Pixie Lilly is headquartered in Charleston and owned and operated by Leda Jackson. Pixie Lily's heirloom Pima cotton line of clothing is one of Leda's best sellers and one that will make babies much happier when the thermometer rises. A comfortably-clothed infant also makes strolling historic Charleston a much more enjoyable experience for parents. Among Charleston's legendary stories and sayings is the amusing "baby delivery tradition" of Calmers Street, which is the city's longest cobblestone street. According to an old Charleston gag, if a woman is pregnant and past her expected delivery date, the sure solution is a fast ride in a car down bumpy Chalmers, which once had a baby store at the end of the street.
Downtown Charleston has dozens and dozens of fine restaurants to chose from, and it's easy to pick a different exceptional place each night of the week. Lunch time is a little different, considering most people are ready to eat and don't want to linger by the bar waiting for a table. I recommend Blossom Restaurant on East Bay Street as a great midday break. It's located in the historic French Quarter, and within a few blocks of many of the Charleston's most historic sites; there's free parking right next door in a spacious lot; and the menu is good blend of sandwiches, and medium-sized entrees for filling up without wanting to take a nap. I really like the cozy, stylish feel of the dining room, and there's outdoor seating in a courtyard as well. During tourist season, which is really from February through October, you might want to call about an hour ahead to reserve a table at 722-9200.
Any time of year is worth a visit to Charleston gardens, and one of the best is at Magnolia Plantation on highway 61. The main gardens were created in the 1700's from old rice fields and are interlaced with ponds and walking bridges overlooking banks of flowers and flocks of ducks and swans. On the other side of the property is the Audubon Swamp Garden, an extensive cypress swamp with wlaking trails past giant trees and wild blooms, as well as a myriad of colorful wildlife that abounds in the swamp environement.
May is a merry month with the scintillating spectacle of Spoleto. This international arts festival attracts some of the cutting-edge talent from around the world with new offerings and traditional classics in music, art, dance, theater and any number of other performances. An annual favorite is the Chamber Music series at the Dock Street Theater, which has featured such stars as Joshua Bell and Jean Yves Thibedet. There's also an exceitment in attending the outdoor performances in such compelling locations as the Custom House overlooking the harbor, the oak-canopied cistern at the College of Charleston green, and the grand fireworks finale at Middleton Place and its famed terraced garden.
The grand homes along Charleston's "Battery Row" have some great stories. The Roper House at #9 still has a large section of a Civil War cannon in its attic. The gun was blown up by evacuating Confederates in 1865, and a massive part of the barrel flew over two big houses and became a top-story fixture. The Roper House also has earthquake plates fashioned in the form of lions heads on its front facade. Next door at number 13(so numbered because these are double lots), the Ravenel House has a peculiar protruding basement. It once supported a two-story portico with Corinthian columns, which collapsed during Charleston's 1886 earthquake. One of the big column capitals, which is the top ornamented section for those of you architecturally-challenged, was not found after the earthquake and presumed lost, but when Hurricane Gracie knocked down a big sidewalk oak tree in 1959, the capital was there in the upturned roots, having been buried by the force of its fall 73 years earlier. More to come…