Charleston’s Corinthian Columns

Charleston is a city that’s crazy about columns. It’s been that way since the early days. In fact, a few of our more historic columns have survived challenges that turned other architectural treasures to rubble. Civil War shelling, earthquakes, hurricanes and the periodic insanity of urban renewal have been flattening buildings for centuries, but occasionally their original columns live on.

A good example can be found in the ruins of the old Charleston Museum at Rutledge and Calhoun streets. The building is gone with the wind (or fire, in this case), but its columns, with their beautiful Corinthian capitals, have been preserved. Columns like the old Museum’s have become symbols of our community’s grace and grit. Many are in the Corinthian style, an ornate design said to be inspired by a basket left as a graveside offering in the fifth century BC.

According to legend, a Greek architect named Callimachus noticed the way an acanthus plant weaved its leaves up through the basket. He was so taken by this vision, he carved it into a new capital — the decorative topmost section of a column. Instead of the simple lines of the Doric capitals or the swirling arms of Ionic columns, the new design was far more elaborate. It never really caught on with his fellow Greeks, but the Romans fell in love with it. The upper tier of the Coliseum is Corinthian, and Roman builders used the flowery shape throughout Europe to decorate everything from aqueducts to stands for potted plants.

DHM Real Estate Agent Ruthie SolidayHere in Charleston, you’ll see variations of the Corinthian capital in some of our most beautiful residential, civic and commercial architecture — old as well as new. Many South of Broad single houses employ the classical order on their piazzas, with Corinthian columns on the top level. Throughout its history, Charleston’s architects have maintained a love affair with the Corinthian capital. However, its beauty and strength goes beyond architecture: just take a look at Disher, Hamrick & Myers’ logo. Whether it’s on a real estate sign or a tall entryway column, the Corinthian design is one of the most enduring and popular in Charleston.

 

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The Charleston Single House

The single house is an architectural style found almost exclusively in Charleston, SC and this home plan gives the historic city much of its unique charm. The layout of a single house is ideally suited to the narrow street-facing lots originally laid out in Charleston in the late 17th and early 18th centuries (see Grand Modell). The homes are only one room wide and two rooms deep on each level, with a central hall between. Typically a porch, or piazza as it is known in Charleston, runs the length of the house with a public door facing the street. Visitors must enter the home through this entrance and traverse the porch before entering the central private door into the home. To take best advantage of prevailing breezes, piazzas always face south or west.

Charleston Single House at 62 Tradd St.

Public spaces, like an entry or office, inhabit the first floor. Entertaining spaces, such as drawing rooms, withdrawing rooms or ballrooms occupy the second floor – above the hustle and bustle (and mess and smells) of the streetways. Family spaces and bedrooms are found on the third floor. Each room would incorporate more or less decorative detail according to its use, with second floor spaces having the highest ceilings with intricate and colorful moldings. Those high ceilings, coupled with tall windows (often floor-length to accommodate walking out to the piazzas) allowed breezes to flow through the rooms and helped make Lowcountry weather more bearable.

Outbuildings, such as kitchens, stables and carriage houses, were constructed separate from the main house to the rear of the property. Today, many of these have been converted into separate residences (and given rise to the unique ½ address that dot the Charleston Peninsula). Other outbuildings were later connected to the main residence via “hyphens.” Kitchens were built away from the main house in an attempt to prevent fires — such as the numerous ones that destroyed large swaths of the peninsula — from spreading to the living quarters. This is also why the back wall of the main houses had fewer windows than might be expected for ventilation.

Charleston Single House at 45 Church St.

Various decorative styles have been applied to the single house layout, including Federal, Greek Revival, Italianate and Victorian. Two and three-story piazzas often employ the classical order of columns with the ground level being Doric, followed by Ionic and Corinthian. Formal gardens beautified the side yards to be enjoyed from the shady porches. In fact, upper porches were sometimes used as sleeping quarters on hot, humid nights.

