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Posts Tagged ‘Charleston’

December 17th, 2015

Historic Charleston Eats! Husk, Charleston, South Carolina, Restaurant, Review, “A Destination to Savor”

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The fun part of staying in Historic Charleston is that you can walk everywhere.  During my stay last week I noticed that Christmas decorations were very traditional and understated.  So en route to Husk at 76 Queen St. I was.

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I was anticipating a very nice dinner.  This is one of the top restaurants in Historic Charleston.  Tel. 843-577-2500.  You can find it on Facebook.  Website? http:/www.huskrestaurant.com.

Husk is operated and managed by the Neighborhood Dining Group.  You can find this group managing and operating restaurants throughout the southeast.  For more info., please visit http://www.neighborhooddininggroup.com.

Husk opens 7 days a week.  Lunch is served Monday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.  Sunday Brunch is from 10:00 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.  Dinner is from Sunday to Thursday from 5:30 p.m. until 10:00 p.m.  And, Friday and Saturday dinner is from 5:30 p.m. until 11:00 p.m.

Wednesday evening was crowded so my photos were limited to my dining experience.

The bread was sprinkled with sea salt.  It was brought to the table promptly.  The service from this point on was impeccable.

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Through my stay in Charleston I always asked for the signature dish of the restaurant.  I figured it is one that is tried and true and really liked by the public.  So I started with Kentuckyaki Glazed Pig’s Ear Lettuce Wraps, Sweet Vinegar Marinated Cucumber, Red Onion and Bourbon Barrel Togarashi.  Togarashi is the Japanese word for red chili peppers and a general name for a group of condiments that blend chili pepper with other ingredients.  The pig’s ears were thinly sliced and were crisped.  The cucumbers were all preserved by Husk as they usually do with all their summer veggies.  This dish was awesome.  And when upon posting the photo on Facebook my friend, Shelley, mentioned….Oh you could get those at Southern States….she seems to still have a good sense of humor.

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Another Signature Dish at Husk is the Cornmeal Dusted Carolina Catfish.  Field Peas and Butterbeans, Smoked Tomato Gravy, Mustard Greens.  Once again the flavors on this entree were terrific.  I also enjoyed this dish because I knew my late husband, John, would have ordered it, as well.  This Catfish had a bit of a bite to it even though the flavor was mild and the dusting was light.

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A side order of Wood Fired Geechie Boy Mill Grits, and Cheddar from TN.  I ate grits everywhere I found them.  These were delicious. Geehie Boy Mill Grits are from Edisto Island, South Carolina. You can order online.  Please visit http://www.geechieboymill.com

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My dessert was again decadent.  Olive & Sinclair Chocolate Fudge Cake with homemade Peanut Butter Ice Cream and a dusting of peanut butter powder.  I missed my partners in crime to help eat this cake, so what can I say, I ate it all myself.  Olive & Sinclair chocolate is stone ground in Nashville Tennessee.  More information, please visit http://www.oliveandsinclair.com.

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So, 3 nights in Historic Charleston, 3 delicious dinners, 2 great breakfasts, and 1 very nice lunch…..TTYL  Have Good One!!

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December 14th, 2015

Historic Charleston Eats!! Cypress, Restaurant, Review, Charleston, South Carolina

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Eating my way through Charleston.  A friend that reads my posts told me she was not going to read them anymore.  She was gaining weight just looking at some of the food.  I arrived at Cypress which was across my hotel, The Vendue.  This is a historic building….but practically a lot of the buildings in downtown Charleston are historic.  The location? 167 East Bay Street.  Website? http://www.cypresscharleston.com.

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You may call for reservations at 843-727-0111.  The Mezzanine Bar opens at 5:00 p.m. and the Dining Room opens at 5:30 p.m.  You may also make reservations online.  The above mentioned website is a wealth of information.  You can also read about the chefs, and check out what events are going to be happening in 2016.  They will be open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day so please take a look in case you want to take advantage of a relaxing and delicious experience in dining.

