Once we returned to shore and visited the shore museum, we drove on to get a carriage ride. These we could catch near the old city market. Mum was thrilled to see they had a private carriage ready to go – for a mere $150 for an hour’s ride. Not feeling quite that rich, the three of us opted to go to the Old South Carriage Barn, and took a ride in the ‘bus’ version, which could seat 12 brave souls behind a gray-white horse named Bob, who was being directed by a great guide named Dustin.
There are 32 carriages in the city, but only 20 are permitted on the street at any one time. So we had a brief wait, before going off from the city center market towards the churches, through the historic streets, and on to the Battery at the end of the peninsula that the city clings to. The talk was quite informative, as he noted any building over 75 years old is considered an old house, and therefore cannot be demolished.
They vary of course, from the colorful and fanciful to the more mundane, all built from brick, since stone is so rare that it was shipped in from New Jersey. Some buildings were covered with a façade to make it look like stone, but wood was a rarity, due to fire hazards, and insect damage. Not to mention water damage – Charleston is below sea level in places, and surely any major storm would flood these narrow streets.