Don’t believe a tour guide who tells you single houses were a reaction to the city taxing street frontage. Instead, “early Charlestonians developed the Single House as an ingenious solution to the various demands of their unique urban landscape: a house that provided privacy, ventilation, fire protection, and social status within the confines of a tightly restrictive public space.” (credit Charleston County Pubic Library)

Disher, Hamrick & Myers Real Estate currently has several archetypical singles houses for sale in downtown Charleston: 24 King Street, 286A Meeting Street, 286C Meeting Street and 262 Coming Street. If this style historic home appeals to you, contact us for a showing!

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Linwood Inn & the History of Hastie House

Linwood Inn, at 200 South Palmetto Street in the heart of downtown Summerville, SC, is the quintessential Southern Victorian estate. It currently operates as the town’s most popular bed & breakfast, featuring 3 guest suites and an efficiency apartment in the historically-significant main house as well as 3 rental homes situated amongst its award-winning gardens. Although the name Linwood Inn does not imply it, the property has family ties to more famous Charleston plantations, Magnolia and Drayton Hall, as well as to prominent families the Draytons, Grimkes, and Hasties. Read on to learn its connections to Charleston history.

The main house was built in 1883 by Julia Drayton Hastie and husband William Hastie. Thus, at that time, it was known as “Hastie House.” The location was chosen because it was one block to the train station where William could take the “Best Friend” (the first regularly scheduled passenger train in the US) to his insurance office at 44 Broad Street in downtown Charleston. It’s also only 5 blocks from Main Street in Summerville. Julia and William lived there with her father, the Reverend John Grimke Drayton. Reverend Drayton was a nephew of abolitionist sisters Sarah and Angelina Grimke. He owned Magnolia Planation and was the first to open it to tourists. He also brought camellias and azaleas from the gardens at Magnolia to Linwood’s romantic gardens. The original kitchen, which now houses a one-bedroom apartment, was on the ground level beneath the house. It also dates to 1883.

The house survived the earthquake of 1886 with significant damage. In the late 19th century, the fresh air coming through the pines made Summerville internationally known as one of the best places to treat tuberculosis and other lung and throat disorders. Accordingly, around this time, sleeping porches were added to the house. They are now enclosed and comprise parts of the Owners’ Suite and Guest Suites.

Linwood Inn & Hastie House in downtown Summerville, SC

Rev. Drayton died at Hastie House in 1891, at which time Julia inherited Magnolia Plantation. However, she continued to live at Linwood until 1901, then moved to Magnolia. In 1914, 2 acres at the back of property were sold. This land had housed servants’ quarters, a shed, stables and the stable yard. The Guest Cottage was built in the 1920s and the Bungalow in 1970. Both of these charming 2-bedroom homes are now available as short-term rentals.

 

LINWOOD INN BECOMES A BED & BREAKFAST

Peter and Linda Shelbourne bought the property in 1979. They have furnished it with comfortable period antiques. Linda is a Master Gardener who lovingly restored the gardens after Hurricane Hugo in 1989. The couple has operated Linwood Inn as a Summerville bed & breakfast since 1995. In 2007, they constructed the Hay Barn on the footprint of the original outbuilding of the same name. This 2-bedroom home with soaring fireplace and authentic theming creatively incorporates elements such as an old horseshoe and mill stone embedded into the entry, rakes and ladders repurposed as bath accessories, and hoof prints stamped in the floor.

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Walk to Work Living in the Upper King Design District

Looking for a trendy and relatively affordable home in Charleston, SC? Be sure to consider Upper King Street. With almost every type of business — from hip tech firms, to interior designers, to architects, to collaborative work spaces — in this neighborhood, many residents take advantage of the opportunity to walk to work. This area is a great place to stay when visiting, as hotels aren’t as expensive as in other parts of the historic district. It’s also an ideal home base from which to explore the Charleston area.

King Street crosses through the middle of the Charleston peninsula and is divided into three zones: Lower King is the Antiques District, Middle King has the Fashion District, and Upper King is known as the Design District. It runs north of Calhoun Street from Marion Square to the Septima P. Clark Expressway, more commonly called the Crosstown. The neighborhood features new construction as well as restored historic homes and those ready for renovation. It also boasts some of the city’s latest and trendiest restaurants along with hotels, art galleries, fantastic shopping, flourishing businesses and a lively nightlife. With its proximity to the College of Charleston, students and a younger crowd frequent it during the school year.