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Cypress is part of a group of restaurants…Magnolias, Blossom, and Artisan Meat Share.  If you are visiting Charleston take a look at them, as well.

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Taylor was my server and I have to give a loud shout to her.  She knew the menu so well, having tasted most everything from the kitchen.  I followed her advice and I could not have been happier.

A little wine and warm bread to the table.  Not just a simple bread….the crust was well done and the inside was just perfect and so warm.

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An appetizer of Sashimi Tuna & Oysters….what a great combination of flavors.  Oysters are in season.  It had a ginger-garlic glaze, and pineapple wasabi.  Not only did they tasted delicious, the presentation was awesome.

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For my entree I was looking at the Crisp Wasabi Tuna.  Taylor told me that it was a signature dish, and one that is usually photographed in the magazines.  I had to have it because it sounded perfect.  The tuna had a crispy outside placed on carrots, turnips, radishes, edamame, shiitake mushrooms, and that fab ginger-garlic glaze once again.  I could not get enough of it.

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What could my sweet ending be?  The Grand Marnier Souffle sounded decadent.  It was brought to the table and when the Marnier creme anglaise was poured from above, I was just so happy to have had my camera ready!!

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If dining or having drinks on the Mezzanine you will have an advantage bird’s eye view of the kitchen.

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Once again many thanks to Taylor for taking care of me.

Eating by myself was just fine.  “All four elements were happening in equal measure – the cuisine, the wine, the service, and the overall ambiance.  It taught me that dining could happen at a spiritual level.”  charlie trotter

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December 14th, 2015

Historic Charleston Eats! SNOB, Slightly North of Broad, Restaurant, Review, Lunch & Dinner, Gluten Free Menu, Charleston, South Carolina

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If you are in Charleston at this precise moment, SNOB is open for lunch.  I went back to this popular restaurant having visited last February.  I was intrigued by the fact that there is a new ownership since I last visited.  Apparently everything is going well.  Nevertheless, I wanted to try it for myself.

So off I went to 192 E Bay St.  Tel. 843-723-3424  They are open 7 days a week.  Lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and Dinner from 5:00 p.m.  Reservations are accepted but for the Chef’s Table is first come first serve.

I sat once again at the Chef’s Table.  This table, I believe has 6 seats.  Usually, diners sit here because they are foodies and also get the opportunity to chat with others, more so if you are by yourself.  You get a good view towards the kitchen.

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Plus you get a little starter from your server….a small crab cake tasting.

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Last February I had their signature dish.  That is worth a try.  Shrimp & Grits no less, with house sausage, country ham, tomatoes, green onions, on top of delicious Geechie Boy grits.

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At the Chef’s Table this year:  Steamed Local Clams with parsley, roasted garlic cream and grilled baguettes which were perfect for dipping into the broth.

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The Beef Carpaccio looked beautiful, perfect for a light lunch…thinly sliced raw beef, capers, pecorino Romano, and grilled baguette.

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And, the Grilled Carolina Trout did not disappoint….So moist and perfectly seasoned.  It was served over roasted root veggies, wilted greens and drizzled with a golden raisin vinaigrette.  If you like fish, this is a good one to try.

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Please note that SNOB offers a Gluten Free Menu, so you will be able to have a nice lunch or dinner without any problems.

No dessert this time, I was perfectly satisfied.

Have a Good One!!  TTYL

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December 13th, 2015

Sweetgrass Baskets, A Proud Tradition, Trudy Hicks Baskets, Charleston, South Carolina

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I thought that on this second trip to Charleston I was going to again leave without a sweetgrass basket.  I don’t know, to tell you the truth as I was passing plenty of weavers, none hit it where it should have….my heart.  Except, that on my last day I grabbed a cup of coffee and went down the street by my hotel, The Vendue, towards the Waterfront Park, which is on Vendue Range.  The photo above is exactly what I first saw.  I have never met a stranger, so this time I stopped and engaged Trudy Hicks in conversation.

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As it happened, Trudy is one of Charleston’s finest sweetgrass basket makers.  She was taught as a child and she has passed this art form to her children, grandchildren and plenty of others that want to learn.

