The trio of friends I wrote about yesterday reunited in Charleston, SC, the retirement destination chosen by Carole and Jim. They had intended to live on one of the beach islands near the city, only to discover that the city drew them to reverse their decision, and I understand why. What’s not to like about very good restaurants, cultural attractions and frequent festivals all within walking distance of your front door?
For tourists, there are carriage rides, walking tours, an interesting city market, the harbor, and lots of history to absorb. For me, there are colorful residential streets, hidden gardens behind intriguing gates, wide porches, dappled light through trees, overflowing window boxes, and lots of churches with ancient graveyards to wander through under old oaks dripping with Spanish moss. When one is tired of walking, a bicycle rickshaw ride back to the hotel can’t be beat.
We particularly enjoyed a walking tour offered by Broad Street Biz Art & Walking Tours (www.broadstreettours.com), which centered around the recent novel “The Invention of Wings” by Sue Monk Kidd, focusing on the lives and work of the Grimke sisters, early abolitions and feminists. It was an interesting way to approach city history.
Charleston is altogether charming. And hot. Sweltering hot. But that’s what beaches are for, only a short drive away. And a Charleston visit wouldn’t be complete without seeing an oak lined driveway entrance to a nearby plantation, with a view into the challenging history and local Gullah culture that made the city a wealthy contributor to early American life.
The visit was enriching in every respect, and I highly recommend it.