Sunday, January 30, 2011

Charleston: Beautiful, friendly people and gum on a pole

Any town that has a power pole perpetually covered with chewed gum and people who have been voted the country's friendliest and among its most beautiful must be seen, as often as possible.

It's home to many of our country's oldest buildings and is, of course, rife with history. But being old doesn't necessarily make something worth visiting. It's also beautiful -- old oaks complete with hanging moss, water, streets of brick, gardens, exquisite homes and buildings. If you enjoy eating ocean-going creatures -- particularly those that come with shells attached -- this is your kind of place. Shopping? Spend a day at the outdoor Old City Market, with a break for the raw bar at A. W. Shucks.

It's got an aquarium that features local flora and fauna that opens onto the bay.

Kathleen and I did the touristy thing and took a carriage ride through the historic district. Our driver obliged by being both informative and a tad eccentric, showing off his pet chicken when the tour was done.

Being cruise junkies, we also appreciated that a handful of cruises to the Bahamas will go out of Charleston -- we took an old but charming cruise ship, trudging across a gravel parking lot to get to the terminal. That's something you won't find in Miami or San Diego. It all added to the charm.

Is Charleston the Savannah of South Carolina or is Savannah the Charleston of Georgia? Any answer would be sacrilege to the residents of either place, but you get the idea.

About the gum pole -- at the edge of the Old City Market, Kathleen spotted a power pole that looked like it had been a target for the local paintball crowd. No, it's chewed gum covering the pole to about seven feet. Local authorities have tried to outlaw the practice. Fortunately, they have failed so far.

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