Charlestonians love this neighborhood for its eclectic vibe, easy access and cultural value. Are you a foodie? Look no further: Upper King boasts some the latest and greatest Charleston restaurants. On Saturdays, visitors and locals alike shop the Marion Square Farmers Market for fresh food and local treats. You can spend your days window shopping along the picturesque avenue, then enjoy your nights in the latest hot spots.

THE HISTORY OF UPPER KING STREET

King Street, Charleston, SC c.1910-1920s

At more than 200 years old, King Street is the second most historically and architecturally significant street in downtown Charleston, after Meeting Street. It was named for King Charles II of England and was a main route in the early city of Charles Towne. Many side streets were named after prominent families, including Ann, John and Mary Wragg. In the mid-19th and mid-20th centuries, King Street bustled as a retail corridor. Accordingly, many of the buildings are commercial, with residential spaces on the upper floors. Today, Upper King Street continues to be home to mostly local businesses and remains a work-where-you-live neighborhood.

Edwards Store, Upper King St, Charleston, SC, c. 1930–1945

The story of Upper King Street closely parallels that of downtown Charleston as a whole. After the Civil War, it fell into disrepair. But during the 1950s, it experienced a regrowth. The shopping district was very popular, perhaps too popular, leading to traffic congestion. As a result, in 1950, King turned into a one-way street. This sped up traffic, but hurt local businesses, as the road became more of a thoroughfare than a place to stop and shop. The general move to the suburbs during this time also hurt in-town businesses, and buildings along Upper King fell into disrepair. Like elsewhere in the city, Hurricane Hugo in 1989 destroyed many of the structures that were left or forced the remaining businesses to close. A silver lining of the storm is that it brought awareness to the need to revitalize the area, along with insurance money to make that happen.

REVITALIZATION

Bluestein Brothers Department Store, Upper King Street, Charleston, SCIn his first mayoral campaign, Mayor Joe Riley “promised to reverse the flow of business from downtown Charleston to the suburban shopping malls by revitalizing the central business district.” He spurred the revival of King Street throughout the decade of the 1980s, beginning with the construction of the Charleston Place Hotel. He also prompted the city to spend almost $50,000 to rebuild the c.1913 Bluestein’s clothing store at 494 King Street, which had been gutted by fire in 1987.

Other significant steps in the revitalization of Upper King into the lively hub it is today include:

  • 1991: the Charleston Visitor Center opened in an old train station, bringing tourists to this side of town.
  • 2001: the city renovated Marion Square for public use.
  • 1994: Upper King Street converted back into to two-way road.
  • 2005-2007: a streetscape project buried power lines, upgraded communication and gas lines, made stormwater improvements, and added bluestone sidewalks with granite curbs.

DINING & ENTERTAINMENT

Charleston Visitor Center, Upper King StreetAll of these enhancements paved the way for new businesses to venture into Upper King Street. The relatively inexpensive rent, compared to other more established retail venues, was also an incentive. The transformation into a dining and entertainment district began in 2005 with the opening of two popular restaurants, Chai’s and Reval. In 2009, fine dining came to Upper King with Halls Chophouse, and the city’s nightlife began to move from the Market to Upper King. Since then, dozens of the city’s trendiest restaurants have made their home here, including:

  • O-Ku
  • Macintosh
  • Cocktail Club
  • 39 Rue de Jean
  • Stars with its rooftop bar
  • Barsa
  • Rarebit
  • Hutson Alley
  • Closed for Business Draft Emporium

Click here for a full guide to Upper King restaurants and bars, including links to their menus and reservations.

UPPER KING ACTIVITIES

fountain at Marion Square, Upper King Street, Charleston, SCBe sure also to explore the retail shops and art galleries along King Street. While other areas of town have become populated by national and regional chains, Upper King remains home to mostly local businesses. In addition to shopping and dining, Upper King has plenty of landmarks to entertain you.

