North to South (Carolina)
Labor day weekend
On Labor Day weekend there is this unwritten rule that you have to get away. In our case, this meant going to the charming city Charleston, South Carolina. With just one evening of planning, we had booked an Airbnb, rented cars and were ready to start our adventure. We certainly had a good time, but we also noticed that the two Carolinas were quite different after all. This is my personal breakdown of the two:
Generally, North Carolina is geographically larger and has the bigger population. South Carolina is smaller, both in population and size, but is a bit more affordable than North Carolina.
Landscape. Both Carolinas have nice long beach strips, with the ones in South Carolina being slightly more commercialised with high rise hotels, boardwalks, ferris wheels, waterparks and minigolf. Popular beaches in South Carolina are the “folly beach” and „myrtle beach”, North Carolina has” Wrightsville beach”, “Carolina beach” but most importantly, the Outer Banks, which is a series of barrier islands that are off the coast of North Carolina. In contrast to the South Carolina beaches, they have been kept more natural. That does not mean that it is not fun there though. You can always bring your own entertainment like spike ball or the like. We played that game on our trip and got quite competitive about it.
Next to the beaches, both states also offer a mountain range, being the smoky mountains in North Carolina, just at the border to Tennessee and the blue ridge mountains in South Carolina, which have very nice hiking trails, water falls and wildlife.
Culturally, there is a noticeable difference between the states, but even more between rural and more urban/ outback and coastal area. On our drive to Charleston, we stopped in the middle of nowhere for some food and quickly noticed a strong southern accent and were surprised by being called baby by the servers or people using the terms Ma´am and Sir. Arriving in a bigger city, , that was not the case anymore. Charleston, being a famous bachelorette hot spot, has a lot of local tourism and is also more culturally diverse than the rural areas. That way, we found ourselves riding an electric bull at a Mexican restaurant one evening. Honourable mention going out to Wojtek, who held on the longest.
Due to the history of Charleston, being one of the major slave port cities, there is also a rich African slave culture, represented by the Gullah tradition. It is the cultural and linguistic African heritage that the slaves preserved. Personally, we went to Boone hall plantation, which next to being famous for being the filming location of various films like the Notebook or being a wedding location including celebrities like Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds, educates visitors about the slavery that happened there. It was definitely very interesting to hear about the Gullah tradition through the presentation at the theatre, learning about their songs and culture. We also saw the old houses and the strong contrast between the slave accommodations and the owner residence. Of course, we were also particularly interested in the story, that a former slave called Denmark Vesey, was involved in planning one of the largest slave rebellions “the rising” in the United States. The slave revolt was scheduled to be on July 14th,1822, but Denmark Vesey was executed just 12 days before. Regardless, he was seen as a hero during the civil war.
The climate in North and South Carolina is pretty much the same, but it still feels very different. The main reason for that would probably be the colourful houses, pineapple fountain and various palm trees in South Carolina, that make you believe that you are somewhere tropical. We even encountered alligators at a swamp on a tractor tour on the plantation. Other animals we saw there were turtles, pelicans and mules, who were pulling tourist carriages in Charleston.
In conclusion, you can have a blast in both North and South Carolina.
We definitely enjoyed our little trip through both states.