Historic Charleston Lifestyle Perspectives
When asked to explain the multiple occupant out-house at a local plantation the tour guides answer is “Charlestonians never miss an opportunity to socialize”. It was as true then as it is now. The calendars of local residents are always full of dinners, performances and cultural events to attend. The only real issue is which ones will need to be missed. The year is filled with events like The Heart Ball, South Eastern Wildlife Gala, Gibbes Oyster Roast and the Spoleto Fete’ to name but a few. Residents enjoy Restaurant Week, Fashion Week and the Charleston Wine and Food Festival.
The biggest event all year is the Spoleto Festival which takes place over a 3 week period each May and June. This international theater, art and music festival brings performers from around the globe to produce the largest festival of this type in the United States. With hundreds of wonderful dining establishments, two ballet companies, 5 theater troupes, The Charleston Symphony Orchestra and Gaillard Center for the Performing Arts only begin to scratch the surface of the Charleston lifestyle.
Charlestonians love the water. Many have a boat in the Charleston City, Ashley River, Bristol or Ripley Light marina. Within minutes they can be in the Charleston Harbor with easy access to the Atlantic or the quiet rivers that form the harbor. For those without a boat virtually the entire waterfront of the peninsula is accessible. The Charleston Ferry ride is a treat for an on the water experience.
From the Charleston Aquarium around The Battery to the foot of the Ashley River Bridge, residents and visitors can enjoy the views and amenities. Along this route, you can catch the water taxi to Patriots Point in Mount Pleasant, take the tour boat to Fort Sumter or spend some quality relaxation time on a swinging bench in Waterfront Park. The Maritime Center is a waterfront entertainment venue where Charlestonians sometimes gather to celebrate something as grand as New Year's Eve or as ordinary as Friday.
Transportation can be challenging in Historic Charleston. The original city streets were never designed to handle the volume of traffic they now face. Many locals walk or bicycle to their destinations. There must be half a dozen different ways to get to any particular place and each detour can be rewarded with new sights or smells. Lavender, Honeysuckle and Jasmine line the sidewalks. The city has a larger grocery store but locals also use neighborhood purveyors like Goat Sheep Cow on Church Street and Ted’s Butcher Block on East Bay Street. Fresh products pedaled home in the basket of a bicycle just seem to taste better. It’s about 20 minutes to Charleston International Airport by car. The three closest beaches are about 30 minutes by car or the bus.