Charleston, South Carolina has its own style of “Southern-ness” that almost can’t be defined. And although it has been years (almost two decades) since I have been there, I definitely recognize Charleston when I see, hear, or smell it. Charlestonians sound like no other group of Southerners: “Chawlstun,” they say with their long middle vowels – a round, musical sound I love.

As a traveler at heart, no matter where I go, my list of things to do and see is always longer than my stay. The Tom Waits song, “Take The Long Way Home, comes to mind when I visit a new (or “old” new) place. And from afar, Charleston feels like a place where you can (should) get sidetracked, get lost, and then slowly find your way back home. The city is leading the game when it comes to delicious food (think Sean Brock, whose last meal on earth would be a sous vide roast chicken, Mike Latta, or Craig Diehl) and cocktails, like our favorite, Brooks Reitz of Jack Rudy. Our friends (and partners in cotton), Billy Reid, have a store there. All in all, it seems a deliciously sinful place to settle into for a week. I know I will never check off my entire to-do list, but perhaps Maggie and I will make it out to Bowen’s Island and spend an afternoon at the Halsey Museum.

CHARLESTON, SC - photo by Olivia Rae James

I’m looking forward to talking cotton with Sean Brock, who has discovered what might be the only three Sea Island cotton seeds left on the planet (and has big plans for them). Our plans also include a workshop with Kate Nevin at 1600 Meeting Street and a trunk show at Billy Reid, along with a few other surprises that are unfolding.

Salty air, good conversation, deliciously sinful food (and drink) …

CHARLESTON, SC - photo by Olivia Rae James


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  1. Elizabeth Wilcox

    I’m so glad that Natalie will be visiting Charleston. The sea island cotton is especially great to hear about. My parents have farm land an hour outside of Charleston that they rent now. They are retired. I would love to see organic cotton planted there. If there is an interest, I know where fields are available and possibly farmers to work with.

    Elizabeth Wilcox

  2. Kate

    So looking forward to welcoming you to our beautiful city – made more beautiful with Alabama Chanin collaboration!