A Love Letter from Emily White

Emily White:

Dear Lowcountry,

You have raised me. I was born in July of 2000 at Trident Medical Center in North Charleston, and from there I was brought home to James Island. I was the first child my parents had, and it remained that way for another two years, until my brother was born. We all lived together in a cozy home that I don’t remember much of, except that there was a koi pond, sunflowers, and big trees. We remained there for the next four years, until my parents decided to move to Mount Pleasant. The following years, I was signed up for numerous sports and attended many city coordinated activities with my family. We were never bored.

Hurricane Irene, 2011, with my brother, Louis

Hurricane Irene, 2011, with my brother, Louis

This past summer, for the first time, I went West Coast. West Coast, Best Coast was a saying I had heard many times, and before my trip, I believed it to be true. We drove all along the California coast, and it being the dead of summer, we stopped at more than a few beaches, and to put it candidly, they didn’t meet my expectations. The beaches could not compare to the ones I had back home. I desperately missed Isle of Palms (IOP), Sullivan’s Island, and Folly Beach, where you were guaranteed water at the perfect temperature, and beaches that weren’t too crowded (especially if you went to the right spot during the right time). Another thing I frequently missed when traveling was our famous Charleston sunsets. I have never traveled anywhere where the sunset was as beautiful and colorful as it is in Charleston, South Carolina. My family’s go to spots to witness this Lowcountry treasure are the Pitt Street Bridge, and the Waterfront Park Pier, but our own backyard also serves the sight justice. 

My family's addition to the Charleston Strong wall, downtown

My family's addition to the Charleston Strong wall, downtown

One of the other many things that I love about my home is the opportunity it has given me. I am able to go to one of the best high schools in the nation, hang out downtown with my friends, play Ultimate Frisbee with my parents, and run the Ravenel Bridge whenever I want (something 40,000 people from all over the country come to do once a year). And, if the rare feeling of boredom comes about, you can guarantee that a city activity is happening.

My family, exploring Botany Bay, earlier this year

My family, exploring Botany Bay, earlier this year

Today, I begin my junior year of high school, so the topic of college keeps working its way into the conversations I have with relatives, advisors, and friends. I was born and bred in the Lowcountry and I carry that with me everywhere I go. I’m excited to make my own way, but I also dread the day I may have to say goodbye to the only home I have ever known. Regardless, I know with full confidence that the Lowcountry will always be part of me. For now I am enjoying the next two years under my parent's roof and care in this wonderful city. I am also enjoying the beaches, the sunsets, the weather, and the people whom are unlike any other that I will ever experience anywhere else.

Love,
Emily 

Bio (By Emily Gildea):
Emily lives in Mt. Pleasant with her parents, Eric and Meredith, and her two siblings, Lewis and Molly. Today, she starts her junior year of Academic Magnet High School with her brother starting as a freshman. Emily is an active community volunteer and wrote this letter without any coaxing from a parental unit. I personally connect to Emily through our shared namesake and height advantages.

A Love Letter from Kristen Cobb

Kristen:

In May 2008, my then boyfriend (now my ride or die, hubby, Walker) and I graduated from the fabulous, beautiful College of Charleston and packed up his 1997 Tacoma truck with a suitcase full of clothes, climbing and Ultimate Frisbee gear and our 2 fur babies to head out West. Charleston had been good to us, but we had the itch for travel and adventures. Little did we know how this big adventure would drastically change our lives. After 3 months of living the dream of climbing, playing Ultimate every day, and hiking I had this feeling that I needed to take a test to determine our next move. This test: First Response. And as soon as those two little lines appeared, our lives were positively changed forever. Two, wild at heart, hippies, that couldn't seem to keep a plant alive for more than 2 days, were going to be parents. Excuse me, what? Now instead of deciding of what sick, new mountain to climb or what Ultimate tournament to go to we had to decide on the best place to raise our “Cobblet” (as we came to call her); Boulder or Charleston. It did not take more than 10 minutes before we looked at each other and said in unison, "Charleston". Walker's mom and our amazing college friends lived in Charleston and my family was only 3 hours away in Charlotte. Growing up, we both loved the idea of living at the beach. Fast forward 8 years, with another beautiful Cobblet added to our line-up, and hundreds of life experiences under our belt, we know we made the right decision. Charleston is simply the best place to start and raise a family. Not only is it a beautiful place to live, but this city is more than that, it is a community that loves and supports each other. 

