French Quarter Art Walk

Disher, Hamrick & Myers is proud to be located in the heart of the city’s original commercial district on Broad Street in the French Quarter of historic downtown Charleston. And one of our neighborhood’s favorite events is coming up. The first Friday in March, May, October and December is the Charleston Gallery Association’s French Quarter Art Walk. Over 40 galleries and shops stay open from 5-8 in the evening to welcome art lovers and guests. Many serve wine and light refreshments and host artists and exhibit openings. USAToday named the art walk one of the  10BEST “Free Things to Do” in Charleston.

ART WALK INSIDER TIPS

All the participants are within walking distance and maps can be picked up at any location. You may start at any one and visit as many as you wish at your own pace. Strike up a lively conversation with a gallery owner or artist. Discuss your reaction to a painting or sculpture, and maybe even find a piece to add to your own collection. Art prices are very accessible, ranging from prints and original pieces available for under $50 to larger pieces of fine art and jewelry priced in the tens of thousands of dollars. There is truly the opportunity for everyone to find something they can afford and enjoy.

French Quarter art walkArchitecture buffs should be sure to take advantage of the opportunity to see inside and behind the buildings normally only glimpsed from the street front. To make the most of your experience, venture off the beaten path to shops and galleries that are located in alleyways or on the second or third levels of buildings. The streets will be bustling with locals and visitors of all ages.

After the art walk, treat yourself to a cocktail or dinner at one of the French Quarter’s restaurants, like the upscale Oak Steakhouse or Disher, Hamrick & Myers’ neighbor, the Blind Tiger Pub. The weather should be pleasantly warm and sunny, presenting the perfect opportunity to stroll the historic streets of downtown Charleston. Beautiful weather, art, architecture, food, drink and company – what more could you ask for on a Friday evening? We look forward to seeing you all there!

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Have Your Best Valentine’s Day in Charleston

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Now is the opportunity to pamper your loved ones – and yourself – with some of the best that Charleston has to offer. Here are our real estate agents’ recommendations for the most romantic spots to celebrate your Valentine’s Day in Charleston. Just click on each name to be linked to the individual businesses’ websites for more information.

 

MOST ROMANTIC RESTAURANTS IN CHARLESTON

  • Fulton Five – Consistently rated the Most Romantic Restaurant in Charleston, this cozy Northern Italian eatery located down an alleyway off of King Street earns its marks.
  • R. Kitchen – Chef Ross Webb creates a new four-course menu every night for the 16 lucky guests who sit at the counter in his kitchen in Cannonborough-Elliotborough.
  • Middleton Place Restaurant – Once the daytime crowds have left, enjoy strolling the moonlit pathways of Middleton Place gardens before or after your traditional Southern meal at the restaurant. Don’t miss the Huguenot Torte for dessert! To top your evening off, book a romantic room in the Middleton Inn where you can enjoy champagne and chocolates in a soaking tub or beside the wood-burning fireplace.
  • Zero Restaurant + Bar – Located in a boutique hotel in Ansonborough, this small fine dining spot is the reason why Zero George was named one of Conde Nast’s Top 5 Foodie Hotels in the World.
  • Circa 1886 – Tucked in the former carriage house of the Wentworth Mansion, enjoy the seasonal menu or splurge on the 5-course tasting menu. After dinner, be sure to tour the Wentworth Mansion. If you are lucky, catch a glimpse of the city at twilight from atop their cupola.

 

BEST CHOCOLATES:

Charleston Valentine's Day chocolates & flowers

  • Christophe – Treat yourself to handmade traditional chocolates as well as delicious pastries from French Artisan Chocolatier-Pâtissier Christophe Paume.
  • Godiva Chocolatier – Find these world-known Belgian chocolates in the Charleston Place Hotel. Pick up a Valentine’s Day heart-shaped box full of assorted truffles.
  • Market Street Sweets – If chocolate alone isn’t your thing, indulge your sweet tooth with warm pecan pralines and fresh Bear Claws. Originally from River Street in Savannah, this shop also has locations on the Market and King Street. I dare you to walk by the smells wafting out of these shops without stopping for at least a sample!

