Don't you just love a good lighthouse hunt because I do! The Charleston Lighthouse on Morris Island was built 1767 which in fact was 1 of only 2 lighthouses to be found south of the Delware Bay after ther Revolution, the other being Tybee Lighthouse. The lighthouse was destroyed in the Civil War and work began to rebuilt around 1874 and it was relit October 1 1876 with a first order lens. The island over time eroded away from under the base due to storms, earthquakes and hurricanes it still stands but the island is long gone and sits out in the ocean about a 1/4 mile. It was replaced by the one on Sullivan's Island in 1962. If you look really close to the photo you can see just to the left of the lighthouse is the New Charleston Lighthouse on Sullivan's Island.The Old Charleston Lighthouse is only 15 to 20 minutes the other way down Route 17 South to Folly Beach just off of James Island Take the Folly beach road and turn left and go all the way to the end at the Holiday Inn turn left and go all the way to the end, park and walk about 1/4 mile out to the beach and you will find the Old Charleston Lighthouse which sits out in the ocean about a 1/4 mile. Bring you camera and tripod and lots of batteries.
If you like lighthouse like I do go check out the New Charleston Lighthouse on Sullivan's Island, it takes about 15 to 20 minutes from Charleston, just go up Route 17 North to the other side of the bridge and you only about 10 minutes away. This is the only one of it's kind in the USA. It was built in 1962 and will most likely be the last traditional lighthouse built in th United States. It stands 162 feet tall and is the only lighthouse that has an elevator and has been fitted with a the most powerful 28 million candlepower lens in the Western Hemisphere and can be seen up to 26 miles out to sea. This has got to be the strangest looking lighthouse I have come across, it looks kind of like an airport control tower. The lighthouse on Sullivan's Island was built to replace the Old Charleston Lighthouse that is no longer in service, the island that it stands on has completely eroded away from the foundation and now stands about 1/4 mile out to sea.
Try taking a horse drawn carriage tour for some great history lessons. All day long we saw these carriages around town, you can take a group tour or personal carriage tour for 2, rather romantic. There are a few companies that give the tours, here are 4
Charleston Carriage Company 14 Hayne Street PH (843) 577-0042,
Carolina Polo & Carriage Company 45 Pinckney Street PH (843) 577-6767,
Old South Carriage Company 2 Anson Street, #A, PH (843) 723-9712,
Palmetto Carriage Works 40 North Market Street PH (843) 723-8145
KING STREET-King street from the intersection of Anne St. all the way down to Meeting St. is full of great shops, cafes, restaurants and antique shops.
On the corner of King and Calhoun is Marion Square Park which is a nice spot to relax after a day of walking.
At King and Market St. is the Charleston Place hotel. The bottom is filled with upscale shops, bar, and restaurant.
My favorite part about King St. is it's more of a locals street, cheaper and less tourist-y than Market St. You can get some great food here like Juanita Greenberg's Nacho Royale, Kickin' Chicken, and the Mellow Mushroom. Andolini's Pizza is just off King on Wentworth and has been voted best pizza in town.
There are some good bars on King as well like AC's and Cumberland's. King also has some nice clothing shops.
My best advice is if you are on King and you think it's too yuppie ask anyone which direction Market St. is and walk the opposite way. Conversely, If you think there's too many college kids or it's too hipster walk towards Market St. and it will change.
the charleston custom house is an impressive example of renaissance revival architecture. the custom house was designed by ammi burnham young, and e.b. white supervised it's construction. the construction of this building took over 25 years to complete due to the interruption of the civil war. the custom house was finally completed in 1879.
We went on a very enjoyable and informative called the Tea Party Walking Tour, lead by a native Londoner named Marianne who has lived in Charleston for about 40 years. She lead us on a historic tour of the old part of Charleston, through gardens and courtyards, into historic buildings and churches, giving us new perspective on the different eras of Charleston life, through pre-Revolutionary to the War between the States and to modern day preservation efforts.
It was kind of funny, I think there is more than a little competition between tour guides, as far as who is allowed accessibility to which courtyard or garden, for example. In an old theatre a Ghost tour guide and her group came by, and our guide made some mildly disparaging remark.
We learned a lot about Charleston, with a lot of personal touches, and the tour ended up with sandwiches and tea served in Marianne's nice garden courtyard.
There are so many tours available in Charleston - walking tours; carriage tours; museum and historic house tours; ecotours by kayak or boat exploring the shoreline or salty marsh .... Anyway, I would strongly recommend taking some kind of tour, and can personally recommend the Tea Party Walking Tour.
built in 1808 the nathaniel russell house is one of the finest adamesque mansions in america. russell moved to charleston from rhode island and was one of the richest merchants of the post-revolutionary period. in the 1850's the house was bought by r.f.w. allston, a wealthy planter. this historic home is open to the public.
this bulding was the first home to the south carolina military college, also known as the citadel. the old citadel was built in 1825 and was modified several times until the south carolina military college moved to it's present location in the 1920's. this historic building now houses the embassy suites hotel.
