When I think of all the cities within the United States, I think of skyscrapers, frustrating traffic jams, and massive populations. However, on my recent trip to Charleston I was pleased to admit my mistake. Charleston, South Carolina, is a common trade city, that is located on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, with islands and forts within easy reach, and thankfully there is no skyscraper in sight. While I had heard first hand about the appeal of the southern cities, I had never truly considered visiting them until I was within the United States leisurely browsing the World Wide Web looking for a quick escape on my way from the west to the east coast.
One of the most popular cities within the South to visit, Charleston has been deemed with the name the ‘Holy City,’ due to its high number of churches that accommodate a wide variety of faiths and religions. From the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist to Saint Phillips Episcopal Church, it is hard to turn down a street without coming across a different house of faith. Though, one of the prettiest churches, in my opinion at least, is Saint Michael’s Episcopal Church, a typical white bell tower architectural building, that is at its most attractiveness during sunset.
While the Charleston churches are a highlight, the overall architecture of the city is radiating charm.With multi coloured wood panelled houses, and mansions lining the waterfront, it is hard to decide which house is the most idyllic. The city officials are so demanding that the citizens uphold their properties to the finest standard, that they even insist that they have the correct approval before changing even the slightest detail of their facade. This is definitely worth the added scrutiny though, because the town is impeccable! Manicured lawns, cobbled stoned streets, wrought iron gates; it is like taking a step back in time. Which is the exact effect that is wanted for the tourists. The city has an overwhelming amount of history connected to it, being the official beginning place for the America Civil War and was the location of many Revolutionary War battles, Charleston is not short on significant sites, in and around the city. With numerous forts located on islands just off the shoreline of town, any history buff would have an abundance of attractions to explore. Then of course it is no stranger to the natural catastrophes from having to rebuild after out of control fires to surviving several hurricanes, it is said amongst locals that Charleston is the city with the most history linked to it, it is no wonder it has so much charm!
Horse drawn carriages are the norm along the streets, and as they carry locals and visitors alike they offer an interesting view of the town, that may seem touristy and stereotypical in other cities, yet just feels customary in Charleston. However, these carriages are not equipped to investigate the little alleyways and narrow streets that are only fit for pedestrians. As is the case with most cities, walking is definitely the best way to see Charleston. With a comfortable temperature for most of the year, wandering the roads is ideal and is the best opportunity to explore those alleys and backstreets, which produce some of the most beautiful sites and houses, in comparison to the common Rainbow Row and waterfront properties that are still delightfully appeasing, yet a lot more photographed.
Visiting during the spring is generalised as the finest time of year to visit, with flowers in full bloom contrasting to their coloured house background, and the temperatures being mild and cool. Winter and autumn months offer a beauty of their own, with bare trees and crisp breezes. Summer on the other hand, is based purely on preference, if you enjoy scorching sunshine and humidity, then you’ll be in heaven. Yet for most, who are not used to this kind of heat, it is advisable to avoid visiting during the summer months. That said, Charleston is blessed to be home to plenty of gorgeous overhanging trees that provide shade even on the hottest of days. In addition Battery Park, down by the water, is the perfect way to escape the afternoon heat.
Gaining the attention of many visitors to South Carolina are the many, many State and Manor homes, or more commonly known as Plantations, that showcase what life was like back in the 1800’s and earlier, when slavery was thought to be of the upmost importance to the economy of the South, and cotton trade, amongst others, was a major industry. These plantations tour you through the mansion, decorated with more often than not, the original furniture of the family house, the slave quarters, and the property’s land.
Charleston is the epitome of Southern charm and hospitality, with friendly locals; proud of their home, and adorable architecture that has the ability to transport you back to the good Olde days. Whether you’re there for the day or plan to be there for an extended stay, you won’t want to leave this enchanting city. In my opinion it is definitely the most charming city in all of the United States.
Oh and make sure not to leave without trying some of that famous southern fried chicken! It is deeelicious!