We got a late start last Thursday morning but we made in time to sign up for a noon carriage ride with Classic Carriage. As we boarded the carriage and waited to be assigned our route, our tour guide told us how all the carriage companies had to shut down on Monday and Tuesday of that week because the temperature had gone above 98 degrees. The horses are not allowed to work when the temperature gets that high. In addition, if the temperature goes back down, it has to stay down for a half hour before the tours can start up again.
She also told us how no more than thirty, I think, carriages are allowed on the streets at any one time. In addition, there are four routes that the carriages can take, routes one through four. The route the carriage takes depends on what lotto ball pops up.
Yeah, you read that right. A lotto ball. There is this little building (a hut might be a better term) on the corner of a parking lot on North Market Street where all the carriages que up. This hut is manned by an individual with a small lotto ball machine that pops up a ball now and then with a number designating the carriage’s route.
Once our lotto ball popped up assigning us route number one, we were headed down State Street. One of the first things we passed was this cobblestone street.
Fun fact – those cobblestones came from England. Ships would come to the States to buy goods but could not cross the “Pond” without a bit of weight in the belly of their ships to keep the vessel balanced and upright during the crossing. So, when they arrived in port, the cobblestones were removed and placed in the streets.
We continued on to Rainbow Row.
These are only a couple of the houses built right next to one another in the 1700s. Originally in the heart of the commerce area of Charleston, these homes once housed stores on the first floor and the owners then lived in the floors above. By the 1920s and 1930s these homes had fallen into serious disrepair and were purchased, renovated, and painted a variety of warm pastel colors.
Moving onto many of the other large homes in the area we learned that these houses often had gardens off to the side to help cut down on the odors prevalent back then. Think about it, horses, heat and no street sweepers. I won’t even go into the lack of every day bathing by the people walking around at that time.
Anyway, I am sure your nose is wrinkling as you imagine the aromas of city dwelling in the past. A garden with crepe myrtles, roses and various other fragrant flora and fauna would definitely be in high demand.
As we continued on, our guide showed us what turned out to be my favorite part of the tour.
I forget exactly how long this man has been painted on the side of a building but it has been there for quite sometime and no one has dared to paint over this unusual character. Check him out. Do you see all the hats?
After thanking our fabulous tour guide and her equine companion, we headed over to the Charleston City Market, also called the open air market, situated between North and South Market Streets.
The land upon which the Market sits was ceded by Charles Coatworth Pickney in 1788 to the City of Charleston as long as a public market was built on the site and remained in use as a public market into perpetuity.
And, it is still there today with a lot of great vendors selling some new stuff . . .
and some vintage ideas . . .
The girls greatly enjoyed checking out all the different booths. I believe the last of their dollars they had for the trip were spent at the Market. Though, not on any pet rocks.
Check back in tomorrow. I have more to tell!