Local vs. Newcomer: Ginny & Sarah share what they love about the Lowcountry!

In Gullah, they use the terms binyah and cumyah to describe those who have always “been here” and those that have “come here.” As I was looking across a group of friends at a happy hour recently, I started to think about how most of us are from places other than Charleston, but how we all have a love for the Lowcountry and all that it has to offer. I decided to interview two friends, one who was born and raised in the Lowcountry, and one who, like myself, relocated here. What I found was that it doesn’t matter if you grew-up here, or found yourself here, the love for the Lowcountry is strong and means something different to everyone.

Ginny Carson (left) and Sarah Coe (right) tell us what they love about the lowcountry.

Ginny Carson (left) and Sarah Coe (right) tell us what they love about the lowcountry.

Check out how Ginny Carson, our native, responded compared to Sarah Coe, who answered the same set of questions from the perspective of a newcomer:

  1. Where were you born?
    Ginny Carson's (GC) response: Roper Hospital – the real one, on Calhoun Street.
    Sarah Coe's (SC) response: Buffalo, NY

  2. How long have you lived in Charleston?
    GC: All but 7.5 of my 39 years.
    SC: Almost five years exactly.

  3. Where else have you lived?
    GC: Clemson SC (GO TIGERS!); Atlanta, GA and a short stint in Conway, Arkansas
    SC: Buffalo, London, Chicago, San Antonio and Houston TX

  4. How does Charleston compare to other places you have lived?
    GC: Nothing finer.
    SC: I’ll put it this way – it’s the longest I’ve stayed in one place since Buffalo, where I was raised. I love it here. It really is a bit of paradise.

  5. What do you like to do in your spare time?
    GC: I love to play outside: paddle board; fish in the creeks; run the local trails, bridges and South of Broad.
    SC: Walk the oak tree-lined streets of my neighborhood, check out one of the countless, world-class restaurants, take in some of the amazing cultural scene – theater, live music, dance, comedy and art – the beaches, of course!

  6. What is your favorite thing about living in Charleston?
    GC: I love the history here – the (mostly) classy presence the city has had since our country’s beginning and my own personal history – I never know when a casual social gathering will resurface a childhood friend!
    SC: There is an ease to southern living I would never have expected to enjoy. Perhaps it’s right for this time of my life. There are many options of things to do and see and I feel I can take my time to take it all in. No rush.

  7. Do you have any Lowcountry rituals?
    GC: I run the Cooper River Bridge almost every Wednesday with this crazy running group and whenever I have a little staycation time our family commits to watching the sunrise one day – Morris Island and Sunrise Park on James Island are our favorites to date!
    SC: Great question, I love that “Lowcountry rituals”. This is so boring, probably, but I love my daily, round-trip work commute. I derive so much from bodies of water and I cross two rivers on my way in to work and on my way home. I always turn my head (bad driving practice, I know). The riverbanks here are exquisite.

  8. What is your favorite Charleston season?
    GC: Fall – because it feels like a cooler version of summer and I already have a tan.
    SC: Fall – but it’s my favorite everywhere.

  9. What is your favorite local festival and why?
    GC: I like the Charleston Wine + Food Festival for what it has done to put Charleston on the map as a culinary destination. SEWE is a close second – I have excellent memories of my father taking us out of school so we could go see the wildlife exhibits when I was a kid (back then, we called it “The Expo”)!
    SC: Restaurant Week – ALL the good foods for a fraction of the cost and its semi-annual. What’s not to like??

  10. If you could tell others looking to move to Charleston one thing, what would it be?
    GC: Commit to taking it all in; try things that may seem a little crazy (they’re the most fun!). And try not to tell us how good it is up north!
    SC: I think expectation management is important. The cost of living here in *some* regards is less but be prepared for salaries to be significantly lower. Really build your network – that is how you hear about opportunities or get referrals. Be open to trying very southern things like Oyster Roasts, grits, and greens on New Year’s. When in Rome!

Water Taxi Bridge Detour

Last night, I attended the Spoleto Finale at Middleton Place with some friends and colleagues. We had perfect weather, good tunes, lots of food, and man oh man, the views. Spoleto brings so much culture and entertainment to the Lowcountry every year and every year that I've lived here, I've been fortunate enough to attend at least a couple of events. Old Crow Medicine Show, Sarah Jarosz, Mavis Staples, lots of Chamber Music, and let us not forget the time my husband played in the orchestra for the raved about Piccolo event, Slammergirls.

Many people travel to Charleston for the Spoleto Festival and my father-in-law and his mother are no exception. When they were in town week before last, we had tickets to join them for the orchestra. My husband and I decided to make a date night of it and meet for dinner downtown at Minero beforehand. He works downtown and I had a home inspection in Mt. Pleasant, so I'd just head that way after I was done. Sounds simple, right?

Well, here comes a bridge problem.

Oh, peninsula life. You're so beautiful, yet so limited when the Cooper River Bridge shuts down. Madness ensues. People leave work, hop on the alternate routes, and then we all come to a big stand-still. Break out the picnic baskets, we're going to be here a while.

Until you realize one of the alternate routes is a water taxi. Wait, what? Yes, that's right. We have a boat that goes from Mt. Pleasant to downtown (and vice versa) several times a day for the low cost of $10 unlimited all day or $6 one way. All you have to do is get your car to the bottom of the bridge. So myself and a good mix of locals and tourists all took a 5 p.m. ride across the harbor, pleasantly chatting the entire way. Everyone was calm, happy to be on a boat, and enjoying the views. "Why don't we do this more often?", everyone was asking. When I got off the water taxi downtown, I ran into a friend going the other way. She was also happy to be getting home via boat in an otherwise dire situation. I was downtown and I was ready for my dinner date and the orchestra with my family.

That day, the one where it took me an hour and a half earlier in the day to get from downtown to my home inspection in Mt. Pleasant? Where thousands of people sat in traffic for hours? Where our local heroes spent hours cleaning up an oil spill (that was luckily successful and no one was injured)? Well it ended up being a really great day. All thanks to the staff at the water taxi, the friends I made on the boat, and the beautiful views our city has to offer. Every now and then, don't forget to catch your breath, take your time, and appreciate the journey you're taking to get to where you want to be.

Did I mention the local news did a story on all of those smart people joining me on the water taxi? 

My view from the water taxi

My view from the water taxi