I was excited! The holiday season set in and I was ready for a trip to Charleston in South Carolina. With an intention to completely savor the celebrated spots of Charleston, I bookmarked the Charleston City Market as one of the top places to visit.
I approached the intersection square of the Meeting street and Market street at Charleston and found a old, long building made of cinder blocks. It brought back memories of standing on a railway platform and watching the hustle and bustle of activities go past by. The brownstone stucco and the rustic red stone, prominent on this building, reiterated the the historic charm of Charleston. Not to miss the open air, horse drawn carriages which grandly took people on a tour to the historic places and buildings in the city. The city market was huge with three open sheds and one closed shed hosting a lot of artisans. The market itself has survived the turmoil of the civil war (including bombardments) and natural calamities like tornadoes and earthquakes.
As I entered the city market corridor, I was greeted by the display of the handmade products, all neatly arranged on both sides of the corridor. The description on each stall on the type of handmade product motivated me stop at many stalls. Unique finds like paintings on stone, sweetgrass baskets, handmade southern charm jewelry, hand-knitted scarves and woolen mufflers, hand paintings, wooden carvings, miniature and larger paintings of the mansions and beautiful houses at White Point Gardens made the excitement of shopping high and merry for me. I strolled around and found some magnets and miniature replicas of some of the most famous iconic spots in Charleston like the Rainbow Row, the Pineapple Fountain near the Waterfront park, the horse-drawn carriages etc.,
As I walked over, I stopped by a stall where a big white handcrafted woolen llama greeted me. The stall was named “so sweet, head band” and the artisan Ms. Monica showed me her specialties of the intricately and delicately hand woven woolen scarves, hats, mittens, hair clips and head bows. They looked so soft and nice and were sure to make kids and children look even more pretty. She told me that it takes several hours to knit a hat for a baby and days to knit sweaters, pullovers for babies. Several headbands with crocheted flowers could be changed for colors and were very dainty. There were tiny puppets made with a theme of “The Three Little Pigs”, “Red Riding Hood”, and the “Nativity” story which simply looked adorable. She smiled as she showed with pride, the craftsmanship of weaving difficult pieces and the byzantine designs which demanded her hours of labor. All worth the effort, she said!
Another uniqueness of this market is the locally made products, certified authentic. These products are specially handcrafted by the local artisans and are the spotlight of this market. The sweetgrass basket weavers definitely hit the top of the charts in this market and I will add a separate blog on their work. I could not but view the colorful Zulu wire baskets created out of coated wires. They were designed in stripes of all kinds, zig zag’s, horizontal, vertical, swirly, and were very attractive. The handmade jewelry like bracelets, earrings, pendants, hair clips were one-of-a-kind and I watched a stall which displayed hair comb with several designs like mermaids, sunflowers, animals, houses etc. Even though I have a weak spot for arts and crafts, I cannot but mention the okra fried chips and the stone made grits which were tasty and definitely an unexampled southern food to taste.
Overall, a very distinctive experience that I enjoyed thoroughly. I would satisfactorily conclude saying that “If you are a shopaholic, this is a place that would lift your spirits, and if you are not, you are sure to love the sublime displays of wares which will make you shop”. Goodbye for now.