It is a done deal. President-elect Trump will be taking office in January. Nothing to be done about it now.
Thank heavens we have this magical holiday season on which to focus, with Hanukkah beginning on Christmas Eve, then Christmas itself, then the advent of the New Year. This season of music, beauty, family, and love. That love extends among family and friends, as well as the greatest love from above, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus. Yes, it is a wonderful time of the year indeed.
But the city in which Jesus was born is not the Holy City to which I refer in the title. Rather, I refer to the City of Charleston, so called because of the number of houses of worship in the city. (Charleston has a long, long history of religious tolerance, and as such, has been the home to a large Jewish population, the French Huguenots, and many more, who came to this beautiful harbor city to seek freedom from religious persecution.)
One of the great things about having friends come visit are the sites, and sights, I get to see again, or in the case of one historic home we toured, for the first time. I wanted to share a few photos from our recent trek around the city and its environ as a bit of a break from the political hubbub and holiday rush to get presents purchased, wrapped, prepare for travel somewhere or having guests come visit. I hope the following will provide a moment of respite, calm, and a bit of interest as well.
One of the places to which we went was Drayton Hall Plantation, built by John Drayton in the 1750’s. That is not a typo. It is a pre-Revolutionary War home. It was built on the banks of the Ashley River, which Charlestonians claim runs together with the Cooper River on the other side of Charleston to form the Atlantic Ocean. Just a little regional humor there. Anyway, it is an impressive home, though the two flanker walls and smaller buildings are lost now. But the home still stand, majestically so:
The square area mapped out in the forefront is where one of the flanker buildings stood. And as impressive as this home is from this view, it is even more impressive from the other side of the Reflecting Pond:
Here are a few more shots of different features I found of interest:
This staircase is amazing, carved of Mahogany, along with the plaster work:
This is but one of many lovely fireplaces in the home:
The back stairs which face the Ashley River. Guests arriving by boat would have used these stairs:
The bottom floor above is also where the kitchen was, along with some other work rooms.
When you consider the level of craftsmanship involved in a place of this size and stature, all completed without the use of any power tools, it truly boggles the mind. The patience alone must have rivaled Job’s to be able to do each little intricate piece, whether it was trim above the windows or the plaster work, all hand carved originally. Just amazing.
If you want to learn more about Drayton Hall, you can click HERE.
We also went to the Heyward-Washington House. George Washington did not live there, but he came to stay there for a week two years into his Presidency. This house was also a pre-Revolutionary War house, and was truly stunning. Flash photography was not allowed in this house either, and the lighting was low to protect the original furnishings and paintings in the home. It was incredible, though, as was its original owner. Thomas Heyward. Heyward was one of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, one of four from South Carolina. If you would like to see photos of this place, you can click here.
We also toured the Joseph Manigault (promounced: Man-a-go) House. Manigault was a French Huguenot, and was married to two daughters of great prominence. His first wife was Maria Henrietta Middleton, whose family owned Middleton Plantation. Her father also signed the Declaration of Independence. She died fairly young, and Manigault’s second wife was Charlotte Drayton, according to the Charleston Museum. While this house was built after the Revolutionary War, it is still over 200 years old, and beautiful:
Before even getting to the house, there is this beautiful temple through which one walks:
One of the most amazing features of the house is its cantilevered staircase:
What that means is that each step rests upon the next for support. It is quite the architectural feat.
And check out this beautiful carved plaster work:
Isn’t that incredible? It is a gorgeous place, and is guest ready from both sides of the street:
And this is a little better view of the porches, which they call “piazzas” down here in the Lowcountry:
No doubt about it, Charleston is an amazing city just steeped in centuries of history. To be able to go into these homes, to literally touch the same railing that George Washington touched in the Heyward-Washington House, to walk on the same floors as our First President, and to be in the homes of those instrumental in our securing our freedom from England, is humbling indeed.
Charleston is one amazing place, and this merely scratches the surface of the Holy City. I can scarcely do it justice, but I did want to give you a glimpse of what we saw this past weekend. It is quite the city, on a host of levels.
But you know I can’t leave during this week before Christmas without including an acknowledgement of this Holy period upon us. And so I leave you with a Carol that is more lullaby than hymn, appropriate for the arrival of the baby who would change the world:
Beautiful, isn’t it? And not much longer now until Christmas Day is here…
This is an Open Thread. Feel free to talk about whatever is on your minds, or share some of your favorite carols. Have at it!