Historic Sites to See in Charleston

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One of the reasons I wanted to visit Charleston, South Carolina was because of the city’s historical buildings and sites. Truthfully, most of Charleston has historic value. The whole downtown area and south, to the tip of the peninsula, is called the Historic District.

For an overview of fun things to do in Charleston, check out this post. While you are exploring the area, watch for these historic sites to see in Charleston as well.

Historic Sites to See in Charleston title meme

A Brief History of Charleston

Founded as Charles Town in 1670, in honor of King Charles II, this colonial town welcomed its first settlers from Bermuda and Barbados. The original settlement, located on the Ashley River, lay a few miles northwest of the present day city.

A second thriving settlement, located at the confluence of the Ashley and Cooper Rivers replaced the original Charles Town in 1680. By 1690, it was the fifth largest city in North America.

In the early 1700s, Charles Town became Charlestown. And in 1774, South Carolina declared its independence from Great Britain on the steps of the Exchange in Charlestown. The British attacked the settlement three times, laying siege in 1780 and forcing a surrender. They evacuated the city in 1782. The next year the city officially changed its name to Charleston.

Between the Revolutionary War and the Civil War, Charleston experienced growth and an economic boon, due to cotton, indigo and rice crops. These cash crops were tended to by enslaved people from Africa first, then enslaved African Americans after the importation of enslaved peoples was banned in 1808.

Civil War and Charleston

The first battle of the Civil War occurred on April 12, 1861, when Fort Sumter in the Charleston Harbor was fired upon. After a day and a half of bombardment, the fort was surrendered. The Union control of the sea allowed repeated bombardment of Charleston, causing much damage.

Sherman’s army moved through the area, causing the evacuation of Charleston in February 1865 and the burning of public buildings and cotton warehouses.

After the end of the Civil War, federal forces remained in Charleston during the Reconstruction. By the late 1870s industries renewed the city, with new jobs attracting new residents.

Charleston struggled economically for decades before tourism began to draw visitors and an influx of money in the 1920s. Today the city is considered one of the top tourist destinations in the world.

Historic Sites to See in Charleston

There are many interesting places to visit in Charleston. Walk down any street in the Historic District and there are signs and plaques detailing the historical events that took place there.

Although you can experience historical Charleston on your own, I highly recommend a historic walking tour as well. My favorite is the Two Sisters Tour. On my tour one of the sisters, Therese, shared fascinating stories about many of the sites listed below. I encourage you to experience a tour with a knowledgeable guide, to learn more about Charleston’s long history.

Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon

Located at 122 East Bay Street, this landmark was completed in 1771 and played an important role in South Carolina’s history.

During the Revolution, British forces converted the lower floor of the Exchange into a dungeon for American prisoners of war.

The Exchanged hosted South Carolina leaders as they debated and then approved the US Constitution. The building is one of four remaining structures where the founding document was originally ratified.

In 1791, city leaders entertained President George Washington on the upper floors, with dinners, dances and concerts.

There are darker deeds that happened in this building as well. Watch for more about the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon in October, in Ghost Stories from Charleston.

Historic Sites to See in Charleston old exchange
Historic Site to See in Charleston – Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon

St. Michael’s Church

Completed in 1761, St. Michael’s Church is the oldest church in Charleston still standing. It’s located at the corner of Meeting and Broad Streets.

When he visited Charleston in 1791, George Washington attended church here, sitting in pew box number 43.

Historic Sites to See in Charleston st michaels church
Historic Sites to See in Charleston – St Michael’s Church interior

78 Church Street and Heyward – Washington House

George Washington stayed in Charleston for eight days, occupying a Georgian style double house at 87 Church Street, built in 1772. Thomas Heyward, Jr. was one of four South Carolina signers of the Declaration of Independence.

The city rented this property for President Washington’s use during his stay. It opened in 1930 as Charleston’s first historic house museum under the name Heyward – Washington House.

Just down the street, at 78 Church Street is another house associated with Washington. The President stood on the second floor balcony to deliver a speech to the citizens of Charleston.

Historic Sites to See in Charleston 78 church street
Historic Sites to See in Charleston – 78 Church Street

The House that Belonged to Aaron Burr’s Daughter

Theodosia Burr, daughter of Aaron Burr, married South Carolina governor Joseph Alston. They lived at the house at 94 Church Street, along with their son.

You remember Aaron Burr, vice president and the person who killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel. If you are a fan of the musical Hamilton, there is a song called “Dear Theodosia” that expresses Burr’s love for his daughter.

Theodosia’s story ends mysteriously. She and her ten year old son both contracted malaria. The boy died and Theodosia grieved deeply for him. She set sail on a ship in early 1813, bound for New York to visit her father. The ship sank. Theodosia’s body did not wash ashore. She was never found, fueling all kinds of speculations about what happened to her.

Historic Sites to See in Charleston theodosia house
Historic Sites to See in Charleston – Theodosia Burr’s house

Sweetgrass Baskets

Gullah is a word used to describe the language and culture of those in this area who descended from West Africans. The Gullah culture is deeply intertwined with Charleston, from Lowcountry foods to the crafting of sweetgrass baskets.

You can watch the creation of these beautiful baskets at the Historic Charleston City Market. Or find Gullah women crafting baskets on Meeting Street. They continue a West African tradition handed down to them through generations.

The baskets originally processed rice, a common crop in both West Africa and South Carolina. They are made by bundling dried sweetgrass and coiling it into unique circular designs.

Historic Sites to See in Charleston sweetgrass baskets
Historic Sites to See in Charleston – sweetgrass baskets

Earthquake Bolts

As you wander the streets of Charleston, you might notice metal plates in a variety of shapes on houses and buildings. These are earthquake bolts.

These iron reinforcement rods were inserted through the walls of buildings and secured at the outside ends with large washers and nuts after the great Charleston earthquake of 1886.

Scientists estimate a magnitude of 6.9 – 7.3. It caused 60 deaths and did $5 to $6 million in damages. That cost today equals $158 million.

Owners who didn’t like seeing the unadorned ends on their house exteriors covered them with cast iron decorations in the shapes of stars, crosses, circles, lion heads, butterflies, diamonds and letters of the alphabet. These reinforcement rods protect against hurricane gales as well.

Historic Sites to See in Charleston earthquake bolts
Historic Sites to See in Charleston – earthquake bolts on houses

Catfish Row

At 89 – 91 Church Street stretches a three story building with a swinging sign attached. The sign reads “Catfish Row”.

A hundred years ago, this building housed former slaves who made a living selling cabbages and other vegetables from the windows. Back then that narrow lane through the archway bore the name Cabbage Row, as a nod to the produce sold there.

Author Edwin DuBose Heyward lived down the street. Cabbage Row inspired his novel Porgy. The main character, Porgy, was based on the real life Sammy Smalls, known in Charleston for his tangles with the law and for riding through town in a goat drawn cart. In his book, Heyward changed the name of Cabbage Row to Catfish Row. His book led to a play and later an opera called Porgy and Bess.

Historic Sites to See in Charleston catfish row
Historic Sites to See in Charleston – Catfish Row

Dock Street Theatre

The original Dock Street Theatre, located at 135 Church Street, opened in 1736 with a performance of The Recruiting Officer. It was the first building in the 13 colonies designed for use as a theatre. The first opera performed in American, Flora, took place at this theatre.

Unfortunately, the original theatre burned in the Great Fire of 1740. In 1809 the current building went up, as the Planter’s Hotel. That building fell into disrepair after the Civil War. The City of Charleston acquired the building in 1935 and constructed the current theatre within the shell of the hotel. The grand reopening of the Dock Street Theatre took place in 1937.

Renovations from 2007 to 2010 brought the building into modern times with updated heating and air conditioning, state of the art lighting and sound systems and new restrooms. The theatre typically offers more than 120 performances a year.

Historic Sites to See in Charleston dock street theatre
Historic Sites to See in Charleston – Dock Street Theatre

Circular Congregation Church

There’s a reason for Charleston’s nickname…the Holy City. It offers diversity in spiritual practices with many different kinds of churches. The tall steeples from those churches are visible across the city.

The Circular Congregational Church is one of the oldest continuously worshipping congregations in the South. Charles Town’s original settlers founded this church about 1681. The surrounding graveyard contains about 500 graves with monuments dating back to 1695.

The first Meeting House on this site gave Meeting Street its name. This third church structure occupies the same spot as the previous two. Bricks from the second circular church, which burned in 1861, formed this current sanctuary, completed in 1892.

So Much History to Offer

Charleston offers so many old stories. It’s impossible to walk very far without encountering a historic marker.