Contact Disher, Hamrick, & Myers Real Estate at 843.577.4115 for homes for sale in the Upper King Design District. Start enjoying everything this neighborhood has to offer today!

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Feel at Home in Harleston Village

Downtown’s Harleston Village — bordered by Calhoun, Broad and King Streets and the Ashley River — is one of Charleston’s oldest neighborhoods. The land was granted to John Coming and Henry Hughes in 1671-1672. John was first mate on the Carolina, one of the first ships to bring settlers to the colony. Upon Coming’s death, the property passed to his wife’s nephew, John Harleston. The Harleston family was active in colonial government, and the subsequent neighborhood inherited this surname. The village was developed for residential and other uses by 1770. Its streets were named after prominent men of the day, including Beaufain, Bull, Gadsden, Montagu, Pitt and Rutledge. Tidal marshes along the Ashley River powered numerous lumber mills that dotted the area until the arrival of steam power in the 1880s. Housing also continued to populate the neighborhood throughout the 18th and 19th centuries.

Harleston Village is the home to several historic “firsts.” The College of Charleston was established in 1770, the same year as the neighborhood. The CofC is the oldest educational institution in the state, and indeed the oldest south of Virginia. It was also the nation’s first municipal college. The first golf club in America, c. 1786, played in Harleston Village. The golf course is likely the origin of the appellation “Harleston Green,” which is another common name for the neighborhood.

 

PUBLIC PARKS

At the heart of Harleston Village is Colonial Lake Park. Its origins date back to 1768, when an Act of the Commons House of Assembly set aside land for a park that would always remain for public use. It was known as the Colonial Commons. By 1869, what became known as the Rutledge Street Pond was completed. For decades, small boats were allowed on the water. In 1881, it was renamed Colonial Lake after the old Colonial Commons, and that name remains today. In the early 1880s, a landscaped promenade was built around the lake. The grounds have been continually improved, with the most recent overhaul having just been completed in 2016. Today, the picturesque park is surrounded by grand old homes and attracts families, dog walkers, joggers and visitors alike. Across Ashley Avenue is Moultrie Playground, which also has tennis and basketball courts, a baseball field and picnic areas. These facilities make the area popular with families, outdoor enthusiasts, and fitness buffs alike.

Columns of the Old Charleston Museum, Cannon Park, Harleston Village, Downtown CharlestonAnother popular public space in Harleston Village is Cannon Park, which houses the columns of the old Charleston Museum, which burned down in 1981. But that site is not the only place where you might experience the ghosts of Charleston past in Harleston Village. Another square that was reserved for public use in 1680 became the site of a hospital, poor house, runaway slave workhouse and eventually the Old Charleston Jail – reputed to be one of Charleston’s most haunted places. Most recently used by the American College of the Building Arts, the structure is now under consideration for renovation into office space that will also allow for tours of the site.

 

A WALKABLE NEIGHBORHOOD

Much of the neighborhood is walkable, with markets, coffee shops, and restaurants all nearby. Some of the more popular dining options, from fine dining to waterfront casual, are:

Harleston Village has a diverse mix of housing. Options range from historic 18th, 19th and 20th century mansions, to converted condominiums (like 55 Ashley Avenue, once the Baker Hospital), to more modern homes and tall condo buildings. With the College of Charleston inside its borders, you‘ll find a combination of students and renters along with homeowners. This is an ideal location for investment properties as well as primary residences. DHM currently has an excellent investment opportunity in Harleston Village consisting of 4 multifamily homes with off-street parking for 20 vehicles. For more information and help navigating the real estate market in Harleston Village, count on Disher, Hamrick & Myers to Open Every Door…

View All Homes For Sale in Harleston Village

 

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Visit the Edge of America at Folly Beach

Looking for some beach fun close downtown Charleston? Be sure to explore Folly Beach off of James Island. With great surf, fun restaurants and bars, and stunning beaches, Folly has it all. Dubbed “The Edge of the America,” Folly Beach is a barrier island at the western end of Charleston Harbor. It boasts six miles of coastal beach on the Atlantic Ocean plus peaceful river and marsh views along the other side, providing water view property galore.

