My week in Charleston


Happy Juneteenth, Gentle Reader!

Last week, I tagged along with Anitra to Charleston. She was there to attend the GIANT conference, while I continued with my regular telecommuting workday from our hotel room and various wifi-equipped establishments in town. I also managed to squeeze in a little touring around, and snapped a few photos along the way.


Graphic artist Shepard Fairey — he of the “Andre the Giant has a posse” signs and Barack Obama’s HOPE poster — was born and grew up in Charleston. He recently painted murals all over downtown, and I spotted a couple, including Andre’s face atop the Francis Marion hotel:


Our hotel was just north of Marion Square, the largest green space in the downtown area.


It seems as if there’s always something going on at Marion Square. We saw a drum circle one night, outdoor yoga another night, and on Friday noon, the local hospital, as a way to promote skin cancer awareness, was giving out free hats. We couldn’t pass those up:


The weather was quite good that week, and the hotel had outlets and a strong wifi signal in its courtyard, so this was my office:


Much better than a cubicle, don’t you think?


Other times, I set up office in various wifi-equipped places downtown, which gave me a chance to check out the heart of the city. I love the palmetto-lined streets:




Even smaller side streets get the palmetto treatment:


Of course we visited Fort Sumter. I was torn about visiting this traitorous hive of scum and villainy, especially with Juneteenth coming up, but I figured I might as well see how they told their side of the story.


I couldn’t help being reminded of this South Park episode

cartman as general lee

…and after hearing over and over about defending their way of life and the so-called “Lost Cause,” I walked out of that dump thinking…

dammit white people

Anyhow, enough about that.

Being a well-preserved older city, there’s no shortage of alleyways like this downtown:


…or gaslights:


And while there are the usual tourist-trappy shops you’d expect to see in a destination like Charleston…


…with the usual kitschy wares…


…they don’t seem to be short of quirky, locally-owned establishments:


Or this sort of business:


Reading the local alt-weeklies, it seems that like a lot of other places, the mayor of Charleston has declared war on nightlife. Only bad people go out at night, right?


That’s a shame, because they’re actually quite good at it, with a number of excellent bars, restaurants, and clubs, from what I could see:


And hey, you’re going to need a night out dancing if you’re going to work off that lobster and grits (this one’s from Stars, who do an excellent rendition of the local shellfish-and-grits dish, and who also have a killer daily rotisserie special):


One night, we found that many restaurants were booked and ended up at Stars a second time. The staff recognized us, and seeing that we’d shown up twice in a week, comped us with their fantastic baked oysters. Thanks guys!

In addition to good food, there’s a lot of good drink to be had here. I’d recommend The Gin Joint (I wish I’d taken a photo), as well as The Belmont, pictured below:


A local favourite is the coffee/bourbon cocktail, which is hard to come by in other bars. This one’s called “The Bucket List”, and they serve it at Husk:


We ate outside on Husk’s balcony, which has this lovely view that lets you see the cyclists — and there are many in Charleston, mostly on cruiser-style bikes, many of whom bike in nice clothes and dresses as opposed to sports cycling gear:


…and they too serve a great shellfish-and-grits. I’m going to be paying for my caloric sins this week at the gym.


The folks at the GIANT conference were cool about letting spouses and significant others (I suppose I exist in that zone between the two now) attending their evening parties, and they threw some good ones. The opening night party was at Charleston Music Hall

charleston music hall

…where I got to entertain the crowd in the lobby and got free beer in return:

accordion at giant

The second night’s party was at The Alley. You know your city’s doing well when it has one of those “like a bowling alley, but more hip” drinking establishments:


The final night’s party was at the office of Blue Ion, a local digital marketing agency who had a space that anyone in New York or San Francisco would kill for (and I’m sure their rent is cheaper). It turns out that I wasn’t the only person to bring an instrument — Katie Greff did as well, and we had a little jam session that night:

jamming at giant

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