January 23, 2013
Little known fact: I was born in Charleston. I haven’t been there since my parents adopted me at the ripe old age of 3 days, so I can’t say that I know the city at all.
I have always wanted to go there. After all, it was the site of arguably the most important moment in my life, even if I don’t remember it.
So, Day 20 was to be a day of exploration.
Greg and Charlsi live on King Street, about two miles away from the water. Having been pent up in a car most of my trip, I decided I really needed the walk. And you know from my Atlanta wanderings that I like a good meander.
Unfortunately, Greg had to work a double and Charlsi was working all day, so I set off solo down King Street on a cloudless morning, warm in the shining sun.
Side note, one of the great benefits of a January Walkabout is that you get to go to places where a freezing cold winter day equals 57 degrees and sunny.
Weirdly, I felt immediately at home. I mean, couldn’t this be Dorchester?
Couldn’t this be the flat of Beacon Hill?
Couldn’t this be Salem (minus the palm tree)?
Not to mention, Charleston is full of revolutionary history that directly parallels Boston’s history. Sometimes, when confronted with the ubiquitous historical markers, I felt like I was reading the same stories I’ve heard since I was a kid…except with different names.
The siege of Charleston even made me think of my favorite Boston holiday (RIP Evacuation Day):
And my tour guide at the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon, Phil, reminded me of all the people in downtown Boston in colonial garb drinking Starbucks and talking on their cell phones in between tours.
Phil is from North Carolina, but has always had a deep love of history. When he and his wife retired, they decided to move to Charleston. He has been volunteering at the Provost Dungeon for the last few years as a fun retirement activity.
That said, Charleston is a lot more than just Boston south.
First off, it is gorgeous, often with a tropical feel. I loved walking around town just taking it all in.
Some favorites were Rainbow Row…
…the mansions with side porches…
…the old Armory and former site of The Citadel…
…the churches, which are still the tallest structures in the city…
…Whitepoint Garden by the Battery…
…especially stunning at sunset:
Second, the food is outstanding.
You already know about Slightly North of Broad…
…but I also had the pleasure of trying out Fast and French:
That is a terrible picture of a lunch place where you can get a croque monsieur and an Orangina. Hard to top.
And third, there are great museums and universities there.
I went to the Gibbes Museum and hung out with some students sketching photographs from their James Karales civil rights photography exhibit:
The exhibition was moving, especially having just been to the MLK Day celebrations in Atlanta. And it was fun to spy on the students’ drawings and hear their teacher giving them notes.
Lastly, in the spirit of remembering all the gory details, here’s my crazy beardface at College of Charleston…
What a day!
Around 6, Charlsi got out of work and we met up with a couple of her friends for bourbon drinks and fried pickles at Husk and then a quick bite at a pub called Moe’s.
I’m not going to get into what happened at Jamaican Me Hungry, but let’s just say that that place is super weird and I kinda want to go back.
A couple beers at The Griffon and we were done for the night. Poor Greg had to work til all hours. Despite our hopes that he could come meet up, it was not to be. We headed home, hung out with the doggies Ramon and Huck…
…for a while and I retired to my couch to rest up for the drive to DC.
Charleston was definitely my favorite among the new-to-me cities that I visited. I will definitely be back.
To come: Weird highway sites, Richmond and URichmond, and a high school reunion with the lads.
States covered total: 19