As I mentioned in the previous post, we headed off to Charleston on Saturday to find the perfect location for engagement photos to be taken. We wanted something that would reflect the history of the city, but we didn't necessarily want something that screamed "Charleston!" One of the looks that I really like when reading other blogs and looking through photos is the Old World glamour that can be found in historic city centers.
The area that we decided on is a couple blocks of Chalmers Street, which is one of the oldest parts of the city--the French Quarter, built in the late 1600s and early 1700s. The part of the street we like begins at the corner of Meeting Street. Chalmers is cobble-stoned. The buildings still have the history of outdoor plumbing and earthquake rods. Many of them also have wrought iron gates through which you can glimpse little courtyards.
While we were walking down the street and noticing all the history around us, I made the off-hand comment that this was the block I would look for an apartment on should we ever move to Charleston. (I would rent and not own as I don't want the responsibility of updating and maintaining those buildings.) Right as I said this, we walked past the porch of a house with an apartment for rent. The owner happened to be outside gardening and heard me say this.
She struck up a conversation with us, and we soon learned that she was a delightful Persian lady named Heidi. She got so excited when she learned why we were walking on her block and insisted on telling all the wonderful spots to make sure our photographer includes in our photos and telling us the history of the different buildings. She joked that she's married to a 102-year-old money pit and that everything in the building is loose but the landlady.
She also showed us her basement apartment for rent and made us promise to call when we have the photos done and come down for her housewarming party in the next few months. She's even offered us one of her apartments for our wedding night if she has one vacant. Here are photos of us sitting on her steps:
Unfortunately, Heidi's painters showed up toward the end of our conversation, so we didn't have the opportunity to take a picture with her, but hopefully we'll reconnect with her soon. (Side note: see the planters to the side a couple steps behind us? Heidi growing a lemon tree in one and a Persian lime tree in the other.)
One of the homes that Heidi told us that we had to go see was The Pink House Gallery two blocks down from her. The Pink House used to be a tavern and brothel when the slave trade was in full swing in Charleston. Now it's a gallery, and it also boasts the title of the oldest home in Charleston. It was built in the 1690s.
The house is 3-stories tall and built for very short people (between 4'5" and 5'). We walked all the way upstairs where 4-6 women would entertain their clients. The entire room was maybe 10 x 10 feet; they would create smaller rooms by hanging sheets from the ceiling. The Pink House brags of a few ghosts, as do many Charleston buildings. I don't know how much stock I place in ghosts, but it's hard to deny photos.
You can tell from the photos that the stairways were steep and the ceilings were low.
Mister has already sweet-talked the owner of gallery into possibly letting us have a few engagement photos done in the house's courtyard garden in back so maybe we'll be seeing more of the infamous Pink House.
I would definitely suggest that you visit this area of Charleston if you come visit, especially the Pink House Gallery.