Charleston was a lot of fun, but I was dying from the overnight train ride. It was a lot farther from the train station to the fun part of the city, so I caught an Uber and immediately dined at a restaurant aptly named “Toast”. I went mainly for coffee since I hadn’t gotten much sleep on the train. When I was done with my triple espresso shot coffee combination, I started walking toward the Battery with no other real destination in mind until I got there.
I found a lot of historical landmarks on the way, and I was impressed with how quaint a city Charleston is. The residents don’t seem to have normal street lamps. Instead, the light bulbs in their lamps emulate candle light. Everything flickers, and the early morning ambiance definitely complements the already historic feel of the city. Those cities are my favorite, by the way–the places that give you the colonial vibe, like Boston or Philadelphia. Some say NYC does as well, but I think the city is too big and too populated to manage it. Plus I prefer smaller places that lack the hustle and bustle of bigger cities.
When I was walking to the Battery, I found myself stopping to take a lot of pictures. It helped that Charleston was the first city on my list that wasn’t suffering from the dead of winter. I wish I could have scheduled this trip to fall completely after the first blooms. Everything would’ve been a lot prettier. Anyway, so I took some pictures of the flowers and first palm tree sightings, and also a few of the architecture, statues, and parks along the way. There’s a lot.
The Battery is a park along the southern ridge of the city, and overlooks the water. It provided an extra line of defense during the Civil War, and also acts as a seawall. There are cannons, piles of cannonballs, and more statues within the park. If you’re into history, there’s a lot of information to take in while you’re there. The nearby houses are old but beautiful, and many are marked as historic sites. It was early morning when I walked through, and so a lot of people were out running or walking. I also noticed photographers fighting for space to take pictures of some of the houses, and that may or may not be a common sight. It was at the very least amusing.
There are nearby forts and plantations that are probably worth exploring just outside of the city, but I didn’t take the opportunity. After I’m done with my sampler platter travel extravaganza, I’ll come back someday and do it right.
From there, I walked through the park and up the eastern ridge, still along the seawall. I visited Rainbow Row, a line of thirteen historic houses, and the longest line of Georgian Row houses in the country. Alongside all the other history the country has to offer, it wasn’t supremely exciting but it’s definitely worth a quick stop. After that I walked through Philadelphia Alley. It’s a cute stop, and I didn’t see any tourists there yet. Just a couple of runners. Everything in downtown feels pretty safe, even the alleyways.
After two separate stops to parking garage bathrooms–because coffee–I headed for the Arthur Ravenal Jr. Bridge, which is entirely walkable if you’re not a complete moron. I am, so I headed there with an already ailing foot. By the time you get to the mile marker and figure out that you have an over two mile trek ahead of you, you won’t want to turn back. I didn’t. There were a lot of runners with marathon t-shirts going back and forth along the bridge, and I swear they were laughing inwardly every time they passed me.
Once on the other side, I headed underneath the bridge to Mount Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park. While not exciting, I took the opportunity to rest my foot, read, and grab another coffee (because I like coffee and I’m an idiot, so I can conveniently misplace the important knowledge that I have the bladder of a 90-year-old pregnant woman).
Anyway, I realized my phone was dying fast, so I decided to search the park for an outlet. There were benches all over the place, and to my surprise there were USB ports and normal three prong sockets. I sat down, read some more, and charged my phone. It was annoyingly chilly, so eventually I abandoned the station in favor of hurting my foot some more. I accidentally left the plug portion of my charging adapter, so now I’m stuck with just the USB. Most unfortunate (but my parents gave me one of theirs when I made it to Clearwater in Florida).
I headed to Shem Creek Park, met a cool dog, took some bad pictures of a maybe-pelican, and called forth an Uber from the mighty electronic portal that is my crappy iPhone. My driver was the oldest to ever give me a ride. He told me he rolled out of bed, had nothing to do, and said what the hell. So it was destiny, I think. He made quite a few wrong turns on the way to my hotel, but I found him more entertaining than anything else. I put up with things. It’s my thing.
I met my cousin Zach at the hotel, who had driven down from Buffalo to meet me. We ordered Japanese food (the heathen left a piece of sushi to go bad), and watched the prequel season of Spartacus because I was pooped and that’s just the sort of mindless nonsense we greatly enjoy. So ended my trip to Charleston. It was definitely a fun city to explore, and I definitely missed parts. I recommend it if you want a fun place to explore.
It might not feel like a big deal, but even the “candle” lights completely changed the way I would have felt about walking around the city. Sometimes you don’t need expensive or complicated technology to provide different places with different atmospheres. The lights stood out. I wonder how many other places in the southern states use them?
Comcast is bringing faster internet speeds to the city, so we’re almost competitive with the rest of the civilized world. Unfortunately, there’s still not much incentive or enough competition here to make this happen long-term. We’re getting there, but we’ve got a long way to go. It’ll be interesting to see how the worldwide wi-fi that tech giants like Google, Facebook, and SpaceX want to deliver will impact the usual providers that nearly all of us hate with a passion.
Charleston’s government spent a pretty penny implementing a traffic monitoring system that will keep an eye on the city’s intersections. Maybe this is a big brother sort of move to help ticket those who break the rules, but according to city officials the move will help them update traffic lights so traffic will flow more smoothly, and leave room for automation when the time comes.
Charleston thrives not only because of tourism, but also because of manufacturing and tech. It’s one of those places to watch during the next ten years.