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Many years ago, before she took over for her grandmother, Trudy had her own hair salon.  She has a great spot on this street because the previous mayor of the City of Charleston awarded her this particular station because of her connection to Boone Hall Plantation.  Her grandmother is the last living person that lived at Boone Hall.  Her aunt had been born there, as well.  Once she is finished for the day all she has to do is close the doors.  The basket weavers in the market have to take everything down every day and take it home.

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Trudy showed me photographs of her family.  Also a photo of the first road stand in Mount Pleasant where the first baskets were weaved and sold.

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Trudy gives back to the community.  The flowers, wreaths, crosses made out of sweetgrass…proceeds go to The House Of Love.  She takes children out on field days, and helps in every which way she can.

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I think everyone in her family except one of the little ones know how to weave.  She tells her daughter to get those little fingers ready!!

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Sweet grass baskets are so easy to take care.  Since the grasses are from swamps and marsh areas, water will not hurt them.  To clean, just spray the basket with cold water and then let them air dry.  That’s it.  Trudy’s telephone is 843-460-0901.  She also ships.  So, next time while visiting Charleston stop by and say hello.  She will give you a warm smile and plenty of hugs and will really make your day, I promise you, she will.   She is one awesome lady.

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Have a Good One!! TTYL

December 13th, 2015

The Churches on My Travels, Historic Churches, The Church of The Cross, Bluffton, St. Michael’s Catholic Church, Charleston, South Carolina, Sunday is a Day of Worship

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“Rooted in The Past, Sheltering the Present, Reaching out to the Future, Empowered by the God of the Ages.”  Visiting  my good friend, Anita, in Bluffton, South Carolina….discovering a new city in the South; Anita took me to this beautiful church.  Unfortunately, we could not get inside.  It is an Anglican Church.  It also 161 years old.  Since 1975 The Church of The Cross has been in The National Register of Historic Places.

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The location is beautiful, right on the May River.

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If you would like to read more about the church, please visit http://www.thechurchofthecross.net/history.

Magical Sundays I call them….There is something about this day of the week.  Some go to church, others put their feet up and read a book.  And most probably do nothing at all.  They say that 1 in 5 Americans identify themselves as spiritual but not religious.  Spirituality is an emotion and soothes.  Visiting the churches on my travels bring me peace and it does not matter what denomination they are.  They have heard our prayers and our thanksgivings.

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One church I fell in love with last February was St. Michael’s Catholic Church located at 71 Broad St. in Historic Charleston.  It is a National Historic Landmark.  Pewes are made of native cedar and remain the same as they have always been.  I visited this church once again last week.  The chancel rail is made of wrought iron.  It dates to 1772.  George Washington worshipped at Governor’s Pew #43.

St. Michael’s Church is one of the few city churches in America that has retained its original design.  Last March I wrote a post on this church.  If you would like to see it just click on the month of March 2015 on AboutMyBeaches and scroll down to the 8th.

If you get a chance to visit the beautiful churches of Charleston, please do so because they are amazing.

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Have a Great Day!!

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April 19th, 2015

Destination? Dixie Supply Bakery & Cafe, Historic Charleston, South Carolina, Charleston Grits, Sweet Potato Corn Bread…One More Bite!!

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Love starting Sunday mornings with a proper breakfast:  A couple of bowls of confidence with a side dish of Charleston Grits; creamy and stone ground, accompanied with sweet potato corn bread.  This tasting left me wanting some more, except it will have to be another time.  Looking forward to Fried Chicken & Waffles and, apparently, their Heirloom Tomato Pie is out of this world.  Arrive casual, that’s the kind of place it is.  Plenty of smiles letting me know that Southern Hospital is taken seriously.

Breakfast is that meal that is a big deal…love it, and enjoy it!!  Once you have it you won’t be that hungry at lunch.

