Civil War–Era Inn in the Heart of Charleston's Historic District
Charleston is often referred to as "The Holy City," an allusion to its more than 400 churches and skyline of steeples. The city was once one of the most important colonial ports—in an exclusive club with likes of Boston and New York—and belonged to the vanguard of religious freedom. Nowhere is Charleston's storied past better preserved than the historic district, in the heart of which lies The Elliot House Inn. Built in 1861, the stately Georgian mansion stands amid soaring church spires and centuries-old oak trees, within walking distance of the Battery and Charleston's iconic City Market.
Within the recently remodeled traditional king or traditional queen rooms, richly woven oriental rugs and antique furnishings top hardwood floors. Each room is a little different—some feature a private balcony or patio— but all look out onto the inn's leafy courtyard and Charleston's streets. In the morning, meals are delivered to guest rooms on silver trays loaded with steaming coffee, pastries, and seasonal fruit. Breakfast can be had in bed or among the creeping vines in the courtyard. After breakfast, guests are welcome to take the inn's bicycles for a spin, so long as they resist drag-race challenges from the city's horse-carriage drivers.
Charleston, South Carolina: Laid-Back Coastal Community Steeped in History
The Elliot House Inn's location makes it an excellent jumping-off point for taking in Charleston's sights by foot. Sprawling, antebellum mansions, such as the tourable Aiken-Rhett House, line the gracefully aged streets leading to Battery Park, which sits on the water overlooking Fort Sumter. About two blocks from the inn, the 200-year-old City Market bustles with more than 100 vendors who hawk all manner of wares, including their famous sweet-grass baskets, hand-woven on the spot from palmetto fronds. Charleston is said to have one of the country's highest restaurants-per-capita rates, and any given downtown location won't be more than a few-minute walk from the nearest southern eatery, which might serve local delicacies such as shrimp and grits and she-crab soup.