How long have you been living in Charleston, and why did you decide to settle in this city?
Except for a few years when I was in Wilmington, NC for college I’ve lived in Charleston my entire life. I moved back as soon as I graduated and I’m pretty confident it would take a lot for me to move out again. The low cost of living combined with family and friends and so much to do in town makes it too hard to leave. You could live in Washing DC in a 700 ft. condo or in Charleston, WV in a 4 bedroom 3000 sq. ft. house with land and a cute neighborhood for the same price. Plus with all the money you save you can take weekend trips to DC or Charlotte, or Pittsburgh, or Lexington…
How do you find the general vibe of Charleston?
Charleston is a very laid back, casual city. It’s a very close-knit community where everyone knows and supports each other. It’s kind of like Cheers- everybody knows your name…
Which season is Charleston at its best?
Fall is by far my favorite season. The trees all change at once and when you drive through the mountains you drive through these gorgeous canopies of red, brown, green, and yellow. However, I do have to say the white Winters give Fall a run for it’s money.
What do you think is Charleston’s biggest attraction?
For the outdoors I really enjoy the parks. There are a ton of trails and my dogs love running through them. However, I think Charleston’s biggest attraction is the Clay Center. The Clay Center has a very diverse line-up of performances so everyone can find something they like. There’s the symphony, plays, comedians, children’s shows, and all sorts of fun events. Recently I went to see Chicago and soon I hope to see comedian Chelsea Handley perform. The theatre is beautiful and designed to have really great acoustics. The Clay Center also has a really nice science and art museum as well.
How would you describe Charleston to someone who hasn’t been here before?
Charleston has a small town feel to it. When you walk down the streets everyone smiles and says hello. Just an example- my cousin recently moved here from Chicago and was so confused. She literally thought we knew every single person we passed on the street because we all said hello to each other. Downtown sits along the river in a valley and looks like a miniature big city with some beautiful historic buildings. As you go East you go through the East End which features historic homes and ends up at the Capital and is a sight in and of itself with it’s brilliant gold dome.
What are your top 5 dining places in Charleston?
The Bridge Road Bistro, Lola’s, Soho, Bluegrass Kitchen, and Ellen’s Ice Cream. The Bistro has the best blue cheese and chips you’ll ever try and a nice mix of salads, sandwiches, fish, pasta- everything is good. Lola’s is a pizza place which not only features unique pizzas, but also has a great atmosphere with artwork by Charli Jupiter Hamilton, a Charleston local, and a small outdoor deck for admiring the surrounding forrest. Soho is a very modern, city-like restaurant located within the Capital Market. Bluegrass kitchen kind of is a blend of Lola’s and Soho, with the décor of Lola’s and the city-feel of Soho. And Ellen’s Ice cream is a locally owned ice cream shop with homemade ice cream, soup, and sandwiches- You won’t find better ice cream anywhere else.
What are Charleston’s attractions that every tourists must visit?
The Clay Center, Power Park, Kanawha State Forest and/or Coonskin Park, and shopping. The Clay Center fulfills the arts requirement. Power Park covers sports and socializing with locals with baseball and friends. The Parks give you a chance to experience the beautiful outdoors of Charleston. Shopping should be done either at the bridge road shops or down town. Down town and you can visit Taylor Books for coffee, books, and art; Ivor’s Trunk has great clothing and accessories; Art Emporium features local artist; The Purple Moon has retro gifts, and there’s so much more all within walking distance.
What are the absolute must-try’s for every visitor in Charleston?
You definitely have to try one or more of the local restaurants. Two of them, The Bridge Road Bistro and Lola’s are located within the Bridge Road Shops. Other than the fine dining on Bridge Road there are also some fun gift shops, clothing boutiques, a chocolate shop, toy store, shoe store, yoga studio, hair salon, and an art store. The Bridge Road Shops keep growing and can give you an afternoon of shopping and food.
What are the cheap thrills that you can enjoy in Charleston?
There are always festivals and events going on all year long such has The Charleston Sternwheel Regatta, Vandalia festival, and The Capital Street Art Festival just to name a few. The Boulevard is rarely open to traffic due to all the events. Between the free events downtown and the parks there are tons of things to keep you active.
“I can’t imagine getting more out of a city than you can when you live in Charleston,” shares Molly Seidler. She works for Pfizer as a pharmaceutical rep during the day, and runs thepricklypoppy.com, online gift store selling home décor, garden, entertainment items, and handbags, by night. Molly grew up in Charleston, went away, and came back for all the reasons she mentioned and so much more.