We recently returned from a trip to Charleston, SC to visit our local retailer and attend the Broad Street retailers’ “Girls Night Out”. The event was a delightful occasion, with great food, excellent company, and probably too much champagne. Owner Terri Johnson brought us in to give our educational and entertaining presentation on “Oriental Carpets in Period Interiors”, with emphasis on Arts & Crafts carpets.
Terri put us up at the Meeting Street Inn, and we had a gorgeous room right off the courtyard. I love the smell of jasmine in the morning. (There, Robert Duvall.) We added a couple of days to our trip so that we could meet with the Historic Charleston Foundation and I could revisit some areas familiar to me from my childhood. My mother is from the Carolina low country, and we spent a fair amount of time there each year when I was a child, but I haven’t been there since about 1980.
After a fascinating and insightful visit with Historic Charleston curator Brandy Culp at the Nathaniel Russell House, Danielle, my middle daughter Madelyn, and I made like tourists. Some of the highlights included:
- The obligatory carriage ride
- Visiting historic houses like the Aiken-Rhett House, Drayton Hall, etc.
- Eating boiled peanuts in the farmers’ market
- A self-guided walking tour, during which Danielle accosted a craftsman working in a gutted house on Tradd Street and persuaded him to show us the interior
- Learning to recognize English tuckpointing
Over the weekend we drove up the Edisto River corridor so that I could visit some dead relatives. We tramped through many an old cemetery, and I had a terrific case of poison oak to show for it when I returned, probably contracted at Pon Pon Chapel of Ease, the “Old Burnt Church” near Jacksonboro.
Dermatitis or no, the whole trip was worth it for many reasons. We fell in love (again) with the City…. so much history and all facets of human nature are represented there. And as a Commissioner on our local Planning and Zoning board, I dig the fact that Charleston created the first city zoning ordinance in the nation enacted for the purpose of historic preservation. Go, team!
Now, we’re now working with the Historic Charleston Foundation to research the carpet in the art gallery of the Aiken-Rhett House, which was added in 1858. I hope we’ll have more to report on that in the not-too-distant future.