An entire issue of this little magazine could be dedicated to Charleston, South Carolina.
One of our favorite cities to date, among big shots like Seattle, San Francisco and Austin, the city is simply overflowing with history, culture and class. Bars and coffee shops abound. Tourists fill in the spaces between locals rushing around in suits making the work day go ’round and the lesser fortunate–depending on who you ask–panhandling, busking and otherwise looking for a buck.
We’ll keep the words short and the photos as large as we can this time around. Welcome to Charleston, enjoy.
A sticker on the back of an old Volkswagen Bus speaks great truth. Though Charleston is generally populated by lots of hip, chic youths, its hippy population is evident upon closer observation. Known as the Holy City, hundreds of churches from a vast variety of denominations boast their architecture; and the big dollars gone towards creating their magnificence instead of helping mankind. Carolina was one of only a few of the original colonies which tolerated all Protestant religions. Catholics, on the other hand, would arrive to find the same type of persecution Martin Luther spawned. This tribute to days of long train rides traveling the country was found in a window of an upscale boutique on Charleston’s King Street. Tucked away from the more bustling main streets, little alleys like this, ivy lined and packed with small cafes, wax reminiscent of European streets. Charleston has no shortage of city parks, most of which have some type of interesting, if not unique, feature. Case in point, palm trees light up the night in Marion Square. Worn siding and paint is a delightfully common part of the ambience in the city. Our favorite bar, the Griffon on Vendue Range Street, offers all the beers we like in a setting that mixes foreign currency wallpaper with dive-bar-meets-upper-middle-class. Mansions hang on to decades of decadence gone long by… …while nature is allowed to take its course, even if a hole or two might need cut through for viewing. Like every town on this Southern Atlantic roadtrip, Charleston is happy to offer carriage rides through its historic streets. The city is, in general, simply a gorgeous place. From an abiding respect for local stores to high end boutiques selling items only the super rich would ever think of purchasing, from grand old architecture to well groomed parks, you can just choose a direction and start walking, certain that your every footstep will lead to a new good look. The Ashley and Cooper rivers meet to form Charleston Harbor, which aside from being a modern day boaters paradise, was the site of the first successful submarine attack when the H.L. Hunley, a Confederate vessel, destroyed the much larger USS Housatonic, only to sink shortly after. Located in the Old Seamen’s Chapel, the Mad River Bar & Grille was more fraternity than fraternal, but a welcomed break from some of the more packed establishments in town. They’ve also got a great outdoor area. Grave stones in the Unitarian Church on Archdale Street. Just as the afore mentioned cemetery is acknowledgement of life growing in death, this tuft of grass growing from a crack in a wall a few blocks over shows how nature desires continuance despite the obstacles of man. Charleston’s Historic District is full of elegant hotels offering extravagance and liesure as a place to retire after walking the miles and miles of available explorable city. The brick stairs of the Meeting Street Inn. This pineapple shaped fountain in the Waterfront Park is fair game for those who’d like to cool off under its dripping audacity. The oldest surviving public building in the Carolinas, the Powder Magazine played a key role in the Revolutionary War efforts of the area. Built to house explosives, it was designed in a way that if their was an accidental explosion, the force of the blast would shoot up, through the roof, sparing neighboring buildings and passers-by. Ivy long claimed this building as home, though a single window was allowed to persist. Patchwork walls and a striking blue door, evidence of the laid back classy charm the city cannot help but ooze. More architecture around Charleston. …and more. This is the Angel Oak, believed to be the oldest tree east of the Mississippi. At some 400 or so years old, this Southern live oak cloaks visitors en masse everyday beneath its 17,000 square feet of shade.