Fall Tour of Homes and Gardens

The Preservation Society of Charleston hosts the 36th Annual Fall Tours of Homes and Gardens through October 28th. The tours feature the opportunity to see beautifully appointed gardens and architecturally significant homes, churches and public buildings. Highlighting the best of American architecture, each tour highlights a unique neighborhood that represents Charleston’s flourishing culture from the Colonial era to the present. Most of the properties on tour are privately owned and are open to the public exclusively for this event.

Each tour is unique and offers the opportunity to explore different areas of the historic district. Guests can take in the panoramic views of the Charleston Harbor from the homes on East Battery, then continue to Lower Tradd Street to explore some of the city’s oldest architecture.  The Colonial and Georgian period dwellings located on Church Street and in the heart of the historic district are not to be missed. Take a stroll down Charlotte Street to view architectural influences from the Federal to the Greek Revival periods illustrated in the grand homes of the Mazyck-Wraggborough neighborhood.

Concierge Tip: Be sure to wear comfortable shoes since tours often cover six to eight blocks. Also, high heeled shoes are not permitted since they can damage wood floors.

The tours take place each Thursday evening from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm, and Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm All tours are self-paced walking tours held on the peninsula of Charleston within the city’s various historic neighborhoods. Trained volunteer guides will interpret the history, architecture and decorative arts of each property. Tickets are $45 per person, per tour and may be purchased through the Preservation Society of Charleston and by calling (843) 722-4630. Weekend passes are available.

Concierge Tip: Get your tickets early! Tours will sell out quickly.

The Preservation Society of Charleston is the oldest community-based membership historic preservation organization in the United States. Founded in the 1920’s, the Society celebrates over 90 years of preserving and protecting the heritage and architecture of South Carolina’s oldest city. Proceeds from these tours further work in preservation, education, advocacy and planning to secure the future of Charleston’s unique and diverse heritage.

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Arts & Culture, Discovery

Must-See Places In Charleston

We are frequently asked what are the “must see” places in Charleston, so Hidden Charleston recently asked our friend and travel writer, Amanda Keene, to tell us her favorite experiences from a recent stay at Charleston Place.

Discovering the city by horse-drawn carriage is one way to explore Charleston. The other way is on foot. I opted for the latter, and got up at dawn to view the city waking up.

How marvelous to be staying at Charleston Place Hotel, right in the center, with everything I wanted to see just steps away. Even better, I was staying on the exclusive Club Floor, where they’ve thought of everything.

So, as the first rays of light were filtering over the sky, I was filling my coffee cup and setting off to Waterfront Park. My route led past luxury stables where horses were being primped with treatments to rival those of the Charleston Place rooftop spa. On I walked, to a swing seat on a wooden jetty where I swayed to and fro sipping coffee as the sun came shimmering up over the Cooper River.

A couple of joggers sped by and a man cleared up fallen leaves from the giant magnolia trees, leaving pristine lawns beneath. But otherwise, I had the grand residences of The Battery and Rainbow Row to myself as I strolled on through the grid of streets. What an absolute pleasure to wander up and down, gazing into gorgeous gardens and at grand Georgian-style homes.

With less than a day to explore, I could do little more than scratch the surface of Charleston. But if you’re reading this and have similarly limited time, here are my highlights: two houses to visit and two tours to take.

1. Nathaniel-Russell House, 51 Meeting Street
Elegance, simplicity and a soaring staircase that spirals up through three floors with no visible means of support. The refined, classical style extends to its pretty garden. Image left, courtesy of Historic Charleston Foundation. Photographer: Rick Rhodes

2. Calhoun Mansion, 16 Meeting Street
Exuberant decor and a fascinating collection of art and artifacts cover every surface. A sense of history and extraordinary anecdotes add luster to this very lived-in home and theatrical garden.

3. Charleston Culinary Tour
A knowledgeable guide leads you through the streets surrounding Charleston Place, and introduces the city’s history through your palate. Includes stops at cafes and shops to sample grits, collard greens, pralines and other local foodie treats. Delicious, informative and huge fun.

4. A private garden tour 
A local expert escorts you through gardens, overgrown graveyards and leafy streets, pointing out plants and architectural features you’d otherwise overlook. You’ll dip into so many nooks and crannies you’ll almost feel like a Charleston resident by the end.

This Fall, Charleston Place has made it easy to discover the best of Charleston with the Holy City Adventure Package. Stay two nights and choose one of several specialty tours of Charleston, including a behind the scenes tour of the Calhoun Mansion or a Charleston Culinary Tour. No matter which tour you choose, all will offer a unique glimpse at Charleston’s historic past and vibrant culture.

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