Don’t Call Me Chuck: Our Visit to Charleston, South Carolina

November 30, 2012 — Over the past week or so, we visited a few places below the Mason-Dixon Line, but our main destination was always the city of Charleston, South Carolina.

It’s one of those places with a history synonymous with that of the country’s itself. However, it still maintains a unique multinational culture all its own. From some angles it looks like it should be embedded even deeper into the map of the South than it is. From other angles, it’s almost European. And throughout it all runs a distinct African influence.

We stayed in the historic district, an area of the city almost too pretty to drag shoe rubber across. Every vertical surface is a photographer’s backdrop. Every house flashes a historical plaque like a sheriff’s badge. Gas lights illuminate the doorways, Spanish moss adorn the live oaks, and mansions are more common than coffee shops, each boasting an elegant garden so well-maintained that horticultural transgressions must be punished with laws of Old Testament fierceness.

We timed our visit to both avoid crowds and the notorious summer heat, but the city was still vibrant with experiences. It might have been here that the first shots of the Civil War whistled the air, but I will always remember it as the place I was first introduced to pralines, she-crab soup, and fried alligator.

Of course, I wasn’t there to just chew on alligator and take in Southern culture. I was looking for oddities. And I certainly found some. From a cemetery in a swamp to a Civil War submarine to a pirate execution spot. Much more, actually, including sites we saw outside the city limits and during a brief foray into Savannah, Georgia, just two hours south.

Basically, I’ve got a lot of posting to do.

But before I get to all that, here are some random photos I took in Charleston itself, in between the oddities:

The historical marker on this house ends with, "In 1786,
Doctor Joseph Ladd Brown was carried to his room after
being mortally wounded in a duel. It is alleged his
ghost still inhabits the house."