers with the boldness and individualism of the American spirit. Today, that heritage remains and is personified in its diverse and blossoming theatrical culture. Make it a night out to truly remember and enjoy a luxurious meal with live jazz at the Charleston Grill after the performance.

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Arts & Culture, Discovery

Carolopolis Award

Surely while walking around downtown Charleston you have spotted one of these plaques adorning a vine draped home or an antebellum mansion, but are you aware of what the plaque actually means?
The Carolopolis Award is a plaque situated on buildings that are model examples of preserved, restored, or rehabilitated construction. The award is given to those that currently own and maintain the property.
The Carolopolis award was created in 1953 to recognize outstanding achievement in the city of Charleston and since then, The Preservation Society has presented 1,309 awards in recognition of such achievement.

We have provided a diagram that displays what the plaque represents. To enlarge the image click here.

Here are a few examples of the Carolopolis award spotted throughout the city. Follow this walking route to see examples of Carolopolis Awards below.

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