And, for me, that error has most often been manifest in my shoe choices. This time, I got it right for both comfort and style. At least, I think I did. Steadfastly refusing to wear athletic shoes for non-athletic pursuits, I packed a pair of Tom’s espadrille-type shoes in a neutral color, a snappy navy-and-white striped pair of espadrilles, and a pair of pointed toe flats, just in case. In case of what, I’m not sure. At any rate, they looked cute and were good for a couple of miles of walking. And to see Charleston, one must walk. And walk.At times, you will walk on brick, as seen here on Church Street. Later, you may find yourself walking on slate near the Battery. The slate can be uneven.Old brick is practically guaranteed to trip you up if you’re wearing kitten heels or, heaven forbid, stilettos! The oldest manmade surface looks beautiful, with its multi-colored stones and time-worn texture, but cobblestones are tough on the feet.
So, if you’re planning a trip to Charleston, take my advice and pack several pairs of comfortable shoes. My secret tip, perfected in New York, is to switch heel heights throughout the day. I may start the day in a low heel, then, after several hours of walking, change to a flat, and then back to the low heel. I am convinced that this helps to alleviate some of the stress put on joints by hours of walking on hard surfaces. And, as we all know, comfortable feet open the gateway to happiness. Or something like that.
And speaking of gates, here are some of my favorite Charleston examples.
The Mister and I loved this Scottish admonition, found below a gate on one the Peninsula’s side streets. Can you figure it out? It’s quite clever, I think, and I’d love to replicate it for a garden gate. Boxwoods and creeping vines adorn many of the city’s wrought iron gates. Our innkeeper, who was born and raised in Charleston, told us that she wanted to print a bumper sticker that states, Real Charlestonians don’t have Topiaries. Too funny. I loved this gate, although I would have to paint that door, if it were my house.These gates welcome worshippers to the First Baptist Church of Charleston, a congregation that was formed in Kittery, Maine in 1682 and moved to the Holy City in 1696. The current sanctuary was designed by architect Robert Mills and was built in 1822.I loved the monograms, left over from a Saturday wedding, and I plan to borrow this idea when the time comes for Big, Middle or Little to tie the knot. Hydrangeas, ferns, ivies, and boxwoods form the backbone of many Charleston gardens, softening the structures and offering welcoming pockets of green throughout the city. This gate opened up to a wide yard, an uncommon feature for a downtown Charleston house. Of course, it’s painted the ubiquitous color known as Charleston Green. The legend goes that following the Civil War, or the Late Unpleasantness, if you prefer, that the federal government sent gallons of paint for Charlestonians to use to spruce up their devastated hometown. Supposedly, the paint was all black, and Charlestonians bucked at using the so-called Yankee paint. So they added yellow to create “Charleston Green.” Depending on the source, the recipe is either nine or 10 parts black to one part yellow for a true Charleston Green. Of course, nowadays Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams have their own formulas. Either way, it’s an awfully good color against the red brick and white frame houses found in the city.More ferns, azaleas and myrtle fill this charming garden, and look at all that velvety moss. I love this classic gate, opening to a narrow garden shared by neighbors. So elegant.
Not so elegant, my feet. Remember, pack comfortable shoes, but don’t forget the Band-Aids.
And now, for the riddle of the gate,
Be Ye Man or Be Ye Woman,But you figured that out already, right?
Be Ye Sune (Soon) or Be Ye Late,
Be Ye Guan (Going) or Be Ye Cumin (Coming),
Be Ye Sure to Shut This Gate.