The Charleston Coast From Our View...
One of the reasons I made the decision to move to the island of Martha’s Vineyard from Pennsylvania years ago was the fact that the winters were milder than mainland New England, largely because water tempered the atmosphere and it was not subject to the kind of snow the rest of the northeast received. As time wore on however, the winters became increasingly severe. My last winter required hiring a front loader to open my driveway after snow plows stacked it more than 10’ high. I was over it, and began looking for a new adventure. I had criteria of course, my next home had to be near a beach, on the east coast in order to be near family in PA, and it had to have a lively arts community. It also had to have an economy that would support more than just the hospitality industry as we were coming with no firm employment. We studied cities up and down the Atlantic coast, and decided our first visit would be to Charleston. We took the longish holiday over Thanksgiving to make our first investigation to do some exploring on our own as well as arranging with a local REALTOR® to see some properties.
We drove around a bit and loved what we saw. It did not take long to know Charleston would be our next home. I found myself sitting in Waters Edge restaurant overlooking Shem Creek on Thanksgiving Day and that sealed the deal. It was 75 degrees and sunny, I ordered a rare tuna steak and declared this was the best Thanksgiving ever!
The next day we began looking at homes. We were moving from a very remote location only accessible by boat or plane, so the idea of just running to Home Depot on a whim rather than planning it weeks in advance was an idea we needed to wrap our minds around again. We looked at homes in Mt. Pleasant, West Ashley, and Hanahan. They were very nice homes, but the neighborhoods were more suburban than we preferred. We had been living next to a 10 acre meadow and just two blocks from a state forest. Still, seeing them and their relative convenience helped us refine our requirements. Perhaps even tougher than the neighborhood feel, was the architecture. As a REALTOR®, every week I talk to people about growing older and wanting a master on the first floor at a minimum, and preferably eliminating most stairs altogether. Our New England saltbox was fine for our younger selves but in our forties, we knew that those days were numbered. Finding a single story, contemporary home where most folks want the elevated and more traditional architectural vernacular of the Lowcountry was not easy. Nothing seemed to fit the bill.
After a few weeks of searching I found a contemporary house on Johns Island. Rural to be sure, but just a 15 minute trip to Costco – by car! Anxious as we were, we had to wait until after Christmas to see it in person. We feared it would be snapped up but, it was just not feasible to get there sooner. Fortunately for us, because more people wanted the true Charleston character it had not yet been sold. We walked in the door and I knew it was my house. New construction – a spec home, and it backed up to wetlands and woods. We wrote an offer sitting on the floor in the empty living room. Now, I did have to give in on some things I thought I needed like a larger kitchen, but everyone does – no home is perfect and even if you build it yourself, there will be things that don’t turn out as planned. Remember, everything is a trade-off! Sometimes you get tuna instead of turkey and you can be very thankful.
If you are thinking about making the Lowcountry your home, take it from a transplant – best decision ever! I’d love to help you find your next home.
“October continued to be busier than the calendar normally suggests. Buyer activity remains higher than normal for this time of year, while in many segments of the market housing supply remains much lower than one year ago. Multiple offers remain a common occurrence in many areas, keeping housing hot while the temperatures continue to fall.”
~ Charleston Trident Association of Realtors® (CTAR)
Market Statistics by Area:
Closed Sales +54.5% | Median Sales Price +16.3% | Months Supply -55.0%
- Downtown Charleston
- Upper Charleston Peninsula
- Upper Mount Pleasant
- Lower Mount Pleasant
- Daniel Island
- Folly Beach
- Isle of Palms/Wild Dunes
- Sullivan’s Island
- Kiawah Island
- Seabrook Island
- James Island
- West Ashley
- Johns Island
- North Charleston
- Goose Creek
31 Smith Street, No. 204, Harleston Village
3 bedrooms, 3.5 baths | 1,758 sq ft | Offered at $1,850,000
Historic Charleston’s new distinctive address, Harleston Gates, is now welcoming its new owners. There is just one opportunity left to become a part of this compelling boutique building. The North Flat offers ten foot ceilings, a gracious open floor plan, a spacious master suite, and opulent appointments. With views to Wentworth Mansion and french doors to a balcony set amidst the trees, this Flat is one-of-a kind. For more information, visit www.HarlestonGates.com.
Charleston Coast Vacations
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE LUCKY WINNER!
Thank you to all our past guests who submitted stories and photos to our Charleston Coast Vacations Experiences Vacation Giveaway! It was very hard to choose a winner…but we did. BIG CONGRATS to our past guest Robert M. on his winning story and photo. The image and Robert’s story made for a winning combination.🖤
Working in downtown Charleston, the carriages and tour groups on foot are ubiquitous. dunes properties is located on the first floor of a famous former bordello so you can guarantee the tour guides are certain to point it out every time they pass.
If you however, are looking for something more Uniquely Charleston, I know just the guy for the job. Paul Garbarini’s Uniquely Charleston tours are walking tours customized to your party’s interests. Limited to no more than six people, he can take time to answer all of your questions and focus on the elements that pique your particular interest. “I’m old enough to only do things that are fun, and more than six people on a tour is not fun! The regular walking tours max out at 20,” Paul explains. He also works on your schedule to accommodate the stamina and needs on an individual basis planning shady walks, bathroom breaks, and water along the way. And, if you want or need a driving tour, he’ll do that as well. In his eighth year now doing downtown tours, Paul is also an interpreter at McCloud Plantation Historic Site.
Word of mouth and reviews on Tripadvisor are virtually his only advertising. He has a website, but the business is built on the delighted customers who praise his knowledge and enthusiasm. Paul’s very particular charm and verve will entertain even the soberest tourist. When asked about the cost he declared “I base it on price per person and it’s 90 minutes long unless we are having too much fun or we’re all excited.”
Self – taught over 20 years, his independent research means no one else tells the stories he does. Rather than focus on the rich people who owned the buildings or the statues of military leaders, he explains who built the city, how they lived, and worked. In the 21st century, the concepts of labor and work can be troublesome to process let alone an understanding of what enslavement has meant for our country. According to Paul “It’s an opportunity to raise awareness – I am a ‘brick geek’ – I know both the people who made the bricks and the people who owned them. Their descendants asked me to tell the whole story.”
When asked who his clients were, he replied, “The universe has sent me philosophically compatible people.” One in particular was Dr. Ysaye Barnwell. She traveled from her home in New York to Charleston to make a presentation for the Avery Institute of African American History and Culture at her grandfather’s church – Central Baptist on Radcliffe Street. Because her family was originally from Charleston, she wanted a custom tour. Paul set about researching her genealogy and found that her grandfather, who died in 1907, was one of the richest African American men in town. Originally an enslaved person, Paul even found the original bill of sale from when he was sold in the public records. He went on to learn Dr. Barnwell’s grandfather, William James Parker, was known as the Tinsmith of Tradd Street. Church and census records showed he was also a founding member of Central Baptist Church, and that he donated the labor to put the tin roof on the new church and erect the metal steeple tower. On her personal tour, Paul not only toured the church, but also two of the homes in which he had lived on Tradd. Paul was acquainted with the owner of 12 Tradd who welcomed her inside. Grateful and overwhelming was how she described her experience.
I’m pretty sure that was a tour no one else has ever given. Truly unique.
For more information, or to schedule your own Uniquely Charleston Tour, visit https://uniquelycharleston.tours/.