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We just arrived in Charleston, swooping in over Labor Day weekend. Hurricane Dorian isn’t scheduled to land until Wednesday or so. It may veer another direction in the meantime, so we’ll hope for the best.

Our house here is completely charming, decorated to the teeth. We are very comfortable, right in the toe of the old city, a short walk from the water.

We’ve stayed in many places that have minimal cooking equipment, but not this time. We have blender, stand mixer, waffle maker, dishwasher, and bread boards, cutting boards, carving boards and serving boards. A big basket is filled with platters of various sizes. We could throw dinner for the entire city.

Walking around the neighborhood I notice most houses are several steps above the level of the sidewalk, keeping floods at bay, at least for a while. The oldest houses here were built just after 1700, and over the years a wide variety of styles have accumulated. I like the more elaborate 19th century buildings with cupolas and towers though I admire the durability of the more squat, solid 18th century survivors. It is amazing that any wooden structures still stand in the hot, humid climate of coastal South Carolina.

Plants flourish in every nook and cranny that can hold a few drops of water, and there are some unusual efforts to take advantage of their tenacity. I passed a brick building with a cross between ivy and a hedge, a dense layer only an inch thick trimmed neatly down the side of the house, like living wainscoting. Window boxes and tiny formal gardens are raised to fine art, mixing colors and leaf size to create fantastic displays. My initial impression of Charleston is a tranquil, long-settled community.

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