The city has endured wars, economic ups and downs, malaria outbreaks, fires and earthquakes. Those calamities along with strong ties to the trade of enslaved peoples brought painful times of reconstruction and growth, on many levels. Charleston does not gloss over its history or ignore it or glorify it either. Rather, the people here seek to learn from their past and tell their stories accurately and in depth.

I have more stories to tell from Charleston too.

Have you visited this city? What historic places did you see?

Historic Sites to See in Charleston circular church
Historic Sites to See in Charleston – Circular Congregational Church

Historic Charleston

 


 

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The Adventure Challenge Solo Edition

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Thank you to The Adventure Challenge, for sending me The Adventure Challenge Solo Edition for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

I love adventures, trying new experiences, randomness and solo travel. So when I came across this company, The Adventure Challenge, the name alone caught my keen interest.

The more I investigated the company, the more I loved their concepts.

Want to freshen up the fun…as a couple, a family, a friend or on your own? I do! Check out my experience with The Adventure Challenge Solo Edition. And find out how you can bring the challenges into your life.

The Adventure Challenge Solo Edition title meme

What is The Adventure Challenge?

The Adventure Challenges are scratch off adventures, suitable for adults, families and individuals. Each hardbound book contain 50 fun and unique challenges to experience with a partner, spouse, friends, family members or on your own.

The challenges are designed to…well…challenge you! They encourage you to get off your phone and electrical devices and connect with each other…or more deeply with yourself. The challenges are the perfect way to explore your city or the great outdoors, try something new, reconnect with your inner child or make new friends.

Plus, the challenges are fun. The keepsake book makes it easy to document the memories, with snapshots and a few words about the experience.

The best part, for me, is the catch. The challenges are hidden. You don’t know what the challenge is, until you scratch it off. If you’ve followed me for very long, you KNOW I love playing games built around randomness. The Adventure Challenge books are like the games I play, where I draw random slips of paper out of a jar, and do the activity I select. There are no “do overs”, in those fun games I make up or in The Adventure Challenge.

The Adventure Challenge Solo Edition cindy
Excited to try my first challenge in The Adventure Challenge Solo Edition.

What’s Inside the Book?

You can purchase an Adventure Challenge book only or a kit that comes with the book and an instamatic camera. Each page in the book includes a scratch off adventure, with a few clues about the challenge, a space to write about your experience and a place to attach a small photo.

There are four rules to using the challenge book:

  1. Disconnect to reconnect – unplug from everyday life, connect with others or self and have fun.
  2. No take backs – you must do the adventure you scratch off. If the adventure makes you uncomfortable a bit, that’s good! Discover new things about yourself and others.
  3. Document the journey – take a photo of each challenge and write about it in the book.
  4. Show it off – upload photos of your adventure on social media and tag #theadventurechallenge.

Each scratch off challenge has icons posted with it, clues about the adventure to come. Some examples:

  • $ is approximate cost of the adventure
  • clock symbol represents best time of day to do adventure
  • hourglass equals approximate duration of adventure
  • silverware means you will eat a meal
  • shopping cart is a heads up you’ll need some supplies
  • house means you’ll complete this adventure at home
  • car means you’ll go somewhere for this challenge
  • sun is for daylight hours
  • moon represents nighttime fun

Adventures don’t have to be done in order. They are divided by categories. You can choose any adventure you want or randomly select one.

The Adventure Challenge Solo Edition page
Page from The Adventure Challenge Solo Edition

Scratching Off My First Adventure

I asked for The Adventure Challenge Solo Edition. Why? Because I immensely enjoy this type of random experience that pushes me out of my comfort zone or teaches me something new. There’s another reason as well, that I share at the end of this post.

For my first adventure, I HAD to choose one on the “It’s an opportunity to learn something new” page. I selected number 19, Party Trick or Treat. Icons indicated no cost, could be done anytime and approximate time to complete, one hour. Two other symbols showed me it was a chill exercise and could be done at home.

I scratched off the adventure with one of the gold plastic discs provided and read my challenge: Research top ten party tricks, find one that speaks to you and learn it. Share with a friend via Facetime.

Yes! First, I rarely go to parties. And if I do, I NEVER do a party trick. New experience coming up!

The Adventure Challenge Solo Edition party trick
Can you guess which party trick I chose?

Move a Straw Without Touching It Party Trick

After researching top ten party tricks, I narrowed my choices down to three. I initially ruled out the straw one, because I don’t use plastic straws. However, in a funny little twist of fate, I ended up with a single straw that day. Decision made.

The trick: Balance a straw on top of a bottle and ask a friend if they can make the straw move, without touching it or knocking it off the bottle. When they can’t, show them that you can.

Pick up straw and rub it on your clothes or on your hair. Return to bottle top and bring hands close to the straw without touching it. The build up of static electricity causes the straw to spin on the bottle top.

I practiced this party trick a few times and discovered that my long silver hair created the right amount of static electricity. I set up my iPhone and created a short video of me performing the trick…and sent it to my grandkids. They want to try the trick as well.

I documented my fun adventure with an instamatic photo, from an Instax Mini camera I borrowed from my granddaughter, wrote briefly about my challenge and included the date. Want to see my trick? Catch the Instagram Reel HERE.

The Adventure Challenge Solo Edition
My documented challenge.

How I Will Use The Adventure Challenge Solo Edition

I enjoyed my first challenge! It pushed me beyond my comfort zone, which is always a desired experience for me. And it was fun to document.

Here’s the most exciting part of all this for me. My word for next year is…adventure. How perfect this solo edition is, for 2022. With 49 remaining challenges, I intend to experience one each week next year, and perhaps make up a few of my own to create 52 adventures. There’s actually a blank page at the end of my solo edition book that I can use for these extra adventures.

The well made, attractive book is destined to become my memory book for 2022. This is something new, right there. I can’t wait to begin, the first week in January. You know I’ll write about some of those adventures.

You don’t have to wait though! The Adventure Challenge books make wonderfully unique gifts for weddings, anniversaries, your spouse, your family, your grown kids and their families. And…there’s a new Blind Dates edition for some crazy fun if you are dating.

Or perhaps you know someone like me…or you are someone like me…who enjoys the thrill of challenging herself to go beyond, go past comfort zones, fears and limiting beliefs. Someone who likes to have fun while learning more about herself. This is THE ultimate gift for her…or you.

Check out the various books and the camera/book kits HERE. Use my code GOINGBEYOND to save 10% off of your order.

The Adventure Challenge Solo Edition first challenge
I learned a party trick!

Adventures…Yes Please

In the introduction at the beginning of the book, founder Bryant S. Ellis reminds us that we can become entrenched in repetition and get used to doing the same old things. He believes that random creativity shocks us out of our normal day-to-day life. It gets us exploring again…ourselves and the world around us.

I agree. And I actively and intentionally choose adventures and going beyond on a daily basis. I’m grateful for this new to me company and their Adventure Challenges. They will be foundational to my growth and my fun next year.

How about you? Are you ready to challenge yourself and enliven your days with adventures? Grab a challenge book and get to scratching. Don’t forget your code for 10% off…GOING BEYOND.

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Meeting Street Inn

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

As I planned my trip to Charleston, an important consideration was accommodations. I knew I wanted to stay in the historic district downtown, since I was exploring on foot. A base of operations is what I needed, a centrally located place that made it easy for me to walk to where I wanted to go.

That was my must have. Bonuses for me included a free breakfast, a charming room, a refrigerator in the room and as an extra, extra bonus, a pretty outdoor space. Could I find all that, without spending a fortune?

Indeed I could. I found it all at the Meeting Street Inn.

Meeting Street Inn title meme

History of Meeting Street Inn

Although there are some hotels specially built for that purpose in Charleston, many of the city’s accommodations began life many years ago as something else. This is true for Meeting Street Inn.

The Charleston Theatre, built in 1837, originally occupied four lots at 173 Meeting Street. Unfortunately, the theatre burned to the ground in 1861. German immigrant Adolph Tiefenthal purchased the lots where the theatre once stood. In 1874 he constructed a three story brick building in the traditional Charleston single house style, characterized by the single room width with the house set at right angles to the street.

On the ground floor, Adolph opened a restaurant and saloon, selling German beers and Rhine wines. He and his wife and their three daughters occupied the top two floors. Adolph died four years later and descendants sold the building in 1903.

Over the years various businesses came and went on the first floor including an antique boutique, liquor store, auto parts shop, bicycle rentals and a dental equipment supplier. After Hurricane Hugo struck in 1989, the building fell into disrepair. Francis F. Limehouse bought the building and renovated it, creating the lovely Meeting Street Inn. Her work on the inn sparked the restoration movement that transformed the Charleston Historic District.

