Ah, the Holy City, my current home. I’ve been living in the tourism capital that is Charleston for about a year and a half now, and I’ve got designs on staying a few more months. We welcome scads of visitors every year who arrive by the thousand via tour bus and cruise ship, eager to take in the beautiful architecture, rich history, and world-class food. The weather’s not bad, either. Truly, I run out of things to complain about. Founded in the 1670, it’s one of America’s oldest cities, and it’s still a functional port today. Though things have changed a lot here over the past few centuries, it remains a gorgeous city that is much more progressive, zanier, and more diverse than the rest of the state. Nicknamed the Holy City because of a nearly-embarrassing overabundance of churches, Charleston has played an important role in several faith traditions– Reform Judaism was born here, the country’s oldest Unitarian church is here, and it’s one of the most important cities in the Bahai’i faith.
It’s also routinely listed as one of the best vacation destinations in the world, so we get a true cross section of the population visiting, though they seem to fall almost entirely into three distinct categories: people who want to look at the beach, people who want to eat our food, and people who want to interact with a friendly kind of slavery. I’m always happy to see the first two, but believe me: I am not sympathetic to your position that the Old Slave Mart was “a downer” or your weird obsession with plantations. If you’ve got a soft spot for John C. Calhoun or want to tell me how human bondage wasn’t so bad, please just stay at your house and do not give money to the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
After the jump, check out some photos I’ve taken around town and get my recommendations for the best places to eat, drink, stay, shop, and do in my adopted hometown.
It’s been an up-and-down couple weeks, huh? Glad Mercury is no longer in retrograde or whatever. Enjoy! Let’s hang out here tomorrow, okay?
First things first: I talked to my friend Larry, who is an aid worker in the Philippines, about what might be the best tack to take to help the typhoon victims. He said these guys are the real deal, and are doing permanent, important good. If everyone who read my blog gave PHP500 (about the cost of a fancy cocktail at a nice bar), we’d be able to give meaningful help to people who really need it.
After your bed, there is but one piece of furniture with which you have a real relationship, and that is your desk. I spend a solid 9.5-12 hours a day at mine, and yet I always avoid really committing. This week, I added three major things to make my mark on my open-plan office workstation: Suki the fake taxidermied rhino, courtesy of my best friend, a not-that-cool-but-kinda-cool organizer, and lastly, gorgeous, perfect flowers from Roadside Blooms here in Charleston. Their model is really cool: green, sustainable flower arrangements that are based on what’s available locally in any given season. You just say, “I’d like small, medium, or large” and they bring it to you in their vintage British mail truck. I know. I know! But the best part is that they were a surprise, all the way from Afghanistan! Nothing quite like a no-reason-at-all pretty to make you feel like everything is going great.
How do you personalize your desk at work? Pictures? A candle? A terrarium?
So on Saturday, my friend Courtney and I went to the 5th Annual Southeastern Beard and Mustache Competition. I don’t really have any words to describe the scene. Back me up, other attendees: the crowd was close to 600 maybe, the Holy City Beard and Mustache Society (REAL THING) raised a couple grand for uterine cancer research, and some truly inspiring/hideous/amazing/artful/horrifying/America-loving facial hair was on display. The ladies’ division was also a sight to behold. You haven’t really lived until you’ve seen an adult woman in a girl scout costume sporting a beard made of Samoa cookies. There was an entire category (junior full beard) of boys who basically looked like my own personal LLBean boyfriend.
Did you know that there’s like, a competition circuit for this stuff? Well, now you do. I can only describe the entire event as an exercise in unbridled glee.
Have you ever been to a mustache contest? Did you know there was such a thing? Have you entered one?! If so, please sign here guaranteeing you’re my best friend for life.