Charleston Heritage Federation Passport

Betsey Geier

Keely Laughlin Photography

We might not always appreciate it, but we’re lucky to live in such a beautiful and historic town. Charleston is full of plantations, museums and historic homes. But, how many of you have actually visited the Gibbes Museum or driven out to Middleton Place? How many of you have even heard of the Nathaniel Russell House?

I hate to admit that until recently, I had not been to any of these sites. And, I’ve lived here for seven years.

Thankfully, I had the opportunity to learn about Charleston’s essential historic, architectural and cultural sites through the Charleston Area Convention and Vistor’s Bureau’s Charleston Heritage Federation Passport.

The Heritage Passport is your literal ticket to Charleston’s nine best spots including five historic houses, two plantations and two museums.

With all the rain popping up in Charleston lately, this summer has been the perfect time to take the dive and be a tourist in my own town. But, this is also a good thing to keep in mind when your parents come to town and ask you what they should do while you’re in class, at work, or day drinking at Revelry.

Other than Middleton Place and Drayton Hall, the sites are all perfect for rainy days. I decided to pop into the Gibbes first.

Keely Laughlin Photography

Gibbes Museum of Art

Click here to read a full recap of my visit.

Charleston has a rich art history dating back to the 1700s. In 1790, Charleston was the fourth wealthiest city. Due to the busy seaport and frequent global trade, it was a melting pot of culture, religion, and tradition.

The Gibbes has both a permanent collection of art and traveling exhibitions. During my visit, the featured exhibit was Radcliffe Bailey: Pensive (on display until September 16, 2018).

Don’t forget to stop in the new The Daily café before or after your visit to the Gibbes. Since it was flooding the day I went, I picked up an Americano on my way to the Nathaniel Russell House.

Keely Laughlin Photography 

The Nathaniel Russell House 

Click here to read a full recap of my visit.

The Nathaniel Russell House is a national historic landmark and was completed in 1808. Every detail inside the house has been restored to its original splendor.

The centerpiece of this house is its floating three-story staircase. It’s an architectural marvel with each cantilevered step supporting the one above and below it.

Keely Laughlin Photography 

Middleton Place

Click here to read a full recap of my visit.

Middleton Place is one of the most photogenic spots in all of Charleston. In 1741, Henry Middleton began to create his gardens to reflect the grand classic style of Europe and England. It follows inspiration and principles of Andre Le Notre, who is laid out the gardens at the Palace of Versailles. This style focuses on rational order, geometry, and balance.

You will also see sculptures, like The Four Seasons, throughout the expansive Gardens.

In addition to the Gardens and sweeping views of the Ashley River, visitors can explore the rice mill, the spring house and plantation chapel, and Eliza’s house. No visit to Middleton Place would be complete without a stop in the stables. Not only will you see pigs, goats, horses, cows, sheep, chicken, and barn cats, you can witness first-hand how eighteenth-century tradesmen would create furniture and tools.

Thanks to Keely Laughlin Photography for the images.