Interview: Mary Sale

How long have you been living in Charleston, and why did you decide
to settle in this city?

I grew up in Charleston, living in the same house until I graduated high school. After five years away from West Virginia, I’m back in the area in school in Huntington, WV. My father grew up here in the 40’s and 50’s and returned with our then young family in the 1980’s.

How do you find the general vibe of Charleston?
Charleston is a family city. Growing up, I never questioned my safety or felt I was gypped of any “big city” amenities. Within five to fifteen minutes, you can be at the grocery store, the movies, or the airport. Now, as a single, young adult, I don’t see Charleston as the perfect place to live. It still remains my family hub.

Which season is Charleston at its best?The prime of the fall. Peak week, usually the third week of October, is striking and amazing how beautifully the mountains can shine. You quickly are reminded how we are surrounded by the mountains in our little valley. The trees canopy the streets, and you drive among the season.

What do you think is Charleston’s biggest attraction?
It’s proximity to adventure; kayaking in Fayetteville, biking or skiing at Snowshoe are weekend escapes from the “real world.” During the short trips to your outdoor adventure, you can have real heart to heart talks with your captured audience in the car- if they like it or not!

How would you describe Charleston to someone who hasn’t been here before?
A place resting on the cusp between city and town. As the smallest city with two daily newspapers, we are a legitimately large place, but you still say hi to strangers walking down the sidewalk.

What are your top 5 dining places in Charleston?
Sitar of India- mmm, curry
Cilantro’s- local burrito joint with gourmet salsas
Bluegrass Kitchen- local, healthy and vegetarian friendly
Chris’s Hotdogs- never know when its open, but when it is, it never fails
First Watch- easiest breakfast place ever

What are Charleston’s attractions that every tourists must visit?
Capitol Street: Taylor Books, Ellen’s Ice Cream, Charleston Bread, and the Farmer’s Market; Just cruise down the street and enjoy the smiling faces.

What are the absolute must-try’s for every visitor in Charleston?
Walk the Boulevard, across the South Side Bridge, then up the Carriage Trail. End up at Bridge Road Shops where you can take in a good coffee and shopping.

What are the cheap thrills that you can enjoy in Charleston?
Any out of stater needs to try to drive up and down the mountainsides themselves…then ride in the passenger’s seat with someone who knows what they’re doing. The rocks are mere feet away from the side view mirror.

Mary Sale, a 25-year old medical student, caught her first glimpse of Charleston when she was born in the city. Though she now lives in Huntington, she often goes back to Charleston to visit family. She also passes Charleston as she drives through her favorite white water rafting sites in WV.