 

BEST FLORIST:

  • Lotus Flower – Since 2000, the owners have been making some of the most creative arrangements in Charleston.
  • Tiger Lily Florist – The converted service station on Spring Street has become one of downtown Charleston’s premier flower shops, plus they deliver throughout the area.
  • Charleston Flower Market – This long-time shop on Maybank Highway on James Island advertises “uniquely creative” cut flowers and arrangements.

 

BEST SPA:

  • The Spa at Charleston Place – This European-style retreat is located in the Charleston Place Hotel in downtown Charleston. Guests have access to a rooftop pool with retractable glass ceiling. After your appointment, enjoy a poolside lunch. Or have a mommy and me day, treating your daughter to a “Lollipop Manicure.”
  • Earthling Day Spa – Another stalwart of the downtown spa scene, Earthling also houses a Pilates studio.
  • Woodhouse Day Spa – This luxurious spa across the Ravenel Bridge in Mt. Pleasant is a relative newcomer, but already receiving rave reviews.

Remember when two people love each other, anything can be romantic!

How will you spend your Valentine’s Day in Charleston? What are your suggestions for the most romantic spots? Let us know in the comments.

 

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Housing Your College Student in Charleston

If your daughter or son is attending one of the many colleges in Charleston, SC, you have several housing options. While many students will choose to live in a dormitory or rent an apartment, you should also consider buying a home near campus. Owning a rental home can be a worthwhile financial investment, as well as an educational experience for your child. Purchasing the property your student lives in while attending school offers many benefits:

  • Stability. Your student will be in the same location during their college years. There will not be a need for yearly apartment hunting.
  • Storage. Furniture and other belongings can remain in the home while you own it, saving both time and money.
  • Fixed expenses. Generally, rent in Charleston increases every year. The average rent for an apartment in the downtown area is over $2300 per month. By buying your property with a fixed rate mortgage, the housing expense will be fixed for the duration of ownership. Keep in mind, you will also avoid paying security deposits and moving utility services.
  • Responsibility. Your child receives a lesson in real estate investing as well as the responsibility that comes with owning property.
  • Financial benefits. Your financial gains include possible appreciation in value, equity build up and the opportunity to charge rent to housemates.

Of course, there are some things to watch out for when considering buying a home for your student. College students are generally on the move, so staying in one location for four or five years could present a challenge. If you rent rooms in the home, you become landlords and your student may have to deal with irresponsible housemates. General maintenance costs are also something to remember when purchasing an investment property. Be sure to factor additional expenses into your formula.

 

FINANCING OPTIONS

When it comes to the actual purchase of your investment property, there are many options available for the title and financing. Some parents include the student’s name on the title for owner-occupied tax benefits, while some opt to buy strictly as a rental property. There are several ways to hold the title, so speak with your attorney and tax advisor to determine the best route for you.

When you have decided to move forward with a purchase, your lending institution should offer several strategies. If your student will be named on the title of the property, using a FHA “kiddie condo” loan is a good option. This program allows your student to qualify for the loan as a co-borrower with a blood relative. There is a maximum loan amount, so check here for limits in the location of interest. Another option is to use a non-owner occupied loan with conventional financing. Interest-only loans are also available that may have a lower monthly payment.

Should you wish to rent extra rooms to supplement the mortgage payment and share expenses, have each housemate sign a written agreement. Standard rental agreements can be obtained through your real estate agent or lawyer. The rental document needs to address the term of the lease, rate and due date for payments, security deposit, parking, pets, utility payments, maximum occupancy and notice to vacate.

college student graduationWhen your student graduates or is moving on, you have several options. You can keep the property as an investment rental. If you have another child who attends the same school, you can make a similar arrangement with him or her. You can also exchange the home for another investment property in another location in a 1031 exchange. Or you can always sell the property and realize any profits from increased value.

Disher, Hamrick & Myers has several homes for sale near the College of Charleston and MUSC that would make ideal student residences or investment properties: 31 Coming Street, 9 Bogard Street, 1 Senate Street and 24 Strawberry Lane. Buying a house for your college student has many advantages. To learn more and decide if this is the right strategy for your family, call Katherine Falls at 843.478.0495 today.

 

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Southern Holiday Traditions

How do you celebrate Christmas in Charleston and where did those traditions originate? The South is rich in history, and Charleston is no exception. Did you know that Southern states were the first to adopt Christmas as a legal holiday? (Alabama in 1836, followed by Louisiana and Arkansas in 1838.) Over the years, it’s no surprise that many regional Southern holiday traditions have spread around the country.