ISLAND HISTORY

The history of Folly goes back to Colonial times. In 1696, King William III granted the land to an Englishman, even though it was mainly inhabited by the Bohicket Indian tribe. Its name comes from the Old English term describing the dense foliage on the island. During the Civil War, US troops occupied and developed Folly as a supply depot. During the 20th century, Folly grew into a beachside tourist destination with a boardwalk, amusement rides, hotels and the famous Folly Pier – which hosted many of the biggest bands of the day. George Gershwin even composed Porgy and Bess while renting on Folly Beach. He immortalized his time there with the lyrics “Summertime, and the livin’ is easy.”

Folly amusement postcard

FOLLY BEACH ACTIVITIES

Today, the town of Folly Beach delights residents and visitors alike. Although the original pier and a replacement burned down, now the Edwin S. Taylor Fishing Pier stretches into the Atlantic Ocean just as the famous piers of Folly’s heyday did. On the weekends, it once again comes alive with the sound of live music and shag dancing. If you enjoy the outdoors, you will find plenty to do. Try out water sports or charter a fishing excursion. Visit the Folly Beach County Park and let the kids break out the boogie boards and enjoy the surf. For the more experienced surfers, the Washout provides the best waves in town. Folly has something for the whole family.

If you are hungry for a good meal in Folly Beach, there are plenty of choices. Some delicious and lively hangout spots are:

Locals enjoy relatively quiet and tranquil winters with fewer vacationers, but be prepared for those summer months when this part of the region comes to life as arguably the best beach near Charleston. Every summer you can catch fishing events, surfing contests, family-friendly festivals and more. Annual events include the Taste of Folly, Folly Gras, Follypalooza and the New Year’s Eve Flip-Flop Drop. The island community consists of a mix of eclectic local residents, vacationers and day-trippers tossed with plenty of Southern hospitality, all wrapped up in a fun, small beach town atmosphere.

HOMES FOR SALE ON FOLLY BEACH

Real estate in Folly Beach is valuable and ranges from vacation houses on the ocean, to single family homes, to condos, townhouses and more. If you are looking for a home for sale on Folly Beach, please contact us at at 843.577.4115.

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A View of Charleston Harbor

Charleston Harbor is where locals like to say “the Ashley and Cooper Rivers come together to form the Atlantic Ocean.” While this might be a little hyperbole, the waterway is and always has been crucial to life in Charleston, SC.

HISTORY

The city was founded on its banks because of the prime location, providing easy access to water transportation before inland roadways were available. Downtown Charleston’s finest homes were built along the harbor, and meant to be seen from the water. Merchants would watch their ships enter the local waterways from piazzas or widow’s walks. The location was also ideal for defense and sprung several fortifications including Fort Moultrie, Fort Sumter, Fort Johnson and Castle Pinckney – all of which figured prominently in the Civil War. The Confederate H.L. Hunley carried out the first successful wartime submarine attack in the harbor. On the night of February 17, 1864, it sunk the Union USS Housatonic before disappearing for over 100 years. In 2000, spectators again lined the banks of the harbor to watch the Hunley ceremoniously be raised from its watery resting spot.

CHARLESTON HARBOR PORTS

Charleston Harbor & Ravenel bridgeFrom Colonial times until the present, Charleston has been one of the busiest posts on the east coast. In its earliest days, it transported lumber, rice, cotton, tobacco, naval stores, indigo, and animal furs and skins. This trade made Charleston one of the wealthiest cities in the Americas. Today, it services containerized as well as breakbulk shipments, plus cars. The South Carolina State Ports Authority owns and operates public terminals in downtown Charleston, Mt. Pleasant, and North Charleston. There are private terminals as well. The Army Corps of Engineers is currently deepening the harbor to accommodate the largest post-Panamax vessels.

