Charleston 2

A day of walking, eating, and touring historic buildings. Started on King St., the shopping district, all modern chain stores in lovely preserved historic buildings – watch battery died, and got it replaced with a boatload of efficiency and Southern charm at Joint Venture. Stopped to admire the Rutledge House Inn, built by John Rutledge (who signed the Declaration of Independence) in 1763. Walked around back to see the garden, and a staff member invited us inside. Stunning suites, beautifully restored.

Then we headed on to the old synagogue, Kahal Kodesh Beth Elohim, also claiming to be the oldest in the country. Wikipedia has a great discussion on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oldest_synagogues_in_the_United_States, differentiating between oldest congregation, building, building in continual use, etc. KK Beth Elohim was founded in the 1740s (Sephardic Orthodox) and became the first Reform congregation in the US in 1824. The current Greek Revival building was built in the 1840s, and suffered some damage in the Civil War, earthquake, fires, hurricanes – the usual.

We then toured the Aiken-Rhett House, which has been preserved (i.e. original bits of wallpaper found under layers of paint, furniture, other artifacts found under layers of paint), followed by the Nathaniel Russell house which has been restored (with items similar to those of the period, but not original).

Ended with a lovely dinner at Hank’s Seafood.

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