CHARLESTON’S POINSETTIA ROOTS

Southern holiday poinsettiaToday we hail the poinsettia as the official plant of the Christmas season. Did you know this is thanks to a South Carolina gentleman by the name of Joel Robert Poinsett? Poinsett was in the US House of Representatives and also served as the Minister to Mexico. While on a trip to Mexico in 1925, he discovered the festive red-colored flower. He brought it home to Charleston and introduced it as a holiday adornment. The rest is history. Today, throughout the South and the nation you will see these beautiful flowers displayed on the inside and outside of homes during the Yuletide season.

CITRUS FOR THE SEASON

Southern holiday citrus decorationsIt is a Southern holiday tradition to this day for Santa to leave some citrus fruit in children’s stockings. No, it’s not a gimmick to take up space. Years ago, finding citrus in your stocking in the middle of winter was a luxury. Citrus was only available during certain seasons of the year, so to receive an orange at Christmas was a special and expensive treat. Decorating wreaths, trees and holiday decor with different citrus fruits is still a tradition today. In fact, take a tour around Downtown Charleston or visit one of the museum houses to see citrus and evergreen decorations on the outsides as well as interiors of historic Charleston homes. To view some beautiful examples, visit The Charleston Museum’s blog showcasing the Garden Club of Charleston’s traditional holiday decorations at the Joseph Manigault House. They will be on display to the public through December 31.

FRIED TURKEY, OYSTERS & PECAN PIE

Southern holiday oystersWhat would a Southern meal be without any of these delicacies? Fresh oysters are popular during the holiday season because their harvest is best during the coldest time of year. (Remember the old adage that oysters are good during months that have an “R” in their names.) Deep frying as a preparation for turkey also originated in the South. And don’t forget the pecan pie for dessert. The documented history of this recipe dates back to the 1880s. Legend says the French in New Orleans made a version of it after Native Americans introduced them to the pecan tree. Today this gooey, delicious Southern treat has spread across the country and is a staple this time of year. Visit Southern Living for a variety of delicious pecan pie recipes and other traditional Southern holiday foods.

What holiday treats and traditions does your family celebrate? Please share in the comments. Disher, Hamrick & Myers wishes HAPPY HOLIDAYS to all!
 

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The Best Ways to Enjoy the Outdoors in Charleston This Fall

The fall season is a busy time in Charleston, with plenty of events and activities to do. You’ll enjoy the cooling temperatures that still allow for plenty of time spent outdoors. Charleston is known to be the top city to visit in the Carolinas, one of the best places to live and even one of the top places for dogs–so you can be sure to find a variety of things to do outdoors. From parks, to tours, to water activities, there is always something to do in Charleston. Check out these best ways to enjoy the outdoors in Charleston this fall.

 

SEE FALL COLORS

Hampton Park is the place to to see the beauty of the season with the changing fall leaves. This 60-acre park is one of the largest in Charleston and features beautiful gardens as well as plenty of deciduous trees. You’ll find paved walkways to stroll along with adequate restroom facilities. Use different trails throughout the park to see a wide variety of trees and shrubs that will begin to change color with the cooling fall temperatures.

 

GO SAILING

sailboats outdoors - fall in Charleston

Getting out on the water is a prime activity in Charleston. Consider one of the many charters that will take you sailing. Fall is a great time to sail, as it isn’t too hot on the water. Consider a sunset sail to view the beautiful sunsets over the water as well the coastline in its full fall glory. Dinner options are available for those wanting to eat aboard, as well as more educational opportunities for those wishing to learn the ropes of sailing.

 

TAKE A GHOST TOUR

Taking a ghost tour in the fall is fitting for the spooky season. Charleston is well-known for being not only a historic settlement, but also a place filled haunted buildings. There are many different options for ghost tours, but the most popular is the Haunted Jail Tour. You’ll learn a lot about the history of Charleston as well as past residents…that may still be hanging around.

 

ENJOY A CARRIAGE RIDE

There is nothing better than snuggling up with a loved one and enjoying a ride through downtown. Charleston is known for horse-drawn carriages that take you all around the city. Many different tour companies welcome you on board for a lovely stroll through the historic area. Take a carriage ride during the day to get a great view of the fall colors that dot the area.

