Any journey into the soul of the Old South must begin in Charleston. She is, after all, the quintessential Southern Belle, pompous and pretentious, and grand — God’s gift to a multitude of suitors. But she’s also rich in charm and cultural sophistication. Alluring, seductive, mysterious, this Southern Lady wears her pride on her sleeve, while softly whispering of her own long history, and the lessons learned from it. Visitors quickly discover that the Charleston of any season, of any era, is well worth knowing.
One stroll down Broad Street at dusk, the sea breeze rustling gently through the palm trees, you’ll swear you hear the clop, clop of horse hoofs on the cobblestones, and layers of voices rising up from the centuries. And even if you’ve just met her, Charleston’s nagging familiarity, that sense of déjà vu, hangs over you. Her familiarity may come from history books depicting her heyday in the unfolding of American history. Or perhaps from Dubose Heyward’s lyrical descriptions of Catfish Row in his best-selling novel, Porgy. Or maybe it’s the array of starring roles she’s played in such movies as Gone With the Wind, North and South, and The Patriot, to name a few.
But her familiarity is perhaps more deep-rooted. Charleston is the culmination of a multitude of influences, a blending of English, Scottish, and Irish; of French, Spanish, Dutch and German; of African, Caribbean, and Native American. Charleston speaks for many Americas. If you search long and hard enough, you’ll likely find that special place where your soul connects with the history that is Southern in detail, but American in breadth.