Tomorrow we head home, but today we saw Charleston! We walked along the waterfront and down to Battery Park, we walked along King and Meeting Streets, we walked through the market and we visited Rainbow Row. Having been to Charleston before, we had a pretty good idea of where everything was and what we wanted to see and do in our limited time here. Something new, which we didn’t do last time, was take a horse drawn carriage. It’s probably not like your thinking. It isn’t a two-person romantic carriage ride through the streets. These two little mules hauled about 16 people in one carriage through the streets as a tour guide shared stories about the homes, history and people of the area. The architecture in Charleston is amazing. When Ron and I finally build a home, I want it to look like some of these. It’s all about porches, gas lanterns, shutters and doors. Also, they have their own unique look. The first people who came to Charleston were accustomed to brick as a signifier or wealth, or actually a lack there of. So what they did when they built their homes, they used brick, but then put a layer of stucco over it. In the stucco, they carved lines so the homes look like they are made out of stone. With a lot of them, if you look on the sides, you can see brick, but the front looks like stone. The older homes have a limestone appearance, while the newer homes or those that have been renovated, have been painted bright colors Carribean-style. An interesting note is that the Civil War was started here in Charleston by a group of wealthy men who believed it wouldn’t be anywhere near the deathly war it turned out to be. Because of this, it’s said Charleston was “punished” and fell into disarray. A home in the 1960’s on the waterfront could be purchased for $65,000. Now, those same homes are worth millions. Unfortunately, they are usually passed down through the generations and while the older generations are passing, the younger ones can’t afford to live in these massive historic homes. The tour guide said the value is in the architecture, but because the structures are so old, they end up being money pits needing massive amounts of upkeep and restoration. We saw a house today that has original Tiffany stained glass windows, installed by Mr. Tiffany himself. The windows, not suprisingly, are covered with bullet proof glass and are worth more than the house itself. It was interesting to see that so many of the homes are up for sale, whereas not many were when we came here almost five years ago. I guess that just goes to show that the economy affects everyone.

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