 

CATCH YOUR DINNER

friends fishing outdoors - fall in CharlestonKnown for its fantastic fishing opportunities, Charleston is a place you can catch your own dinner. Many fishing guides take you out on the Lowcountry’s tidal waters that supply redfish, speckled sea trout and flounder. Other favorite spots are the reefs near the shoreline, where you can catch varieties like black sea bass and king mackerel. Residents and tourists alike can try their hand at the world-class fishing available in the area’s waters.

 

ATTEND AN OYSTER ROAST

And if you prefer not to have to catch your own dinner, but still want to enjoy a Lowcountry seafood specialty, be sure to attend an oyster roast. Oyster season kicks off in the fall and continues through any month with an R. Most weekends, you’ll find locals and visitors shucking buckets of the steamed bivalves. Just be sure to bring your oyster gloves, knives and hot sauce!

 

GET IN THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT

The Holiday Festival of Lights opens in early November and has been voted one of the best Christmas light displays in the country. The show is located at James Island County Park and is a driving tour that you can enjoy from the comfort of your car. However, make sure to park and explore all of the other things that the Holiday Festival of Lights has to offer, like the sand sculpture, holiday train and carousel. While it may be the end of fall, the Festival of Lights will quickly put you in the holiday spirit.

Not only does the Charleston area boast many outdoor activities, but the full range of activities caters to a broad demographic. Those looking for a relaxing time outside can take a carriage ride or walk through a park. Thrill seekers can find ghost tours, fishing charters and sailing out on the water for more upbeat activities. Whatever you choose, consider one of these best ways to enjoy the outdoors in Charleston this autumn.

What are your favorite fall activities in Charleston? Let us know (and post your pics!) in the comments.

Author David Wheeler is a landscape design writer and nature enthusiast. He is an avid traveler and loves to spend his time hiking and strolling through magnificent gardens, learning about rare and native flowers across the world.

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The Games Charlestonians Play

As with many things in life, Charlestonians take liberties with the ordinary rules of leisurely games. It’s no surprise that the same city where people sit on piazzas instead of porches, order drinks “2, 3 ways” and consider madras bowties formal wear, has created its own versions of several standard activities. Here, we look at 3 of the more popular.

BEACH GOLF

beach golfCharleston’s take on beach golf was invented in the early 1990s by native Thomas “Big T” Alexander. It requires a beach and at least two players, each with a putter and ball. But after this, there are no formal rules. Scoring, course layout and other details are left to the discretion of whoever brings the playing equipment — and refreshments. This player outlines a fairway and green in the sand and establishes par. He or she also decides the order of play, whether a putt can be re-hit in mid-roll if it’s headed into the Atlantic, and if penalties incur. Rules can even change mid-swing. The leader also keeps the score, a job that virtually guarantees a lopsided win.

 

HALF RUBBER

Although it’s been played for at least 90 years, no one can say where half rubber started. Charleston claims to be the official birthplace, but so does Florence, Myrtle Beach and Savannah. As its name suggests, half rubber is played with half of a rubber ball. Some purists say the proper tool to produce this object is a deli-style meat slicer. Just shave off pieces of a rubber ball until the desired shape is reached. (Those pieces make handy coasters.) But if you don’t know a deli owner, a pocket knife will serve nicely. Next, you need about four feet of a broomstick. You can even buy a stick and half a ball prepackaged, but purists may razz you about your store-bought equipment.

Play requires three or more people. If you play with three, it’s every man for himself. If more, you divide into teams. One person pitches, one catches and a third stands between them swinging the stick. The half-ball’s unique shape results in dips and curves. Making contact is so difficult, any hit is considered a single. A miss is a strike, unless the catcher also catches it, which makes it an out. By some rules, a tipped ball caught by the catcher counts as two outs. You’re also out after three strikes or if you hit a fly that’s caught. Three outs and your inning is over. The game continues until reaching a pre-agreed number of innings, until the half rubber disappears down a storm drain, or until happy hour starts.

