I live in New York City, the city of all cities, where streets sprawl in grids and everything continues to grow higher and higher. From the upper west side to the farthest reaches of Queens, you know you’re in a city. Occasionally there will be a beautiful, remote park that you can lose yourself in, but there’s always the sound of the city somewhere in the distance.
Charleston was nothing of the sort. It was a perfect combination of country, city, and seaport. I instantly fell in love, especially after seeing this marvel of nature:
This “God of All Oaks” is located on John’s Island in the low country of Charleston. After learning what the low country actually encompasses, I had decided that that is what I loved most about Charleston; unabashedly true to their roots, humble but proud, and beautiful through and through. It is home to feats of nature like this, that make you pause and consider your place on the Earth.
The above picture was just one of her many branches that grew so thick and heavy they returned to the Earth, some branches even burying themselves in it. The fact that they allow you to walk around her limbs, touch it and stand under it brings you that much closer to nature.
Since watching North & South with my mom as a kid I’ve wanted to visit a plantation. I have always found a sort of romance in the long straight driveways leading to enormous houses, two story columns and wrap-around porches, Spanish moss and twisting, winding garden paths. I finally got to experience it.
In typical Southern fashion, the skies darkened and suddenly we were in the middle of a monsoon complete with thunder and lightning. I was the only brave soul walking around the outside, admiring the exterior of the mansion and taking pictures under my umbrella. Life is too short to miss a shot!
After a brief and boring house tour, we explored the gardens which had a beautiful pond with a whimsical red bridge. I imagined antebellum ladies walking across that bridge with parasols, gossiping about men.
Charleston will always have a special place in my heart. But our Charleston adventures didn’t end here. The next day we explored the inner city and discovered a community rich in history and culture. Subscribe to The Hungry New Yorker to hear more about Charleston in Part Two, as well as our next stop; Atlanta. Stay hungry!