St. Nicholas Abbey
The circa-1650 St. Nicholas Abbey, a sanctuary suspended in architectural grace, has a dark history: John Yeamans, who would later become the governor of South Carolina, had his partner, Benjamin Berringer, poisoned, married Berringer’s widow, and moved on up as the second owner of St. Nicholas. It is now one of three remaining Jacobean plantation great houses in the Western Hemisphere; the others include Barbados’s Drax Hall and Bacon’s Castle, in Virginia. In 2006, St. Nicholas was acquired and no doubt saved from becoming a golf resort or a McMansion development by local architect Larry Warren, who has done both sorts of projects on the island. Warren savors the property’s Chinese Chippendale staircase and a 1936 gentleman’s chair (“the first La-Z-Boy recliner”) with a built-in cocktail holder.