Meeting Street Inn lobby
The beautiful Meeting Street Inn lobby.

Meeting Street Inn Amenities

The inn features 56 charming, spacious rooms, six of them in the historic building, each with private baths. The rooms open onto piazzas that overlook the garden courtyard or open directly onto that outdoor space.

Amenities include:

  • oversized jacuzzi in courtyard
  • complimentary continental breakfast
  • complimentary evening wine and nibbles
  • valet parking and self parking off site
  • 24 hour front desk assistance
  • recommendations and help with travel planning
  • four poster beds
  • turn down service
  • hair dryer
  • complimentary shampoo, conditioner, soaps and lotion
  • ironing board and iron
  • safe for valuables
  • refrigerator in room
  • high speed internet
  • charging station in room to plug phones into
  • elevators at either end of the piazzas
  • ice machine and snack vending machines in covered outdoor room in courtyard
  • complimentary coffee, tea, hot water and ice and water dispenser in lobby

Guests may enter the property through the lobby, where the front desk is located. Or, after checking in, you may enter through the privacy door which opens into the courtyard.

Rooms

Traditions rooms include standard room with one queen size bed, standard room with two full size canopied beds and standard room with two full size canopied beds that open directly onto the courtyard.

Deluxe rooms include one queen size canopied bed with walk in closet and double French doors that open to private café style balcony or two full size canopied beds with walk in closet and double French doors that open to private café style balcony.

The larger historic rooms, in the oldest part of the building, include king size canopied beds, walk in closets, high ceilings and a shared, outdoor veranda.

Meeting Street Inn piazza view
The view from my fourth floor piazza.

My Experience at Meeting Street Inn

All the history and amenities are impressive, however, what you are really wondering is…how was my stay at Meeting Street Inn?

It was wonderful! What began as my “base of operations” quickly became my cozy home away from home. Here’s the breakdown of what works so well, staying at Meeting Street Inn.

Location

Situated in the heart of the historic district, Meeting Street Inn, at 173 Meeting Street, is close to everything. The City Market is across the street as is one of the stops for the free DASH bus. I could easily catch the bus if I wanted to ride around the city instead of walk.

One block over is King Street, the avenue for shopping, dining, art, antiques and nightlife. A short walk in the other direction brings you to Waterfront Park, Charleston Harbor, the Battery and East Bay Street with the famous Rainbow Row of colorful houses.

And Broad Street is a few blocks south, which means the South of Broad neighborhoods full of beautiful, historic houses begin right there. Everything I wanted to see, with the exception of Magnolia Plantation, was all within walking distance from Meeting Street Inn. I’d head out in the mornings to explore. Eat lunch. Go back to the room for a cup of tea and then head back out late afternoon for more exploring and supper.

Extra Bonus Points

The only concern I had, the whole time I was in Charleston, was where a nighttime walking ghost tour I experienced was going to end. It began in Waterfront Park, half a mile away. I knew it would be dark when the tour ended and I wasn’t sure how far I’d need to walk, alone, to get back to the inn. Happily, the tour ended TWO blocks from Meeting Street Inn. I smiled all the way back to my room.

Jacuzzi pool
The oversized jacuzzi in the courtyard.

My Room

I stayed in a traditional room with a queen size four poster bed, on the fourth floor. My room was exceptionally clean, comfortable, charming and cozy.

The bathroom was large, and super clean, with a tub/shower combo and complimentary toiletries. The wide counter was perfect for setting up my own packed toiletries from home.

There was a small balcony off of the back of the room, that looked directly into a tree. However, that was fine with me. I love trees! And it became a silly little ritual to step onto that balcony, morning and evening, reach out and shake a branch of the tree, as if greeting an old friend. The balcony was also my temperature check point. Every morning, it was warm and humid!

Enjoy these photos of my room:

Meeting Street Inn bed
Gorgeous four poster bed. On the other side of the bed was a little step stool, in case one needs help getting into bed! I didn’t need it.
Chairs by the window
Comfy chairs by the shuttered window. This was my afternoon tea spot.
Writing table and refrigerator
Writing table, that became my catch all every day, little refrigerator and next to that, the armoire with TV, drawers and hanging space.
private bathroom
And the bathroom. I loved the ample counterspace plus the door had a full size mirror.

Amenities

I loved everything about my room, slept so soundly in the comfortable bed and felt at home. Additionally, how convenient to grab breakfast in the morning before going out to wander about. I’m vegan, however the inn offers cereals and packets of oatmeal that I could eat, plus bagels, English muffins, banana and blueberry muffins, yogurt, milk, coffee, tea and juices. All food items are packaged or wrapped for safety. The nibbles in the evening, which consists of crackers, cheeses and fruit, are already plated and wrapped as well.

The in room refrigerator meant I could keep plant based milk, snacks and leftovers there, which was so helpful.

I appreciated the water and ice dispenser in the lobby. I stopped by three times a day, at least, to refill my metal water container. And in the afternoons I fixed a hot tea. I brought my own tea bags, but no need. Meeting Street Inn offers an assortment of teas.

And the garden courtyard is a wonderful place to relax. I walked through it multiple times each day and spent my first evening in Charleston perched on a chair there, soaking the wonder in. The beauty of the courtyard soothes the soul…and a weary body after a full day of fun exploring.

Meeting Street Inn courtyard 3
I adored the courtyard.

Meeting Street Inn Staff

And finally, I must mention the staff.

From the moment I walked into the lobby on Sunday afternoon, until I left on Thursday morning, I felt cared for. I called the inn a couple of days before arrival, to let them know what time my flight landed in Charleston and when I expected to be there. I was greeted by name on Sunday, as I walked into the lobby. The kind man at the front desk had my keys ready for me and all the paperwork printed out for my inspection.

Everyone at Meeting Street Inn, from front desk personnel to cleaning staff, expressed kindness, courtesy and helpfulness. If I asked a question, I got an answer. When I walked by the lobby via the courtyard, I received a friendly wave and a smile through the window. When I filled up my water container I was asked how I was enjoying Charleston.

I Love Your Hair!

My first full day at the inn, I met one of the cleaning staff, up on the fourth floor veranda. Because I adopt eco-friendly practices as much as possible, I placed a “Do not disturb” sign on my door so that my room wouldn’t be cleaned. I reused my towels, made my bed each morning without a change of sheets  and gathered up my own trash. This sweet young woman told me if I needed anything, to let her know. And then she complimented me on my long silver hair.

I smiled and returned the compliment. She had the most gorgeous long dark hair, styled in micro braids. And her beautiful face just lit up when she smiled. On Tuesday morning, she quietly knocked on my door, just as I was about to leave to join a historic tour. She wanted to make sure I was okay and wondered if I needed anything. I gratefully accepted two washcloths. We laughed as we said again how much we liked each other’s hair. And as I walked with her down the veranda, toward the elevator, she told me that she was off the next two days and wouldn’t see me again. This endearing woman told me goodbye and wished me much fun during my remaining days in Charleston and safe travels when I left. She made my day.

The staff is truly exceptional here.

Meeting Street Inn courtyard street view
The welcoming view stepping through the street side door, into the courtyard.

I Highly Recommend Meeting Street Inn

The location, the rooms and amenities, that courtyard and the staff…together they create the perfect place to stay while in Charleston. I highly recommend this accommodation because where you stay has a profound effect on the rest of your trip.

When I return to Charleston, and I will return, Meeting Street Inn will once again become my cozy temporary abode. In fact, it will feel like I’m returning home when I visit.

Have you explored Charleston’s Historic District? Where did you stay? And do you have any questions about Meeting Street Inn? I’m happy to answer them or tell you more about my happy experience there. If I can’t answer your question, I know the good people at the inn will help me out.

I can’t wait to see them all again…and walk through that courtyard on my way to my room.

Courtyard

Click this LINK to learn more about Meeting Street Inn or to reserve a room.

Plus check out my post Fun Things to Do in Charleston and this helpful Charleston historical district map from Amazon.

 

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

Finding Your Big Why

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

I first heard about finding your big why ten years ago, in a Keller Williams sponsored class called BOLD. More than training on real estate, the objective of the class was to create a life worth living through shifts in mindset and daily practices that support who we are and what we desire to do.

At that time my big why focused more on an immediate desire…to take my oldest grandchild on a trip to Italy for his high school graduation gift. Looking back now, I realize that wasn’t a big enough why. However, we did travel to Italy four years later…Dayan, my daughter and me.

What I’ve learned since that class is to keep going deeper, to discover the BIG WHY beneath all the other desires and dreams.

I’m here to help you, in finding your big why as well.

