Historic Charleston by Bike

Concluding this week’s look at Charleston, I am bringing you a pictorial peek (since I don’t have the back story on most of these residences) at historic Charleston seen by bike as Susanna and I did a quick tour of the central historic district. Not only do we brake for Instagram, we sometimes actually disembark!

Historic Charleston by bikeFor those of you not familiar with the city, there are several neighborhoods defining historic Charleston with South of Broad (“below” Broad Street, at the southern end of the peninsula) generally considered the most exclusive residential neighborhood, including prime examples of historic Charleston’s glorious residential architecture.

Historic Charleston house with window boxesThere are many spectacular homes beautifully preserved, many with thanks to the Historic Charleston Foundation, which, since 1947, has worked to preserve and protect the city’s architectural, historical and cultural character.  This is merely a tiny taste (please, dear readers – I entreat you not to tell me all the things I missed!) to entice any of you who have not yet made the pilgrimage to this inspiring city.

Historic Charleston houses

Church Street was named for obvious reasons. Extending from Pinckney Street to the very end of the Battery, it passes through what is considered the French Quarter, with the noteworthy pink stuccoed brick Gothic Revival Huguenot Church.

Huguenot Church Charleston

But the church is hardly the only example of pink stuccoed exteriors.

historic Charleston pink house

In our short tour, we passed several examples,

historic Charleston House

some in combination with brick facades.

brick and stucco historic Charleston house

Window boxes are a ubiquitous feature, adding elements of green and color to even the most refined or patinated exteriors.

Charleston window boxes

historic Charleston window boxes

Charleston window box

Charleston window boxBut beyond the window boxes, what is immediately noticeable is how green the city is.

historic Charleston brick houseGrowth is encouraged everywhere – whether trees, hedges or plants, in yards, on the street, in pots, or even on steps or buildings, it is a city that fully embraces and encourages the natural environment.

Charleston steps

Charleston greenhouse

Charleston entrance

And Charlestonians take their gardens seriously!

Charleston garden

Another feature of historic Charleston houses is ironwork including wrought iron gates, fences and beyond, over 500 examples of which were designed and executed by master craftsman Philip Simmons.

historic Charleston gates A recipient of one of the National Endowment of the Art’s most prestigious lifetime achievement awards, the National Heritage Fellowship, his work lives on this beautiful city. You can read more about his amazing story here and while I’m not sure which, if any, of the examples below are his, you can see the importance of this craft throughout historic Charleston.

Historic Charleston gate

Cleland Kinlock Huger house in historic Charleston

The alluring entry at the Cleland Kinlock Huger house below.

Cleland Kinlock Huger house in historic Charleston

historic Charleston house

And while most of the houses have a distinctly centuries old charm, there was one that immediately stood out with a chic contemporary touch within its historic facade.

Jill Sharp and Ray Weeks house Charlestonall photos by Stacey Bewkes for Quintessence

We later discovered it is the home of talented duo, designer Jill Sharp and husband Ray Weeks. Perhaps on a subsequent trip, we’ll be able to share a peek inside.And be sure to stay tuned for our video visit with IBU founder Susan Walker and ambassador/ally Ali McGraw. It’s an incredible story and powerful movement.


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12 Responses to Historic Charleston by Bike

  1. Beauty and history overflowing from every window box. Outstanding!

  2. Bing says:

    Thank you for the beautiful tour. We love going to Charleston and hope to get back next month. The tour you took us on has inspired me in so many ways. All good!

  3. Susan bowers says:

    Bravo,kids.
    Gorgeous tour.
    We hope to be in this grand city on our way north from Boca Grande.
    By the way…It’s the one and only Meg Touborg who is my beloved Niece .❤️❤️

  4. Thank you for the beautiful pictures! Charleston is one of my favorite cities in the world. I can’t wait to see your video of the inside of Carolyne Roehm’s enchanting house since I walk by it all the time when I visit!

  5. Hard to pick a favorite. I love the use of black.

  6. Loved seeing you two enjoying a town so storied in its gorgeousness. Did you per chance run into Kitty Robinson, the powerhouse behind “Historic Charleston?”
    So glad you included a few pink stucco grand dames, in all their states of shabby chic.

  7. Fabulous! Thank you for sharing your bike ride of inspiration!! xx

  8. stephanie says:

    I’ve worked in New Orleans, but never been to Charleston. The food, architecture and history are all calling me. Beautiful post. Thank you :)

  9. So wonderful this bike tour. Love the photos and history. Beautiful post. I was just there a few weeks ago. Lovely.

  10. Jackie says:

    I can’t wait to visit Charleston!

  11. Carla Aston says:

    I’ve always wanted to visit Charleston. These are gorgeous pics.

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