As I stepped off the curb onto Market Street, the raging waters enveloped my sandaled foot, rose past my ankle and threatened to sweep me off my feet.
My wife, Kathy, stood under an awning clinging to her wind-whipped umbrella, sheathed in a proffered plastic garbage bag and awaited my estimation.
“We can make it,” I said, “But you’ll get wet.”
“I’m already wet,” she stated in obvious reply.
Thus, we continued our merry but soggy exploration of Charleston.
Hurricane Ida was side-swiping one of the South’s oldest cities and inundating it with a torrential rainfall that threatened to overwhelm its barely-above sea level sewer system. Still, with a limited amount of time to enjoy the charms of the seaside city, we did not want to waste time holed-up in a hotel room. So, we trudged across the watery thoroughfare and entered the Old City Market. Based on the occupants of the horse-drawn carriage that passed us by, we were not the only ones unwilling to be deterred by a mere hurricane.
The historic Charleston City Market is one of the city’s more popular attractions. Local entrepreneurs sell a wide-range of wares, much of it locally crafted, at one of the nation’s oldest public markets.
The sprawling four-block retail venue has nearly 300 vendors selling beautiful handicrafts, although, on this day, it was apparent more than a few had decided to sleep in late.
The Holy City
Our damp adventure had begun three days earlier on a much drier afternoon when we had flown into Charleston, S.C., to experience the allure of the Holy City’s steeple-dotted skyline, colonial homes and cobblestoned streets.
The nickname “The Holy City” appears to refer to the prolific amount of houses of worship whose many spires give it a distinctive look. It is said that no building can be built higher than Charleston’s tallest church steeple.
We settled into the Harbor View Inn with its sweeping views of the Charleston Harbor and Waterfront Park. The inn’s rooftop terrace is one of the best places in the city to enjoy the vista.
Our late arrival on a busy Sunday afternoon sans reservation for any of the nearby eateries on East Bay Street found us searching for an open table for some much-needed eats. We stumbled out of the bright sunlit day into Poogan’s Smokehouse and found two chairs at the bar.
The 19th century exposed brick walls are bathed in a subtle hint of fragrant smokiness. With recommendations from our host, we settled on a couple of discerning local brews. Matched with their juicy pulled pork, chicken, smoked sausage, slaw and house chips, we felt we were off to a good start.
Afterward, we walked down to the waterfront, past the splash fountain filled with squealing children, onto …….