Settled in 1680, Charles Town was named after the reigning King Charles II, and quickly became a prosperous trading city located on the neck of land separating the Ashley and the Cooper Rivers. As one of the first planned cities in America, the area was laid out in orderly squares. At the end of the Revolutionary War, Charles Town was renamed Charleston, and entered into an era of cultural growth and prosperity. South Carolina was an agricultural based economy with plantations spread across the state accessed by the various rivers. The agricultural goods from these plantations were shipped down the rivers to Charleston and from there around the world. Charleston soon became a wealthy city, and it was not unusual for the plantation owners to have a plantation house on a river and also a town house in Charleston for market days. Beautiful southern colonial homes and town houses were built for the prosperous, with the prime location being The Battery, facing out to sea. Historic Charleston quickly expanded as block after block of colonial buildings, multi tiered with porches for cool breezes, and many with the end facade facing the street for a lower street front tax payment, were built creating a unique Charleston style.
It is easy to spend a day or so exploring the streets of Historic Charleston, visiting the houses that are open as museums, and peaking into the many secret gardens tucked away in the back. This is an area known for artisan shops and shops of the unique and interesting as well as an area known for good antiquing. And throughout this area are sidewalk cafes or restaurants tucked into historic buildings offering various gourmet tastes for the adventurous palate. And of course, be sure to visit historic Fort Sumter, where the “shot was heard ’round the world”, which is now a National Monument, overseen and operated for tours by the National Park Service.
The coastal area around Charleston is also a lovely cruising area to explore. Glide past shores lined with antebellum mansions and live oaks dripping with Spanish Moss, while dolphins and sea otters play in the warm South Carolinian waters around you. Visit remote North Island and wander the beach shelling for giant whelks. Cruise by the “Harvest Moon”, a Yankee Civil War ship wrecked off of Battery White and enjoy this warm southern coastal area great for cruising.
Harbor in Charleston, S.C