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Dixie Supply Bakery & Cafe came to my attention while visiting Historic Charleston at the end of February.  It is located at 62 State Street, Charleston, SC 29401  Tel. 843-722-5650  On Mondays, they close.  The rest of the week they will open from 8 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.  Website?  http://www.dixiecafecharleston.com/home.aspx

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Their menu looked great….you might have to walk Historic Charleston a few times afterwards, though.  Their cuisine comes from generations of family recipes.  Local seasonal produce is used and also almost everything is made from scratch.

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Or, take a seat….that bench looks so good.  Relax and enjoy the moment!!  Magical Sundays!!

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March 29th, 2015

Historic Churches, Chapels, Architectural Wonders, It’s Sunday, A Day for Worship, 13 Churches on My Travels

Always look forward to visiting churches on my travels.  Not necessarily on a time when religious services are taking place.  I like them when they are totally quiet.  For me is a time for reflection; to pray for my family and friends.  I usually stop at churches of all denominations, even though I am Catholic.  I thank for our religious freedom.  Historic churches and chapels…I am in awe of their beauty and of their strength.

Here are some of my favorite churches and the list is getting longer.

NEW YORK

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St. Patrick’s Cathedral is a New York Landmark.  In 1785 there were only 200 Catholics and one priest in New York City.  The doors opened in 1879.  The newspapers hailed the New Cathedral as “the noblest temple ever raised in any land to the memory of Saint Patrick, and as the glory to Catholic America”.  When I have visited New York with my friend, Shelley, who is Jewish…she always makes a point to stop at St. Patrick’s.  So beautiful.

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St. Paul’s Chapel was built in 1766.  It is the oldest public building in continuous use in Manhattan.  It survived the Great Fire of 1776 and the attacks on 9/11.  George Washington prayed here after his inauguration in 1789.  It is located at 209 Broadway, between Fulton St. and Vesey St.  Still standing against all odds, this church has been a place not only for spiritual healing but for physical refuge, as well.

PUERTO RICO

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I grew up in the Island of Puerto Rico.  When you see my posts from there is because that’s where my formative years took place.  Old San Juan is the Capital and it is over 500 years old.  La Catedral de San Juan is formally known as the San Juan Bautista Cathedral, named after the Puerto Rican Patron Saint, San Juan Bautista or Saint John the Baptist.  It is located on Cristo St. between Luna St. and San Francisco St.  It was built in 1540 and it is the second oldest cathedral in the Western Hemisphere.  The Cathedral contains the tomb of Spanish explorer, Ponce de Leon.  And, the mummified remains of Roman Christian Martyr, Saint Pio.

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Capilla del Cristo or Christ’s Chapel is located at the end of Calle del Cristo, which is also where the Cathedral is located.  The Chapel was built to commemorate a miracle.  Local lore has it that as a young man lost control of his horse and galloped down Calle del Cristo over the cliff at the end of the road, he prayed to a Catholic saint and his prayers were answered.

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Parroquia San Francisco de Asis is located at San Francisco Street #301 in Old San Juan.  The Crypt – As in old colonial churches, the remains of Christians were buried in catacombs.  This can also be seen at the entrance of the Parish.  They are called catacombs similar to the Roman catacombs but they are crypts.  In the crypt are the remains of personalities of Puerto Rico.  They are considered of important historical heritage.

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Iglesia Dulce Nombre de Jesus is located in the town plaza of Humacao.  This is where I grew up.  It is on the eastern side of the island.  I went to primary school at Academia San Jose which was across the street.  My family went to church here, my parents were married in this church, and I also made my First Communion there.  It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Originally, it was a single structure built in 1769.  A second church was built from 1825-1826.  The present church was built in 1868-1877.  It was designed by Don Evaristo de Churruca in the Gothic Revival style.  Further renovations have taken place since then.

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Parroquia Nuestra Senora del Carmen is located at 33 Marina, in Punta Santiago near my hometown, Humacao.  Punta Santiago is a fishing village.  Nuestra Senora del Carmen is the patron saint of Fishermen.  The official Feast Day is July 16th.  I have fond memories of this church.  It is always kept in pristine condition.  My late husband, John, and I got married here.  We chose this church because it was on the beach and it really is pretty, small and cozy.  It was the second wedding….first one in Orlean, Virginia and then this one in 2 complete different years.  One was not enough!!

