Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Star Struck

So often when I sit down to publish a post From The Land of Palm Trees I feel a compelling need to explain that this blog is a lifestyles blog with the purpose of sharing with my readers what life is like for a year round resident of an area where many folks may spend a week or two of vacation every year and then return home with memories and perspectives that are relative to their little stitch in time spent here in "vacation land." While the Lowcountry is now home to me, Charleston serves as a mere destination to many people, some famous and some not so famous. Sometimes the rich and famous come here to be married or to attend a wedding, sometimes the stars and starlets come to spend a couple days at a home that they may own. It is sometimes fun to hang out in my backyard on a Thursday afternoon and watch citation and lear jets coming and going all the while playing a game of imagination as to who they may be dropping off or picking up.

A couple of weeks ago People Magazine covered a high profile wedding that was held over the weekend in the Holy City, Eva Amurri, the daughter of Susan Sarandon chose to be married in a "very Southern City with a very Southern style wedding." And what motivated this famous couple to be hitched in Charleston? Amurri says something to the effect that they wanted to be married someplace with a lot of history, a lot of natural beauty and in a location that will be as it is today for a long time so, get this, "we can bring our children back here and tell them this is where we got married."

It's not uncommon to see former Miami Dolphins Quarterback Dan Marino or current Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo on one of the golf courses around Charleston. A couple of years ago I was exploring King Street in Historic Charleston, and I decided to take a break on a bench across the street from Saks when Reese Witherspoon and her entourage walked right past me on the sidewalk. Witherspoon herself was married in Charleston back in the late 90's, although that marriage has been disposed of, and she made the news back in 2006 when she left Hollywood behind and enrolled her children in public schools in Charleston.

Just this past Summer Charleston twitter accounts lit up like the Griswalds house at Christmas when teen sensation Taylor Swift and her posse took to the downtown shopping district. Taylor spent several days at a private residence on the Isle of Palms and then blogged about her Lowcountry Experience on her personal blog.

Celebrity sightings aren't all that unique to a city named by Conde' Nast as one of the worlds best destinations, as in whole wide world. What is remarkable to me, and what I feel deserves the attention of one of my amateur literary rants is the number of celebrities and noteworthies that choose to call the Lowcountry home. I began to think about this as a blog feature a couple of days ago when I was sharing some information about Charleston's music scene with a new friend who along with her husband form a gritty upstart rock/stomprock/blues duo, Blackwater Mojo.

The music scene in Charleston is really surrealistic. For instance, former Hootie and The Blowfish front-man and current CMA award winner, Darius Rucker not only calls Sullivans Island home, he was born and raised in Charleston. Darius' former band-mate, Hootie guitar player Mark Bryan also calls Charleston home. Yeah, these guys sell out venues like the Coliseum or the Family Circle Cup Stadium for their "homecoming" shows, but it's not odd to "bump" into these guys livin' the easy life in Charleston, say for instance on an NFL Football Sunday at The King Street Grille or on the fairways at Charleston National, or how about this, at a stoplight in the car next to yours.

There are other musicians who are nationally relevant that base their lives off of the stage in and around Charleston. The members of the band NEEDTOBREATHE, currently on tour with Taylor Swift, also come home to the Lowcountry. In fact, I have been a fan of Needtobreathe for quite some time and a couple of weeks ago I was surprised to hear on XM Radio as I was driving home from work the DJ talking about the band and saying, these guys just moved their homes and studios to Summerville, South Carolina about a year ago. Wow, Summerville as in the burb I live in. Heck, I don't even have to leave my neighborhood to experience music fame.One of them, Eddie Bush, guitarist from One Flew South also calls "the Gables" home.

Speaking of celebs in the neighborhood, a couple of years ago my youngest son Noah had a great experience when he watched his favorite Major League baseball player Brett Gardner win a World Series Championship with the New York Yankees then a week later knocked on his door a couple of blocks over and said Trick or Treat. The Gardners are in the process of leaving White Gables, but I understand they are staying in Summerville. And then you have one of the most visible and publicly available celebs, funny guy and 80's Icon Bill Murray is so ingrained into the Charleston community that everybody has a Bill Murray sighting story. Bill's son attends a local high school that is a rival of my son's school, and last year during football season while I was working at an athletic booster concession Bill came by, stood in line and ordered up "one of those burgers and a little potatoe salad please." As I skillfully flipped his burger onto a bun and slopped some tator salad on a chinet plate I was tempted to steal one of his lines from Caddyshack, "hey Lama, how bout a little something, you know for da effort."

I did this piece at the risk of making it read like a supermarket tabloid, but I think the stories told here, sort of underscore why the Charleston Area has won so many "destination awards" lately. Quite honestly, people who could live anywhere in the world, choose to live here, and for good reason, here at 730am on November 16th I am sitting on my front porch in a t-shirt and shorts writing a blog. One of my new neighbors who just relocated here from Indiana just walked past and stopped to say, simply stated, "this is heavenly." Yep, I think so and so does Bill and Brett and Darius and Reese and... Well you get the idea, strangely though, it's not like the picture of "celebrity" that you see on Lifestyles of The Rich and Famous or even on the celebrity tour that you experienced out in California, No, not like that at all. Here, these people are just Charlestonians, just your neighbors famous people you bump into at the store, in a local dining spot or at a ballgame. That's the kind of place the Lowcountry represents and why when I talk to friends that are tired of the weather or just love being on vacation in the Lowcountry I tell them, living here "ain't by invitation only." Oh yeah, we have touristy and trendy, exotic and pricey resorts, but we also have lower costs of living, inexpensive housing, less costly transportation costs and a 75 degree day in November and December isn't a once a month occurrence. That is why I love livin' From The Land of Palm Trees and if I can do it, you can too.


  1. I've lived her most of my life. I didn't realize we were so popular. See? If I didn't read your blog I'd be completely in the dark somewhat like I was at work. Thanks.

  2. You KNOW that I totally agree, Doug. I feel as lucky as those, minus the rich part. Ah - details. ;)


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