Bev and I have fallen in love… again!
The last time was thirty one years ago and we renewed our commitment to each other in Paris in 2018.
What we mean is that we have fallen head over heels in love with Charleston, South Carolina.
Charleston has been on our “Bucket List” for as long as we’ve been together. When we arrived here, for the first time, we immediately felt a comfort that we have rarely felt. It was as if this beautiful old city had reached out and grabbed our hearts right through our Christmas sweaters, screaming gently —
Hey you two, welcome to our magic!
We had prepared ourselves for great food, over-the-top architecture, warm friendly Southern folks, and charming history that would captivate the hardest of hearts.
We were not disappointed.
We could write all day about the food and still not capture the experience. We’ll just show the pictures as they tell a better story.
Our first day in any new place is taken up by a walking tour. We have found this to be the best way to get the lay of the land. Following breakfast, we headed for Broad and Church Streets to explore St. Philips church and The Dock Street Theatre along with a raft of gorgeous old buildings and side streets. More often than not, we also make new friends.
It is said that there are more old, restored 17th century buildings in Charleston than any other city in America. Although we cannot verify the numbers, we can say that we were constantly surrounded by vintage beauty. Rainbow Road, a section of East Bay Street is just such an area. The homes are all different yet vibrant colors. It does not appear that there is any good reason for this but the city has maintained this tradition.
Many have speculated over the true reason for the color transformation of Rainbow Row. One theory is that the homes were painted various pastel colors so that drunk sailors might find their way home easier. Others believe that the various hues were the merchants’ way of indicating what types of items they sold there. One other theory is that the homes were painted lighter colors to keep them cooler during the hot Charleston summers.
We have had the good fortune of making many new and lasting friends during our travels. Some of these were the homeowners of the pets we sit. But many have been individuals we have met while having a coffee or cup of tea. So it was with Chris Caldwell and her beautiful Irish Setter Madigan (Maddy). They were waiting for a take-out order of food as we passed by on our first day. We joined them for a glass of wine, had lunch the following day and hope to return to visit, and sit for Maddy, in the future.
A visit to Middleton Place was all the history we could handle for one day (maybe for one trip). As it turned out, Middleton Place, with the oldest landscaped gardens in America. It was only a ten minute drive from our AirBnB at Shadowmoss Plantation. In addition to the rich history presented in the City of Charleston, Middleton Place added great texture to each story.
Stories of the enslaved artisans who built terraces one bucket of earth at a time was juxtaposed with the story of the founder who led the Continental Congress and who’s son signed the Declaration of Independence.
The fortune of the Middletons was derived mainly through some twenty rice plantations in the area. We had to imagine all this labor being performed by enslaved men and women and being done one bucket of mud, or water at a time.
We plan to return to Charleston often. There is still much to do, see, and learn about the place they call The Holy City. Charleston is just one more reason we plan to remain On The Road as long as we can.
See you on the Road,
Bev & John
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