I don’t think you ever think of a big city as sweet or community, but there are cities that I think of as charming and particular and interesting cities. I live in one now, Charleston. ~ Anne Rivers Siddons (author)
Charleston, South Carolina is most certainly a charming city. With its history, elegance, beautiful architecture, and reminiscence of times gone by, it’s not a surprise that this is one of the top travel destinations in the World. Combined with its location in the beautiful coastal region of South Carolina and the ever growing and impressive food and dining scene, Charleston offers something for everyone as a travel destination.
While the town is undergoing quite a bit of change and growth due to its popularity and the tourism industry, we still find the real charm in much of what Charleston is really about, the history of the city itself. One of the places to truly experience the history and elegance of Charleston is a stay at Wentworth Mansion.
Wentworth Mansion, a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World and Charming Inns (a local Charleston and family-run business) is a stunning historic property located in a quiet neighborhood of Charleston. A tribute to the Gilded Age and the classic grandeur and architecture of Charleston in the mid to late 1800s, Wentworth Mansion was recently named the #1 Small City Hotel in the U.S. and the #12 Best Small Hotel in the World by Travel & Leisure World’s Best Awards 2012. It is a delight to walk in the door of this property and step back in time.
The mansion was built 126 years ago as a 21-room private home for the wealthy Rodgers family of Charleston. Frances Silas Rodgers and his wife, Marie Elizabeth Evans Cochran, raised their thirteen children in this stately and elegant home. With it’s incredible history, stunning architecture, exceptional hand carved woodwork and marble fireplaces with impeccable detail, this is a very special place from which to experience Charleston.
Having changed hands several times over the years, the mansion was purchased in 1997 by the current owner, Richard Wildman (of the Charming Inns group), who did extensive restoration work while adding modern features. Combining the beauty of the old world with amenities that one expects from a newer 5-star hotel, such as luxurious bathrooms, a relaxing spa, and fine dining restaurant, you can experience the best of both worlds at this property. Retaining much of the rustic charm and character of the original carriage house and horse stables on the grounds, you can still see the heart-of-pine floors and exposed beams in the spa and at their renowned restaurant, Circa 1886.
Our stay at Wentworth Mansion felt more like a visit to a country manor house rather than a hotel or inn. The service is excellent but unobtrusive. With an afternoon wine and hor d’oeuvres hour, guests are invited to sit and relax in Harleston Parlor, while chatting with the hotel’s Assistant Manger, Kenneth Sorenson, to learn more about the history of the original owners and their home. After settling in for a visit in the parlor, take a short stroll to the hotel’s elegant restaurant, Circa 1886.
Executive Chef Marc Collin’s locally focused cuisine is innovative and beautifully presented in a romantic setting. As one of the chefs who has been instrumental in creating the burgeoning food scene in Charleston, Chef Collins also had the dream to create the Charleston Wine & Food Festival. This dream became a reality in 2006. Today, the festival is one of the country’s premier wine and food events.
Prior to retiring for the day, perhaps enjoy a glass of port, sherry, or brandy as the Silas family may have done over one hundred years ago. To end your evening, sweet dreams will be assured with housemade chocolates by Circa 1886 and turndown service on one of the most comfortable beds you will ever sleep in.
Before enjoying a full complimentary breakfast to begin your day of sightseeing in the city, be sure to take a walk up to the top of the mansion’s cupola for an early morning’s rare rooftop view of the city of Charleston. The rooftop also the perfect place to enjoy a glass of wine as the sun sets over the Holy City in the evening. This is a sunrise or sunset that you won’t want to miss and will never forget.
Late spring and early summer is the perfect time to visit Charleston; everything is in bloom and the temperatures are moderate. The chefs and restaurants are able to source gorgeous local produce and seafood with the change of seasons for their Lowcountry cuisine. Of course, any time is a great time of year to visit Charleston. Spring, summer, fall, or winter. It holds a special place in our hearts and is one of our favorite destinations. In fact, we are traveling there this coming weekend for the Charleston Food Film Festival.
An important note – Wentworth Mansion is pet friendly, for those of you who wish to bring your pets with you to Charleston.
* Disclosure – Wentworth Mansion provided a media package for our visit. I was not asked to write any articles about my stay and have in no way been compensated. The opinions expressed regarding our experience are my own.
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