As if you needed persuasion, the annual home and garden tour is in full swing right now.

With the multi-storied porches restored, the couple replaced the existing fence and gate with welcoming wooden ones. Clapboard siding was painted a light green with cream trim, and the fixtures were backdated with reproductions. Not least, the front door was painted a classic navy.
Photo: Francesco Lagnese

It's one thing to ramble Broad, King, and other iconic streets in historic Charleston on your own, but it's something else again to take guided tours of some of the city's most beautiful homes and gardens. This year marks the 71st Festival of Houses & Gardens sponsored by the Historic Charleston Foundation, and you can enjoy it through April 21.

Get tickets to morning history walks, offered almost every day during the festival, as well as regular musical performances and lectures on everything from Charleston's rice culture and window boxes to silver and "mourning jewelry." Two types of tours are offered: House & Garden and Glorious Garden.

House & Garden walking tours are all built around particular neighborhoods, each one anchored by a central street. Choose from 12 different streets—Anson, Broad, East Battery, Church, Charlotte, Meeting, etc.—and guides will help you explore private homes and gardens there, as well as noteworthy public buildings. You'll go inside some of the most beautiful and historically significant homes in the city.

Each Glorious Garden walking tour is structured to give you ample time to ramble about 8 private gardens, with guides on hand to help you appreciate the design and plantings in each one.

There are a few guidelines you should know in advance.

Most public venues that are part of the tour are wheelchair accessible, but private, historic houses and gardens can't accommodate wheelchairs.

According to the festival organizers, "well-supervised children ages six and older" are welcome on the tours but will require tickets. No strollers, backpacks, car seats, etc., are allowed in historic homes and gardens because of the damage risk to valuable collections and antiques.

Find ticket prices and availability at Historic Charleston Foundation, or call 843-722-3405. Phone lines are open Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday, noon-5 p.m. EST.

Proceeds support the Foundation.

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