Finding Your Big Why title meme

What is a Big Why?

So, what is a big why?

A big why is the strong motivation for doing what you do. It’s not just a goal or a wish, it’s more expansive than that. The big why connects to life purpose and it is what gets you out of bed in the morning and keeps you going, when life gets tough.

Your big why can change as you grow and as life shifts. However, it always aligns with who you are…your most authentic self…and with want you want to do and why you want to do it. Plus it grows beyond you, to include your impact on others and the world.

As a parent with young children, your big why is likely to focus on raising decent human beings. As the kids grow and you experience growth too, the big why shifts to something even BIGGER.

Ultimately, your big why helps you create a life that you love.

“He who has a why can endure any how.”  Frederick Nietzsche

Finding Your Big Why travel
Finding Your Big Why – travel isn’t my big why however it’s an important component of it

Finding Your Big Why Through Reflection

When finding your big why, a time of reflection is helpful.

Grab a pen and a notebook and start by asking yourself these five questions:

  1. Who am I, right now at this stage in my life?
  2. What lights me up and makes my heart sing?
  3. What do I do best?
  4. Where do I add value?
  5. What matters most to me?

Let’s look at each of these questions briefly.

It’s important to know who you are, who you really are. Detach from labels such as “parent”, “spouse”, “teacher”, etc. At a heart and soul level, who are you? Write phrases that begin with “I am….”. I am compassionate or I am a big thinker. I am drawn to nature or I am a solitary person.

What makes your face light up and joy bubble out of your heart? List those things. You know you are on the right track when people tell you that your face lights up when you talk about a certain subject.

What natural talents and gifts to you have? Are you creative? Do you come up with out of the box solutions to problems? If you feel stuck, look at what you excelled at as a child or teen. Those are natural abilities.

In situations, what values do you add? Are you clear thinking and logical? Intuitive and insightful? What strengths do you offer to others?

And finally, what is MOST important to you? Saving animals? Teaching others? Expressing compassion? If you could do anything, without money as a concern, what would you do?

Finding Your Big Why therese
Finding Your Big Why – Therese living her big why…helping others learn about Charleston

Charting Out Your Big Why

Dr. Margie Warrell says that our life’s work and purpose sits at the intersection of talents, skills or expertise, passions and values.

On another page in your notebook, draw a circle in the middle of the page and label it PURPOSE.

Draw four lines outward from the circle and connect them to four large circles. Label each one: TALENTS, SKILLS, PASSIONS, VALUES

Free write in each category. Add your talents, the skills that you have, what you are passionate about and your core values. Look for repetition. Look for overlap.

When I did this exercise writing popped up in three categories, letting me know that it is an important part of my big why.

Finding Your Big Why chart
Finding Your Big Why – chart out your talents, skills, passions and values

Asking Why

Now, armed with your reflections and greater clarity about your purpose, write down what you want.

Then ask why you want that. Write another sentence, explaining the why. Then ask why again…and again…and again, until you get to the Big Why.

Remember, you aren’t looking for inspiration here. You are looking for the motivation that powers you through discouragement, difficult circumstances or the desire to quit.

Here’s an example:

I want to travel and work remotely, from anywhere in the world, making a fabulous income. Why?

I want to experience solo adventures and also take my children, grandchildren and other family members on trips. Why?

I want to expand my perspectives and other people’s perspectives too. Why?

I want to see life in bigger, more meaningful ways and live differently. Why?

I want to live life beyond fears, comfort zones and limiting beliefs. Why?

I want to live life beyond fears, comfort zones and limiting beliefs so that through my experiences and my writing, I can help others do the same.

Finding Your Big Why charleston
Finding Your Big Why – my solo adventures are a way of living my big why

Living in Alignment with Your Big Why

I want to live life beyond fears, comfort zones and limiting beliefs so that through my experiences and my writing, I can help others do the same.

That sentence is my big why. It’s evolved over the last few years.

Everything else in my life connects to my big why. Travel, blogging, what I post on social media, solo adventures, creativity, my plant based lifestyle, spending time with my family…all of it connects.

Travels and adventures continually push me beyond my fears, comfort zones and limiting beliefs. Blogging and posting on social media are forms of writing that allow me to creatively express my truths and stories. My plant based lifestyle fuels my body so that I have the energy to do all the things I want to do. And I live my life as an example to my children and grandchildren, not so they do what I do but so they see what it looks like when someone follows their passions and lives an expansive life.

Every thing I do is in alignment with my big why. If it’s not in alignment then I’m pulled out of my purpose and my passion. There is a deep knowing that forms in the gut, an instinctive knowing that I can tap into, when I’m feeling out of the flow of my own life. That knowing guides me back into alignment with myself. It helps me say YES! to new opportunities and no to what does not align.

What is Your Big Why?

Using the info above, I hope you can craft your own big why. I’d love to know what yours is, if you want to share it in the comments below.

Write your big why and keep it in a place that is easily seen every day. My big why has become the tagline to my blog…and my life. Plus, I’ve written it as an affirmation as well.

“I am living life beyond the edges of fears, comfort zones and limiting beliefs so that through my example and my writing, I can help others do the same.”

Go deep within, to discover your big why, and then broadcast it outward, into the world. Let it powerfully motivate you and influence every part of your life.

And if you have any questions, please ask me!

Finding Your Big Why cindy
I’ve living my Big Why, which has become extremely important during my Year of the Wild Woman.

 

Helpful Books from Amazon:

 


 

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Fun Things to Do in Charleston

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

I recently returned from a solo trip to beautiful Charleston, South Carolina. Although I’ve experienced solitary getaways within 100 miles from home and flown solo across the US to meet up with other people, this was my first big solo adventure. For the first time, I explored a city I’ve never visited before…on my own.

It was a wonderful experience and one I’ll never forget.

I have a wealth of information and photos to share from my trip. I’m starting this series with Fun Things to Do in Charleston.

Fun Things to Do in Charleston title meme

Charleston South Carolina

Charleston is a port city in South Carolina, founded in 1670 as Charles Town. It soon became the fourth largest city in the colonies and the wealthiest.

Charleston is known for its cobblestone streets, horse drawn carriages, antebellum houses and a rich history that stretches back to the Revolutionary War. The downtown historical district includes the French Quarter, the South of Broad neighborhood, the Battery promenade and Waterfront Park that overlooks Charleston Harbor.

Why Charleston as a destination for my solo adventure?

I felt drawn to Charleston after reading a series of books by author Karen White. Her Tradd Street Series, set in the historic district, features an endearing cast of characters, ghosts and mysteries to solve. Karen writes so beautifully about Charleston that I felt compelled to see the city for myself and wander the streets South of Broad.

With the help of my travel agent Ken, from Galaxsea Cruises & Tours, my solo trip came together for September.

Fun Things to Do in Charleston

While in no way a complete list of fun things to do, these activities are a great way to get to know Charleston, especially for first time visitors.

Begin at the Charleston Visitor Center

A great first stop, after arriving in the city, is the Charleston Visitor Center. You can request a Visitor’s Guide online before your trip and find a wealth of information about the city, including itineraries, first time visitor guides and hotels and lodgings.

Located at 375 Meeting Street, the visitor center is housed in an old railroad building, constructed between 1840 and 1856. The center is open daily, from 8:30 – 5:00. Helpful staff offer city maps, the DASH Trolley map and suggestions, plus they can make reservations for tours and attractions. The tour buses depart and return to the center.

The DASH Trolley is a free transportation system for the downtown area. It is very similar to a hop on/hop off bus that makes numerous stops on its circuit around historic downtown. You can board the trolley at the Visitor Center and get off…and back on…at any of the stops around town. While I enjoy walking a city, the trolley was extremely helpful when I wanted to get across town quickly.

Currently, masks are required when riding the trolley.

Fun Things to Do in Charleston trolley
Fun Things to Do in Charleston – Visitor Center and free Trolley. You can see part of the brick visitor center reflected in the trolley windows!

Shop the Historic Charleston City Market

One of the stops on the trolley route is the Historic Charleston City Market.

Charleston’s number one most visited attraction is the City Market. Located at the corner of Meeting and Market Streets, this is the nation’s oldest public market and the cultural heart of Charleston.

Three hundred vendors sell their wares there, ranging from traditional sweetgrass baskets to clothing and jewelry to arts and crafts to food. The city market is the perfect place to pick up a souvenir from Charleston or to get a feel for the community.

The market stretches down Market Street, with three long open air sheds and an enclosed air conditioned Great Hall.  There are public restrooms available on site. The city market is open daily from 9:30 – 5:30.

Currently, masks are required inside the city market.

