Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Wick Fisher
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

Traveling man visits Charleston

Wick's World


One dying and a burying, two transported dogs, three states, 1,200 miles and 34 hours later, I found myself staring at yet another suitcase. I had six hours to nab some shuteye before I would need to pass a TSA inspection to board a plane to Charleston, South Carolina. The previous week my brother-in-law asked to meet us in Travel and Leisure Magazine’s No. 1 tourist destination city in Canada and the United States for a four-day get together. We found some reasonably priced last minute flights and a very reasonably priced house built in the 1700s.

Although they have lived in Maui or Kauai, Hawaii, for over 40 years and we have visited them several times, we had never spent a real vacation together with him and his wife. Charleston was a destination none of us had ever been to so we thought, “What the heck. Let’s do it.” After all, I had just said my final goodbye to another brother-in-law and life seems to move more rapidly the older one gets.

We had no sooner than arrived at our historic home to find it was divided into several suites that had guests above and below and other guests to the left and right of us. This was not a negative situation as we still had plenty of space in the three huge rooms we called ours. Only one thing — the entrance stood out. We looked at each other and wondered if we had arrived in South Carolina or Colorado. The charm and feel of the Deep South was accompanied by the odor of either a Denver herbal grow house or a dead skunk in the middle of the road. Holy beejesus! Either Cheech and Chong were vacationing next door or some loose cannon left over from the Civil War was unconcerned about spending the next decade in the dungeon located two blocks down Broad Street. We spent the next four days coming and going from our historic house commenting on whether Cheech and Chong were home (odor present) or gone (odor absent).

The cuisine in Charleston ranged from more than adequate to spectacular. I experienced the tastiest zucchini I ever ate and the most flavorful grits doctored with shrimp and cheese that I didn’t even know existed. The showstopper was a huge baked red snapper served with chanterelle mushrooms and sweet corn. I have taken photos of fish I caught that were smaller than this whopper. My niece who snapped the shot of the snapper also ate its eyeballs, which many will claim as the tastiest part of the fish. I can’t attest to that and it’s not because I haven’t eaten "eyeball of fish." I simply do not remember what they taste like and I no longer care to know.

Although Charleston has plenty of history and charm, I have no idea how it earned its rating as the second best destination to visit worldwide. I have even less of an explanation how the No. 1 world’s best place to visit is a city named Kyoto, Japan. Did any of my readers get a vote in this survey? If so, can you please contact me? We need to talk.


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