Walker and Kristen, being fancy at a wedding last year

Walker and Kristen, being fancy at a wedding last year

Our Cobblets, 2 beautiful girls, Brooklyn (7) and Hadley (almost 6), are perhaps the luckiest and most loved children in Charleston, better yet, the world. My girls have the best family and extended family one could ask for (Charleston Ultimate Frisbee community). Not only do these girls have an awesome support system but they live in a city with a different beach to choose from every weekend day and endless activities to keep their minds growing. Some of our favorites:

These girls have not 1, but 3 beaches within 15 miles of their backyard. Our favorite beach is Sullivan's Island. Sullivan's Island is also where Walker and I said “I do” in front of mating dolphins (sound clip here), family, and friends. Perhaps our favorite part of Sullivan’s is Station 30. This is where my girls first felt sand in their toes, got taken out by their first wave, picked up jellyfish, and practiced their swimming.

Babies at the beach

Babies at the beach

Cobblets after a day on Sullivan's Island

Cobblets after a day on Sullivan's Island

Aside from the beaches, Charleston has many museums, plantations, parks and tours to educate and entertain your children. From Magnolia Plantation to Charlestowne Landing to McLeod Plantation to the Charleston Museum to the Yorktown to Fort Moultrie and many more. Our family favorites include but are not limited to Boone Hall Plantation, Waterfront Park, and the Children's Museum of the Lowcountry.

Boone Hall Plantation offers many fun activities throughout the year. Our favorites are the Lowcountry Oyster Roast, strawberry festival and the Pumpkin Patch/Fright Nights. The Strawberry Festival and the Pumpkin Patch offer so many activities from trail rides, 3-story slides, jump pillows, petting zoos, local foods to try, and so much more.

Waterfront Park is nestled right under the Ravenel Bridge with beautiful views of downtown, the Yorktown and water. Besides having a great playground there is a huge field for families to have picnics, throw a frisbee, or kick a soccer ball. The park also offers a pier for fishing, sitting on porch swings, a monument to our Veterans in the Lowcountry, and a shop where you can buy souvenirs, sandwiches and most importantly it has soft-serve ice cream, a Cobblet favorite.

The Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry is a non-profit organization in the heart of downtown and offers a wide range of creative things for children of all ages to get in to, even babies. For the first couple of years of my girls life, we spent many days there hanging with friends learning and exploring our imaginations. And during the summers when school is out, the Children’s Museum offers a great summer camp for kids ages 3-10 from Jedi Training to Iron Chef to Harry Potter and so much more!

A young, Brooklyn, at the Children's Museum of the Lowcountry

A young, Brooklyn, at the Children's Museum of the Lowcountry

Making that decision in 2008 to move back to Charleston turned out to be the best idea we ever had and probably the best thing we could have done for our girls. The Cobblets are growing into curious, caring, active, supportive, and driven individuals and we have to say that along with our parenting and framily (friends + family), the Charleston community has had a big impact and we are so thankful.

 

Bio (by Emily):
Kristen lives in Mt. Pleasant with her husband, Walker, the Cobblets, and their fur baby, BoBerry (like the biscuit). This month, she is graduating Magna Cum Laude from the MUSC Accelerated Program with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Just last week, she passed her boards. In her free time, she can be found playing Ultimate Frisbee or completing a marathon or triathlon.

Kristen and friends at a Triathlon 

Kristen and friends at a Triathlon 

A Love Letter from Mackenzie Foster

Mackenzie:

“Why would anyone want to leave this wonderful city?” is a question I hear frequently from visiting friends and family.  They are always in awe of the warm sunshine, the diverse restaurant scene, and the abundance of things to do. While I don’t have good answer to their question, I can say that I was one of the ones who left. After four years at the College of Charleston, studying for midterms, lying on the grass at Marion Square, countless hours at the beach, and playing Ultimate Frisbee outdoors all year round, I graduated, packed up, and moved to Chicago. Cold, snowy, eight-months-of-winter, Chicago. My five years in the Windy City were filled new experiences, lots of fun, and many lessons learned, but I do have to admit that moving back to Charleston was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Luckily, the Lowcountry welcomed me back with open arms. My departure and return enabled me to see the Lowcountry in a whole new “rose colored glasses” kind of light. While sitting down to write this post I made a list of all the things that I love about the Lowcountry and what makes it unique (it was a little extensive…). There were many topics that have already been mentioned on Lowcountry Love Letters (including some of my faves- the beauty of brunch, the growing craft brewery scene, and of course the beach) so I narrowed my list to three.

1) People

There is nothing comparable to the people you meet in the Lowcountry. South Carolina’s “Smiling Faces, Beautiful Places” motto is spot on. Upon my return, I immediately appreciated the warm feeling of walking down the street and having complete strangers smile and say hello. While the rest of the country sometimes thinks this is strange, here Southern kindness reigns. I was very impressed by my neighbors who are always willing to lend a helping hand, my coworkers who understand that family comes first, and my friends who are always there when I need them. I get laughed at from my Chicago friends when I tell them I am baking a pie or a casserole to bring to a friend or that a friend is cooking me dinner, but this is just the way people in the Lowcountry treat each other.

