Charleston’s Iconic Sites
by Idoia Gkikas
“Quaint” and “charming” are the keywords that come to mind when I think of the city of Charleston, South Carolina. Charleston is a city that possesses all the characteristics of an ideal vacation escape, and you can lose yourself strolling the city streets. A pedestrian street reveals a fresh inner courtyard with singing birds and smiling people. I immediately feel the relaxed rhythm of life, perfumed with something historic. The city is filled with early 20th Century architecture that is renovated and perfectly maintained. Its sublime Georgian houses and residences are captivating. Let’s take a walk through Charleston’s historic icons.
Historic King Street
The sky is bright blue, and the sun is shining, creating a picturesque scene. A kind woman named Julie sells me an ice cream in the lovely ice cream shop on King Street, a popular dining and shopping destination that is lined with beautifully preserved colonial architecture – an inspiring combination of modern amenities housed in history. King Street’s antiques district is known worldwide among antiques fanatics.
Charleston Historic Carriage Tour
The next morning, I climb aboard a horse-drawn carriage, as though I were living in a century long past. The carriage tour is a charming way to get to know the historic side of Charleston. With a variety of routes to explore, your carriage tour will take you through 300 years of history and many historic structures and sights unique to Charleston. Such a carriage ride might spark a romantic fire as well!
“The Battery” is the Charleston harbor, where a sweet breeze caresses my face on the historic seafront. Standing here, I can sense the many stories this majestic vista has to tell, with its cannons and cannon balls from the Civil War and its statues that speak for themselves, along with the stunning Southern-style waterfront mansions. There are also many pirate legends about the Battery – specific spots where pirates were reported to have been hanged to prevent other pirates from entering the harbor.
Boone Hall Plantation
I walk among the double rows of towering oaks of the famous Boone Hall Plantation and Gardens, planted in 1743; this row of trees happens to be the nation’s most photographed. Though the house isn’t the original, this stately place is quite authentic and reminiscent of a time long gone. The plantation has been producing products since the 1600s. I watch a Gullah (descendents of African slaves who have maintained their own language and culture in the South Carolina Lowcountry) woman making a traditional basket, and I explore the slave cabins. This is a very educational outing for learning about the centuries-old traditions and history of Charleston. You can take the plantation coach tour, watch presentations on the history of slavery or Gullah history or visit the Butterfly Pavilion to enjoy the many species housed there.
I leave Charleston with a strong sense that I have only touched the surface of the deep roots of this Southern city. Plan for several days here or you’ll be longing for more!