Charleston, S.C.: a 3-day getaway
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10. 11 a.m. Broad to Battery: Wander the blocks south of Broad Street, lined with gorgeously restored private homes, such as the 1740 William Vanderhorst House (54 Tradd St.) and the nearby Lamboll Double Tenement (8-10 Tradd St.), from 1726 and rebuilt in 1781. Around the corner sits stately Rainbow Row (83-107 East Bay St.), called the longest cluster of intact Georgian row houses in the country and named for their muted hues. Continue south to the Battery, a landmark promenade along the Charleston peninsula. If you’re craving a savory snack, stop by goat.sheep.cow. (106 Church St. 843- 480-2526, www.goatsheepcow.com), a European-style fromagerie.
11. Noon. Steeple chase: More than a dozen historic places of worship dot downtown Charleston. St. Michael’s (Episcopal) Church (71 Broad St., 843-723-0603, www.stmichaelschurch.net), completed in 1761, is the city’s oldest church building, and its eight bells have rung for most of the time since. In the cemetery at St. Philip’s (Episcopal) Church (142 Church St., 843-722-7734, www.stphilipschurchsc.org), established in 1670 and rebuilt in 1838, you’ll find graves for Edward Rutledge, signer of the Declaration of Independence, and Charles Pinckney, signer of the Constitution. The cemetery at Unitarian Church in Charleston (4 Archdale St., 843-723-4617, www.charlestonuu.org), which underwent a Gothic remodeling in 1854, purposely keeps its fauna hauntingly overgrown. Up the street, Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim synagogue (90 Hasell St., 843-723-7324, www.kkbe.org), established in 1749 and now housed in an 1840 Greek Revival structure, was the birthplace of American Reform Judaism in 1824.
12. 1 p.m. Singular sandwiches: Butcher & Bee (654 King St., 843-619-0202, www.butcherandbee.com) has the city’s quirkiest operating hours — 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. Any time is the right time to indulge in their creatively crafted sandwiches, such as the Blue Plate, with pork belly, lima beans, and poached eggs ($12). The geek-chic room houses a few small tables and an extra-long one with mismatched chairs, perfect for their pop-up dinners. The alcohol-free eatery allows BYOB.
13. & 14. 2 p.m. Furnished or unfurnished: The Historic Charleston Foundation maintains two significant houses with diverse approaches to restoration. The neoclassical 1808 Nathaniel Russell House (51 Meeting St., 843-724-8481, www.historiccharleston.org, $5-$10, closed for renovation until mid-March), fronted by formal gardens, is furnished with period antiques and features an often-photographed free-flying staircase. A mile and a half away, the 1820 Aiken-Rhett House (48 Elizabeth St., 843-723-1159, www.historiccharleston.org, $5-$10, or $16 combined with Nathaniel Russell), one of the country’s most intact urban antebellum complexes, includes a main house, stables, work yard, and extensive servants’ quarters. It is preserved, but not restored, and some parts verge on dilapidated, making the past more palpable.
15. 7 p.m. Southern sourced: Star chef Sean Brock followed up his magic act at McCrady’s with the acclaimed Husk (76 Queen St., 843-577-2500, www.huskrestaurant.com), where rich, rustic dishes with an eye toward preservation are concocted using only ingredients produced south of the Mason-Dixon line, such as cornmeal-dusted North Carolina catfish with creamed sweet corn, fried baby cabbage and Benton’s bacon, and Appalachian tomato gravy ($25).
16. (not on map) 9 a.m. Plantation and a paddle: On a 5-mile stretch of Ashley River Road northwest of Charleston, you’ll find a spectacular riverfront plantation for every taste. Drayton Hall (3380 Ashley River Road, 843-769-2600, www.draytonhall.org, $6-$18), the country’s oldest unrestored plantation house, circa 1738, is remarkable for its Palladian-inspired architecture and historic landscape. Magnolia Plantation and Gardens (3550 Ashley River Road, 843-571-1266, www.magnoliaplantation.com, $10-$47), dating to 1676, most appeals to families, with boat tours, a tram, swamp walk, and wild gardens of camellias and moss-draped live oaks. The grandest of the trio, Middleton Place (4300 Ashley River Road, 843-556-6020, www.middletonplace.org, $15-$37), settled in the late 17th century, offers child-friendly craft demonstrations, but the setting is more formal. To experience the natural side of the tidal river, paddle the Ashley River scenic corridor with Charleston Kayak Co. (843-628-2879, www.charlestonkayakcompany.com, guided tours from $30 a person, rentals from $20). Glide past long-abandoned rice fields, once tended by slaves, and up Heron Creek, where you might see its namesake plunging for fish at the edge of the reeds.
Diane Daniel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.