Category Archives: Charleston real estate
I have smoked and slow cooked my first wild boar. I feel like one of the boys now. The hardwood charcoal did the job along with Albert Heyward who shot the young thing from our land in the country. I smoked it with hickory chips on our simple round charcoal grill in the back garden. Actually it is the pork that flavored our okra soup this week, though I was afraid to admit it.
Tackling a wild boar, even though a small one is Nothing compared to tackling twenty five years of marriage to the same man, Preston Hipp! Now that is Wild! Our silver anniversary is today and I did not need a thing. What did The Man do? He gave me silver, naturally, from Croghans, no less, a well worn path created for his mother by his father, Charles Rucker Hipp. Preston’s family came to Charleston because of the Heywards, whose ancestor Thomas Heyward signed the Declaration of Independence., whose descendant shot that wild boar, you see. What was the silver he gave me? Come and see! It is something I do not have and something I will always cherish. Two gifts actually. He was giddy with excitement like the young man he was when he had the diamond ring in his pocket for a few weeks before he asked me to marry him.
He gave me this morning at breakfast an old silver basket lined in an etched glass vase for which I picked the last of the daffodils on John’s Island. It had arrived that very day to Croghans. But then he saw a silver jar to hold tea leaves he thought, a tea caddy, and Lover that he is, he bought that for me, too. I asked why both, why not one or the other. He said he liked that one and wanted me to have that, too. I will keep it on the tea tray cart to add more tea when serving. The real miracle he said is that they are from the man who the real estate market has not been kind to these last few years. A silver wedding anniversary only comes around once. We have the silver punch bowl that was the silver anniversary gift from Mr. Harleston to his wife, Frances, from Birlant’s Antique store where he proudly bought it. That punch bowl graced many a table for church events as I was growing up before she passed it on to me. Little did I know that in referring to it as their silver wedding anniversary gift, I was setting a standard for my own.
A day of wine and roses it has been. Kind thoughts of guests for today’s Charleston Tea Party Private Tour, and friends…but then my husband says we should share the hurts of life, lest all should think we live behind a veneer of perfection. My beloved mother, who has kept the walking tour going until last spring, is turning into an octogenarian this month. She alas has begun this week treatment for the C word in her throat we all hate. My own husband, 53, the most loved and best looking man in Charleston, fit as a fiddle, has that prostate C word, too.
We are not immune to the visisitudes of life; but we are blessed with a community of life as it should be being lived out. It is not just a shell of a city of historic houses. There is a heritage of the faith of our fathers that runs deep and steadies us still. It is an attitude of gratitude. Come, partake; eat and drink. You will leave us wiser than when you came.
On this dark night, there is a light shining making the hearts of many who look to us in Charleston glad. The first Greek Revival church in Charleston has been saved from being sold and made into a house and income producing (church) offices, shops and apartments. The young and vibrant congregation of Redeemer Presbyterian Church closed today at the last minute on St. Andrews Lutheran Church on lower Wentworth St between Meeting and East Bay. It was bought from the 16 remaining of the old congregation who had joined another church and want to build a new church away from the historic city.
Many thanks to the people on my tour, especially the 50th birthday friends of Lisa from Tallahassee, Florida, the first who gave to keep this church a church. Thank you to others on my tour who wrote checks to Redeemer Church instead of to me. The congregation is of students at the College of Charleston, medical students, young people and young married couples who have committed to paying the loan of 1.6 million dollars! That is a big commitment; that’s what you call a leap of faith! It’s enough to make anybody want to help. This is the congregation that will see Charleston and America into the future. They support with groceries Lowcountry Crisis Ministries; they go and play with the kids of homeless shelter. They have Cru, young people who walk on the beach to interact with those needing spiritual guidance, the modern takeoff of Campus Crusade for Christ. They are dynamic movers and shakers, as the church should be, with reports of those reached being given on Sundays. They also sing beautifully with all those young pure voices. Craig Bailey is the upbeat, optimistic minister who is so comfortable being completely himself, trusting in the hilarious favor of the Giver of all good things. No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly!
If Charleston cannot keep our churches holy, then there is no hope for anywhere else. The world looks to us to get it right. We are the City on a hill whose light cannot be hid. The impossible has happened. Cheers to all who made the sacrifices and commitments to make this purchase possible. Now that the property is Redeemer’s, the sky’s the limit on all the ideas they will have time and place to explore. While this is not my church, I do visit and encourage you to do the same . The light is shining more brightly this All Hallows Eve in Charleston, pushing back the darkness. Let me know if you are interested in seeing this church on my tour and I will make a detour as I occasionally do. It has some of the most beautiful stained glass in the city. Mayor Riley, who has been mayor of Charleston for 40 years, as a boy sat under the stained glass window of an angel with arms crossed with his grandmother growing up. He too has been supportive in wanting to see this church preserved as a functioning church. Each person makes a difference.
close up of rice bed with carved rice sheathes
- Rice Bed, a queen size, in master bedroom
- twin beds
- oriental rug in main room with day bed
- A nice spot for tea.
Where: Historic Charleston on Ashley Avenue in Radcliffborough
Cost: One thousand dollars a week, or $250 a night, two night minimum.
How many does it sleep? Up to seven people in three bedrooms, perfect for friends, two to three couples, or a family.
