Friday, November 22, 2013

Charleston Over Coffee

Hello! [Hug.] How have you been? It's so good to see you. Have you ordered yet? No? Well, let's take a seat. [They sit.]

[To waiter] I'll have a large caramel latte, please. And for you? Coffee's on me today.

[Mugs of coffee appear as if by magic--because this scene is from my own imaginings so I can have coffee conjured from thin air.]

[Each takes a sip.] Mmmmmmmmmmm.

It has been too long. [Listens, then chuckles.] No, I actually haven't been hiding. I've been away, literally and figuratively. So let's start with the figuratively. [And so begins the monologue...not a soliloquy because I'm assuming you're still sticking around to listen....this is what happens when I'm teaching Hamlet to my AP class....]

I'm wading through the morass of writing a critical thesis. It's painful. I won't go into the gory details, but my brain seems to be refusing to work properly with regards to said thesis and instead has posted a sign on the front gate saying, "Theses Unwelcome: feel free to knock, but we won't answer." Instead they welcome YouTube videos, Downton Abbey reruns, Facebook memes, and poorly-written commercial fiction.  As a result I walk into my Writing World eager to be productive, and I return all oozy and wilty and disgruntled. I have 2 weeks until the final thesis is due. So I press on. Though my presence on the Isle will most likely be scarce over the next 2 weeks, I will be yearning for this haven. And, who knows, I may even appear simply because I need to write something other than dry, academic prose and I need to connect with people other than silent, fictional characters. Miracles happen, yes?

I've also been literally away. I flew down to Charleston, SC to visit my college roommate and kindred spirit, Jessica. It was a "working" visit because I was also researching a book and working on a possible travel article for a local magazine. Jessica too is a history buff, so we rambled around historic Charleston together. And I must say, it was glorious. Here's a snippet of our itinerary:

  • Drayton Hall
  • Heyward-Washington House
  • Charleston Harbor Cruise
  • Charleston walking tour
  • The Charleston Museum
  • The Old Exchange and Provost
We also did a double-header at their dine-in movie theater and saw 12 Years a Slave and Thor 2 (quite a contrast, right? Yeah, it was.)

All this in 4 days. Bliss.

Now, I want to do each of these fabulous and oh-so-deliciously-historical places justice by writing a post for each (specifically Drayton Hall and the Heyward-Washington House), but haven't the time at the moment. So, until I'm freed up to elaborate on these historical homes, I'm going to leave you with some pictures I took that I think capture a bit of the essence of each.

First, Drayton Hall: built in the early 1700s (that's old for the US!) and is the only plantation house kept intact through the Revolutionary War (it was Cornwallis's headquarters!) and the Civil War. It was a private residence up until the 1960s--though it was kept without electricity or indoor plumbing til then as well. (rustic living, indeed!)

And this would be our dynamic due: Jessica and Anna ride again!
Next was the Heyward-Washington House (which incidentally has some of the furniture from Drayton Hall). Thomas Heyward, Jr., was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and his family owned this house (it was their "town house" where they conducted their business end of things). George Washington stayed in this house in 1791 when he visited Charleston after the Revolution. My favorite parts were the hidden cubbies and compartments inside their desks and dressers, the necessity chairs (a.k.a. indoor toilets consisting of a normal-looking chair whose seat lifts to reveal a chamber pot), and the elaborate ways they served their tea.

Elaborate, right?

A library bookcase--love the sound of that. I think I need one of these..
All the different keys for all the different doors and compartments in the library bookcase.
A necessity chair. Ha!
A colonial kitchen.

After strolling down Church Street . . .

. . . and floating through the harbor . . .

. . . it is clear to me now why Charleston is called America's Favorite City. Ancient oaks mingle with palm trees. The urban waltzes with the rural. The colonial blurs into the contemporary. The pace is slow, yet steady. The sun shines. The people smile. It's not just America's Favorite City, it's now one of mine. So glad I could share a few moments of my journey with you. 

Happy Friday, all!



  1. Hi Lovely Lady! I'm finally getting a moment to comment, rather than just read through. I'm so glad you enjoyed Charleston!! It makes me proud to have been born and raised there. :) The historic parts are also my favorite. Did you visit any of the beaches? Folly is my heart. Was the pic of the harbor on the Battery? Did you see rainbow row? Oh, so many amazing places. ;) Anyway, I can't imagine what it must be like to be working hard on a thesis and feel that familiar block. But I do hope all goes well and that some of those Youtube videos provide some subconscious inspiration. :)

    1. So nice to see you, Jennifer! I adore Charleston. We didn't make it to the beaches, but we floated past them on our cruise. The picture of the harbor I took while out on the water, we were near Fort Sumter when I took that one. I saw Rainbow Row and the Battery and listened to the bells of St. Michaels. Mmmm, savoring again the loveliness of it all. Maybe all this savoring will unleash my mind from its moorings. Thanks for sharing your city, Jennifer! It is a hometown to be proud of!

  2. I loved your pictures and commentary. I love those old places. We lived in North Carolina once and I wanted to get down to Charleston before we left, but couldn't make it happen, so thank you for the tour!
    I sincerely hope your thesis has turned out well. I'm pretty sure it's better than you think it is. :)

    1. So glad you enjoyed the tour, Danni. And I'm hoping you're right with regards to my thesis. I've finished it, submitted it, and am waiting with bated breath to hear if it made the cut. Hope you had a fabulous Thanksgiving!


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