 

BOCCE

bocce

Egyptians played a Bocce-like game 7000 years ago, but credit for the modern version goes to the Italians. The pallina is a small ball. A player from one team throws it a few yards away and then two teams alternately throw larger balls at it. Points are scored by landing your ball close to the pallina. The more balls you leave inside your opponents’ closest ball, the more points you score. Spocking (or bombing) is the art of hitting an opponent’s close ball and knocking it into the Mediterranean, or whatever ocean you have handy. This aspect of the game also translates nicely to Charleston. While bocce is usually played on a finely manicured lawn, in Charleston, it’s played on the beach. This leads to some interesting play, with challenges such as sand dunes, tidal pools, sunbathers, sand castles, shells and the incoming or outgoing tide.

Beach golf, bocce and half rubber add their charm to the many other unique Lowcountry traditions that once led a Civil War era statesman to describe South Carolina as a place “too small to be a republic and too large to be an asylum.” Regardless of the implications of that statement, Charlestonians are happy with their games and are unimpressed by how anyone plays them anywhere else.

 

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Cannonborough-Elliotborough

Cannonborough-Elliotborough is an up-and-coming transitional neighborhood populated by students, young professionals and long-time local families. Rife with redevelopment, it offers some of the more affordable housing (both fixer-uppers and renovations) on the Charleston peninsula, as well as a number of hip restaurants, corner stores and cocktail joints all within walking distance.

 

LOCATION

Located on the downtown Charleston peninsula, the Cannonborough-Elliotborough neighborhood is bordered by the Crosstown (Septima P. Clark) Espressway on the north, Bee and Morris Streets to the South, President Street on the east and King Street to the west. Rutledge Avenue creates the boundary between Cannonborough to its west and Elliottborough to its east, but today, the two neighborhoods function as one with no border. Much of the land was originally marsh that has since been filled in. Major roads include Spring, Rutledge, Bogard and Line Streets. The MUSC campus, College of Charleston, Charleston School of Law, Upper King Street and the Crosstown–with access to all areas of Charleston–are all nearby.

 

HISTORY

The area was first settled 1785 by Col. Barnard Elliot, a planter and member of the Provincial Congress for whom Elliotborough is named. Cannonborough is named after Daniel Cannon, a carpenter and mechanic who owned several lumber mills in the area. Throughout its history, it has been populated by blue-collar workers and ethnic groups. As agriculture gave way to industry in the mid-19th century, lumber mills and shipping and rail lines moved into the area to take advantage of its lower costs. With them came blue-collar workers, immigrants of various ethnicities and freed slaves. German, Irish, Polish and Jewish residents lived alongside African-American and working-class whites.

During the mid-20th century, Cannonborough-Elliotborough experienced the same “white flight” as other American cities, and became largely African American. The completion of the Crosstown in 1967 disrupted the residential climate of the area and furthered its decline throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Today, the neighborhood is experiencing a revitalization that is returning it to its roots with a mix of workers, students, older residents and young families. The recent conversion of Cannon and Spring Streets from one-way thoroughfares to two-way traffic seeks to further encourage community growth.

 

NOTABLE BUILDINGS

Cannonborough-Elliotborough has always been known for its vernacular architecture rather than the grand mansions and gardens in other parts of historic Charleston. However, it does have its own noteworthy structures. For example, it contains a high concentration of the city’s remaining Freedman’s cottages. Charleston single houses and Victorian homes dwell next to more modern structures. While the area is mostly residential, churches and small local businesses also dot the area. And it has a greater concentration of corner stores than other parts of downtown Charleston.

 

CANNONBOROUGH-ELLIOTBOROUGH RESTAURANTS

In the past few years, several of these corner stores and other structures have become home to local favorite joints as well as new and exciting culinary concepts. Residents and visitors alike flock to the area to enjoy restaurants including:

Cannonborough-Elliotborough even has its fair share of fine dining such as:

Disher, Hamrick & Myers has a single house for sale in Elliotborough at 45 Ashe Street. If you are looking to join a diverse, growing community where property values are still relatively reasonable for downtown Charleston, consider making his neighborhood your new home.

View All Homes For Sale in Cannonborough-Elliotborough

 

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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 9 Bogard Street. If this style historic home appeals to you, contact us for a showing!

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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!

View All Homes For Sale on Upper King

 

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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. We also have a condo at 63 Rutledge Avenue. 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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