How many bathrooms? There two full baths with original black and white tiled floors.
Is there a kitchen? Yes, with a brand new refrigerator, an electric oven and stove, pots and pans, and vintage dishes with newly restored oak cabinets
Is there a dining room? Yes and a table and chairs, and silver knives and forks.
Do we get breakfast? Yes, when you come on my tour; otherwise, you are on your own as if you live here. I will start you off with farm fresh eggs in the fridge from friends David and Becky’s plantation, Live Oak. Our God son, their little boy, sells them to us. I will also leave you some of my home made calamondin marmalade with home made bread.
Will there be a coffee maker? I ain’t know not’n about making coffee; I’m the Tea Lady! But I will concede to a coffee maker, as well as an essential tea pot and some of our best locally blended coffee and teas. The family of four I first rented to have a 9 yr old daughter who said to be sure to say they love the mint iced tea I left in the fridge.
Does it have bed bugs? Good question! A resounding NO! After my children came home with bed bug bites from a very special stay in the New York City Yacht Club a few years ago with a member friend, I realized they can be found in the best places! These are brand new top quality mattresses and box springs with Old Charleston frames. One is a Queen size four poster ”rice bed”, another is a full Victorian white Jenny Lind or Spool styled wooden frame bed, and then there are twins with white servants – dorm style metal as seen in Downton Abbey. The rice bed was a gift from our groomsman George Kanellos for our honeymoon in his hand hewn log cabin, one of the oldest houses in South Carolina. (That is where history was made)! There are vintage linens and an oriental rug carefully chosen from Charleston antique shops.
Are there furniture and closets to put our things in so that we are not living out of a suitcase? Yes. Lots. Do unpack and make that suitcase disappear! It effects the psyche.
How did you decide to do this venture?
This apartment my husband owns just came vacant. At the same time, Fodor voted Charleston their top destination in the continental United States. This acclaim was after the same designation from Conde Naste. I received a call for my tour from Sweden from Anika, coming for a week in spring with her family, considering a stay in North Charleston for a week for a thousand dollars. I suggested some of my friends places closer in to the historic district, which they are coming all the way here to enjoy, but they were all booked or too expensive for the week. This vacation rentals by owner came up at City Council as well; what to do? If we will serve it, they will come, said City Council! It met with approval.
There is an alignment here. My real estate father agrees my proposal is good. My real estate investor husband agrees to let me have a go at it; consequently, I am launching our first vacation rental by owner. My husband bought it the same year and month I bought my first house, while we were still dating, in the late ’80′s. He rented in the historic house right across the street and looked out on this property. We both knew it was time for a big step in life, so instead of stepping up to the marriage altar, we stepped up to our first real estate purchase. I lived in mine on Legare Street. He continued living cheaply in his apartment he was renting in the old Victorian house across the street, which enabled him to invest in this property in the first place, while working to restore it; as a result, this property is tied close to his heart and has received a lot of his manly attention.
Is it the most charming property in Charleston? No, to be honest. I take you to those on my tour. But I am adding my personal touch to what is there to make it charming.
Does it have ANY Old Charleston charm? Yes, the kind of thing you can pass by every day and not notice if your eye is not trained to look for beauty.
Like what? Like the herring bone brick work on the front stoop, with specs of green moss appliqued by time that makes that brick more than just building material. A peace stills into ones heart; the very bricks speak of being home at last in the way that only Old Charleston can. There are deliberately exposed heart pine beams in the dining room off the kitchen, showing the age and construction of this old house, which my husband is proud to have exposed in restoration work himself.
Is there a room with a view? Yes! The windows look out on historic Charleston houses, one next door of 18th century Old Charleston Carolina Gray Brick, as poet EVH said, “poetry in brick”, and an Old Charleston plum colored slate roof. Another is the spacious house and garden across the street where lived Robert and Irene Dixon, Irene having been born in that house over a hundred years ago. Husband Preston rented a room from them and was beloved by this childless couple, both tennis pros, now passed away.
Is there off street parking? Yes, in back is the garage for two cars.
Is there internet access? Yes.
Is smoking allowed? Absolutely not. Smokers will be fined $250 a day.
Are pets allowed. I am sorry but no. I love my dog, but he goes to doggy resort when we leave town.
What is it near? It is near the trendy shops on Cannon, the Orthodox synagogue on Rutledge, the Medical University of Charleston, and Ashley Hall girls school, which was the urban plantation home to George Trenholm, the real Rhett Butler, blockade runner and all. It is also near some of our popular casual restaurants, Hominy Grill, Lana, Fuel, and Five Loaves. Marion Square, home of the Farmer’s Market, is nearby, as well as Sugar, a great tiny bakery on Cannon St where you can get the tarts and scones for a picnic tea party! I have a picnic basket ready for you.
How do we make inquiries and bookings? By phone. Call me at 843-577-5896; leave me a message with dates and I will call you back. Do not ask me questions here . I hope this offering will induce people who love Charleston to be able to stay as long as a week. There is so much to explore. We have something new for your eyes to see of an old city still left that time forgot and yet is full and vibrant, the Holy City of Charleston. If you come in a receptive mood, you will leave us wiser than when you came, for the streets of Charleston are full of delights, mellowed by time, which make life forever richer.
–Laura Wichmann Hipp 843-577-5896