“Because of its devotional, graceful attraction to food and gardens and architecture, Charleston stands for all the principles that make living well both a civic virtue and a standard … There is a tastefulness in its gentility that comes from the knowledge that Charleston is a permanent dimple in the understated skyline, while the rest of us are only visitors.”- Pat Conroy, South of Broad
Although I am running the risk of sounding chliched, for those of you who haven’t been to Charleston, get on a plane. It is possibly one of the most beautiful cities in the United States.
It has an old south sensibility with an almost European aesthetic that makes it absolutely irresistible to out-of-towners. From the moment that I touched down in Charleston after WWB moved here, I have never looked back.
Obviously, for a preservationist, Charleston has its charms. However, for those of us who are aesthetically inclined, the city offers a respite from the unsightly structures that dominate our cities.
And yes, Charleston is a city. Although not the capital of South Carolina–Columbia is–Charleston offers a top tier college, a diverse art scene, beautiful architecture, and access to the Atlantic Ocean.
Charleston boasts architecture dating back to the 18th century, as evident on its High Battery, which overlooks Fort Sumter–the hallowed place where the Civil War began.
Some of my favorite things about Charleston are its walls. Built in the 17th Century, Charleston was once a walled city, built to protect itself from its unknown foes. Today, many homes’ original walls are still extant, and their patina adds to the exemplary architecture of the homes they protect.
However, today, the walls are not to protect the homeowners from rioting slaves, but rather nosy tourists who ignore property lines in order to achieve the perfect picture.
Charleston was the first city in the country to enact an historic district zoning ordinance, which allowed a Board of Architectural Review to restrict and comment on any development, redevelopment, or addition within the historic districts of Charleston.
Many other cities followed suit, and historic preservation was born.
Clearly, there is an obvious reason why I love Charleston, however, there are many reasons why you could too! The food is amazing, the people are charming, the shopping is fabulous, and above all, the weather is perfect. Palmetto trees and crescent moons, what could be better?
I just found your blog through a comment you made over at Grant K. Gibson’s and had to check it out. (You mentioned zebra…) What a great blog you have going here! Your voice really comes through on your posts, and I love the historic background you provide. You have officially added another destination to my “see America” list with this post!
I can’t wait to see what else you will bring us!
: ) Meg
PS- LOVE Philadelphia Story, it’s a perennial favorite!
I love Charleston!!!! We had brunch at Hominy Grill…so good! xx