Spring is upon us.
Once again, Charleston residents will spend their days relishing every aspect of this picturesque city, whose unperturbed beauty is only heightened during the season. A walk down to the Battery presents one with the ethereal beauty of the pastel-colored mansions, covered in blossoms and vines, with magnolia trees and brilliantly green grass thriving in the homes’ yards. Restaurants will open their windows and doors, none wanting to escape the fresh air the spring affords. Francis Marion Square will soon be wholly consumed by sunbathers studying, reading, sleeping and avoiding the ever-thrown Frisbees. The whole city will soon fall under spring’s lullaby, a collective sigh as the city attempts to transition into the spring’s calm.
That is, if we can all avoid getting hit by a lost tourist’s minivan.
Yes, folks, it’s tourist season. The tourists are once again flocking to the Holy City, threatening to take over our beautiful terrain with their fanny packs and Hawaiian shirts. Like SARS or Al Qaeda, when the tourists hit, they hit hard. They take over our streets (by driving in both lanes) and businesses (wandering into each and every store, not buying a single thing), and tend to congregate in the Bubba Gump perimeter, located centrally in the city’s Market area, after a long day’s work.
It’s common knowledge amongst us locals that during this most heinous of times, we all must avoid popular jaunts. We have to resignedly give them Market Street until 9 p.m. each evening (that is their regular bedtime; tourists sleep early) and try to drive solely on back streets (goodbye Calhoun, Market, King, and East Bay). We learn to shop only when necessary, since there is nothing more difficult than trying to walk down King behind a group of four elderly ladies, each walking at a snail’s pace. Even campus isn’t always safe; the beauty of the unique College of Charleston campus tends to draw them in like flies to a flame.
Don’t give up hope, fellow locals! There are places one can go and activities one can participate in without having to encounter the dreaded tourists.
A favorite of C of C students, Norm’s diner environment does not attract the tourists. It’s definitely a dive, but a fabulous one at that. Norm’s offers a wide variety of meal options, from pizza to subs to, okay, not much else, but what else do you need? Rather than hit up a busy bar for a beer, just go to Norm’s to drink and play some pool.
The Map Room
One place that the tourists will never think of attacking is West Ashley. It’s so close to downtown, yet to the tourists, it’s not even in the picture. The Map Room always has amazing concerts. One of my favorite concerts from the past year was Final Fantasy/ Cadence Weapon, which was held at the Map Room. Check out www.themaproom.net regularly for updates on upcoming shows.
Upper Deck Bar
This bar is absolutely brilliant: no sign= no tourists. Why didn’t the rest of the bars think of that? We all know that the Upper Deck is one of the most laid back, chill bars in all of downtown, yet no tourists would ever think of visiting this unmarked place. Brilliance, sheer brilliance.
Now, I love my Starbucks, but I sure as hell won’t be going there during tourist season, even with the new one at King and Calhoun. No, I will be hitting up Kudu for my caffeine fixes. It’s the best coffeehouse in Charleston, anyway.
With all of the tourists flocking to the Battery, many of us will be without our regular reading spots. However, look no further than Colonial Lake. Yes, it’s manmade and full of odd, presumably radioactive little fish, but sitting on a bench here is just as tranquil as sitting on a bench overlooking the Ashley and Cooper. If I’m ever missing, look for me here. It is a beautiful and relatively quiet spot.
Pictures of these fabulous spots to be added soon…