When John Drayton broke ground on Drayton Hall in 1738, he had no idea that his estate would survive the American Revolution, the Civil War, an earthquake, and numerous hurricanes. The stories contained in the building’s walls span seven generations of history tied to the Draytons and the Bowens family, an African American family that lived and worked at Drayton Hall before and after emancipation. Since 1974, when Charles and Frank Drayton sold their ancestral home to the National Trust, visitors have been able to transport themselves into the past with more ease than rubbing the beard at the Lincoln Memorial.
The main house, a sweeping example of Georgian Palladian architecture, is the oldest near-original, unrestored colonial home in the United States. Like a helpful ghost, the grand rooms and original fireplaces whisper history into the ears of all visitors, telling tales of British and colonial soldiers who occupied the house during the American Revolution. Views from the portico are filled with drooping trees, spanish moss, and a grand driveway. Surrounding the estate, an undisturbed historic landscape backs up to the Ashley River, and also encompasses A Sacred Place, the oldest African American cemetery in the country still in use.
Since 1905, the Gibbes Museum of Art has stimulated corneas and cortexes with its exhibitions, educational programs, and its collection of more than 10,000 art objects. Their collection includes Southern and Charleston-based works from the Colonial period through present day. Steer brainwaves on a creative course with a family membership, which grants two listed adults and all listed children and grandchildren under 18 unlimited admission for one year. Membership also includes a subscription to Signature, the Gibbes tri-annual magazine; free or reduced educational programs and special events; a 10% discount at the Museum Store, with special member shopping days; and reciprocal admissions to museums throughout North America. Indulge an art-based dream without the hassle of wearing nothing but black turtlenecks and constantly snapping your paint-flecked fingers with today's deal.
The Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum preserves history from both air and sea. The museum is home to the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier, a battleship docked at the shore, which served in World War II and Vietnam, and retrieved the Apollo 8 astronauts. Not far away, the USS Clamagore —the only Guppy III submarine preserved in the United States—is tied up in the water. Commissioned in 1944, the USS Laffey supported the D-Day landings at Normandy, and then served in Okinawa where it survived five kamikaze attacks and three bombs.
More than 28 historical aircraft occupy the museum’s flight deck, hangar bay, and shore ranging from an F6F Hellcat to a full-scale replica of the Wright Brothers’ 1903 flyer. Onboard the USS Yorktown, the Medal of Honor Museum educates visitors about the United States’ highest award for military valor. Outside, the Cold War Memorial pays tribute to the men who served on submarines during the Cold War.
As a young artist, Lynn was working at a gallery in Atlanta where the framer only showed up to work sporadically. “I started going in and cutting the frames myself,” she says. Soon, Lynn’s deft hands and expertise led her to assume leadership of her own gallery, Accent Framing & Gallery, where her painter’s eye matches matting and metal or wood edging with paintings, photographs, and miscellaneous keepsakes. “What inspires me is how someone can bring in something ordinary and we can make it look so much better,” she says, though she’s also up for tackling the out-of-the ordinary: she once framed a deer’s tail, and she has helped conserve a 200-year-old silk painting as well as a sheepskin Latin document dating back to the 1300s. With a combined three decades of experience, Lynn and her assistant are ready to transform nearly anything into an ensemble fit for the guest room all homeowners keep ready in case the Queen of England drops by.
During her years in edging others’ artwork, Lynn hasn’t neglected her own. Her brush gives life to marshes and feathered wings, and she shares her wisdom with students during art classes on painting with oils and acrylics. The gallery also has plans to help photographers learn to manipulate their camera’s shutter speed, light settings, and advanced pancake-making features.
The knowledgeable guides of Charleston Culinary Tours and Lowcountry Walking Tours acquaint tour-goers with the rich cultural and historical heritage of the largest historic district in the United States through two distinct branches. Lowcountry Walking Tours's guides delve into the histories and mysteries of Charleston, revealing its both dark and romantic origins. Their excursions venture downtown or out to Mount Pleasant, each exploring the events that shaped the region with an emphasis on the areas toured. They often meander the streets of the French Quarter as guides opine on the historic churches, horticulture, and reason why the city had to change its name from Tokyo to Charleston.
Charleston Culinary Tours introduce groups to the area through their taste buds. Each restaurant tour journeys to four acclaimed restaurants, granting a bounty of food tastings alongside a meet-and-greet with restaurant owners and chefs. On the farmer's market tour, groups explore the farm-fresh finds of a market named one of the nation's best by Travel + Leisure, then venture to an area restaurant where they can savor the newly picked produce within a gourmet meal. The farm-to-table theme continues on the mixology tour, where participants sip specialty cocktails infused with fresh herbs and produce as the learn about the secrets to Charleston's craft cocktail scene.
Providing tours of Charleston for more than 30 years, Olde Towne Carriage Company guides customers along an illuminating one-hour tour of the Holy City in a horse-drawn carriage. Let the dynamic duo of a licensed, knowledgeable guide and reliable animal chauffer point out notable locales like an impressively wizened centaur. During the tour, eyes can feast on comely historical homes, beautiful gardens, and the regal storm drains of the Old Market area. Become acquainted with the Old Walled City and numerous churches while marveling at the grand architecture and scanning 300-year-old streets for gold bullion. Tours depart daily in roughly 20-minute intervals between 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 or 5 p.m. Each carriage can hold up to 16 guests, ensuring an intimate sightseeing experience that’s much more enjoyable than curling up into the wheel well of a passing bus.