We Fishy's hope everyone had a blessed, merry Christmas Day.
We sure did! Charleston was a wonderful city to visit for the holidays.
The families who live in the Historic District clearly love their homes, their city and each other.
That joy is shared with the many visitors, even the masses who disembark from the cruise ships.
What I loved is the locals do not give way to the demands of commerce and tourism. No. They live in their homes, their neighborhoods , their city in a very European, very pedestrian way. Also with an obvious joy and love of place.
One of the things I adored about Charleston's French Quarter is .... the same sense of order I loved about France! It is there in even the tiniest garden patch, in every beautiful window box, in every storefront, in every natural swag, wreath and tree on gates, fences, columns and porches. The entire district was a present. You could breathe in the essence of Charleston right along with the tangy sea air.
Just as the sun was turning the waterfront golden on the morning of the 26th, I went forth with the camera to explore; without traffic or crowds or the drizzle of Christmas. The families who live in this area are up, out walking dogs, fetching croissants from the corner bakery, watering the home patch, or clearing the porches from the revelries. Everyone I met was gracious from a nod of welcome to an introduction to their pets to an offer of breakfast. I can admit I was not your typical camera draped tourist schlepping around in aging jeans and dismaying footwear. No, NO! In honor of Charleston and in respect for the families whose privacy I would be photographing, I went forth in classic black and white wearing my pearls and dress boots. This is no doubt why I was not arrested or run down for standing in the middle of intersections to get a particular shot.
All of which was good, not stellar, but really good . Fresh, crisp, fragrant, local, beautifully plated foods. Every place was packed to the max so the noise levels were high. Mermaid takes after Blowfish and is a foodie. By the time I had rejoined them in the lobby, Mermaid had already sussed out a great lunch spot. We had no lunch reservations with Cru Cafe but they set a table for us on the Porch and brought delights to the famished quickly. It was warm and sunny enough to eat outside comfortably which was a treat in itself.
At Hanks on Christmas Eve, our confirmed reservation minimized the waiting, What was interesting is there were a good many visitors present but probably 65% of the patrons were locals. Many there with their extended families. It looked to me the young professionals or the college students of the local families had gathered here early evening to show off their finery and share their recent histories. It was actually more the atmosphere of a holiday at the local club than a public restaurant. Decorations were simply masses of poinsettias.
Christmas Day we were very lucky to have reservations with Poogan's Porch. They had every seat reserved from 11am until 9:30 pm. While they were accepting walk-ins for the bar, the porches and the courtyards... those waits were already up to 1.5 hours by early afternoon. Again, what I really liked was the mix was more local that not. My dinner began with Butternut squash bisque and was so rich and creamy it could have ended there happily before the prime rib and Southern sides.
I could write volumes about the architecture but I will not.
What I do recommend is a visit to experience for yourselves the delights of Charleston!
I came home with a collection of real estate books which I keep by my bed and review before turning the lights out. I am dreaming of winning a big lottery so my architectural fantasies can come true. Charleston is probably the closest I will come to living in France without leaving America.
Happy New Year !