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Fort Sumter National Monument

Charleston – the Gem of South Carolina

Enjoying the distinction of being the oldest and largest city in South Carolina, Charleston city is situated on a bay of the Atlantic Ocean known as the Charleston Harbor. Regarded as the third largest city in the state, it houses approximately 134,875 people. Entitled as the “friendliest city in America” or “the most polite and hospitable city in America”, its no wonder why this city has been on every person must-visit destination list.

The cobblestone streets (which meagerly allows the visitors to rummage the magnificent and interesting history of the mid-1600s), horse-drawn carriages, themed restaurants, and pastel antebellum houses creates a soothing and intriguing ambiance, which definitely are the city’s most renowned characteristics, attracts every kind of person from all over the globe.

Climate & Topography:

This city has greatly expanded during and after the World War I, occupying the Ashley River, James Island, Johns Island, crossing the Cooper River, the Daniel Island and Cainhoy area comes under its protection. The measured area of the city is about 127.5 square miles (330 km square). Charleston enjoys a humid subtropical climate. The mild winters, humid summers and the right amount of rainfall make it one of the most appropriate cities to spend holidays, especially with family. The temperature here can go as high as 104-degree Fahrenheit (47 degree Celsius) and as low as 7 degrees Fahrenheit (-14 degree Celsius).

History:

Founded in the year 1670, Charleston has a great deal of thought-provoking history, cram-full of fascinating facts, figures, and persons. Charleston has a unique history, with most changed settlements over thousands of years. This antique city was initially known as Charles’s town, named in the honor and respect of King Charles II of England. In early days it served as a significant naval base during the World War II. Charleston was greatly molded as it passed through several decades. The Colonial era (1670-1786), American Revolution, dating from 1776 to 1783, Antebellum Era, dating from 1783 till 1861, Civil War, dating from 1861 till 1865, and Postbellum (1865-1945) were some of the major climaxes of the city’s historical background.

Attraction & Charms of Charleston:

The unique cultures, traditions, annual traditional events and fairs, which includes Spoleto Festival USA, the annual Piccolo Spoleto festival, Historic Charleston Foundation’s Festival of Houses and Gardens and Charleston Antiques Show (allows visitors to explore the historical homes and gardens of renowned King Charles II. The lavish antebellum architecture is also witnessed during the events), the Taste of Charleston (mainly includes fine dining with famous beer and wine), The Lowcountry Oyster Festival (a full day tribute to mighty mollusks, with plenty of servings of oysters), the Cooper River Bridge Run (promotes physical activity and emphasis on healthy lifestyle by presenting a 10-K foot race), The Charleston Marathon (a 26.2 mile race through the city), Southeastern Wildlife Exposition (support and celebration of wildlife through interesting demonstrations and works of art), Charleston Food and Wine Festival (celebration of city’s local food, a rich tradition), Charleston Fashion Week, the MOJA Arts Festival (Celebration of African-American and Caribbean Arts), and the Holiday Festival of Lights and the Charleston International Film Festival. All these fairs and events are all filled with thousands of performances of local performers, artists, dancers, singers, featuring delicious foods, displaying of rare items, and many other entertaining activities, all define the lavish and extremely breathtaking culture and traditions of this ancient city. Apart from its culture and traditions, there a lot more significant destinations here, which every visitor might want to pay a visit. These includes:

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens: This 464-acre facility was once a house which became to known for its gardens after it was inherited by Reverend John Grimke-Drayton. Dating back as far as the 1870s, Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is one of the most visited places in Charleston. It is recognized as one of the oldest plantations, which enchants every visitor around. It’s the most suitable place for nature lovers or for those who have an interest in flowers. The major gardens in this plantation include Barbados Tropical Garden, Biblical Gardens (plants and flowers mentioned in the bible), Camellia collections (contains 900 different variety), Cattail Wildlife Refuge, Cypress Lake (100-year old trees, mainly Bald Cypress), Flowerdale (Oldest spot in the plantations), Long Bridge, Maze (replica of Hampton’s court maze is the centerpiece), Nature Center and Zoo (refuge center for injured animals), and Swamp Garden (emphasizing indigenous plants and rich ecosystem.).

