Definition of MUSE: a source of inspiration; a guiding genius
Adorned with a diadem of historic steeples and earthquake bolts, Charleston cuts an unmistakable silhouette. She gazes at the Atlantic Ocean, is embraced by serpentine tributaries and flecked with sweetgrass and cerulean hues. The scent of secret gardens, a heady fusion of Carolina jessamine and tea olive, coquettishly winks at briny sea breezes. Church bells, rustling palmetto fronds and Gullah, a lyrical sea island patois, compose the timeless score. Intensely pleasurable moments born of a 330-year-old farm-to-table movement spring forth at every meal. The Lowcountry, as locals lovingly call it, is a poetic place that etches its imprint on all who visit.
The Lowcountry is our muse.
The Charleston area casts a spell on many, from authors and artists to chefs and children. Here are a few highlights of especially colorful commentary inspired by the Lowcountry.
“Charleston has a landscape that encourages intimacy and partisanship. I have heard it said that an inoculation to the sights and smells of the Carolina Lowcountry is an almost irreversible antidote to the charms of other landscapes, other alien geographies. You can be moved profoundly by other vistas, by other oceans, by soaring mountain ranges, but you can never be seduced. You can even forsake the Lowcountry, renounce it for other climates, but you can never completely escape the sensuous, semitropical pull of Charleston and her marshes.” ― Pat Conroy, The Lords of Discipline
“I’m going back to dignity and grace. I’m going back to Charleston, where I belong.” — Rhett Butler, in the movie version of Gone with the Wind
“I thought of the clop of horses’ feet on cobblestones and the soft, sulking, wallowing surf of Sullivan’s Island in August, and the countless small vistas of grace and charm wherever the eye fell; a garden door, a peeling old wall, an entire symmetrical world caught in a windowpane. Charleston simply could not manage to offend the eye. I thought of the candy colors of the old houses in the sunset, and the dark secret churchyards with their tumbled stones, and the pure sweet bells of Saint Michael’s in the Sunday morning stillness.” ― Anne Rivers Siddons, Colony
“Charleston is one of those cities where the southern hospitality is matched by its food.” — John Riordan, Irish Examiner
“Lovers of history and southern elegance could find no better place than Charleston to spend a weekend or an extended vacation. This city truly has something for everyone.” — L. Woodrow Ross, Anderson Independent – Mail
“If you want to take a short road trip, head to Charleston, an open-air museum of a city that boasts some of the finest walks and best-preserved historic homes in the country.” — Lynn Parramore, huffingtonpost.com
“Siren of the South: history buffs, foodies and fishermen all love the Lowcountry.” — Jane O’Boyle, Yachting
“The seaport city of Charleston, S.C., offers visitors a taste of old world charm combined with southern sophistication.”— Rita Charleston, Philadelphia Tribune
“Charleston’s noble houses with their vast pillared piazzas are so beautiful I could have easily spent all day walking the streets admiring them.” — Adam Ruck, The Telegraph
“This sunny, cobblestoned town has now reached a critical mass of flavor: Go. Now.” — TastingTable.com
“South Carolina’s low country provides a low-key, old world existence to those who live here. If you want to taste it, it helps to slow down, turn off the main highways, and you can step into a unique way of life.” —Andrew Zimmern, Food & Wine contributor and host of Bizarre Foods on the Travel Channel
“I’ve been all over the world and Charleston is the most beautiful city I’ve ever seen.” – Stephen Colbert, Emmy Award-winning comedy writer and best-selling author
“When the termites swarm, it’s a big pygmy delicacy. I was hanging out with this tribe in the interior of the Congo. This girl and I were tripping along one night in the dark jungle. She looked up at me and held out this swarming hand of bugs. She grabbed one, chewed it, looked at her hand, then looked at me. And so, being from Charleston and having good manners, I took it.” – Lauren Hutton, model
“At the time of the American Revolution, Charleston stood as one of the young nation’s largest, wealthiest, and most dynamic communities, a city some called Little London. Plenty of cities have since surpassed Charleston in population, but this sultry and gracious metropolis at the confluence of the Cooper and Ashley rivers remains unparalleled in charm.” — Patricia Schultz, 1,000 Places to See Before You Die