Charleston is a magical city, full of history and mystery. We lived there a few years ago and there are still things we miss.
1. The Houses. Charleston is an architectural dream for “house lovers” like us. Talk about kids in a candy store! And one of our favorite styles is the Single House – a Charleston original designed for our climate. They’re just one room wide, with two and three-story porches called “piazzas.” We think the Charleston Single House epitomizes the romantic Southern home.
2. The Tourists. Can you believe it? Often the residents of a tourist destination grow weary of the constant ebb and flow of strangers. Not us! We really enjoyed watching and interacting with the tourists – they’re always happy, smiling, intrigued, and mesmerized by this city we love. And they’re travelers like us.
3. The Horses. Many of the tourist carriages are drawn by massive draft horses, Percherons and Belgians with names like Ashley, Cooper and Indigo. Our corner was the nexus of two routes, and we often heard their call-and-response whinnies to stablemates as they passed. There’s almost something heroic about these giant horses as they haul the tourists around, straining against their harnesses, clomping softly on their thick “rubber tire” horseshoes.
4. The Gardens. We are totally enchanted by Charleston’s hidden treasures – the gardens that are tucked in and around any structure. They come in every shape and form, from formal and manicured, to wild and whimsical. No matter what, they’re always a cool oasis.
5. The Shotgun. That’s just another name for our apartment! We lived in this great old Victorian house that was built in 1913, not long after the Big Earthquake of 1886 demolished the old Roper Hospital that previously stood on this site. The house has been carved up into skinny apartments, resulting in a “shotgun” (because you could fire a shotgun through the front door and the pellets would fly straight out the back door). Wonky walls, creaky floors, beautiful architectural details – we’re sure do miss it.
6. The History. It’s impossible to live in Charleston and not be confronted on a daily basis by its long and interesting history. Charles Towne was founded in 1670 and has a rich, complicated history. In these 341 years it played a strategic role in both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, has been plagued by pirates, epidemics, fires, hurricanes and earthquakes. It has flourished, crashed and been reborn. All of these events have molded Charleston, and the results surround everyone that visits and lives in Charleston today. It’s the daily ringing of church bells, street after street of classic 18th and 19th Century Architecture, and families that trace their ancestry back to Colonial England and West Africa. What a pleasure for us to live there.
7. The Daily Walk and Jog. We’ve lived many places and have always been enthusiastic walkers and joggers. And we both agree that when it comes to pleasant, interesting and fun places to exercise, Charleston is the high-water mark for us. Our neighborhood was as central as you could get in Charleston, and the streets surrounding our apartment were a real pleasure to experience. Quiet tree-lined streets, historic houses, secret gardens, and water on 3 sides – no more than a half mile away. We were only 2 blocks from the College of Charleston, so the area has a high energy, college vibe that’s cool. It doesn’t get any better than this.
And last, but not least, we love that although Charleston is beautiful, everything is not perfect. Age before beauty. Nuf said.