Fun Things to Do in Charleston city market
Fun Things to Do in Charleston – City Market

Pineapple Fountain Photos

This iconic landmark in Charleston is located in Waterfront Park, next to the harbor.

Waterfront Park is a 12 acre park featuring walking paths beneath live oak trees, benches, wharfs and two fountains. One is attractive to children as a place to splash and play. The other, Pineapple Fountain, draws visitors with cameras ready to snap photos.

Pineapples are a common symbol in Charleston, representing hospitality. Children and adults are encouraged to wade in Pineapple Fountain. Because of its popularity with families, tourists and photographers, you may have to wait to get that perfect shot. Or visit early in the morning, before parents bring the kids to play.

I timed my photos carefully, snapping pictures when kids disappeared around the other side of the fountain!

Fun Things to Do in Charleston pineapple fountain
Fun Things to Do in Charleston – Pineapple Fountain photos

Walk Along the Battery

After snapping photos at Pineapple Fountain, walk the Battery located alongside Charleston Harbor.

Gorgeous harbor views draw the eye on one side of the Battery while parks and pastel antebellum houses vie for attention on the other side.

The Battery is a defensive seawall and promenade, paralleling East Bay Street as it heads south to the end of the peninsula. Fort Sumter is visible out in the harbor, as is Pinckney Castle, the World War II aircraft carrier USS Yorktown, Fort Moultie and Sullivan’s Island.

The Battery is a refreshing place for a morning or evening stroll, with the breezes blowing in from the harbor.

Fun Things to Do in Charleston the battery
Fun Things to Do in Charleston – walk the Battery

Explore South of Broad

South of Broad is the neighborhood literally south of Broad Street in the historic district, at the tip of the peninsula. This neighborhood of tree lined streets features magnificent 18th and 19th century houses and churches.

South of Broad housed Charleston’s original residential area for wealthy planters. There are so many historic structures here, including the Heyward-Washington House where President Washington stayed for eight days while visiting the city.

Spend an afternoon strolling this neighborhood. There are pretty hidden alleyways to wander down, cobblestone streets to explore and impressive wrought iron gates to oooh and aaah over. It’s a beautiful area that includes Tradd Street, my inspiration to visit Charleston.

Fun Things to Do in Charleston
Fun Things to Do in Charleston – explore South of Broad

Photograph Rainbow Row

While in the South of Broad area, head back toward East Bay Street for one of Charleston’s most famous block of houses, Rainbow Row.

Located from 79 – 107 East Bay Street, these colorful houses have a unique history. Built in the 1740s, the 13 townhouses originally featured drab colors. Merchants ran their businesses on the ground floors and lived on the top floors.

After the Civil War, the area became run down and neglected. All that changed in 1931 when Dorothy Porcher Legge and her husband Lionel Legge purchased a section of the houses. She restored the homes, painting them in pastel colors to brighten up the area. Owners of the other houses on the block followed Dorothy’s example and painted their houses pastel colors too.

Rainbow Row is another spot frequently visited in the city. Because the houses are occupied, with cars parked along the front sidewalk, it can be difficult to get a clean photo. I found that snapping one from the corner, down the row of houses, worked best for me.

Fun Things to Do in Charleston rainbow row
Fun Things to Do in Charleston – photograph Rainbow Row

Shop and Dine on King Street

If shopping is your thing, take a walk up and down King Street, located one block over from Meeting Street.

King Street offers hotels, shopping, dining, nightlife, fashions, arts and antique stores in the historic district. At more than 300 years old, King Street is the second most historically and architecturally significant street in Charleston, after Meeting Street.

King Street features some of the city’s trendiest restaurants plus art galleries, flourishing businesses, exceptional shops and a robust nightlife. The street is divided into three districts: Lower King is the antiques district, Middle King is the fashion district and Upper King offers dining.

The free trolley makes several stops along King Street. I dined there several times, at different vegan cafes, riding the trolley to my destination and then walking back to my accommodations.

Fun Things to Do in Charleston king street
Fun Things to Do in Charleston – shop and dine on King Street

Learn About Charleston with a Historic Tour

There are many, many tour options available in Charleston. You can take a horse drawn carriage ride, take a city tour bus or participate in a walking tour.

Personally, I prefer a walking tour as it seems to me the best way to really get to know a city. How interesting it is to walk the city with a knowledgeable guide who can tell the stories that make up the history of Charleston.

I highly recommend Two Sisters Tours. Join sisters Therese and/or Mary Helen, seventh generation Charlestonians, on a two hour walking tour of the city. These ladies, both retired attorneys, know their city intimately.

I enjoyed this tour on my second day in Charleston, with Therese as the guide.

Therese is energetic, personable and extremely knowledgeable about Charleston. She didn’t recite a memorized list of facts about Charleston. Therese knows Charleston and tells the old city’s stories with humor and a heart for her community. I learned so much about Charleston from Therese and appreciate her passion and enthusiasm.

Click link for more info about Two Sisters Tours.

Fun Things to Do in Charleston historical tour
Fun Things to Do in Charleston – historical tour with Therese of Two Sisters Tours

Scare Yourself with a Ghost Tour

For a journey into Charleston’s darker side, schedule a nighttime ghost tour through the city. Again, many such tours exists, from horse drawn carriage rides to tour buses to walking tours. You just can’t beat walking next to those graveyards and spooky old houses at night though.

I joined tour guide John, with Ghost City Tours, after my first full day in Charleston. Due to its long history, the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, pirates, fires and hurricanes, Charleston is considered one of America’s most haunted cities. Ghost City Tours offers two tours, one for adults only, with more macabre themes and stories, and one for families with slightly more tame stories suitable for all ages.

I chose the family ghost tour simply because it began earlier, at 7:00 PM rather than 10:00.

John guided us expertly through Charleston’s more tragic sites, with intriguing stories of the restless undead. He told us at the beginning of the tour that his job wasn’t to convince us that ghosts exist. His job was to share the stories and let us make up our own minds. John didn’t need to convince me. I already believe in ghosts! I highly recommend this tour. Click link for more info.

Fun Things to Do in Charleston ghost tour
Fun Things to Do in Charleston – ghost tour with John of Ghost City Tours

Educate Yourself at the Old Slave Mart Museum

There is no denying that slavery and Charleston are intricately entwined. It’s a part of Charleston’s history that is difficult. I appreciate that the city does not gloss over this dark past or attempt to downplay its significance.

Rather, Charleston seeks to expand the stories of the enslaved people who helped to make the city what it was in the past…and what it is today.

On Chalmers Street is the Slave Mart Museum, the place where traders brought people to sell and trade them from 1856 – 1863. The Old Slave Mart is the only known such building still in existence in South Carolina. Auctions of the enslaved ended November 1863. The property changed hands many times until 1938 when Miriam Wilson bought it and opened  a museum featuring African and African American arts and crafts. The city acquired the building in 1988 and opened it as a historic site and museum in 2007.

The museum features displays that chronicle Charleston’s role in the international slave trade and the domestic trade within the south. It is often staffed by individuals who can trace their history to Charleston slaves.  While it is a painful history to learn more about, I believe it is so essential that we do so. I spent a solemn hour there, studying the displays, pondering the significance and feeling all of the emotions.

The Old Slave Mart Museum at 6 Chalmers Street is open Monday – Saturday, 9:00 – 5:00. Currently a mask is required while inside.

Fun Things to Do in Charleston slave mart museum
Fun Things to Do in Charleston – educate yourself at Old Slave Mart Museum

Visit a Plantation

There are several plantations in the Charleston area, accessible by car or by tour bus. The good people at the Charleston Visitor Center can help set up the tour of choice.

I originally wanted to visit the tea plantation, owned and operated by the Bigelow family, because that’s the brand of tea I drink. Alas, this plantation is far enough away from Charleston that it’s difficult to get there…and get back…without a car.

So with the help of a staff member at the Visitor Center, I chose a Magnolia Plantation and Garden tour, primarily because of the acres and acres of wild gardens there. As destiny would have it, it was the right plantation for me to visit. I’ll share in a separate upcoming post about Magnolia Plantation and what makes it so very special.

I enjoyed wandering the extensive gardens, riding a tram through marshes, swamps and woodlands and taking a guided tour inside the plantation house.

Fun Things to Do in Charleston magnolia plantation
Fun Things to Do in Charleston – visit a plantation

Charleston Series

Over the next few months, I’ll share more posts about Charleston…the city’s historical tales, ghost stories, the inn I called home for five days, vegan eats and more.

This was an important trip for me and perfectly timed during my Year of the Wild Woman. I proved to myself that I enjoy solo travel, that I can handle all the details involved in traveling this way and that in general, people are good hearted and kind.

