Saturday, January 21, 2012

Charleston Does It Again

The Holy City, my Charleston, has done it again. Another high-profile travel industry award announcement has placed Charleston, South Carolina in elite company. Fodor's, the travel guide people, have placed Charleston on its current list of "Top 21 Places" to go in the WORLD. What's more, only one other destination on the list of 21 is in the United States, Oahu in Hawaii, made the list. What are even more impressive are the other locations that made the list: Paris, London, and Budapest for example. Fodor’s editors made the announcement last week dividing their “Go List” into one of four categories: Buzzy Destinations (new energy suffuses there rural and urban hubs), Emerging Hotspots(cutting edge locales that are ahead of the curve), Great Values(underrated and overlooked destinations) and Noteworthy Events(timely trips).

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My beloved Charleston was named to the list primarily due to the Southern food revival that is currently underway. Thanks to Chefs like Sean Brock (Husk/McCrady’s) and Kevin Johnson (Grocery) as well as others who are using traditional and locally grown southern ingredients to re-introduced a style and flavor that has been missing in Southern food for decades. Of course, great nouveau Southern food isn’t the only thing that’s hot in Charleston according to Fodor’s; World Class and luxurious hotels and inns as well as the great climate; especially March to June makes Historic Charleston a top choice.

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This has been an interesting week for our kingdom by the sea with the eyes of America somewhat focused on the entire state of South Carolina, but especially the Lowcountry as the GOP Presidential hopefuls and their entourages along with the army of media outlets have invaded The Land of Palm Trees. It’s hard to tune in to a cable based news show this week that isn’t originating from some coffee shop, hotel lobby or diner in vacation land. I imagine that the tourists who are currently visiting are exuberant that the announcement of this latest award became public during their time in paradise. It probably adds a little value to the cost of their vacation, gives them a little boost of feeling like "a job well done." A few more reasons to boast to their office mates and neighbors about their little get away. Maybe it provides for a slight increase in urgency to get out there and see the sights, snap the pictures, enjoy the restaurants and buy those souvenirs.

But what really makes me wonder, is how do these awards and accolades and the exposure that comes with the release of them make my fellow Lowcountry residents feel. You know, there are thousands of guests going to bed tonight in the many hotel and inn beds across the holy city, but there are hundreds of thousands of permanent residents in the Charleston Metro area who will go through their nightly routines this evening before turning out the lamp on their bedside tables and settling in for a southern slumber in Americas friendliest, most polite and most desired travel destination in the world. How might those people view the awards?

Well I can't speak for them, although I would assume that some of them really couldn’t care less, and that some of them may embrace the news. For me, not only do I enjoy hearing about these awards, it gives me a feeling of satisfaction. Affirmation, if you will, in the knowledge that my decision to relocate my family to The Land of Palm Trees was the right thing to do. Like the tourists, many of whom just may be thinking tonight, "why do I want to go back to the cold and snowy weather back home?" I came to the conclusion that if I enjoyed visiting Charleston as a guest, I would really find a lot of satisfaction in becoming a permanent resident. So when these awards and acknowledgements are made public, it reinforces my belief that I made a good choice. It also excites me to know that each award introduces more people to Charleston as a destination, and like anybody who is happy with their place in the world, it is only natural that I enjoy sharing a piece of my world with others.

Today, I am curious. There are a lot of local folks who visit and read From The Land of Palm Trees on a regular basis, some of them bloggers themselves. I would like to ask you, the reader, what does it mean to you when Charleston is recognized either with an award or accolade or an honor such as hosting a major event, such as the recent GOP Debate? Please leave a comment below and help me to provide our out of town friends who read this blog a glimpse into a local’s perspective on the awards. Thanks in advance for your comments.


  1. I never needed someone else to affirm what I have always known.

  2. Since you asked, when Charleston receives all this recognition it makes me proud - proud of my choice and proud of my city. When people ask "what made you move to Charleston?" I have to wonder "Haven't you heard? It is one of America's great cities!" And I am coming from what I consider one of America's other great cities - Chicago. But I have to say, the weather made me do it! Once I got here it was more than the weather. The flowers, the beauty, the things to do, my neighborhood, all contributes to a very wise choice.

  3. My family has been in Charleston for more than 6 generations! As we've recieved more and more recognition over the last year I have many thoughts: 1st. Well, of course Chas is the best! 2nd. Ah! No more crowds! 3rd. Charleston is mine! Not yours! Mine! (silly, I know) and then 4th. Welcome y'all :)


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