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Downtown Charleston

sunny 25 °C

Sorry the photos for Mt Vernon didn't upload properly - they're up now but they're out of order........

How y'all going down there!!!! I see Obama has dropped in - its barely made the news here except that he apparently has crocodile insurance for his trip up north - mmmm, the big things matter here.........

Well it's positive balmy here in Charleston - it was 25 degrees yesterday and today possibly 27 degrees - we're approaching all sorts of heat records so that gives you an idea of how hot it is..........

Yesterday I strolled down Meeting St - the main street in Charleston - everything is a bit slower here - no walking, just strolling.........and as you stroll down the street you are greeted with the tinkling sounds of hidden fountains behind the walls of the mansions on streets overhung by huge trees.

The houses are huge on Meeting St - to give you an idea how big, you don't get any old real estate agent to sell your house, you contact Sothebys or Christies - I know because quite a few were up for sale - they're all at least 3 stories high, wooden, extend quite a bit back on the property and have double porches on the side of the house - yes, on the side, not the front or back of the house. If you're lucky you still have a bit a land left over for a garden which is highly manicured. At 10am the streets are filled with gardeners, dog walkers and nannies..........

Firstly I walked down to the Battery a park at the end of the town that overlooks the harbour where two rivers meet the ocean. Unfrotunately it was very foggy so not many photos.

Then headed back up to the first of three houses I visited. This wa Calhoun Mansion that was originally built by a blockade runner after the civil war - but he was no Rhett Butler - this guy didn't drink, smoke, gamble or gossip and the town hated him. After he died he left the house to his daughter who was married to a Calhoun and promptly changed the name of the house. Everything was fine and dandy until 1929 when they lost everything and the house sank into disrepair. After being bought by a lawyer in 1970's it was extensively restored. The Guide I had was OTT gay man who totally reflected the interior of the house. It is now owned by an international lawyer who has a mania (not a passion -it's definitely a mania) for collecting - it was very Victorian but the most amazing artefacts. For example he slept in a bed that was once owned by the Tsar of Russia. The guide and I got on like a house on fire and he stared pointing out all the artwork which he wasn't meant to do for insurance purposes and it was an exquisite collection. What I loved was that the owner had two dogs and a cat and had purchased antique furniture that the dogs and cat were allowed to sleep on in the house.

Next stop was Nathaniel Russell House - this was built before the Revolutionary War and was positively spartan after the Calhoun Mansion. This house is most famous for its cantilevered staircase - an oval staircase that didn't touch the walls of the house. In Charleston offices were often on the ground floor and the main reception rooms were on the 2nd floor to take advantage of the breezes..........

The only issue that I have with this area of Charleston is that there are no coffeeshops or food places. It's a pity these mansions don't open a tea shop or something. Finally I found a pub that looked ok from the outside but when I walked in there were 20 beefy guys staring at me - um...er....don't think this is the place for me - finally found a sandwich shop that sold mediocre sandwiches.

Finally I stopped at the Heyward-Washington House - the name Washington is given because Washington stayed there for a whole week - wow - the guide was hopeless at this house - I could have done a better job after visiting lots of houses on my trip - we weren't helped by one of the visitors who kept pointing out that the walls weren't straight and some of the furniture had buckled - hey dickhead - most of these houses had survived a significant earthquake in 1886 and were over 300 years old - what did you think? The guide was very pissed off by his rude interruptions and eventually gave up............

Last night dinner followed the general food theme of the day and the restaurant I went to was also rather mediocre - prawn linguini which was quite disappointing..........

Since its going to be so hot, I'm heading out to the bay and visiting Fort Sumter - the start of the Civil War..........

Posted by natty176 06:03 Archived in USA Tagged charleston

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