“I don’t know where we’re taking you on your carriage tour today. ‘Bow’ and ‘Toasty’ don’t know where we’re going on your tour today. That’s because the city of Charleston in all their infinite wisdom has broken the city down into five zones in which horse drawn carriage tours are allowed to tour the city. And the way you find out which tour you’re on, is only once you’re on the tour itself. Because it’s decided by a 1930’s era bingo machine that randomly assigns us a number, and from that number we’re assigned our zone for today’s tour.”
This is the technical side as explained to our tour group before rolling onward into the historic downtown Charleston area. The largest historical district in North America, second in the world, second only to Rome. It’s an old city. Lots of history.
Our tour guide greets the nice lady who runs the booth that provides permits for the horse drawn carriage tours of the city. They exchange a series of numbers and codes in regards to permit numbers, horse ID numbers and time allotments.
The 1930’s ear bingo machine clinks and clanks, and we’ve been assigned our district.
“Ooooh lame… I’m really sorry guys… but we’ve been assigned zone 5, with the city dump and sewage water treatment planet…..”
“Just kidding!!! We got one of my favorite zones, and the one with all the really historic houses, this should be a fun tour!”
Fun Charleston Facts
According to our tour guide, upwards of 90 people move to the Charleston area every day at the moment. I don’t know if they’re doing a daily headcount or how they’re getting to that number, but it was quoted by this tour guide and another as well.
Additionally the historic districts that we lucked into touring today is one of the most expensive zip codes in the entire United States. It’s an interesting situation though, because many of the older families are selling their family homes for much more than their traditional values. The new owners being California Tech Money and New York Stock Exchange Money. Only about thirty percent of the homes in the SOB (South of Broad) area are actually lived in year round.
Charleston is an interesting experience to me because I have to compare everything in my mind to my experience with New Orleans. Back in college I had helped a friend move his mother-in-law out of the New Orleans area after Hurricane Katrina.
New Orleans was still recovering at that point. Dilapidated cars that had sat submersed in water for days on end were crushed and stacked under the local freeway. A lot of the local eateries were still shut down due to the aftermath of the storm.
I have vivid memories of the smell of the city and how dirty it was post-hurricane. I loved it. The rawness, the unpretentiousness, the ‘realness’ of it all.
Charleston is a nice town. It’s a clean town. I have no fears of being mugged here like I did while in New Orleans.
SNOB = Slightly North Of Broad
Broad street is the defining street in Charleston. If you’re south of Broad street, you’re considered to be a ‘have’. And if you’re a ‘have’ you’re a ‘SOB’ (South of Broad). If you’re north of Broad Street, you’re a ‘have not’. If you’re slightly north of Broad Street, you’re a SNOB.
This is how Charleston categorizing it’s neighborhoods.
Complicated I know, but you get the hang of it.
As we tour the city our guide outlines how the nickname for Charleston is the Holy City. The number of old churches here is rather impressive, having one church for every 285 people. They even have an old Unitarian Church which is of note to me. To my understanding, Unitarians tend to be concentrated more in the north, so it’s nice to so some historical representation while on the tour.
The other place of note that we pass is the intersection known as the Four Corners. Divided by City Hall, the County Courthouse, Federal Courthouse and St. Michael’s Episcopal Church. Known as the four corners of law, the first three being fairly straight forward to explain, the fourth being St. Michael’s, which represents ‘God’s law’.
The food throughout Charleston is amazing and it’s hard to do wrong here.
While eating at place called SNOB (Slight North of Broad), I randomly meet a woman who’s run across the street while on her lunch break. She’s a clinically certified hypnotherapist.
We engage is some casual conversation about mindfulness, NLP and general hypnotherapy shop talk while enjoying some of the greatest shrimp and grits I’ve ever had.
It’s interesting to discuss the process of mediation with a hypnotherapist. The concepts of self-awareness and mindfulness of the actual thought process itself. Discussing impulsive behaviors and how people can learn to ‘reframe’ and control and modify negative behaviors and turn them into positive behaviors.
I share with her the story of how the Buddhist Monks had discussed ‘mindful eating’. As a clinical hypnotherapist she has to deal with fair amount of clients that have issues with eating disorders and are attempting to stop smoking.
As we both finish our lunches she casually asks where I’m headed next. I mention heading towards Savannah Georgia that evening.
She tells me about a place called Hunting Island where you can see the sunrise and enjoy the serenity of a beachfront morning in peace.
I tell her I’ll look into it. Back on the road I take her advice and stop off at Hunting Beach. I love it when I get these spontaneous recommendations that work out…