On the heels of five days spent in Charleston, South Carolina I’ve returned to the island of New Providence and back to my desk with a bounty of inspiration. Visiting Charleston where during the American Revolutionary War United Empire Loyalists had fled – including members of my family who later landed in The Bahamas – it mysteriously felt like “coming home” for me. Why you might ask? I’m quick to recognize the abundance of similarities between Charleston and The Bahamas; those that tugged at my heart, drew about a sense of belonging, and reignited a passion to celebrate local entrepreneurs, artisans and the like – an admirable trait the community of Charleston can call their own and are right to do so, with great pride in their voice. Given I am falling short of a history lesson – one I am by no means qualified to teach – I figured the least I could do was chart these similarities I speak of, shall we begin?
1. Sip on Firefly vodka in Charleston or sip and watch the sunset at Firefly Sunset Resort on Elbow Cay, Abaco in The Bahamas.
2. Both cities have streets named Cumberland, East Bay, Queen, Market and Church.
3. Stella Maris Catholic Church can be visited in Charleston while paradise can be found at Stella Maris Resort Club on Long Island, Bahamas – a suitable name for both locales as Stella Maris means ‘star of the sea’.
4. Charlestonians are known for their shrimp ‘n’ grits while it is widely know if there is ever a foundation to the Bahamian breakfast it is grits.
5. There is a Port of Nassau and a Port of Charleston, both ports of call for cruise-ships.
6. Similarities can seen in the architecture which recognizes the need for respite from the balmy days and steamy outdoors of the South – porches, verandas and louvered shutters are abundant in both destinations.
7. The Bahamas is home to a “Straw Market” while Charleston is home to a “City Market” – in both markets vendors pay homage to a dying craft and sell handmade baskets made of out straw or sweetgrass.
8. Charleston is home to four lighthouses, three of which are inactive. The Bahamas is home to 11 lighthouses built by the British Imperial Lighthouse Service, three of which are among the last remaining hand-operated and kerosene-lit lighthouses in the world. For the full list of lighthouses in The Bahamas visit here.
Now tell me, for those of you that have experienced the historic Charleston, SC and the islands of The Bahamas are there any similarities I may have overlooked?
P.S. Photo credit, #3 and #4 – here.