A day of substantial rain. Surprising how poorly the city seems to deal with rain, given that they get, you know, actual hurricanes from time to time. This wasn’t a torrential event, yet many streets still managed to have a few inches of standing water.
I have an admission to make. I ate breakfast at a restaurant based on having seen it on No Reservations. I know, I’m embarrassed too – take away my traveller card. That restaurant was the Hominy grill – grits, eggs, sausage. I’m sure grits wear thin pretty quickly, but I still find them exciting.
Doing my best to stay dry, I hit a few museums and laid pretty low. The Exchange and Provost is a pretty fascinating building – old and repurposed many times. From custom house to dungeon to post office to museum. Say what you will, but I find it powerful to stand in a room where the Declaration of Independence was read aloud, where the Constitution was ratified, and where George Washington hung out.
An aside – Charleston, as part of its tourism-centric nature, basically doesn’t operate on Mondays. The weekend crowds leave town, there aren’t cruise ships, and the streets are empty. Many shops and restaurants don’t bother opening.
I was the only person on the tour of the dungeon. The very nice tour guide, in indeterminate “period” garb, did the full speech anyways. That was mostly fine, but the speech involves asking a variety of questions of the tour group. Whereas, with a group, it would be a polite “does anyone know what the name of such and such flag is,” when you’re the only one on the tour, it feels a bit more pop-quiz. High pressure! I did ok though, B+ at least.
From there, I swung up to the Old Slave Mart Museum, which is primarily just narrative text telling the story of the slave trade in Charleston. Fine, but not nearly as powerful as it might be. One wonders if that’s not intentional.
A rather drenching walk brought me to Black Tap Coffee. It is, as far as I can tell, the only real snob coffee shop in Charleston. Pour over, single origin, all the proper buzzwords. A nice place to ride out the downpour.
In the afternoon, I visited the Charleston Museum, “America’s First Museum.” It’s got a lot of stuff. It’s rather slapdash. Maybe someone could articulate the narrative, but aside from a few pockets, I couldn’t really see it. Text-filled placards everywhere, stuck to everything.
Dinner – 82 Queen. Fried green tomatoes, frogmore stew.
Not too many photos today, given the rain. Charleston has a lot of vacant buildings in various states of decay. Many look beyond saving, but I imagine that a recovering housing market and an increase in available tourism dollars will continue to spur rehabilitation.