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I never tire of the warmth and hospitality I encounter here in the Holy City—from smiles and greetings from strangers to a spontaneous invitation to tour a downtown home. I often think back on the day senior editor (and friend) Melissa Bigner and I were walking down Church Street to our first stop on a Historic Charleston Foundation kitchen tour, and a man hanging out with his kids called out, “Good morning! Where you heading?” When we told him our plans, he replied, “Kitchen tours? Well, I have a great kitchen. Want to see?” Now, I know you’re thinking we’re crazy, but we assessed the situation—a dad, a gaggle of kids, and a woman just beyond the front window—and said, “Why not?” Turns out, he and his lovely wife did have a great kitchen—a striking red AGA range, an immense island topped in marble, and gorgeous cabinetry that appeared custom-made for them. I could see why he wanted to show it off.
Charleston residents are proud of their homes and gardens, for good reason. Most require oodles of time and energy, not to mention money, to maintain. And I love that so many locals are willing to share their havens, especially for good causes. In this issue, you’ll visit one such property, the historical South-of-Broad home and garden of Monica and Ken Seeger (Open House). The generous couple regularly hosts fundraising events in and tours of their circa-1730s manse (one of the oldest single houses on the peninsula) and lovingly restored garden (originally laid out by noted landscape designer Loutrel Briggs). And over in Ansonborough, event designer—and arbiter of understated elegance—Lynn Easton invites us into the courtyard of her and husband Dean Andrews’s tony Zero George Street (Supper in the Garden), offering her tips and tricks to throwing an intimate, alfresco dinner party.
April is prime time for house and garden tours. Between the Charleston Symphony Orchestra League Designer Showhouse, the Garden Club of Charleston, and Historic Charleston Foundation (About Town), you’ll have ample opportunity to visit many amazing residences. Or just stroll around downtown neighborhoods—a proud and hospitable homeowner just might invite you in.