BEAUTIFUL CHARLESTON ~ and a beautiful friendship

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This weekend I had the honor of celebrating my longest and dearest friend’s 50th birthday.

Appropriately, my friend (I’ll call her Miss L) is one of the most beautiful souls I know and we celebrated her special day in one of the most beautiful cities.

My dear sweet tired friend worked the night shift Thursday night, went home and took a three hour nap then drove 5 1/2 hours to Charleston. We went to dinner and talked until almost midnight. I don’t know how she stayed awake!!

We met at our hotel, Holiday Inn Express Downtown ~ Ashley River. Our room was beautiful and the staff from the desk to housekeeping were friendly and very helpful. We bombarded the desk staff with questions about restaurants, best plantations around, where to park, etc. etc etc. They were so patient!

Because we were tired from the long drive and we really didn’t want to get back into our cars, we went to a restaurant the kind desk lady recommended ~ Saffire Restaurant inside the Marriott Hotel right behind our hotel. A very classy, upscale hotel and the restaurant did not disappoint. Great crab cakes!!

The next morning, after a free breakfast, we headed to Boone Hall Plantation ~ a great recommendation by our desk staff that we now can call friends.

Boone Hall Plantation is in the city of Mount Pleasant, about 8 miles from downtown Charleston. The plantation is 738 acres and is one of America’s oldest working, living plantations, growing and producing crops for over 3 centuries.

Driving onto the plantation, you drive down a dirt road covered by huge oak trees known as “The Avenue of Oaks”.

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At the end of this beautiful drive is a large brick house.

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Miss L looking quite put together and comfortable when in reality it was extremely hot. Have you heard the saying,

“Southern women don’t sweat, we glisten!”

We were glistening a whole lot this day!!

Next to the main house were the slave quarters.

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 A tour guide spoke of the awful living conditions in these shacks. No furniture, no floors, just dirt, and a large number of slaves in each small building. There are only nine original cabins still standing on the property. They housed about 40 slaves (1790).

My favorite part was the tour of the mansion with our tour guide Mark. I was yelled at for taking pictures but I will try to find pictures on the internet that I can show you. When we walked through the front door, we were standing in a very large foyer. Right in front of us stood a stunning spiral staircase that looked like it was just floating. Mark said it was called a cantalever staircase. It is attached to the floor on the bottom and top of the staircase. It really is floating!! Only one of three in the U.S.

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To the left of the staircase was the living room or parlor. Floor to ceiling bookcases, a grand piano, and beautiful antique furniture made the room very inviting.

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On the right of the foyer was the dining room. A massive dining room table sat in the center of the room under a large crystal chandelier. Hanging from the wall was a floor to ceiling mirror that Mark said weighed thousands of pounds!!

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Returning to the foyer then walking past the staircase was the loggia. Huge fireplace and mirror above the mantel, beautiful palladium windows and french doors let in the sunlight and made the room so cheerful.

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Throughout each space in this house, molding, dark rich colors on the wall, brick flooring or dark wood floors all made this house the perfect Colonial mansion.

The tour did not include the upstairs but Mark told us there were three stories, 22 rooms total, 10,000 sq. feet, 7 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms.

We really enjoyed walking through this house and Mark was very informative and added life to each story. He was very funny!

After the mansion, we took a tour around the property with our tour guide Ted.

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The plantation has grown indigo, pecans, rice, and cotton. It is now actively growing strawberries, tomatoes, and pumpkins. What was funny about the tour was when Ted said he would be quiet for a few minutes during the tour because we were driving by a nearby neighborhood and he didn’t want to annoy the neighbors! What made the tour absolutely perfect? It rained as we were driving around. We never got wet and it cooled the air for the rest of our day. We couldn’t have asked for more perfect timing!

On the property is a restaurant where we had sandwiches and drinks for lunch. While we were talking, we kept seeing people walking out the back door of the store into what looked like a greenhouse of some sort. When we were done with lunch, we followed the crowd into a butterfly house.

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I couldn’t get the butterflies to behave and smile for the camera but you get the idea. Now, Miss L showed off her photography skills and sent this picture to me. SHOW OFF!!

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The theme of this birthday friendship weekend ended up being butterflies. Miss L loves Pandora. When I asked the Pandora store attendant what charms they had for friendship she showed me two. One was a scroll with “Best Friends” engraved in it. The other was a butterfly that said “Friends Forever”. The neat thing about this charm was it was two exact same pieces…..one for Miss L and one for me! It was perfect. Also, when I was doing my research about the Boone Plantations, I read that the walkway that travels through the gardens that surround the property are in the shape of a butterfly. Cool, huh?

We headed home in time to get ready for a nice birthday dinner. OOOHHH we get to dress up!!

Again, we asked our hotel attendants the best restaurant around.

Off to Shem Creek Bar and Grill.

When we got seated, the sun was just going down so we hurried to get a picture.

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The next picture shows the sunset better.

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The food was yummy, the company was wonderful, the service was great! Again, I had crab cakes. Yes, I have a strange obsession with crab!!

I’ll share about our second day in Charleston as we enjoyed all the beautiful architecture of the houses around downtown Charleston as soon as I can.

Hope you’re enjoying your week!

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Love y’all,

Linda