Charleston Harbor also serves as home port and a port of call for cruise ships by Carnival and Royal Caribbean. Tourists are able to stroll the streets of our historic district for a day, while locals and visitors can sail to the Bahamas and other Caribbean locales right from home.

ATTRACTIONS

Patriots Point – home of the Naval & Maritime Museum featuring the USS Yorktown and the Medal of Honor Museum, Patriots Point Links and the Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina.

South Carolina Aquarium – with exhibits and hands-on activities highlighting South Carolina habitats “from the mountains to the sea.”

Fort Sumter Tours – enjoy a boat ride through Charleston Harbor out to the fort where the Civil War started.

Charleston Harbor Tours – another option to cruise through history and sights.

Battery – with its grand antebellum mansions and White Point Gardens.

Riley Waterfront Park – home of the famous Pineapple Fountain, as well as a popular splash fountain, pier with bench swings and green space.

Ravenel Bridgeconnecting Charleston and Mt. Pleasant, with stunning views from its popular walking and biking lanes.

Memorial Waterfront Park – located East of the Cooper, tucked under the bridge. It features a pier, playground and sweetgrass basket pavilion.

Boating and Sailing – the ultimate way to enjoy Charleston Harbor and its beautiful weather.

 

Charleston Harbor viewCharleston Harbor is one of the most picturesque, as well as most utilized, areas of Charleston. Disher, Hamrick & Myers lists properties with views of the harbor from downtown Charleston, as well as James Island and Mt. Pleasant. Currently, we have 3 homes with panoramic harbor views available. These include: 46 Murray Blvd., 1 King Street 709, and several Dockside Condominiums. Call our office at 843.577.4115 today to let us help you find the perfect home on Charleston Harbor!

 

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South of Broad – A Walk Through History

Take a step back into history and explore the beautiful antebellum neighborhood South of Broad in Charleston, South Carolina. The district dates back to 1721 and features rare historic homes amongst cobblestone streets. One of the true gems of the South, this neighborhood is a beloved part of downtown Charleston. It boasts traditional southern architecture and homes that look straight out of an American storybook.

St Michael's, South of BroadWhile Charleston has many beautiful and unique neighborhoods to offer residents and visitors alike, South Broad is arguably the most renowned. Located between the Ashley and Cooper Rivers, many of its well-preserved homes offer views of the Charleston Harbor. It encompasses the original walled city of Charleston as well as early-20th century infill projects. Famous Rainbow Row is located South Broad. This stretch of East Bay Street hosts several colonial Georgian row homes painted different pastel colors and is a top tourist attraction in Charleston. The Four Corners of Law, so-named by Robert Ripley, is at the intersection of Meeting and Broad Streets. In this part of town you’ll see guests in horse-drawn carriages viewing the grand mansions.

ATTRACTIONS

Some key sites to visit South of Broad include:

Battery and White Point Garden: a public park with Spanish moss-draped oaks and Civil War cannons. It is bounded by a seawall walkway where Charlestonians like to say the Ashley and Cooper Rivers combine to create the Atlantic Ocean.

Sword Gate House: the oldest residence on Legare Street, with its famous wrought iron gates that match the pair at the Citadel. Interested in owning this piece of Charleston history? It’s currently on the market.

Heyward-Washington House: a museum house of The Charleston Museum. Declaration of Independence signer Thomas Heyward, Jr. lived there. President George Washington stayed there during his 1791 visit to the city.

Edmonston-Alston House: another residence that is open to the public. Stand on the porch where General P.G.T. Beauregard watched the bombardment of Ft. Sumter, starting the Civil War. Still owned by the Alstons, its collection houses many historic family pieces.

Calhoun Mansion: the largest private home in Charleston. You may tour this Italianate beauty’s extensive collection of decorative arts and furniture, and even access the widow’s walk for an incomparable birds-eye view of the lower peninsula.

Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon: one of the America’s most-important Colonial civic structures. Your tour includes one of the few places to see an exposed part of Charleston’s original wall.