It was fun to experience “going beyond” and “following curiosity” in such new to me ways. I left Charleston a few days ago, grateful for all that this trip taught me and grateful as well for the warm welcome I received in this beautiful city.

I’m ready to plan another adventure…

 

Have you visited Charleston, South Carolina? What was your favorite thing to do there?

Cindy in Charleston
How I explored sunny, humid Charleston…in breezy layers plus hat and sunglasses.

 


 

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Shopping My Own Closet

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In the weeks leading up to my solo adventure, I stopped by several stores, looking for something cute to pack for my trip. I’m not sure why I think I need new clothes when I travel. This time it seemed like an automatic response to knowing I had an adventure coming up.

As I browsed clothing racks, looking for flowing pieces I could layer over tank tops or short sleeves, I had a realization. In fact, it was more of a “what are you doing??” thought.

The last couple of years I am more interested in slow fashion, rather than fast fashion. So what was I doing, out looking for more clothes to buy, just because I have an upcoming trip? Standing in a department store, I determined that day to do differently. I decided shopping my own closet made much more sense, on many levels, over purchasing more clothes.

These are the outfits I pulled together for my trip, shopping my own closet. Have a peek!

Shopping My Own Closet title meme

What is Fast Fashion and Slow Fashion

Fast fashion is the term that describes clothing that’s created quickly and inexpensively and moved into stores to take advantage of trends. Supply chains among retailers make fast fashion possible.

As a result, consumers can update their wardrobes quickly and affordably. Sounds good right? However, this over-consumption of cheaply made clothes is contributing to the huge growth in textile waste, pollution, depletion of natural resources and human rights violations in factories. The fashion industry has moved deeply into a throw away mentality.

On the other hand, slow fashion does the opposite. It advocates for manufacturing respectfully in regards to people, animals and the environment. It also supports creating clothing ethically and in a process that ensures quality made apparel that lasts for many years. Slow fashion focuses on high quality, sustainable materials. These clothes are often sold through small, local shops using locally sourced materials. Or they’re sold through online shops with sustainable practices including shipping methods. Toad&Co is such an online shop.

Thrifting is part of the slow fashion movement as clothing is kept in circulation rather than thrown away. Read more about the benefits of thrift store shopping here.

Shopping My Own Closet

Truthfully, I didn’t need to buy more clothes, not even through a thrift shop. All I needed for my trip, including the long flowing garments, hung in my own closet.

And, I enjoyed shopping my own closet immensely! I carefully considered what I needed for the trip. Although it’s warm, the evenings cool down, here at home and in the state I’m traveling too. I quickly discovered I could pull together the perfect outfits, a sort of capsule wardrobe, that didn’t require much room in my carry on.

I found the experience of doing flat lays for the outfits fun too, as I climbed up on a step ladder to snap photos. In fact the whole process was much more entertaining than shopping in a store.

Here are my outfits, shopping my own closet.

Travel Day

I’m flying to my destination. Airplanes are typically too cool for me, so long sleeves or a lightweight jacket or wrap are a must.

For the trip out, I chose black skinny jeans, a black and pink long sleeve button down shirt and my boots (man made uppers). My boots are the MOST comfortable walking shoe that I own. So they are going with me. However, they take up too much room in the carry on to pack. So I wear the boots.

I can roll up the sleeves of my shirt if I get warm or leave them down against any chill.

  • black jeans – 2 years old, purchased new
  • plaid shirt – 3 years old, purchased new
  • boots – 2 years old, purchased new
  • heavy socks – 1 year old, purchased at a discount shop for .50 for a pack of three

Shopping My Own Closet travel day

Day One Outfit

Black jeans again, paired with a light sage green racer back tunic and a darker sage green short kimono. The embroidery on this darling kimono is gorgeous and carries over to the back up near the neckline, although my long hair usually covers it.

The kimono is lightweight enough to allow air to flow during the day and yet offers some protection against cool evening air.

The gray and black shoes are my ONLY new purchase for this trip. I bought them a month ago, after wearing less supportive shoes at Silver Dollar City hurt my feet. I’ve been walking daily, for the last 30 days, also in preparation for this trip, and I properly broke in the shoes.

  • black jeans – 2 years old, purchased new
  • racer back tunic – 4 years old, purchased new
  • short kimono – 4 years old, purchased new
  • walking shoes – 1 month old, purchased new
Shopping My Own Closet green
Day one outfit

Day Two Outfit

This outfit is built around the long, flowing kimono is shades of gray. See? Why did I need to shop for flowing garments when I already own them?

Underneath is a gray, short sleeve, stretchy tee. If the weather is warm, I can always remove the kimono, although it is very lightweight, and just wear the tee. The skinny pants are dark gray.

I hope there is a breeze when I wear this outfit, so the kimono billows around me!

  • gray pants – 3 years old, purchased new
  • gray tee – 6 years old at least, purchased new
  • long kimono – 4 years old, purchased new
  • walking shoes – 1 month old, purchased new
Kimono outfit
Day two outfit

Day Three Outfit

This long tunic is one of my favorite garments. I typically wear it buttoned up over leggings. For this trip, it will serve as a lightweight open jacket. The sleeves can roll up or button at the wrist.

Beneath is a long white tank top and the gray skinny pants. Boots and a pair of dark socks complete this outfit.

  • gray pants – 3 years old, purchased new
  • white tank top – 3 years old, purchased new
  • long tunic – 4 years old, purchased new
  • boots – 2 years old, purchased new
  • heavy socks – 1 year old, purchased at a discount shop for .50 for a pack of three
Shopping My Own Closet long top
Day three outfit

Bonus Outfit

This is an extra outfit, in case I need a change of clothes, get caught out in rain or just decide to wear something different one evening.

Black jeans pair with a white sleeveless top with a few buttons near the neckline, and a white tasseled shawl. The shawl actually has arm holes which is nice as I don’t have to hang on to it. It stays put.

  • black jeans – 2 years old, purchased new
  • white sleeveless top – 5 years old, purchased new
  • white tasseled shawl – 5 years old, purchased new
  • walking shoes – 1 month old, purchased new

 

Shopping My Own Closet bonus
Bonus outfit

Travel Home Outfit

For my final morning at my destination and the flight home that afternoon, I’ll wear the Toad&Co camp shirt paired with black jeans and walking shoes. If my boots won’t fit into my carry on, I’ll swap out the walking shoes for them.

I love the organic cotton camp shirt and its high quality construction. This shirt will last me many years. Toad&Co is an eco-friendly company I appreciate and want to support. Click LINK if you want to learn more about this brand.

For the return flight, I’ll drape the white tasseled shawl over my arm to serve as a lightweight blanket, if I need it on the plane.

  • black jeans – 2 years old, purchased new
  • camp shirt – 5 months old, purchased new
  • walking shoes – 1 month old, purchased new

This was outrageously fun, creating these looks and photographing the flat lays. And more than having fun, which I’m a big fan of, I feel really good about supporting slow fashion and making wiser, more eco-friendly choices for myself.

My desire isn’t to make anyone feel that they have to do what I do. It’s about me learning how to live more sustainably and then doing better.

Which of my shopping my own closet outfits is your favorite?

Shopping My Own Closet camp shirt
Shopping my own closet – travel home outfit

Books about fast and slow fashion, from Amazon:

 


 

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Andy B’s Space Odyssey Escape Room

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For his 10th birthday, my great nephew Kaleb knew exactly what he wanted to do…try out an escape room!

Family members joined Kaleb at Andy B’s Space Odyssey escape room, in Tulsa, Oklahoma for this thrilling attempt. Eight of us entered the room with one hour to figure out the clues, solve the riddles and get back out.

Join us in this fun adventure.

Note: I will not share where to find any of the clues or answers to riddles, only an overview of the experience.

Andy Bs Space Odyssey Escape Room title meme

Andy B’s

Located at 8711 S. Lewis Ave in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Andy B’s is a family friendly complex that offers bowling, games, escape rooms, laser tag and go-karts. They also have an onsite cocktail bar, grill and snack bar. Check out their menu HERE.

Andy B’s hosts birthday celebrations, company get togethers and bachelorette parties.

They also have locations in Springfield, Missouri and Branson, Missouri.

Andy Bs Space Odyssey Escape Room poster
Andy B’s Space Odyssey Escape Room – we have a problem!

The Escape Rooms

Andy B’s Tulsa offers three escape rooms.

Kidnapped

You and your team of detectives have one hour to solve a string of kidnapping cases before the FBI takes over the case.

Duration: one hour

Recommended for all players

House of Dread

A dinner party with an old friend takes a turn for the worst. What awaits you and the other guests may come as no surprise. Shall we eat?

