A belated Mother's Day in Charleston, SC
This weekend I headed back to Raleigh to take a weekend trip with Mum to Charleston, SC. A bladder-busting four hour drive - and six billion signs for South of the Border - later, and we arrived in the epicenter of American rebellion.
Devoid of the context of its history, Charleston is beautiful. No question about it. The pastel stucco adorning many of the centuries old buildings was in exquisite condition, and really told of the level of pride the city takes in maintaining its beauty for all to see.
In many ways it reminded me of Boston. The Boston of the South. Instead of lobster, it was crab. Instead of brownstones, it was stucco palaces. Instead of snow it was sweltering heat. Still lots of pastel being worn though.
Exuberant greenery boomed from all angles; from carefully tended covered porches, the tops of tall palm-like trees, and a multitude of small parks splotched around the city. And the Spanish moss just added a thickening, otherworldliness to each tree you clapped eyes on.
I was enthralled by the tropical foliage you don't see four hours north, in the considerably further inland Raleigh. I suspect it did exist at one point in history, but they cleared it all out to make room for more strip malls and Chick Fil A's. At least one of them is an upgrade.
At the southernmost tip of the port city was a small park, complete with a bandstand, statues of Confederate vets, and wartime cannons virtually unrecognisable thanks to the many years' worth of paint coats needed to stop them rusting in the salty sea air, and to stop them giving tetanus to every over-excited and uncontrolled child that clambered over them.
My favourite part of the park was the dense canopy created by the plethora of trees. Their long, gnarled, scaly, snaky branches dipped right down to the ground, only to sweep back skyward feet later. Noel Wells' suggestion in Master of None for an app that can tell you what kind of tree it is would've come in real handy, but Google sufficed, and I learned that they were, in fact, Angel Oaks. What an educational trip.
Also, shoutout to the Charleston Preservation Society. Those plaques and signs around the city are really cool.
And of course, we wandered down Rainbow Row - not Rainbow Road as I accidentally typed on my Instagram. I've got Mario Kart on the brain.
After a grey first day, we ventured out to a plantation to see a little of what Charleston is perhaps better known for.
Mum and I followed the map around the garden, a little unsure of what to feel. It was certainly beautiful, but can a word describing such pleasure and charm really be applied to an area literally watered with the sweat of "enslaved people," as the house tour guide kept referring to them as.
Despite the main manor house having been destroyed by a combination of overzealous Union troops in the Civil War, and an earthquake a few years later, the grounds and remaining structures were definitely impressive.
Side note: when the house tour guide announced that the main house was burned by Northern soldiers, one man in front of us sighed and shook his head. Like that was the real monstrosity that had occurred here over the years.
That evening, we ate another copious amount of food, and strolled around the waterfront park, watching the bats battle the variety of bugs flying around in the humid air.
The next morning before we left, we ate at a small, local, food market/eatery on College of Charleston's campus, called Caviar and Bananas. I had arguably the best fried chicken biscuit of my life, and walked a fraction of it off around CoC's stunning campus.
I tried to candidly look around in wonderment so Mum could take a photo, and then we set off.
Tuesday Lia and I begin our road trip, so stay tuned!