Charleston, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia – the cities are coastal, the climate subtropical, and the barrier Sea Islands an ecosystem wonderland. There is a timeless feeling of Spring no matter what season you visit, with blooming plants in gardens, magnolias that blossom in spring and summer, the iconic image of oaks swathed in Spanish moss – and of course Springtime flowers that dazzle the eye. Behind nature’s finest lies centuries of stories, traditions, and artistic achievements. You’ll find a few below, including a little bit about Madeira wine –
In Savannah, Madeira wine has been a traditional favorite since the late 1700s when the fathers of our country toasted the signing of the Declaration of Independence with glasses of this rich vintage (rumor has it that Francis Scott Key sipped it as he wrote the lyrics for the Star Spangled Banner in 1814, and that Thomas Jefferson was so enamored with it, he hosted special Madeira parties at his home). But long before that, Savannah’s citizens – and her neighbors on St. Simons Island – developed a serious taste for this tangy desert wine in 1732 when the city blossomed as a port and center for commerce, importing the Portuguese wine by the ton. Savannah is even credited with promoting a lighter version of the wine when heavy rain saturated exposed barrels bound for America and diluted the wine. Rainwater Madeira became very popular despite its tenuous beginnings and was soon distributed widely all along the Eastern Seaboard. You’ll have the opportunity to celebrate this heritage wine during a special evening in the gardens of Savannah’s Davenport House Museum on Southern Charms: Savannah, Hilton Head & Charleston.