Duration: one hour

Recommended for adults

Space Odyssey

Decode the message left behind by the missing captain and crew of Odyssey II before you are captured by others on the spacecraft.

Duration: one hour

Recommended for kids and teens

With our party of three children, one teen and four adults, we chose Space Odyssey. I’ve done one other escape room, geared toward ages 13 and older, and it was intense. We had a 10,000 square foot warehouse to search for clues plus zombies chased us. We did NOT escape in time. Space Odyssey is the perfect way to celebrate the birthday of an inquisitive 10 year old and it wasn’t too intense.

Andy Bs Space Odyssey Escape Room group
Andy B’s provides these fun signs for group photos. Can you find the birthday boy?

Andy B’s Space Odyssey Escape Room

An escape room is a physical adventure game in which players solve a series of puzzles and riddles using clues, hints, and strategy to complete objectives. Players are given a set time limit to unveil the secrets hidden within the room. Games are set in a variety of fictional locations, such as prison cells, dungeons, and space stations, and usually the various puzzles and riddles follow the theme of the room.

Our group received a briefing. We nominated Kaleb as our captain and he pocketed a small walkie talkie. If you get stuck, you can ask for a hint. Unlimited hints are offered and three specific clues if you really need help.

Time for the game to begin! We all filed into the room, set up to look like the interior of a space ship. Our room was fairly dark, making us grateful that we carried our phones with us. We frequently turned on the flashlight apps on our phones, to see better.

Our instructor set up the clock to count down from 60 minutes and shut the door. You are never locked into a room and may leave if you need to. We had one hour to look for clues left behind by the captain and crew of the Odyssey, before aliens found us. We knew that ultimately a key unlocked a box with a button in it. Pressing that button meant we escaped.

Andy Bs Space Odyssey Escape Room cabinet
Andy B’s Space Odyssey Escape Room – Kaleb at work

Racing Against the Clock

Without giving away any of the details about this particular escape room, I’ll share some general rules that apply to any escape room.

The room is full of clues, hints and puzzles. The trick is to look at EVERYTHING in the room and look for ANYTHING that is out of the ordinary, mixed up or out of place. Search under objects, behind items and inside anything that opens.

We initially divided into teams and that actually worked well for us. Kaleb directed us and led the hunt for clues. The rest of us searched, brainstormed and speculated. A pad of paper and a pen helped organize information. Not everything is important so deciding what to process and what to ignore is crucial.

We did occasionally ask for confirmation, rather than a hint, to make sure our process was correct.

As the clock ticked down, our pace picked up and we joined forces as one team. We had trouble with one puzzle in the room. We knew exactly what needed to happen however making it work proved difficult and ate up precious minutes.

As we raced to complete the room, we ran out of time. But when the instructor came into the room and saw how close we were, she added 10 minutes to the clock and left us playing. What a nice surprise! Kaleb punched that red button, ending the game, with 5 minutes 32 seconds to spare!

Andy Bs Space Odyssey Escape Room Kaleb
Kaleb completing the room, with minutes to spare.

Final Thoughts

We enjoyed this escape room experience! Kaleb captained the group well and everyone worked as a team. Although no zombies or aliens chased us, just working against the clock creates some intensity that kept us moving at a fast pace. It feels good to finish, knowing you correctly solved puzzles and collected the right clues.

I highly recommend Andy B’s if you are in the Tulsa, Springfield or Branson areas. It’s a fun place to spend an hour…or an afternoon…and celebrate a birthday!

Have you ever done an escape room? What was your experience like?

Group shot
Second group shot

Can’t make it to an escape room? Try this one from Amazon!

Click photo for info or to order

 

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Eco-Friendly Travel Practices

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I love traveling, for so many reasons. And I feel strongly about taking care of the planet, for so many reasons as well.

Often, these two desires wage war with each other, as travel can impact the earth economically, socially and environmentally. Some of those impacts are positive. And some, not so much. Approximately 1.2 BILLION people travel internationally every year…when we are not in a global pandemic. And while travel and tourism contribute to the global economy, it often comes at the expense of the environment and local communities.

For me, part of embracing a more sustainable lifestyle includes adopting eco-friendly travel practices.

Eco-Friendly Travel Practices title meme

What is Eco-Friendly Travel?

Eco-friendly, or sustainable, travel encompasses more than just minimizing the impact on the environment. Sustainable travel seeks to create a balance between economic growth, environmental health and the wellbeing of people and communities.

It’s a dance of reducing the negative impact of tourism while maximizing the positive benefits for cultures, communities, the ecology and ultimately, the planet.

After more than a year of decreased travel, due to COVID, we have fresh opportunities, as travelers, to make a difference and choose more sustainable ways of seeing the world. As we look to explore again, put these eco-friendly travel practices in place.

Skip the Touristy Places

Before COVID halted travel, some popular tourist destinations experienced “overtourism”. Continual streams of visitors caused damage to historic sites, beaches, wildlife sanctuaries, nature areas and cities.

When travel opens again fully, try visiting places less well known. And I get it. We all have places on our travel bucket lists and we long to visit them. See them if you must, perhaps during the off season. However, consider avoiding the crowds and seeking out smaller cities, little known villages and other more rural areas.

The benefits of tourism are shared with more communities that way, without overburdening and actually harming the tourist hot spots.

Support the Local Economy

Wherever you go, be there, as the saying goes, and really experience the place. Immerse yourself in the culture. Learn a few words of the language. Get to know the people. And support the local economy.

Shop there, in locally owned stores. Eat meals in quaint cafes, prepared from regionally sourced foods. Visit the city market and enjoy wares made by community artisans. Book excursions led by tour guides native to the area. They know the rich stories behind the historic sites.

Eco-Friendly Travel Practices support locally
Eco-friendly travel practices – support locally. Seeds for the Soul Vegan Cafe, a locally owned restaurant in Edinburgh

Support Eco-Friendly Tour Companies

When desiring a tour, while visiting a community, look for eco-friendly tour companies. Often the money spent with these companies goes back into the community or into local conservation and environmental projects.

Local tour companies arrange smaller travel groups, set up local accommodations and hire people from the community to lead the tours. It’s a win/win all the way around. It helps to keep tourism money in the town and with the people, where it is most needed.

Eco-Friendly Transportation

Among modes of transportation, flying produces the most carbon emissions per passenger. Often, however, flying is the only way to reach a destination. Try these tips to lessen the impact:

  • use non stop flights when you can, rather than breaking the flight up. Direct flights are more fuel efficient.
  • travel light. The more luggage loaded onto a plane, the heavier it is, and the more carbon emissions produced.
  • take advantage of carbon offset programs (see next tip)
  • look for airlines that use renewable biofuels

When you can, travel by train or bus. It saves fuel and it’s a great way to see the countryside. And ride together, or carpool, when driving a car.

While in a city, walk as much as possible, to save fuel and really get to know the community. It’s great exercise for the visitor too. Use the hop on/hop off buses to get an overview of the city or rent bicycles and explore that way.

Eco-Friendly Travel Practices transportation
Eco-friendly travel practices – hop on/hop off buses

Offset Carbon Emissions

One way to reduce the impact of flying is to use a carbon offset program.

These programs give airline passengers the option of investing in carbon reduction projects to help reduce or neutralize the carbon footprint caused by their travel.

Currently, there are 30+ international airlines participating in carbon offset programs. Select this option when purchasing tickets through the airline website. It costs a few extra dollars. However, those funds go toward reducing carbon and greenhouse gases. One project may protect rainforests while another builds wind farms.

Check out the best Carbon Offset Programs HERE.

Carry Your Own Water Container

I stress this tip often, and for good reason. Every year, 8 MILLION metric tons of plastic ends up in our oceans. Imagine one garbage truck full of plastics dumping into the ocean every single minute of every day. And one of the leading culprits is the plastic water bottle.

Plastic, whether dumped into the ocean or buried in a landfill, takes HUNDREDS of years to break down. It’s causing great harm to the earth and its inhabitants.

It’s such an easy switch to carry a metal water container rather than a plastic water bottle. In my home we fill our metal water containers from a filtered water pitcher in the fridge. Or you can use your refrigerator’s filtered water system.

Wherever you go, take your water container. Mine accompanies me everywhere, even on international trips. Security allows an empty container through. Then you can fill it while in the airport and carry it onto the plane. Another simple way to eliminate plastic? Refuse straws at restaurants.

