Stay quirky, Charleston

Last night I had dinner with friends who used to live here, and they were floored by how much Charleston has grown in the past three years. They’re not alone. It seems as if there’s a new restaurant, bar, distillery, or business popping up every week. Walk around Upper King Street or Meeting Street on any given day, and you’ll see it literally changing before your eyes.

Even more interesting, Charleston institutions like our friends at The Gaillard and The Gibbes Museum of Art are in the midst of – or preparing to undergo incredible renovations and expansions. It’s an amazing time to be living in Charleston and have a front row seat for what’s emerging.

What’s up, Charleston? Are you simply riding the wave of being voted Best U.S. City and Best City in the World three years running by Travel + Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler, or is something even larger happening?

While it’s incredible that the world has caught on to the magic that is Charleston, we can’t help but wonder how all of this attention and growth will impact the Holy City, and we’re not just talking infrastructure, although um, can we maybe take a look at I-26, legislators? Please and thanks.

How do you preserve the things that people love about Charleston – the warmth of its people, history, natural beauty, art, and downright quirkiness that make it so special – when everyone in the world suddenly wants a piece of it?

The issue isn’t a new one. Cities like Austin and Portland had – and have – the same challenge. What does smart growth look like? What’s sustainable and what isn’t? And how do you stay true to the past – and still be free to evolve and change? All we know for sure is that it takes all of us, a lot of conversation, and hard work. We think we’re up for the challenge.

Stay quirky, Charleston. We love you hard.