Welcome to South Carolina! This is the home of the Palmetto and Spanish moss, Antebellum history, southern hospitality, and Charleston.
We have settled into our second workamping gig at James Island County Park, and we could not be happier. The park is only five miles from Charleston’s historic district, and is about the same distance to laid back Folly Beach. The park itself is the jewel of the local park system and is 600 acres of loveliness. The campground is luxury compared to our site in the Outer Banks. We especially enjoy the hot showers, nearby laundry, and the fast, free WIFI. The park has 6 miles of newly repaved trails that meandered through the semi-tropical foliage and marsh, two lakes, 50 ft. climbing wall, kayaks, fishing pier, play grounds, water park, and a lot of places to find solitude. This is a beautiful place to be.
Camp Host is our volunteer title, but we are here with 16 other couples helping with the park’s Holiday Festival of Lights. This is not some cheesy drive-through. This is a grand light display that has become a Charleston tradition. We have been surrounded by Christmas lights since we arrived. My evening runs have been in the woods at dusk through a tunnel of lights, blinking snow flakes, and moving characters.
Charleston is a special place. Known as the Holy City for its skyline of church steeples, American history comes alive here. Many of the city’s 18th and 19th century homes and buildings are intact and in good condition, there are even a few from the 17th. Colonial, Revolutionary, Antebellum, and Civil War history is on every street, in the graveyards, churches, and vistas. We especially enjoy piecing history together by touring graves, reading the plaques on the houses, and street names. Charleston is proud of its history, even that which makes many of us Yankees uneasy. It is unapologetically the South in its politics, mannerisms, speech, dress, and beliefs.
We will be here through the Holidays. There is plenty to see and do. A special perk of being a volunteer at the park is that we get an employee pass that allows is to see many of the sights for free. Hopefully by the end of our stay we will have uncovered most of the charms and appeal that has resulted in the Conde Nast Readers’ Poll naming Charleston as the #1 city for tourism in the U.S. for three consecutive years.