Published: December 03. 2012 2:41PM
Written by Renata Parker
As soon as you enter the doors of the Wentworth Mansion, you know you are somewhere special. Located in the heart of Charleston, a city known for its share of elegant historic homes, Wentworth Mansion is a jewel.
If walls could talk, it would unfold the story of Francis Silas Rodgers, a wealthy cotton magnate, who with his team of notable architects and artisans of the time, built this stately four-story mansion in 1886 for his family of 13. Because of its French-style roof design, Wentworth Mansion is recognized as one of the best examples of Second Empire architecture in Charleston.
Completely restored 14 years ago and converted into a luxury hotel, Wentworth Mansion preserved much of its original architectural elements and workmanship. Inside youíll find meticulously hand-carved marble fireplaces, intricate inlaid-tile floors, stunning chandeliers, Tiffany stained glass, pressed-tin ceilings as well as the original Victorian hardware. Climb the spiral wrought iron staircase ó also original to the home ó which leads to the rooftop and soak in a sunset and panoramic views of the city.
As a nod to Southern hospitality, each day guests are invited to the grand parlor for complimentary tea or lemonade as well as wine tastings and appetizers.
Melt into the comforts of Southern-style luxury in one of the 21 rooms, which are complete with king-size sleigh beds, fireplaces with original marble mantels and such modern amenities as whirlpool tubs.
Located just outside is Circa 1886, Wentworth Mansionís award-winning, fine-dining restaurant known for its innovative Lowcountry fare. Architectural details like the stable doors, original heart-of-pine floors and wood-burning kitchen fireplace add to the ambiance of the restaurant that once served as the estateís carriage house.
Executive Chef Marc Collins puts a modern spin on a seasonal menu which features such local dishes as Caw Caw Creek braised pork shank with caramelized onions, cranberry farro, fresh Brussels sprouts and a horseradish-port glace. Or try the coffee-brined antelope loin with grapes, pine nuts, pearl onions and eggplant puree, finished with an orange saba glaze. With every course, you can expect an delicious element of surprise from something as simple as warm cheese grits croutons on a mixed green salad.
If you are like me and canít decide, opt for the chefís five-course tasting menu, which is available daily. Itís my favorite.
Top off your dining experience with the sweet comforts of one of Chef Collinsí sumptuous desserts such as the chocolate truffle souffle Godiva anglaise served with smoked milk chocolate gelato or the warm banana, chocolate chip pecan cake. Luckily, itís just a short stroll back to your room.
During December, Circa 1886 hosts its popular progressive dinner. The event, in its 27th year, has become a holiday tradition for locals and visitors alike. Diners are taken by carriage for appetizers at the historic Kings Courtyard Inn and then to Circa 1886 for a three-course dinner. The culinary journey is complete with a visit to the historic John Rutledge House for dessert and coffee.
Another sure way to get into the holiday spirit is at the Dickens Dinner. Held Dec. 12 at Circa 1886, diners can enjoy the lively performance of storyteller Tim Lowry, who retells Charles Dickensí ďA Christmas CarolĒ during a four-course dinner also inspired by the novel.
Your experience in Southern luxury is complete at the Wentworth Mansion spa, which is located in the homeís former stables. The full-service spa offers a variety of treatments, massages, and services.
|Holger M. Obenaus|