Converted 19th-Century Mansion on Charleston Harbor
As one of the oldest, best-preserved cities in the country, Charleston is home to dozens of historic homes—but even the locals will tell you there's only one "pink palace," and that it's impossible to miss. Overlooking Charleston Harbor, the 18,000-square-foot, pink-hued mansion was originally built as a private residence in 1848. While a portion of the mansion still serves as the private residence for the family as it has since 1949, third-generation Palmers converted the property into Palmer Home View–a luxury bed and breakfast–in 1977. The property's spectacular water views and original antique furnishings have garnered praise from the Travel Channel and Travel + Leisure magazine, which named it one of the best B&Bs in the country.
Francess Palmer, who still resides in the house, regales guests with stories of Sunday family dinners, debutante balls, and weddings that took place in the garden. Heirlooms, family photos, and historical relics abound, including an 1848 Chickering piano and the first electric-wired chandelier in Charleston.
Admire more original antiques inside each of the six guest rooms. The front room, a two-bedroom unit, holds a four-poster queen bed built in 1850 that's signed and dated by the carpenter. A black African-marble fireplace anchors the king room—though its purposes these days are entirely aesthetic—and both rooms lead directly out to the floor-long piazza, which showcases dazzling views of the Harbor and Fort Sumter.
In the morning, breakfast is prepared in traditional Lowcountry fashion with grits, bacon, eggs, biscuits, and fruit. Francess Palmer also hosts an afternoon wine-and-cheese gathering, and guests can wile the day away lounging by the pool or in the rocking chairs on one of the piazzas.
Charleston, SC: Civil War Monuments and Sophisticated Arts Scene
Established in 1670, Charleston is one of the country's oldest cities. Georgian mansions line the waterfront, the spires of colonial-era churches punctuate the skyline, and horse-drawn carriages frequently clop along its cobblestone streets. You can also get a sense of the city’s history by visiting a number of preserved period buildings and national historic landmarks, such as the Battery & White Point Gardens, a living Civil War museum with Confederate cannons and views of Fort Sumter and Charleston Harbor. There's also a wealth of antiques stores and top-tier art galleries, and live jazz performances at night. Step out onto King Street and you’ll find third-generation clothiers that have set up shop in historic landmark buildings. The city also has a reputation as a major culinary destination—the James Beard Foundation has named a different Charleston chef as the best in the southeast in three out of the past four years.
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