Interview: Sara Johe Busse

How long have you been living in Charleston, and why did you decide to settle in this city?
Born and raised here, I left for college and came back to work for Charlie Connor at the Charleston Daily Mail. Fell in love with this city as an adult, married and settled here to raise my family.

How do you find the general vibe of Charleston?
Charleston has always been a place where residents are proud of where they are from — we’re proud to be a “big city” in the middle of a wild and naturally beautiful state

Which season is Charleston at its best?
I’m a spring person — the public plantings in our city bloom beautifully and the private gardens are fabulous. The riverbank is full of daffodils and blooming crabapples — it’s all perfect!

What do you think is Charleston’s biggest attraction?
Tough call — the people, of course, but its physical beauty as a city that celebrates the natural river, the urban downtown with its mix of old and new architecture, the winding neighborhoods, the magnificent State capitol.

How would you describe Charleston to someone who hasn’t been here before?
Friendly yet businesslike, urban and rural, exciting and peaceful…it’s a real mix of all of the good things you want in a city. And you can live in the woods, 10 minutes from the office.

What are your top 5 dining places in Charleston?
For sentimental reasons, Fazio’s; for new, innovative dining, Bluegrass Kitchen, for fun dining, Vandalia Grill, for special occasions, Soho’s, for comfort food, anywhere at Southridge! Oh, and for a quick, great workday lunch — Cilantro’s.

What are Charleston’s attractions that every tourists must visit?
The Cultural Center, The Clay Center, Power Park, the Capitol, Kanawha State Forest,

What are the absolute must-try’s for every visitor in Charleston?
Ellen’s ice cream

What are the cheap thrills that you can enjoy in Charleston?
A WV Power game, a visit to the new State Museum, a stroll on the lower sidewalk of Kanawha Boulevard at noon, a quick shopping trip to Gabriel Brothers (my teen daughter’s fav)

About Sara Johe Busse:
I write for the Sunday Gazette-Mail following many years staying home raising my two children and being a “professional volunteer,” as my husband called me. I am proud to be a Charlestonian and I hope my children will be able to live here and raise my grandchildren in Charleston!