This week I stepped away from my usual routine … we went to Charleston to attend the wedding of the son of a dear friend. While we were there, we took a few days to soak in the ambiance and culture of this amazing city. It was a first visit for both Steve and me, so, along with the wedding, we took a few days to play tourist, explore, relax and just take some time away from the routine of every day. We started out going for a walk just to check things out and made our way to the Waterfront Park. We returned to our hotel via the residential area on King Street and enjoyed soaking in the rich history of all of the perfectly restored homes. We felt very much at home here, as the architecture is so reminiscent of uptown New Orleans.
You can barely move in Charleston without catching a glimpse of the incredibly beautiful Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, also known as the New Cooper River Bridge, a cable-stayed bridge over the Cooper River, which connects downtown Charleston to Mount Pleasant. I’m pretty sure I photographed it from every possible angle, including the underside as we sailed beneath on a dinner cruise (make a wish!) These are my favorite captures.
On Saturday we attended the wedding of Aaron Santos and Caitlin Worsham, which was quite the swanky affair. It was held at the Old City Jail, an alleged haunted historical building that is said to have housed Charleston’s most infamous criminals, pirates and Civil War prisoners. It was only befitting, given that the bride and groom met while teaching literature at a penitentiary … I just love it when couples can bring it all together like that! And so thanks to the magic of one amazing event planner, this dark, dank, decaying old building was transformed into the backdrop for an unbelievably elegant and beautiful affair fit for a fairy tale. Oh, and I shouldn’t fail to mention here that part of that fairy tale was getting to watch Ben and Erin Chrisman work their photographic magic.
On Monday following the wedding, Steve and I were tooling about town, and decided to stop back by the jail to take a few photos of the place in its natural state, sans the glitz and glimmer, for comparison. Wow … this is when we got a real sense of just what the wedding planners had done! I was walking along in the yard and something caught my eye in the upper window along the south wall. I don’t know what it was … it wasn’t a sound, but just kind of a feeling I had that something wanted my attention and was prompting me to look up. I actually saw nothing but decided to photograph the area just in case. Hmmm … could just be lens flare, but the aura hanging around on the right side of that window sure looks eerie to me! It was time to scram!
Given that this was the Memorial Day weekend, we spent time at the beach. Steve wanted to make sure that he at least stuck his feet in the Atlantic, just to be able to say that he had dipped a toe in the ocean on both coasts. We actually went twice … first to the Isle of Palms at the suggestion of our taxi driver who thought we wanted to hang out in a “high tone” area, and then to Folly Beach, which we were told was for “kids and surfers”. We must be “kids and surfers” at heart because we really preferred the eclectic and funky atmosphere of Folly beach the best.
And of course, what trip would be complete without photos of the food! There was one day when we realized that we actually spent the entire day hopping from one restaurant to the next … starting with wine and cheese at about 4 p.m. … moving on to the next venue for drinks and appetizers at about 6 p.m. … and finally to a third for dinner around 9 p.m. The first image here is just one of many plates of shrimp and grits that I indulged in in Charleston, including at the wedding. This particular specimen was served up at the Hominy Grill, an institution that we stumbled upon while following a group of impromptu friends around on the city trolley. On our last night we had dinner at FIG (Food Is Good) .. and Oh.My.Goodness, my taste buds are still doing the happy dance. We were rather amused that everyone we encountered along the way to FIG, desk clerks, bellmen, doormen, all stated in a hushed tone of envy spiked reverence, “Oh, you’re having dinner at FIG? How did you get that reservation?” … we fully understood once we were there.
I’m going to close with just a short mention of the culture of Charleston. I could actually go on and on about the rich historical significance of this city, and its charm, and so on … but I’m going to stop here and say that if you ever get to Charleston, 1) be sure to take a carriage ride for a street level view of the historical sites that make up the fabric of this town, and 2) definitely support the local arts culture by hanging out at the City Market and buying one of the many, many handmade arts and crafts made by the locals.
I only intended to write a few complimentary words to the many images I captured in this town and here I’ve overdone it. I know that I am leaving out so much, including the fabulous hospitality of the bride’s family and the joy of catching up with the groom’s family … dear, dear friends who are the kind of friends you don’t see every day, but on the days you do see them, you pick up as though you never missed a beat. We are so grateful to have been included in your families’ milestone, and so happy to have shared in the love. You will always be an integral part of the cherished memories of Charleston we have etched in our hearts.
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