Charleston, South Carolina
- THE DEFINITION OF SOUTHERN CHARM -
Charleston is known for its historical sites, and John Rutledge House Inn (JRH) boasts its history proudly while meeting all of the needs of the modern day traveler. The Inn dates back to 1763 and was the home of John Rutledge, jurist and politician, who constructed the home as a wedding gift to his wife, for entertaining guests. Rutledge himself spent his time in politics fighting for the cause of the American Revolution. He was one of the representatives to assist in writing the petition to the British House of Lords to demand the repeal of the Stamp Act, a movement that was foundational to the American assertion of self-governance. Rutledge was instrumental in founding the South Carolinian government and served as South Carolina's first governor.
The building itself is charming, with unique wrought iron detailing across the front deck and columns in the back. During the Civil War, part of the top story was blasted apart by a cannon ball and was later rebuilt. Since the building was initially built to entertain guests, containing a ballroom, library, and other various areas, each room that is now a guest suite is unique in layout and interior. From the blue room with a "king bed so large you could bowl on it" to a double queen pink room facing sunrise. You have countless options.
My stay at the JRH began with dinner at Circa 1886, their sister restaurant located on the property of Wentworth Mansion and walking distance from the Inn. When you stay at JRH, you can get a discounted three course meal at Circa with wine pairings, and it would be a mistake to miss out on!
The restaurant is located in the old carriage house on Wentworth Mansion property. Upon entering the restaurant, the fine etiquette, class, and intimate space draw you straight into the past. Denis served me at the bar, and he knew the history of the place through and through. The meal was delivered course by course, with wines selected by the chef, and it closed with an espresso martini. Bon Appetit!
The most striking and unique feature of the JRH is definitely the hospitality. Upon pulling up in my uber, Addison, the concierge, emerged to carry my bags up the stairs. He explained to me that I could enjoy an afternoon tea from 4:30-5:30 with hors d'euorves and brandy in the evenings. If I wished to have breakfast brought to my room, I need only to fill out a door-hanger and leave my requests on my handle before 11:00 pm the night before. Then, he gave me a key and carried my bags to my room.
Throughout my stay, I got to know three difference concierge gentlemen, Jim, John, and Addison, and the Innkeeper, Nicki. Maurice delivered breakfast and the newspaper in the mornings, which came with tea in a kettle, yogurt with fruit, and an omelette styled according to my preferences. I felt like Ms. Darcy enjoying the luxuries of Pemberley Estate.
Three Favorites: Afternoon Tea
Afternoon Tea: From 4:30-5:30 every day, the Inn has tea available in the ballroom, a well-lit space with games, food, and historical artifacts. The weather was lovely, and so the balcony accessible from the ballroom was a perfect place to enjoy the evening and early, winter sunset.
Three Favorites: Downtown Location
The JRH is in a prime location. Right next to the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, I was able to attend mass whenever I wished, and the restaurants along Market Street, the French Quarter, and South of Broad were all easily walkable. On a sunny day, the Battery Park would make a lovely walk from the JRH, and if you were staying over a second Sunday of the month, you would be only minutes from the King Street farmer's market.
Three Favorites: Southern Charm
It is rare that you feel so welcomed in a place. My sincerest thanks to everyone at the JRH for attending me with warmth, kindness, and generosity of spirit. The intimate space encouraged conversation, and you all did not disappoint. I was sad to leave. Until next time!