There's many, many historical houses in Charleston, and I visited some of them but unfortunately until I find some notes I was taking to jog my memory I can't remember their names.
I do, however, remember The Pink House (now the Pink House Gallery) a smallish building that indeed is pink (either from the fact it was made from pinkish Bermuda stone or surfaced with conch shells, depending on what you read).
It was built in either 1694 or about 1712 as a tavern (depending on which account you believe) and is said to be the oldest stone building in Charleston and the oldest standing tavern in the whole South.
It survived the great earthquake of 1886 when most buildings around it were destroyed, and also Hurricane Hugo in 1989.
The tavern at one time was in the center of Charleston’’s ““red light”” district, and may have been used by practitioners of the world’’s oldest profession.
I bought a small water color of the Pink House from the Pink House Gallery when I was there that I gave away as a gift. It's not a grand building at all, but I was intrigued by its history.
The USS Yorktown is now docked in Charleston Harbor, and is open to us as a museum. It's a great place to spend a few hours touring, learning about some of the most seminal moments in world history.
The Yorktown is part of Patriots Point and can be reached by a ferry that leaves downtown Charleston once an hour (it's a $12 roundtrip ticket). It costs $15 to enter Patriots Point itself, less for kids, seniors and those in the US military. The Yorktown is the major part of a fleet docked in the harbor, all of which you can visit. It and it's crew served its country valiantly in several battles in the Pacific theater in WWII, and for several years thereafter.
You can visit several exhibits while on the Yorktown, including seeing several WWII fighters & bombers. You can see how the Yorktown's crew lived while on ship, and tour a fascinating museum honoring winners of the Congressional of Honor.
Leave yourself a few hours to tour the Yorktown, especially if the kids are along.
There are also many, many churches in Charleston, and if I remember correctly, also the oldest synagogue in the United States.
One of the things that really fascinated me were the church graveyards in the back of the churches, usually surrounded by wrought iron fences.
I always enjoy exploring cemeteries in historic places, but in most places they aren't right in the middle of town. These were little cemeteries that formed the back yards of the historic churches, with many coffin shaped cement gravesites.. I can't remember now what the dates were on the tombstones
You won't find many tourists here. They all seem to go to Folly Beach on James Island. Isle of Palms is in Mt. Pleasant about 20 minutes from downtown Charleston. This is my favorite beach because it's never crowded, it's clean and beautiful. I think the best thing about the beaches here though is that in the summer the water is warm. Nothing worse than going to the beach and freezing your butt off in the water. It's free to park, but in the summer allow extra time to find a spot.
From I-526: Head East toward Mt. Pleasant and take the Georgetown Exit, Hwy 17. Continue straight at the light, crossing Hwy 17 onto Hungry Neck Boulevard. Pass through two stoplights and at the third, turn right onto Highway 517, the Isle of Palms Connector. This will take you to the island
From Hwy 17 North or South: Turn east at Highway 517, the Isle of Palms Connector. Take the Connector over the Intracoastal Waterway onto Isle of Palms
On the Island: Take a left on Palm Blvd. and follow it as it turns to the right. Park where you see walkways to the beach.
The carriage tours are very popular. During the tourist season in the spring and summer you may want to go on one of the carriage tour websites and buy tickets online before you go. If not then just go to Market Street which is the street with the open air market and thats where most carriage and walking tours have their base of operations. You can definitely enjoy one of the many walking tours, but during a hot summer day you can't beat the carriage tour. Just my opinion. You do see more of Charleston on a bus tour, but I think the novelty of a carriage tour is fun and I like being in the open air. It's really up to you as to what your preferences are.
"The centerpiece of Patriots Point is the world famous aircraft carrier USS YORKTOWN, a heavily decorated warship that was at the "tip of the spear" in America's victory in the Pacific during World War II."
Patriot's Point is located on the edge of Mt. Pleasant, right on the Cooper River and in the Charleston Harbour. Here you'll find many ships and aircraft from WWII, and also you can get a tour to Fort Sumter from here. (You can only get to Fort Sumter by boat.)
The best walking tour is the one you plan yourself and take at your leisure. Charleston: A Historic Walking Tour is a book that outlines three complete walks with factual and interesting notes on the houses and buildings you see on each tour. It gives you more information than any tour guide could. The addresses and photographs are given so it can be used for reference even if you choose not to follow the path set out. This book will enhance your Charleston experience however you decide to use it. It's available at Amazon.com or any of the local book stores.
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