Charleston is amalgamated with stories brimming full of mystery, intrigue, and historical importance. Whether fact or fiction, they are an intregal part of Charleston's persona. They breath life into every brick, plank, cobblestone, and iron gate that have been fused together into the mass of buildings and homes that form today's Holy City. They are spouted from every corner and doorstep. They are inescapable.
It wasn't always like this. There was a period of time when the life spark was close to being extinguished. Charleston, like the Planters Hotel, had fallen into near ruin. The stories were there, but the bricks, planks, and cobblestones had become infested with disinterest, dangling from a noose like Stede Bonnet at White Point. Although, the fate of Charleston turned out differently then the "gentleman pirate's" fate thanks to a modern day renaissance, an awakening into everything historical.
You will be warmed by the story of Poogan, a once homeless dog that found his way onto the porch of a home being renovated into a restaurant now known as Poogan's Porch. Maybe, while you are there enjoying some upscale Lowcountry cuisine, you might hear a ruckus in the kitchen, pots and pans banging around. That would be Zoe St. Amand making her presence known, a native Charlestonian who lived in the house at one time. Yes, lived, as in the past tense.
One of Charleston's most infamous characters, Lavinia Fisher, is the climax of Charleston's scariest tours at the Old City Jail. Lavinia, along with her husband, poisoned guests at their inn with oleander tea, robbed them, and hacked up their bodies and stashed them in the cellar. She was put on trial and executed by hanging at the Old City Jail where she is said to make appearances from time to time. Supposedly, her final words before the rope snapped were, "If anyone has a message for hell, give it to me-I'll deliver it." She maybe somewhat ticked-off because a recent investigation into the legend shows she may have been innocent. Something to do with corrupt politicians. Now, that I can believe.
Another quaint story you will hear on a carriage ride in the French Quarter pertains to three houses at 23, 25, and 27 Meeting Street. The guide speaks of how they were built by a wealthy Charleston father for his three daughters, who were so ugly that he figured they would never marry and have a home of their own. That's the narrative. The simple truth may point to a different explanation. Their similar architectural styles may have something to do with the title, Three Sisters. Which account is more intrtiguing to you?
If you are a bit squeamish or easily frightened by such stories of ghosts and things that go bump in the night, there are plenty of iron gated mansions with gardens to tour that are filled with real life artifacts, not to leave out the beautiful plantations, each with a documented history of its own. Fort Sumter guards its harbor and greets the passing cruise ships. The South Carolina Aquarium gives you a quick peak at its topography and wildlife.
The fact of the matter, Charleston is both facsinating and entertaining. Its hotels are a testimony to its hospitality and grace. Its restaurants are a declaration to its unique blend of Lowcountry cuisine. Its numerous tours and historical carriage rides will familiarize you to what is the beating heart of the South.
Come, step into the antebellum past for a day or a week. As an added bonus, immerse yourself into everything the present has to offer in the way of sandy beaches, boating, fishing, golfing, and shopping. Click on Charleston Attractions for a complete list of things to do.