If there is one city that really captures that way that you envision how history and culture should be preserved in modern times, then look no further than Charleston, South Carolina.There is no secret that Charleston is America’s best kept secret, not San Diego, or even Miami. If you ever want to discover a city with culture so vibrant and bustling with history today then look no further than Charleston. Everything, from the people, the scenery and buildings have been preserved and remained intact. I have seen Charleston advertised in all the newspapers and friends and professors talking about the allure of the city, but I never knew exactly why so I decided to see for myself. Come here and see the instagram worthy attractions such as the Pineapple Fountain, Battery Row, historic row homes while absorbing the history and culture of the South in a city that has many magnificent stories to tell.
They say that for most people, first impressions are everything; however for cities that same generalization does apply as well. I remember when I first arrived in Charleston, I was immediately taken back by the generosity that people showed. Coming from DC, I was surprised when I was at King Street shopping only to meet with confusion as I was on the wrong street for the pickup. Almost immediately, the Lyft driver called me to clear up the confusion. In DC , the driver would not bother to call to clear up the confusion. Even though I was just in Charleston for a brief period, I felt that the people there really go the extra mile and stay true to the strong southern hospitality that people in the south are known for. Another time I experienced warm hospitality included as I was waiting for the walking tour inside O oyster house, but I forgot to check my phone alerting me that the walking tour was cancelled; I was surprised how the servers at the restaurant were so friendly in comforting me and letting me of the situation change. I never was really the type of traveler to talk to taxi/uber/lyft drivers when going to a destination, but in Charleston I felt so passioned to learn more about the people and the culture there. It was the first time I was picked up by BMW/ Lexus in a Uber ride, and also the first time that I learned from a uber driver who had lived in Charleston her whole life and openly expressed the way that people feel about the culture of slavery and Charleston's role in history of slavery. Maybe it could be a result of the weather, or the way of the south, but the feeling I had in Charleston was incomparable to other cities. The extra mile goes alot in life; and Charleston is a representation of that.
If you are looking for one of the best shopping locations in the United States apart from Los Angeles and New York, then Charleston is definelty it. Known for its boutique stores and southern style clothing, local brands and international brands dominate the famous King Street. Here you can find international favourites such as Scotch and Soda as well as local favourites such as E.Blackhurst, known for trendy, relaxed dresses and everyday wear, inspired by the vibe of Charleston. I loved the way how the fashion tried to incorporate the culture and personality of the South into the garments and texture of them.
Immediately when I got off the airport, I felt a sense of relief when I walked to the Uber dropoff and there was not even a lineup, when compared to the hustle and bustle of larger cities. I definitely recommend exploring the downtown area by foot and taking a walking tour, even though the tours on horse carriages can be tempting and alluring. The small town allure of Charleston is definitely what attracts many people back to the city - that along with the timelessness of the city and the ability to be able to transcend time and space.
Knowing the role that Charleston played in the development of the South , the tour guide and walking tour is definitely not to be missed - you will learn so much more about this particular history - from Charleston being the first colony in which the African American population exceeded the white population to the way architecture was designed to play into the culture of the time. I really loved the detail about Gone with the Wind when the tour guide mentioned that the Dock Street Theatre was where the actress who played India Wilkes, Alicia Rhett, was discovered by agents to be featured in the blockbuster movie. As the wealthiest city in British North America, you can still see the wealth reflected in Charleston today, in the well preserved southern style buildings, the fashionable culture and the delightful food.
The walking tour I took began at the city hall in Charleston, bringing us through narrow walkways and churches that played a major role in Charleston's establishment. Along the way, we passed through many historic houses that had meaning and lives behind each one, many of them dating back to the American Civil War.The tour guide emphasized the role that Charleston played as a major slave port, but also the importance of rice in Charleston's rise as a major southern port, while lightheartedly inputting various jokes about southern culture along the way. Home to not only America's oldest liquor store but the magnificent Battery Row and waterfront promenade, Charleston retains most of its charm today, making it consistently one of the best cities to travel in the world.
If you want to explore outside of Charleston, then look no further than Folly Beach, which is even warm during the mild winters that Charleston experiences. The area is more popular in the summer where the surrounding food districts reign vibrant with rich seafood and open deck restaurants and bars, reminiscent of many beach neighbourhoods. Located outside of Charleston there are many renowned gardens and golf resorts worth checking out if you have the time, all within a quick half hour to hour drive away from the city.
Chelsea Reviews: 5/5
Charleston really lives up to its values - from trying to recover its history from a notorious slave harbour to neuturing that feeling of a well to do a small town. Come here for the warm hospitality, and be transported back into a different time when the South was as vibrant as it was during the American Civil War and the glory days.There is a old saying about memories as they go on: In life, people will forget what you told them, what you said, what you did or did not do, but they will never forget how you made them feel .