It finally turned mercifully cooler the past couple of days. A huge relief from days of heat index readings of 105-111. Fortunately, for the past 25 years I’ve lived in one of America’s most beautiful and historic cities, Charleston, South Carolina. It was founded as an English settlement in 1670. It also happens to be my ancestral home on my mother’s side of our family. My grandfather’s ancestors arrived here from Scotland in the mid to late 1700’s and are buried in one of the city’s oldest church cemeteries downtown in the historic district.
One of my favorite places to take relaxing walks and pictures, especially in the Spring, is Charle Towne Landing State Historic Site, only about a 20-minute drive from where live.. It’s really quite nice to wander the paths at this park which is the site of the first settlement of Charleston. It is filled with small lakes, paths, gardens full of azaleas and camellias, and dozens of very stately old live oak tees.
It’s therefore not surprising I would end up here in the latter decades of my life. In fact, my great grandparents lived in an old house just round the corner from where I live now. To me that’s very consequential. I did not plan to live here, but I have truly been at home here.
I have been coming to nearby Folly Beach starting with summer vacations in 1964. The main drawback to being here is hurricane season which we are right in the middle of now, and which, when it arrives each year, makes me feel like a sitting duck. In every one of the past four years there have been mandatory evacuations from various strong storms that have threatened us. Each year we escape, and each year I say I want to get as faraway from all this as I can. It’s not as nerve-wracking as having to flee on a moment’s notice from California wildfires which are turning that state into an inferno this year. Ours a more slow-motion type of wait-and-see-agony for 2-3 months of every year.
On a cheerier note, Charleston is extremely popular with tourists to the tune of 4 million visitors a year. Until the coronavirus pandemic, that is. Tourists discover a lot to do, and many come back to live here. That’s one reason for the exponential growth in our metro area. The downtown historic district covers dozens of blocks with perfectly preserved 18th and 19th century homes and businesses. The city has been ranked the No 1 travel destination in the U.S. for about eight years in a row by readers of “Conde-Nast Traveler” and “Travel and Leisure” magazines. The pandemic has not stopped people from coming here. All the tour guides wear masks and the horse-drawn carriages’ rows of seats are separated by plastic partitions. It’s a very strange sight in these very strange times.
So with the cooler weather I’ve decided to start taking leisurely walks in our historic district and take pictures of houses, gardens and other things which Interest me spontaneously. Below are some of the results of a photographic walking tour I went on a few days ago. It was a very pleasant way to spend an afternoon, and I always think of how lucky I am to be within walking distance of all this history and beauty.
Last updated September 16, 2020