SHOWELL, MARYLAND, EASTERN SHORE

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Saint Martin’s Historic Church and the importance of historic preservation.  For so many years it stood neglected, just waiting for those who would take over the mission of its restoration.  It is considered by many historians “to be the finest preserved, most significant piece of American history on the Lower Eastern Shore”.  It is an Architectural gem, built in 1756, and a museum located at 11413 Worcester Highway in Showell, Maryland.  For more info., please visit http://www.historicstmartinschurg.org.

LEWES, DELAWARE

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St. Peter’s Church is located at 2nd & Market Streets in Historic Lewes, Delaware.  Lewes is the First Town in the First State.  Since 1680 this church has served this community.  The early settlers who were members of the Church of England formed its first congregation.  The graveyard which surrounds the Church has stones dating back to 1707.  Stop by while strolling Lewes.

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND

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The Baltimore Basilica’s is America’s First Cathedral.  I have a deep connection to Baltimore.  My late husband was from Baltimore and many years ago, I lived and worked in Baltimore.  Love the City.  The Basilica’s construction started in 1806.  George Weigel, the biographer for Pope John Paul II said “No other Catholic edifice in America can claim to have seen so much history inside its walls”.  At least 15 saints or potential saints have prayed in this Basilica.  The Crypt inside the Basilica holds the tombs of Archbishop John Carroll, the first Bishop of the United States of America, Archbishop Martin John Spalding, and James Cardinal Gibbons.

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA

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Philadelphia has 4 Catholic shrines:  St John Neumann, St. Katherine Drexel, Miraculous Medal and St. Rita of Cascia.  Philadelphia is considered a city where the foundations for our right to freedom and religion were laid.  The National Shrine of St. Rita of Cascia is located at 1166 S. Broad St. and it was built in 1907.  I came to know it during my stay in Philadelphia the summer of 2013.

CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA

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St. Michael’s Catholic Church is located at 71 Broad St. in Historic Charleston.  A National Historic Landmark.  Pewes are made of native cedar and remain the same as they have always been.  The altar is Victorian.  The chancel rail is made of wrought iron.  It dates to 1772.  George Washington worshipped at Governor’s Pew #43.  This church is gorgeous and the docent was so amazingly inspiring.

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St. Philip’s Protestan Episcopal Church is located at 142 Church St. in Historic Charleston.  The original building was completed in 1724, destroyed by fire in 1835 and finished the rebuilding in 1838.  Porticos and columns remind visitors of Roman porticos.  This church is also a National Historic Landmark and has the tallest steeple in Historic Charleston.  The docent was so nice and proud of her church.

I am looking forward to this list getting longer.  These churches welcome us all.  Many of them are so simple.  Some are architectural wonders.  You don’t really have to look for them, some times they find you.

Another magical Sunday….but waiting for summer is what I am doing.

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March 25th, 2015

Destination? Charleston, South Carolina, Edmondston-Alston House, 21 East Battery Bed and Breakfast, Middleton Place Plantation, Exploring America’s Oldest Landscaped Gardens

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The Edmondston-Alston House was the first house museum we visited in rainy Historic Charleston the last week of February.  It is called Edmondston-Alston because Edmondston was the first owner who built this beautiful home in East Battery.  He was a successful merchant.  Financial depressions got the best of him and he had to sell….the new buyer was Alston, who was a member of one of the wealthiest rice-planting families in South Carolina.  The house is very open and, definitely worth seeing.  This house museum is administered by the Middleton Place Foundation who also owns and operates the Gardens, House and Plantation Stableyards at Middleton Place.

In the back of the Edmondston-Alston House there is a privately-owned luxury bed and breakfast.  These were the servants’ quarters.  Guests of 21 East Battery Bed and Breakfast enjoy a complimentary tour of the Edmondston-Alston House museum.  For more information, please visit http://www.21eastbattery.com.  Tel. 843-556-0500

Historic Charleston is full of antique wrought iron.  There are accents pieces and intriguing openings.