SOUTH OF BROAD DINING

Don’t take offense if someone refers to you as an SOB; in Charleston, it’s a moniker for those who live South of Broad. A popular restaurant just up East Bay Street has made a clever play on this term, calling itself SNOB, short for Slightly North of Broad. Enjoy their local shrimp and grits for dinner or Sunday brunch.

The Battery, South of BroadWhile the area is mostly residential, you’ll also find plenty to entertain. Stroll through the shops and art galleries along Broad Street and the French Quarter or attend one of the quarterly Art Walks. For a bite to eat, enjoy a glass of wine and a cheese plate at goat.sheep.cow, which is housed in a building over 200 years old. In nice weather, why not pack a picnic lunch for White Point Gardens? For a relaxed meal in a social atmosphere, you have the Blind Tiger Pub, named for Charleston’s infamous speakeasies. In the mood for French food? Join a communal table at Gaulart & Maliclet. If you prefer a fine-dining option, try Oak Steakhouse. And to wet your whistle, be sure to stop by The Tavern to pick up some local spirits. Founded in 1686, it’s the oldest liquor store in the country.

As you explore the alleyways and streets South of Broad, you’ll notice the unique Charleston Single House style of architecture that lends the city much of its historic charm. Most of the homes are covered by easements to retain this historic look and fabric of the city. Disher, Hamrick & Myers currently has several beautiful historic homes for sale South of Broad that will fulfill all your Southern home dreams. These include 24 King Street6 South Adgers Wharf, 1 King Street 709  and 46 Murray Blvd. Let our team of Charleston real estate agents show you a piece of history you just can’t find anywhere else!

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Enjoy a Taste of Charleston at the Wine & Food Festival

The 12th annual Charleston Wine & Food Festival is taking place Wednesday – Sunday, March 1-5. If you are a foodie, you won’t want to miss this premier event! Charleston is known around the world as one of the most cultured cities in the south. From our beautiful historic homes to our rich southern history, visitors from around the globe can’t get enough of our unique character and culture. But Charleston is also recognized a top culinary destination and you won’t get the full Charleston experience if you aren’t sampling our local cuisines. The first weekend in March is a special opportunity to celebrate our culinary distinctions, taste our southern fare and toast to everything that makes Charleston the gem of the south!

Charleston Wine & Food Festival signThe backbone of the Charleston Wine & Food Festival is the Culinary Village located in Marion Square. Here, you can sample local food and spirits, meet purveyors and chefs, watch cooking demonstrations and purchase goods. More than 100 other events are also planned throughout the week. Highlights for festival goers include:

  • Dinners
  • Workshops
  • Excursions
  • Parties
  • And More

Most events are conveniently located in downtown Charleston within walking distance of Marion Square. Others are throughout the surrounding areas and have shuttle service to the venues.

Charleston Wine & Food Festival sampleAll festival events do require tickets, which fit a variety of budgets. There are even hotel packages to help you plan your full weekend. Note that this event is for adults only – no children under 21 or pets are allowed – so be sure to secure a sitter. Locals can receive discounted tickets to the Culinary Village on Sunday, March 5. Those who want to participate behind the scenes can sign up to volunteer by filling out this form. Find more information including a full calendar, event details and tickets by visiting the official Charleston Wine & Food Festival website at charlestonwineandfood.com. See you there!

Special thanks to Slather Brand Foods for the festival photos.

 

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Tax Tips for Homeowners in Charleston

It’s that time of year again, but don’t wait for tax time to save money. You can do it year round by keeping in mind your qualified deductions. One of the best tax tips to save money is with good organization and planning. Keep records and notes on what you can write off so you are prepared to file at the end of the year. Here are some tax tips homeowners and residents of Charleston, SC should keep in mind this year:

DISASTER RELIEF

hurricane tax tipsIt was a stormy year for the Charleston area. Flooding and damage from Hurricane Matthew affected lot of homeowners. Did you know that homeowner losses that are not covered by insurance can be deducted on your taxes? If you went through a natural disaster and suffered a loss on your home that led to receiving federal aid, then you may be able to deduct costs that were not covered under your insurance. Likewise, if you experienced a wildfire, flood, hurricane, tornado or anything similar that created major property loss, you’ll want to consider ALL write-off options with a tax professional.

