Saturday, May 24, 2014

Charleston, South Carolina

I was so happy to be able to spend almost three full days in Charleston this past week.  You see, Charleston is the city where we spent our honeymoon 27 years ago today.  We were married on the 23rd, and we arrived in Charleston on the 24th of May, 1987.  At the time, we had said we'd try to return for our tenth anniversary, but as the saying goes, "Life happens;" so 27 years later, we finally made it back to Charleston.  It was a quick, but wonderful trip.


Courtesy of my parents, we stayed at the Lodge Alley Inn on East Bay Street.  It was a great place to stay, and the location was perfect -- convenient to everything.  My parents love Charleston, especially my mom.  When my sister and I were little, we went there several times as a family.  At that age, I didn't exactly appreciate the wonderful architecture of the old houses and the amazing gardens.  Where were the amusement parks and the swimming pools?  That's what my sister and I wanted to know.  :)  But now, I can fully appreciate the uniqueness of this city and all it has to offer.

We took two tours while we were there.  The first was a self-guided tour through the aircraft carrier Yorktown.  The second was a guided tour through the Heyward-Washington House, located at 87 Church Street.  We forgot to take a picture of the front of the house, but here's an image I found online.

source

For any of you headed to Charleston in the near future, I would highly recommend this house as one of your stops.  The price of the tour is $10 per adult, and this includes two floors of the house, the separate kitchen building, and a beautiful colonial-style garden out back.  I thought it was well worth the price.  The house is, of course, on the National Historic Register, and George Washington spent a week there during his presidency in 1791.  In addition, it contains the largest collection of Charleston-made furniture in one place in the country.  I'm no expert folks, but I thought the furniture was exquisite -- like something you'd see on Antiques Road Show.


Here you see the downstairs parlor.  This is some bookcase, huh?  I thought it was beautiful, and according to our tour guide, it's not even the "valuable" one.  That one is upstairs.  The house is filled with portraits like the one you see here.


A portrait of President George Washington hangs above the fireplace in the same parlor.  The house was built by Daniel Heyward, a successful rice planter, between 1770 and 1772 for his son, Thomas Heyward.  Thomas Heyward was an artillery officer in the American Revolution and a signer of the Declaration of Independence.  Because George Washington stayed here, the house carries the name Heyward-Washington House.

The house is of Georgian style architecture, and is known in Charleston as a "double house."  Most double houses in the American colonies had four rooms on each floor, two rooms at the front of the house and two rooms in back. The typical Charleston double house had a central hall which extended from the the front door to the back door on the first floor.  The stairs were usually located at the back of the hall.



These chairs were in the central hall.


This is the first-floor parlor again.  Can you see the handles on either side of this chest of drawers?  It's known as a triple chest.  Each section is a separate piece and stacks on top of the others.  It's made this way so it can be easily taken apart and used for travel.  How neat is that?  Mr. Forest Manor took these two pictures, and he had a hard time with them because the lighting wasn't the best.


The house was full of beautiful mirrors like the one hanging above this triple chest.


The room across the hall from the parlor was known as the blue room.  Isn't this a beautiful shade of blue?!  The guide told us that none of these wall colors were original to the house.  He said that some paint scrapings had been obtained from the original colors, but they had been lost over the years.  This particular shade of blue paint came from Mt. Vernon, the home of George and Martha Washington.


We were only able to view one room at the back of the first floor.  This is the room where the Heyward family normally ate their meals.  The sides of this table could be folded down and the table pushed back against the wall when the room needed to double as a work room.  We were told that this house didn't have a formal dining room, per se.  If the family was entertaining special guests, they would have set up a big dining table in the upstairs drawing room.


Here's a closer look at the pretty needlework chair seat.


I don't know the name of these dishes; since I'm a dishaholic, I really wanted to know.  The guide just said that they're a fine set of Chinese porcelain.



I love the wall colors, paneling, and window treatments in all the rooms.


This oval piece on legs with brass trim and handles is a wine cellarette.  The wooden chest on legs against the wall was used to store sugar and was kept locked except when sugar was needed.  Sugar was an expensive commodity in those days.


Each fireplace in the house had such pretty carved woodwork, mantels, and molding.


 A closeup of the tile and fancy grate.


Another portrait over the mantel.


 I thought these ceramic pieces on the mantel were so pretty.



I'll end the tour with the downstairs for today.  In my next post, I'll show you the upstairs, which was really lovely, in my humble opinion.  :)


The back of the house with a glimpse of the gardens.  I'll also share the gardens with you in another post.  You can see the rest of the house in "Charleston, Part Two."

Thanks for joining me today and touring this historic house in Charleston, South Carolina.  I hope your weather is as nice as ours is here today.  We made our first trip to the Farmer's Market for the season.  I hope you have a safe and relaxing Memorial Day weekend and that you'll take a minute to remember the men and women serving in our military all around the world.  I'm so grateful for their commitment and service to our country!

Denise  

9 comments:

  1. Beautiful pictures! We'll have to visit this house on one of our trips. Charleston is such a special place. I never get tired of going there. Looking forward to more pictures. Love you, Mom

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  2. Such a gorgeous place to visit! Glad you made it back there:@)

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  3. Glad you made it back 27 years later! What fun to celebrate where it all began. Charleston seems like such a charming town! I'd like to visit sometime. We are taking time to think of the sacrifices our military have made for us and our freedom! Blessings!

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  4. What a wonderful tour- thank you so much. I live vicariously through others lately it would seem.

    Can't wait to read more! : - )

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  5. I loved visiting that house when we were there. She would not allow photos of the bookcase because she said the flashes over time could affect the wood finish! Your pictures are nice, and imagine that, the same food is sitting on that beautiful china as the day we were there!

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  6. The craftsmanship of those old houses is amazing. And they tell the story of our history, of those who lived in them. Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to more. Have a nice week end.

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  7. Delightful house with exquisite pieces. Happy Anniversary again. This was a special trip for you.

    My husband wanted to tour the Yorktown while we were there but our time ran out. I would love to go back in the spring and do the garden tours. Might need to do that one with girl friends!! LOL!

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  8. Well, I'm late. VERY late!! I have been turned around with some time consuming home projects here. First, I want to wish you a very HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! We love Charleston, and I have been to both the Yorktown and that very house on tour. I need to go back, though, because you pointed out so many details that I either missed or have forgotten. I love that incredible traveling dresser. That's just fantastic.

    (And don't you just know that some young blogger looked at those gorgeous chairs and thought how much "prettier" they would be if someone painted them.

    Chalk painted, of course.
    With a nice chevron print for the seat.
    Giggle.

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  9. I enjoyed touring the house with you, Denise. I love historic homes and how fun for you and your sweetie to visit Charleston again. Happy 27th Anniversary wishes to you both.

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THANK YOU FOR YOUR KIND COMMENTS. I ENJOY READING EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THEM.

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