For an evocative glimpse into antebellum plantation life in South Carolina, visit the historic Aiken-Rhett House in Charleston. The only surviving urban plantation, the 1818 townhouse complex has changed little since it was expanded in 1858 by Governor William Aiken. Much of the period style remains intact, as the rooms are decorated with original wallpaper, fine art and antique furnishings purchased by the owners more than 150 years ago.
A tour of the mansion takes visitors across the double-sided porch, into the dining room and out to the stables. The home's very own art gallery is a must-see, featuring a collection of sculptures, paintings and chandeliers, while the carriage house and kitchen at the rear of the mansion once served as slave quarters and are among the best preserved examples in the region, allowing travelers to learn more about the home's history.
The museum is located at 48 Elizabeth Street at the corner of Judith and Elizabeth streets, only a couple blocks from Charleston's visitor center and riverfront. The site is open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm and on Sunday from 2 to 5pm. Admission costs $10 for adults and $5 for children between the ages of 6 and 16. A self-guided audio tour is included with admission. Photography is not permitted.