Charleston Sole Walking Tour, Charleston
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Review of "Charleston Sole Walking Tour, Charleston"
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Charleston Sole Walking Tour, Charlestonhttp://charlestonsole.com
PO Box 117 Charleston SC 28402
We flew into Atlanta and stopped on the way to break the journey before driving on to Charleston. We did this walking tour the day after we had spent a night in Charleston when we felt slightly less travel weary.
Last year we did a self drive tour of the Southern states of the USA and we began our tour in Charleston. We always do a lot of research before we go and had a list of things we wanted to do including this walking tour.
~~~~~~~~BOOKING THE TOUR ~~~~~~You have to book this on line or by telephone. We booked on line through the site and chose the 10 am start. The other tour times are : Monday—Saturday: Morning Tour, 10 a.m.
Monday—Saturday: Afternoon Tour, 2 p.m. Sunday: 11 a.m.
The tour officially lasts two hours but ours was in fact quite a bit longer, at least two and a half hours.The cost of the tours :
Adults – $20.00
Children 6-12 – $10.00 Under 6 – Free
~~~~~~ ABOUT THE TOUR ~~~~~The tour is usually around two hours and you walk around one and a half miles. The tour Starts behind the Old Exchange Building on East Bay Street in Downtown Charleston and the walk goes between East Bay and Meeting Streets with a number of stops along the way for stori and information.
The main places the walk stops at the start at the Old Exchange Building, then Dock Street Theatre, Old Slave Mart Museum, St. Michael’s Church, Nathaniel Russell House garden, Waterfront Mansions on the Battery and Rainbow Row plus a number of others.
On the way we were entertained with little stories and anecdotes about the places and people who lived or visited the places in the past.
~~~~~~~MY EXPERIENCE AND VIEWS ~~~~~THE EXCHANGE AND CUSTOM HOUSE was built as Charleston became the 4th largest and wealthiest city in colonial America. This wealth was built on trade and the commodities traded included rice, indigo, and slavery.
This is without a doubt an impressive building. You can do a tour of the building itself if you wish but we just did a quick visit as part of the walking tour. The building was a place of meeting and assemblies back in the 18th-century . It was also a prison during the Revolution and the place where Isaac Haynes who was executed for espionage by the British spent his last night . George Washington gave speeches from the balcony of the building and indeed the balcony was where the Declaration of Independence was read. Sadly it was also a place where slaves were sold until 1856 when the city banned the sale of slaves from there and the sales moved to other parts of the city, signs on the road gave this information.All around Charleston were signs telling you a bit of history about the nearby building, or events or famous people who lived or worked in the vicinity.
DOCK STREET THEATRE was the most beautiful old fashioned theatre which is still used today for performances. The original theatre was destroyed by fire and The Planter's Hotel was built on this site in 1809.We were told by our guide that interestingly a young actor called Junius Brutus Booth (father of Edwin and John Wilkes Booth) worked in the hotel.
Robert Smalls was a waiter in the hotel ad later earned fame as a Civil War hero as he with six others stole a steamboat in the harbour and sailed it out past the Confederate-held Ft. Sumter and turned it over to the blockading Union Fleet. There Is a sign commemorating this on the waterfront near where the boat was stolen.Charleston's famed Planter's Punch was first introduced here and I have to admit to trying a few while in Charleston but not at this theatre.
This was also a good spot for a toilet visit and we were able to sit in the theatre eats while our guide enlightened us as to the history of the place.THE OLD SLAVE MART MUSEUM we just walked past. This is where any descendants of slave could probably trace their history as around 40% of all slaves were sold through Charleston.
ST MICHAEL'S CHURCH was built in the 1750s and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a National Historic Landmark and is the oldest surviving religious structure in Charleston. The clock is the oldest tower clock in North America. There are a number of well respected Americans buried in the graveyard but I have to confess none that I had heard of before.We were able to enjoy a nice sit down in the pews inside the church was nice and cool compared to the heat outside. The church was simple inside with white walls and wooden pews and not full of fancy artifacts.
GULLAH GEECHEE CULTURE is that of the descendants of the West Africans who arrived in this area of South Carolina and Georgia as slaves. We met one of these ladies outside the church. She had a stall and was making one of the baskets they are known for. She was a delight and very knowledgeable about her culture and wanting to share he history and that of the Gullah people generally.
NATHANIEL RUSSELL HOUSE GARDEN is at 51 Meeting Street and you can do a tour of the house at a cost of $12 but the walking tour just included the garden which was beautiful. I loved the little garden statues nestled in th greenery and the the whole garden was peaceful and provided some welcome shade as we had been walking in the heat for sometime.
Nathaniel Russell who built the house settled in Charleston at the age of 27 in 1765 and made his money in trade, tobacco, slaves and more.The gardens are a delight and one of the many quirky items we learned about and were able to try was a joggle board. This is a plank balanced between two rockers and it kind of bounces and wobbles. It is supposedly something courting couples would sit on and wobble closer together subtly!
WATERFRONT MANSIONS AND OTHERS indeed Charleston has some beautiful houses with gorgeous gardens and we did enjoy peeping through gates and looking down alley ways.
RAINBOW ROW is a row of thirteen houses along the street near the waterfront in Charleston which date back to around 1740. These rather elegant Georgian houses fronted the Cooper River when they were first built. There are a few local legends as to why they are painted different colours.
One theory is that the original owners arrived from Barbados where there is a tradition of painting the houses in bright colours.Another theory was that the colours were to help visiting sailors who might get drunk to find the correct house but I would have thought the owners of these houses would not actually be the sort to have drunk sailors visiting but I may be wrong!
A further theory I that the house owners had shops below and the house colours were to help slave owners send their illiterate slaves to the correct building to make the days’ purchases.These house fell into disrepair and the area was almost slum like till a woman named Dorothy Porcher Legge purchased the homes 99-101 East Bay Street and began to renovate them early in the 20th century. They are now prime real estate and worth millions of dollars.
CHARLESTON GREEN is the green colour which is almost black in my view that many of the doors and shutters are painted in Charleston on the historic houses. Shutters are often closed all day and that way the inside of the home is kept cool as the sun is shut out.THE WALLED CITY except there is no much left of the original wall now but there is some evidence and a large informative sign along East Bay street.
There were many other stories about past residents of different buildings but there was only so much I could take in and I began to get information overload after around two hours.I found the tour very interesting and the guide was excellent, not only informative but also entertaining. The walk was not arduous but as it was pretty hot we did need the bottles of water we had taken along with us. There were a couple of toilet stops along the way and a number of places where we were able to sit in the cool and listen to information which were very welcome.
~~~~~ RECOMMENDED? ~~~~~~Ye this was a great way to explore Charleston and learn a bit of her history from a local expert. You could walk around the city yourself and read all the historical informative signs around but the walking tour told us more than the signs did and added some human interest stories to the bare facts.
You do need to wear sunscreen and wear a hat as well as taking bottles of water to keep you hydrated if you are doing this walking tour in summer as you are out in the sun for most of the time walking.I loved Charleston and found this a really fascinating tour and good value for money. I am not sure this is a tour that children would enjoy much as there i a lot of listening and walking, older teens interested in history would probably be fine but not younger children.
Thanks for reading©Catsholiday
5th March 2017
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