Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Charleston Trip, Part 1

Low Country Civil War Show Booth
Low Country Civil War Show

We spent a lovely weekend in Charleston, South Carolina, setting up a booth at the Low Country Civil War Show. This is my favorite venue; the auditorium is right in downtown Charleston, surrounded by the beautiful houses and streets of the city. On Friday, after setting up the booth, we were served a great meal by the promoters, and had the chance to talk to some of the other vendors. I met a fiber lady, of course, right across from our booth who has been teaching herself to crochet. She had some pictures of her projects, lovely pieces in soft pastel colors, and was working on a large granny square afghan, also in the soft colors. I had to talk bunnies to her, of course!

Another neighbor on the floor was from Virginia as well, with a son and daughter-in-law living in Arlington. We compared notes on the changes in Northern Virginia over the last few years. The SO knows a lot of the other vendors, and spent some time walking around and talking while I minded the booth and crocheted. I finished one scarf during the weekend, except for the fringe, and almost finished another. My part in the Civil War shows is minimal!

Cruise Ship
Cruise Ship and City Sight

Saturday was cool, with some strong winds. The weather report was for tornados in the area, but I didn't hear of any problems. I spent the morning at the show, and then came back to the room for a nap. The room hadn't been done, though, so I went downstairs with my book to sit in front of the fire and read. It was pleasant, even in Charleston, to feel the warmth and curl up in a cozy chair. Then I got myself up and headed out to see a few of the sights. The wind wasn't pleasant, so I didn't go far.

Double Porches, Charleston Houses
Double Porches

I just walked around the corner from the hotel and there were so many beautiful houses! A mansion that I could see from my room, as well as all these handsome double porches. I could spend days just looking at doors, fences and gates.

Gated Courtyard
Gated Courtyard

Between the houses there are often small paved areas and little gardens, charming little nooks of privacy in the busy city. Almost every house has some planting around it, with some fenced yards and walls.

Narrow Courtyard
Paved Yard

I'll never be a city girl, but I do enjoy the visits, especially to a place as lovely as Charleston. We don't have a lot of time for sightseeing, though, so I snapped pictures on the run as I had the opportunity. I forgot my trusty digital; these are from a throw-away camera scanned into the computer.

Stately Church
Church on Calhoun Street

Soaring steeples are a characteristic of the Charleston skyline, and the churches are lovely set with the beautiful houses surrounding them. Some are grand, with high steeples and stained glass.

Small Church
Small Church

Some churches were small, tucked onto quiet streets and surrounded with old trees and gardens.

Porches and Doors
Porch Door

A architectural feature that always interests me is the placement of doors in solid walls that lead to open porches. I imagine this is for privacy, but it makes for an intriguing entryway.

A show is hard work, packing stuff up to carry down, unpacking and arranging the booth, and then dealing with people all day. We didn't paint the town or anything, spending quiet evenings. The city was busy, and it was fun to just watch the people passing by as we sat and rested. Young cadets from The Citadel, lots of tourists, young people walking and riding bicycles, all passed by as we had dinner and watched the evening come in. Cool weather didn't seem to slow things down, and the moon rose over city lights and busy streets.

Sunday was the second day of the show, but I spent the morning being lazy before heading down to the auditorium to finish the day and help pack up. Monday we headed out, taking the time to drive downtown to see the houses along Battery Street. We have some stereoviews of houses in Charleston, taken in 1865. A couple of clues on the cards led us to the very houses pictured so long ago.

Battery Street Houses
Battery Street Houses

It seems strange to think that these houses saw the war, and all the changes that have happened since. They've survived bombardments and generations that don't always appreciate the stately grace of old homes and old ways. Time has been kinder to Charleston than to many places; at least on the surface it looks as if the old ways and architecture are still highly valued.

Live Oak Avenue
Old South

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