 

MOVED TO CHARLESTON?

Did you move to Charleston for a job? Then you can deduct moving costs for that new job. The new job has to be at least 50 miles from your previous home. If you used your vehicle as transportation for the move, you could deduct mileage costs, parking and tolls. Be sure to calculate the costs of your move and save.

 

GREEN ENERGY

If you installed alternative energy in your southern abode, you can deduct some of the cost through a renewable energy tax credit. You’ll receive a 30% rebate on money spent on green items like solar, geothermal and wind. There is no cap.

 

MORTGAGE INTEREST

Homeowners can also deduct some of their mortgage interest, as well as property taxes, for year-end savings.

 

HOME OFFICE/SELF-EMPLOYED

home office tax tipsIf you are self-employed and have a home office in your Charleston house, you can get a tax deduction on a portion of your utilities, rent/office, as well as other items such as career memberships, education and subscriptions. Save your receipts for all your qualified business deductions and make sure to write it all off when filing your taxes. The self-employed may apply for tax deductions that regular business employees can’t. They can deduct items like part of the rent and utilities as well as equipment, work trucks, cars, vans and more.

 

DON’T WAIT FOR THE BIG REFUND; MAKE YOUR MONEY WORK NOW

If you normally get a big refund, it may mean you are having too much tax taken out of your regular paycheck. It’s like giving the Federal government a free loan! An important tax tip is to adjust your W4 with your employer to get more of your money upfront. Then utilize it immediately and invest it better. There are many online withholding calculators you can use to run different numbers and figure out what works best for your situation.

 

FUND YOUR 401K

You can lower your taxes by reducing the actual income that is taxable. One of the best and most productive ways to do this is to invest in your employer’s 401K plan. There are limitations on the amounts you can invest. In 2016, if you are under 50 years old, you can contribute up to $18,000. Employees that are 50 or older may contribute an additional $6000, for a total of up to $24,000. This extra amount allows a graceful catch-up period to improve retirement outcome. 401K deductions are taken out of your paycheck before taxes, but you will pay a tax later when it becomes your retirement income.

 

IRAs

Another tax tip is to fund a Roth IRA or Roth 401K. These make good investments if you are worried about your taxes increasing over time and having to pay them on retirement income. You don’t get an upfront tax break with a Roth contribution, but when you start tapping into your retirement later, Uncle Sam can’t tax that income because he already did.

 

NO RETIREMENT PLAN OR SELF-EMPLOYED?

Perhaps you have no retirement plan through work or you are self-employed. No problem. You can fund your own retirement plans with an IRA or a Roth IRA as well. People under 50 can contribute $5500; over 50 can pay in $6500 a year. For help getting started, contact a financial planner. Financial experts like Dave Ramsey keep a directory of endorsed local providers that can teach you more about retirement planning and investing. He also has ELPs for taxes as well. You can also learn more about retirement resources through AARP.

 

FLEX PLANS AND HEALTHCARE

medical costs tax tipsIf your employer offers a health flex plan or medical reimbursement account, you can save up to 35% on taxes. You can use the pretax dollars in the account towards medical costs, prescriptions, coinsurance, copays and more — up to $2500.

 

CHILDCARE COSTS

Paying childcare costs with a childcare reimbursement account offered through your job can save you about one-third of the cost. You will not have an income tax or social security deduction on that portion of your salary. Don’t wait to deduct those bills later. Set up an account and receive the full benefits your company offers you.

 

CHARITY

donation tax tipsYou can claim any charity money donated to a tax-deductible charity as a deduction. Transportation to charitable events is also deductible. Track mileage and deduct it come tax time. You’ll feel good about giving back, and the government will give you a break for doing your part.

 

WRAP-UP

Always consider your expenses, lifestyle and costs when approaching your taxes. Many Americans leave hundreds of dollars on the table that they could claim in deductions when filing. Don’t make the same mistake. Follow these tax tips to save yourself money this year.

 

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