As a “Northerner,” I fully expected to find a few things in the South: greasy food, intolerance, poverty, and quiet. Instead, during our long weekend in Charleston, SC, we were welcomed with sincere hospitality virtually everywhere; we ate some AMAZING food (including honey-soaked hush puppies at Hyman’s Seafood and sweet potato soup with marshmallows (!!) at McCrady’s); and we were truly impressed by the architecture and history surrounding us.
My two favorite experiences:
- Listening to a great musician from Ireland on an acoustic guitar singing at an Irish pub, surrounded by friends and singing along.
- Walking along the Battery (Charleston’s version of the ramblas in Uruguay) in the warm afternoon sun, complete with dogs, joggers, children, dolphins swimming in the background, and some of the most elegant/ostentatious houses I’ve seen outside of Bay Ridge (including the house where Colbert allegedly grew up).
Another surprise was the huge Navy presence: you could not go one block without spotting a Navy uniform. Even more surprising was [as told to me by friends] spotting large groups of young men from the Navy at the gay nightclub, where many of them would hang out together when they were away from their girlfriends back home.
We stayed in the [more upscale] historic district, so perhaps this accounts for the fact that most African Americans we saw were either working in the inn we stayed at or selling woven baskets at the market, though it was still a bit surprising to see a rather homogenous population, which was probably my only disappointment with Charleston.