Our annual Charleston family Easter took place yesterday, where of course, Mackenzie brought two grits dishes.

2) Pace

When I first moved to Chicago, I worked with a group of individuals from New York who were opening a Broadway musical in the Windy City. I was in the throws of learning the lifestyle differences between what I have always known and what I would need to quickly pick up. One instance stuck out in particular; while driving with a coworker, I was informed that my driving style could be described as “moseying” (he was a little terrified of the defensive drivers). While at the time I was extremely offended, I have now learned to appreciate the notion of “stopping to smell the roses”. Most of those that I have met upon my return to the Lowcountry have perfected the art of a work-life balance. They understand the beauty of sitting on the porch with a cold beverage, watching the world go by, or taking a long slow stroll down the beach while catching up with a friend.  In a city filled with such beauty, it seems as though the inhabitants ensure that they take in and appreciate all that the Lowcountry has to offer.

3) Culture
As someone who has a background in theatre and the arts, I understand the South is sometimes perceived as having limited options when it comes to the world of art. Luckily, Charleston does not follow suit. We have Spoleto Festival USA, (which is coming up quickly!) offering seventeen days of world-renowned artists who come in from all over the globe to present dance, theatre, opera, and music.  We have the French Quarter Art Walk happening four times a year, touring Broadway shows coming through the North Charleston Performing Arts Center (Phantom of the Opera going on now!), contemporary art centers like Redux and The Halsey Institute, Reggae Nights Summer concerts, improv at Theatre 99, dance projects like DanceFX, concerts at the Charleston Music Hall or the Music Farm and the list continues. There is always something new and fun to experience.

Bio (by Emily):
Mackenzie lives in Mt. Pleasant with her diva cat, Lucille. She spends her days running the world of set design and production for various projects that include Spoleto, President Obama's visit last year, Darius Rucker's surprise CMT concert on the Isle of Palms and more. Her evenings and weekends are filled with outdoor adventures, glorious first sips of champagne, and bad television with her best girlfriends.

A Love Letter from Stacey Lathem

My Dearest Lowcountry,

Thank you. Thank you for being a glorious backdrop to life. The smell of confederate jasmine and honeysuckle wafting in the spring make me feel like I live in paradise. Your spectacular sunsets, charming traditions, and loving people make me feel grateful on a daily basis. I often have moments where I genuinely think, “I live here?” and have to remind myself that I am not on vacation.

I am grateful for your beautiful parks where we spend warm days by the water and playing with our dogs. The quality moments of walking around the historic district and having Adam teach me about the architecture and history of the buildings he learned about in his historic preservation studies. Even the times in traffic when stuck behind a horse and carriage… how can you really be mad?

I realize I am especially lucky to get to live on the peninsula where I can bike to work, walk to my favorite restaurants, and be a part of the cultural growth of this great city. When I leave the peninsula I get to travel over bridges with fantastic views of marsh, harbor, sailboats, and container ships. My favorite is sharing a bucket of Coronas on the deck at Red’s Ice House, watching the dolphin, paddleboarders, and boats go by.

I love hearing when others move to town is that there is “always so much to do”. It’s true. Sometimes you exhaust me with your plethora of options: oyster roasts, fundraisers, movies in Marion Square, concerts in the park, Second Sundays on King, Farmers Markets, and more. Can I just get some sleep sometimes?!

Thank you for introducing me to the Ultimate Frisbee community and all the wonderful people who make exercising fun and give me a reason to see 50+ of my nearest and dearest each week.

Not to mention the Theatre 99 crew who literally make people laugh for a living. You mean to tell me on a Wednesday night I can see live improv theatre and drink a beer for less than $10? Seriously, where else?

Most of all, thank you for bringing Adam and I together. The lowcountry is where we have fallen in love, made our home, are renovating a house, and getting married. You provide the sites, sounds, and smells for the movie that is our life. We couldn’t be more grateful.

With love,
Stacey

Bio:
Stacey is a proud resident of the North Central neighborhood on the peninsula with her husband-to-be-this-week, Adam, two dogs, Bella and Diego, and diva cat, Julian. She came to Charleston in 2004 to attend the College of Charleston and never looked back. She likes to stay busy playing ultimate frisbee, performing at Theatre 99, project managing at BlueKey, Inc. Days off include long Hampton Park walks, trips to Revelry Brewing, and trying to make it to the beach.

Stacey with her fur-children as captured by her fiance, Adam

Stacey with her fur-children as captured by her fiance, Adam