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My cousin, Maru, her husband, and I were standing at the Concierge Desk talking to our favorite concierge, Carrie.  She loved us because we did what she told us to do.  So, now we were telling her we wanted to visit Middleton Place.  This plantation has the oldest landscaped gardens in America…plus there was the connection to the Edmondston-Alston House, which we had earlier in the week visited.  How could you visit Charleston and not go to a plantation?

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We told Carrie that we did not want to go in a bus full of people.  We were tourists but we would only go so far.  We wanted a private guide.  No hesitation, Ian Sanchez, would be the one.  Carrie went on and on about how good of a guide he was and how good looking….OMG she said “You are going to love him”.  During this conversation, Maru’s husband was like….”I don’t care if he is good looking.”  Maru and I were like…We do!  He was quickly outnumbered.  We even had to wait an extra day to go with Good Looking Guide Ian.  We hoped he was worth the wait…and not like the coconut cake; they told us so much how good the coconut cake was that once we tried it, was not a big deal…it was okay, though.

We finally met with Ian Sanchez….he was good looking but not drop dead gorgeous as we were expecting.  He spoke Spanish.  I believe one of the parents was from the Dominican Republic and the other from one of the islands.  Needless to say…Latin looks and southern charm work every time; we liked that!  And so we took off with him.  He was a really good guide.  He took his time in explaining Charleston and its history, knowledgeable, very friendly and easy to understand.

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To escape the summer’s heat, the wealthy left their stately homes in Charleston and retreated to their plantation houses.  These plantations had formal gardens backed by rivers and woodlands.

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Middleton Place is located at 4300 Ashley River Rd., Charleston, SC 29414.  Tel. 843-556-6020  Website?  http://www.middletonplace.org.  Please visit the website for events happening at Middleton Place.  We arrived late in the afternoon, so one of our first stops was to tour the only building that is still in operation as a museum.  There were 3 residences at one time.  The original residence was circa 1705 and the north flanker was circa 1755…these were burned by Union troops in 1865, and then leveled by the 1886 earthquake.  The house museum was a gentlemen’s guest wing in 1755.  It contains family furniture, silver, paintings, china, books and documents.

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I think you should give yourselves more than a few hours to tour the plantation….there is much to see and much to learn.

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Eliza’s House dates to 1870 and its 2 family vernacular dwelling provides information regarding the conditions of the African American community at Middleton Place before and after the Civil War.

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We stopped at the Blacksmith Shop, where iron was being heated, forged and shaped.  Middleton Place had both, free and enslaved workers performing different tasks.

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Carpentry and Coopering …building and repairing, the coopers made barrels for storage and shipment of rice.

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Free range…animals were mingling with the guests.

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The Spring House and Plantation Chapel were beautiful.  On the lower level, the spring waters provided the perfect place to store dairy and other foods.  The upper floor was, apparently, added in 1851 and was used as a chapel for the Middletons’ slaves until the Civil War.

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The Mill…It was before the Civil War that the mill was built. Built both as a garden folly and for practical use.

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The gardens have rational order, geometry, symmetry, balance, vistas, focal points and surprises.

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After the Civil War and the Earthquake of 1886 these gardens were overgrown and neglected.  Early in the 20th century restoration began and in 1941 the Garden Club of America gave its highest award by recognizing them as “the most interesting and important gardens in America”.

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It is a little unkempt, and a little wild, when looking at the rest of the formal gardens…family tomb and burial sites.  The last resting place of generations of the Middleton family…the garden called Bosquet and Tomb.

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Notes:  Ian Sanchez can be contacted by calling 843-276-4601.  You may also email him at iansanchez4@gmail.com.  Do you prefer your tour in English, or Spanish?  You pick because he can do both.  His pledge:  “Guaranteed phenomenal tour every time or you don’t pay!!

Information for this post was taken from Middleton Place tour guide info.

Have a good one!!  Talk to you later…

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