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There are many things to love about the Lowcountry. Like many others who moved here “from off,” I was first attracted by the region’s beauty.

As a native Californian accustomed to the dramatic topography of the West Coast, I was, and continue to be, mesmerized by the subtlety of this place—the islands and marshes almost blurring into the horizon. Even the grand homes and majestic oaks have a certain nonchalance about them, having patinaed against the garishness of “new” centuries ago.

But what has kept me in love with Charleston for going on 14 years have been the people and the way of life—a not-so-subtle feeling of community, of being a part of something and accountable to it. Despite its size, Charleston retains a down-home quality, a connectedness (what I like to call its one and a half degrees of separation) that other places simply don’t have. While some may find this intrusive, I find it caring and comforting—something worth committing to and investing in.

It seems many people are falling in love with our beautiful city. So for this issue, we have reprised our “Odes to the Lowcountry” , asking noted local writers, authors, and poets to share their love affairs with this place. I’m not talking about the many superlatives being bandied about. No, these love letters come from a deeper understanding, an inspection of personal experiences developed over time. You’ll read about relationships with pluff mud, tea olive, and undeveloped spaces; imaginations sparked by old homes, graveyards, and the Ben Sawyer Bridge; memories of good manners and ice-cold sweet tea. You’ll taste the season’s first oyster, feel the pulse and pull of the city, and find authenticity amidst its dichotomies.

I hope you enjoy these highly personal takes on the Lowcountry and then visit us online  to share some of your own.


Bon Voyage!
The staff and I would like to wish a fond farewell to our colleague Ellen McGauley, who has been scooped up by Coastal Living to be the magazine’s home editor. For the decade Ellen worked with us, she edited House Calls magazine, took over the reins of Charleston Home, became the home editor of Charleston, and launched our blogsite, www.CharlestonGrit.com. We will miss her talent, her professionalism, and most especially her sense of humor.

Happy trails Ellen—we hope Birmingham is good to you!

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