Category Archives: Conde Naste
“Times, they are a changin.” Azaleas in January and February? Yes, at least here in Charleston. We cannot keep it back. Like the rising sea levels, spring keeps on coming. Preston and I got married April 9, TWENTY FIVE YEARS AGO this coming April! Our Silver Wedding Anniversary. I am such a lover of silver but I cannot think of A THING I need. When we got married in April, we had photos taken across the street from St. Philip’s in the grave yard because the azaleas were in full bloom. This is February, not March or April, and they are in bloom now! Consider the fig tree… Now the promoters of Charleston tourism do not want you to know this flower report because they are afraid you will cancel your plans for the spring tour season. Do not cancel. We will have plenty else in bloom then. I am just saying that you should come quick, NOW, if you can. You will have the Holy City (and me) to yourself! It is empty of visitors and is so beautiful, especially a treat not to be delayed for those in blizzard and freezing conditions up North and out West.
We have had nonstop rain, but now the sun is out, and the sky is a deep blue, illuminating what looked so gray, now transformed to brilliant colors. White By the Gate is my glorious, snowy white camellia in bloom in the back garden right by the back steps, so white it is an affront to all impurity. Our Old Charleston Carolina Gray brick wall has green moss appliqued by time on rose brick making that brick more than just building material. The very bricks have become saturated with emanations of heroism. What deeds of sacrifice and patient toil have gone into this city’s making and preservation! Charleston is a City Mellowed By Time, as captured by the Charleston Renaissance artist, Elizabeth O’Neill Verner. Once you get Charleston under your skin, she gets in your blood, bidding you to return, like a pilgrimage to refresh the soul and to set it in order, or as a lover with her siren call. As a vegetable lady street vender with her wheel barrow said who went away and then moved back,”Chas’n keep dem uda places from seemin natchel.” Ain’t it just the trute!
I discovered a new shop that I had only run past and noted before. It is hidden away on Burns Lane between Meeting and King, The Hidden Countship. It is actually owned by count and countess. (My brother’s Godson, Edward Scarborough, works there. His father and I sailed together on the sailing team at the College of Charleston, he the senior and i the lowly freshman.) The Count and Countess were in Savannah, leaving for Italy, when someone challenged them to come to Charleston saying they had not seen the South if they had not been here, and so close to Savannah. They delayed their return home a day, came to Charleston, and bought a house here the next day! They prefer Charleston to anywhere in Italy! Wow! No wonder Conde Naste voted the same way, with Charleston being the number one destination in The Whole Wide World! We are blessed beyond measure! A delightful retired Dartmouth professor, Dr.D’Lia, on my tour introduced me to this shop. It is filled with interesting things, new and old. I have a painting of an Italian villa, La Peggio, in an arch over my dining room door, which they have on their ad card.
For those who go on my Shop Till You Drop Antiques Tour, it is added! You can see my most recent purchase, a functional piece of equipment, an 18th century mahogany linen press. It is in the humble butler’s pantry, a room newly wallpapered along with my dining room in Fra Angelica’s glistening gold as in San Marco in Florence. The light has to be right in both places to capture it. I am using the linen press for storage of cookbooks and crystal and china, but also for additional counter space! The trays slide out, one inch high, so as to provide additional space to plate food when the marble counters are full of dishes. A practical piece it is, for me to enjoy using as well as regarding from the kitchen. Thank you, Lord, and thank you, the guests on my tour! I am enjoying the fruits of my labor.
If you cannot find an affordable place big enough, I have a vacation rental by owner in downtown Charleston some of you may wish to consider. It is booked for most of May but has openings for the last week of February and most of March. It is listed with Home Away # 5127820805, and VRBO #404882 as Charleston Tea Party Private Tour Launches Vacation Rental. I has 3 bedrooms, a living room, dining area, and a full kitchen, and two full baths. It sleeps up to 7. I have enjoyed furnishing it with vintage finds from Charleston antique shops and estate sales. It is not luxurious, but is easy, with a two car garage, unheard of in Charleston. It is within walking distance of Hominy Grill, a popular restaurant where you must have fried grits. It is better than it sounds! there is also a free trolley pick up a minute walk away to take you all over the historic city’s peninsula.
I love it when people can stay a week, not because I make more money, but because you get free nights if you stay past 4 days! I want you to come and experience what it is like to live here. My vacation rental is for those who make Charleston part of their spiritual renewal, what keeps them hanging on. Times they are a changin, but Charleston just improves, like a good rich wine. Come! Drink deeply! Call me for a tour or a stay or both at 843-577-5896–Laura Wichmann Hipp
Filed under Antiques Shop Til We Drop Tour, artist Elizabeth O'Neill Verner, Charleston is world's top spot, Conde Naste, for foodies, Gardening, Gullah Culture, heart tug, historic churches of Charleston, Other Places, Restaurants, shopping basket, Vacation Rental By Owner, wheel barrow, Where to Shop, Where to Stay
Today we read in the Post and Courier that international Conde Nast Travel readers have voted Charleston the top destination IN THE WORLD! Readers judge cities on a five point scale; their composite scores determine the outcome. Thank you to all who hold Charleston, the Holy City, in that sacred place of your hearts. Thank you to my friends in Charleston who allow me to bring you, my guests, into their old and historic private properties, to gain a glimpse behind the scenes, behind the gates and piazza doors, into a world that can be entered only by invited guests. Where else in the world is there such hospitality? God preserve us from that suffocating fear of liability, which is death to our renowned Southern hospitality.
We are humbled by this designation of top in America and top in the world. Cape Town South Africa is second to Charleston. Florence, Italy is third. In the United States, San Francisco is second, Chicago is third, Santa Fe, New Mexico is fourth, New York City is fifth, and Savannah, Georgia is tenth. ”It’s the history, the restaurants, the historical churches, and the graveyards. We always find something we have never seen before.” ”It’s like heaven.” These are some of the quotes in today’s paper. The Holy City of Charleston is working her way into people’s hearts across the world. As the world changes, Charleston matures like an old wine, getting more and more full bodied. Our Judea-Christian family values make this city the place of depth and heritage it is. To experience the restaurants and bars and shops is to know only the superficial surface.
The view of Charleston I try to give on my tour is the view we have who have been born and raised here. I cannot give you any other view than that of a native Charlestonian. What you get on my tour is the real Laura Wichmann Hipp. I do not try to be someone I am not; everybody else is already taken. As an ambassador of Charleston to the world, I try to give you that bird’s eye view of history as it relates to American and European history and to where we are today and where we are going. If we do not learn the lessons from history, we will be doomed to repeat them. Our LIBERTY was bought at a price by the sacrifice and patient toil of many individuals. To understand who and where we are today, we must look back at the patterns of history. Thank God for Charleston’s creation and preservation, and for all the blessings of this life, but above all for that inestimable love that sets Charleston apart as the Holy City in our hearts.
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