Fort Sumter National Monument: Serving as a fort in the battles of American Civil War, Fort Sumter is a sea fort which was developed with strong high walls and heavy masonry. The preserved ruins of the fort are known as the Fort Sumter National monument, which enables the visitors to briefly observe the history of Charleston during the Civil War. A place mostly visited by history buffs from all around the world.

Waterfront Park: The 8-acre facility, Waterfront Park has the distinction of getting the Landmark Award of 2007. It was designed by the Stuart O. Dawson. Overlooking the Charleston Harbour and the Cooper River, this spot provides a soothing ambiance for the locals as well as the visitors to reduce their anxiety levels and relax for some time. Waterfront is also regarded as the best spot for couples, to have long romantic strolls with beautiful views all around.

Patriots Point: Housing several significant monuments from the World Wars, Patriots Point is a place where pride and adventure intercepts. It has the USS Yorktown, as its centerpiece. USS Yorktown was the tenth aircraft carrier which served the American navy in World War II. Here, the visitors can board the immense vessel and can witness it live. Other than that, Patriots Point also houses several museums and monuments including the Patriots Point Museum, the agency’s official Medal of Honor Museum, the Cold War Memorial, a fleet of National Historic Landmark ships, and others. Welcoming about more than 300,000 visitors per annum, Patriots Points is one of the most visited tourist destinations of Charleston.

Boone Hall Plantations: Almost 320 years old, Boone Hall Plantation was originally owned by the son of Major John Boone. Boone Hall is renowned for its three-quarter-mile Avenue of oaks, which have been bearing fruits through the decades. A number of slave cabins and a colonial house also contributes to its beauty. Boone Hall is mostly filled by nature lovers and photographers as the oaks and the slave cabins ensure a proper, photogenic site. It is one of the major tourist destinations at Charleston.

South Carolina Aquarium: Opened in the year 2000, South Carolina Aquarium 385,000-gallon tank. It allows the visitors to witness the tons of species, mainly underwater. It is probably regarded best place to visit with kids and create unforgettable memories.  This 93,000 square-foot facility houses 9 galleries and 7,000 to 8,000 aquatic animals. Some of the species include the American Alligator, Brook Trout, Burrfish, Green Moray Eel, Horseshoe Crab, River Otter, Robust Redhorse, Sand Fiddler Crab, Sand Tiger Crab, Southern Flounder, Spanish Hogfish, and Venus Flytrap.

The Charleston Museum: America’s oldest museum, the Charleston Museum is America first museum which exhibits historic artifacts, decorative arts, ancient houses, and other things. “Bunting Natural History Gallery” contains mainly fossils, and geological examples. The fossil of the world’s largest flying world, Pelagornis, is displayed here. “Lowcountry History Hall” displayed materials relating to the Native Americans who first inhabited Charleston.  “The Armory” presents extraordinary weapons from the 1750s, including swords, a variety of flintlocks, pistols, rifles, and other military equipment used in World Wars. “Becoming American” is a permanent exhibit, displaying some personal items of Francis Marion and Revolutionary soldiers. “City Under Siege” is a newly installed exhibit which reveals the role of Charleston in the Civil War. “Early Days” is a gallery which displays cosmopolitan collection including an Egyptian mummy, some roman and Egyptian artifacts, and dinosaur tracks. Other exhibits include “Kidstory”, “Historic Textiles”, and “Charleston Silver”.

Nathaniel Russell House and Aiken-Rhett House: Another spot for history buffs, Nathaniel Russel House and Aiken-Rhett House are intriguing American neoclassical dwellings which allow the visitors to examine fine architecture and designs of the past. The Nathaniel Russell house was built by Nathaniel Russell for $80,000 and took 5 years to complete. It is mainly renowned for its fine architecture and as this three-story house has been standing for many years. The Aiken-Rhett house was constructed by Ms. William Aiken, who was from a powerful family in the south. It is regarded as one of the best-preserved houses.

Calhoun Mansion: Property of the businessman, George W. Williams. Calhoun Mansion was built in the late 1800s. It represents the Gilded Age Décor and taste.Middleton Place Plantation: Regarded as the “Americas oldest landscaped Plantations” Middleton Place is a well-furnished plantation, with lavish greenery all around the surroundings. The Middleton rice mill, The Middleton Place Springhouse, Eliza’s House, and the Stableyard are some of the notable places here. It attracts many crowds per year.