A Holy City Respite *Open Thread*



It is a done deal. President-elect Trump will be taking office in January. Nothing to be done about it now.

nativity-scene1Thank 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!

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18 Responses to “A Holy City Respite *Open Thread*”

  1. kenoshamarge Says:

    Thank you so much for the tour of Charleston Amy! I love old buildings and see these is a real treat for me.

    The level of craftsmanship and attention to detail is superb.

    Again, thanks for the tour. It’s nice to focus, even for a short time, on something besides politics.

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      Truly my pleasure, Marge! I so wish you could see these houses for yourself. I cannot possibly do them justice, especially hurrying along with the docent giving the tour (though we did have just the two of us at the Manigault House). Anyway, it is a magnificent historical city from the pre-Revolutionary homes to the antebellum homes, not to mention the hundreds and hundreds of years of history.

      Um, can you tell I love Charleston? Ahaha…

      Anyway, as things continue on with Politics, and Obama continuing his anti-legislature moves, with it being so close to Christmas, a respite seemed in order. 🙂

  2. kenoshamarge Says:

    Well maybe a little politics leavened with humor?

  3. kenoshamarge Says:

    If The New York Times Wants To Get Religion It Should Stop Publishing Hack Jobs On Christians

    Far from debating the merits of Betsy DeVos’s support of school choice, a New York Times op-ed insinuates she’s a religious zealot who intends to Christianize public education.

    I can still hear it ringing in my ears, the sound of Dean Baquet, executive editor of The New York Times, admitting that his paper doesn’t “get religion.” That was on December 8. On December 13, The Times published an op-ed piece on the religious views of Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s choice for secretary of education. To the surprise of no one, it was a hatchet job.


    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      No kidding. They just cannot get out of their own way when it comes to Christians and Christianity. Far too often, the response is one of condescension and derision. Ironically, they don’t seem to have the same response when it comes to other faiths. Go figure, huh?

      • kenoshamarge Says:

        The NYT has ruled the roost, along with most other liberal “news” papers that they cannot seem to understand their own lack of credibility. After all, they are the elite and all the little peons will read and believe.

        Except all the little peons no longer believe and most don’t bother to read. And the more these fools continue on their same old path the less they are believed.

        You’re right, they can’t get out of their own way.

        Not nearly as smart as they think they are.

        • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

          That summed it up beautifully – “Not nearly as smart as they think they are.” Amen to that, Marge!

  4. kenoshamarge Says:

  5. kenoshamarge Says:

    Democrats Brought A Gun To A Knife Fight, And They Still Lost

    New York Times columnist David Leonhardt charges Republicans with “anti-democratic behavior”:

    Too many Republicans … have begun to ignore political traditions, and even laws, to exert power. While Democrats continue to play by more genteel rules, Republicans have subscribed to the Capone school of politics (as Sean Connery fans can recite): ‘They pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue.’

    Leonhardt apparently forgot that President Obama campaigned on this very principle. Nevertheless, Leonhardt has some specific charges in his indictment:

    ‘In several states, Republicans have changed laws to reduce Democratic voter turnout. After Obama’s election, Mitch McConnell rallied Senate Republicans to oppose his policies — even if Republicans agreed with them! — to make Obama a failed president. This year, Republicans refused to fill a Supreme Court vacancy.


    Is the New York Times now the official whiner for progressives?

    Because it certainly isn’t a “news” paper and hasn’t been for quite some time.

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      Since when did calling your opponents on the other side of the aisle TERRORISTS equal being genteel?? I swear, these people are so blind to their own behavior, no wonder they have lost over ONE THOUSAND DEMOCRATIC seats in the eight years of Obama. So, so blind.

      I mean, really – have they not seen how Harry Reid has conducted himself in the Senate? Or Pelosi, et. al, in the House?? “There are none so blind as those who will not see…”

  6. kenoshamarge Says:

    I just can’t help myself.

  7. Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

    I just watched my Celtic Woman Christmas video – twice. I swear, those women have the voices of angels, and the violinist, Mairead, is amazing.

    This was just stunning:

    And now I am listening to Jennifer Nettles’ new Christmas cd. Love it.

    • kenoshamarge Says:

      They do have the voices that I always imagined angels would have. God blessed them with the talent and the voices and blessed us with ears to hear them. I love all their music but their rendition of Carol of the Bells remains my favorite.

      • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

        That is an excellent one, Marge. I just love them. I would LOVE to be present at one of their Christmas concerts. I have been able to see them a few times in concert – wow, what an amazing group of women…

        And you said it – they are blessed, and bless us by sharing their gifts…

  8. Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

    This fantastic version of “Little Drummer Boy” was on the Nettles’ cd:

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