Eco-Friendly Travel Practices
Eco-friendly travel practices – carry a metal water container

Eco-Friendly Hotel Tips

When possible, stay at accommodations that are certified “eco-friendly”. Then use this tips:

  • treat your accommodations like home, saving energy as you would there
  • turn off lights and electronics when leaving or sleeping
  • lower heat or raise air conditioning while away or sleeping
  • take showers rather than baths
  • bring your own toiletries from home
  • in countries where weather is mild, opt to open a window if possible, rather than using air conditioning
  • hang up towels to dry and reuse…AND…
  • hang the “do not disturb” sign on door to prevent housekeeping from changing sheets daily, cutting down on energy used to wash towels and sheets
  • stay in an Airbnb or a self serve apartment, so you can prep meals and wash your own laundry
  • in a hotel, wash out clothes in the sink and hang to dry
  • purchase a multi-purpose electrical plug for use in international countries

Eco-Friendly Travel Hacks

  • when traveling, carry liquids in a reusable ziplock bag
  • carry snacks in small metal canisters
  • pack cloth totes and bags, for use while shopping, to eliminate use of plastic shopping bags
  • shop for food in local markets to prepare in apartment or Airbnb kitchen
  • travel with a capsule wardrobe, to travel light
  • “shop” for travel clothes from your own closet
  • carry reusable eating utensils
  • use bar soaps and bar shampoo and conditioners, to travel light and to eliminate plastic bottles
  • bring your own earbuds on the plane and pass on the airline ones
  • carry on your own wrap or jacket to double as a blanket and your own travel pillow on flights
  • eat in a restaurant, when possible, rather than ordering carryout, to eliminate plasticware and foam containers
Eco-Friendly Travel Practices hotel
I prefer apartments like this one on Thistle Street in Edinburgh, for their full kitchens and washers and dryers.

Which Eco-Friendly Travel Practices Will You Adopt?

I hope you discovered eco-friendly tips to try out during your next trip. I’m putting these practices in place in my life. Not only do I want to enjoy travel and lessen my negative impact on the world, I want my children and grandchildren to get to travel as well. By my example, I’m teaching them to travel sustainably. As I learn new practices and discover new eco-friendly companies to partner with, I’ll share them.

Which of these practices will you embrace?

And if you have other eco-friendly travel tips, please share them in the comments!

Travel Helps from Amazon:

 


 

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

Five Benefits of Thrift Shopping

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

August 17 is National Thrift Shop Day. This day brings awareness to supporting local thrift stores, especially those that charitably help people in their communities.

For us, the consumer, there are good reasons to regularly stop by thrift stores, resale shops and charitable organizations’ “closets”. Check out these five benefits of thrift shopping.

Five Benefits of Thrift Shopping title meme

The History of Thrift Shops

Thrift shops didn’t always exist. Up until about 100 years ago, people routinely repurposed old clothing. When children outgrew clothes, those garments were handed down to younger siblings. Additionally, old clothes were recut to create new garments. Dad’s shirt might become junior’s shorts. Mom’s dress made a cute miniature version for sis. Eventually, when repurposing an item simply wasn’t possible any longer, those old clothes became rags for cleaning or recycled into furniture stuffing. Nothing went to waste.

Enter the Industrial Revolution in the late 19th century. Clothing production increased dramatically. Buying new clothes happened more frequently. Old clothing ended up in scrap yards. The Salvation Army and Goodwill changed that story.

In 1897 The Salvation Army launched the “salvage brigade”, sending people out  scouring neighborhoods for used clothing, in return for meals and lodging. And in 1902 a Boston Methodist minister founded Goodwill, hiring poor and disabled people to collect used clothing and repair them for resale. Initially these thrift shops provided immigrants with a place to find clothes. Over the years thrifting became popular as people hunted for bargains and treasures.

Five Benefits of Thrift Shopping Salvation Army
Five Benefits of Thrift Shopping – The Salvation Army Store in Joplin

Five Benefits of Thrift Shopping

Joplin has four thrift shops that provide for others in the community, through the resale of items. Plus, we have consignment shops, such as Plato’s Closet, and charitable “clothing closets” where people who need clothes can shop for free.

Thrifting is fun. Since these shops rely on donations, you never know what treasures or bargains await when entering the store. You might find a collectible, an expensive garment with the original price tag attached, for a fraction of the cost, or the perfect items for a one-of-a-kind Halloween costume. The daring shopper can even create her own unique fashion style.

However, beyond the thrill of the hunt, thrift shopping…also called thrifting…is beneficial. Here are five benefits of thrift shopping that you might be unaware of.

Five Benefits of Thrift Shopping Goodwill
Five Benefits of Thrift Shopping – Goodwill Store in Joplin

Thrift Shopping Benefits the Environment

Did you know that the average American throws away 81 pounds of clothes, every year? That means that annually, 26 billion pounds of clothing end up in landfills. And they sit there for many, many years.

We live in the age of cheap clothing and fast fashion, resulting in a throwaway mentality. After a season…or even after wearing a garment a couple of times… we toss it.

Thrifting is recycling. By purchased pre-owned clothing over new trends that quickly fade, we shrink our carbon footprint. We use less of the resources that creating new clothing uses up. And we keep items out of landfills. Best of all, when we no longer want a thrift item, we simply donate it to another thrift store so it stays in use.

I love Toad&Co as an eco-friendly clothing company that not only creates durable clothes that last for many years, they encourage the donation of items no longer wanted. They also wash, repair and renew old Toad clothes and keep them in circulation. Shop Renewed Toad.

Five Benefits of Thrift Shopping Red Racks
Joplin has two locations for Red Racks Thrift Stores, a division of DAV

Thrift Shopping Benefits the Community

Many thrift shops offer benefits to the community. Some hire and train people to work in the shops. Others fund a charity or mission or offer free or low priced clothing to those in need.

When we donate garments or other household items we benefit the community. And when we shop in thrift stores, we benefit the community as well by keeping our dollars local where they can do the most good.

I regularly donate to a ministry that operates a clothing closet. Anyone in need may visit and shop for free. This shop is especially popular when school starts back up.

Five Benefits of Thrift Shopping DAV bins
Five Benefits of Thrift Shopping – DAV collection bins, benefitting disabled American veterans.

Thrift Shopping Benefits the Planet

Buying second hand clothing reduces the amount of new clothing produced. Mass production of fast fashion often comes with human risks. The highest risk people are women, children and the impoverished who work long hours in poor working conditions for very low wages.

It’s always important to shop for ethically produced clothing, when purchasing new items. Buying recycled clothing takes ethical practices to the highest level.

Plus, thrifting reduces the chemical pollution in the world. Creating and shipping new clothes contaminates surface and groundwater and pollutes the air.

Five Benefits of Thrift Shopping Disney
Five Benefits of Thrift Shopping – recycling saves the planet’s resources and protects people. I saw this Disney shirt at Goodwill today, for $2.99

Thrift Shopping Benefits Your Wallet

Compared to retail clothing stores, thrift stores offer very low prices. Plus thrift shops often have discount days or fill a bag days, dropping prices even lower.

I wandered through my local Goodwill today, just to see what was available for sale. I spied the Disney shirt, for $2.99, a J. Crew dress for $4.99 and an assortment of garments from name brands such as Levi, Lee, Old Navy, Cato and Worthington…all for under $6.00.

I didn’t buy anything today. However I’ve snagged bargains at my local thrift shops. And they are my go to stores when I need a Halloween costume or an item I don’t often use, such as a rain jacket.

For my 62 Outrageous Things to Do for My 62nd Birthday, I enjoyed a fun thrifting trip. I took a $20 bill into Goodwill and left with a new to me outfit: slacks, shirt and a unique jacket.

Five Benefits of Thrift Shopping $20
My under $20 outfit from Goodwill, that was part of my 62nd Birthday game.

Thrift Shopping Benefits Creativity

Shopping regularly at thrift shops allows us to create one of a kind wardrobes. Who wants to look like everyone else? I don’t.

Buying used clothing not only reduces the production of new items and prevents waste, it allows the purchaser to stand out creatively, fashion wise. It’s a fun challenge to pull together an outfit from a wide assortment of vintage and used clothing.

Some of my favorite wardrobe items came from thrift shops. And I still have them and wear them.

Personally, thrifting also taught me the value of slow fashion and keeping garments out of landfills. In the past, I’ve purchased new clothes for trips. The last few years, not so much. In fact, for my upcoming trip I decided to only shop…out of my OWN closet. I’m putting together new looks, and new outfits, from articles of clothing that I don’t normally pair together. It’s fun and it shows me that truly, I don’t need to purchase a thing. Watch for an upcoming post highlighting my travel outfits.

Making a Difference

One day, a couple of years ago, I sat in my car outside a local clothing closet, after dropping off items. I happened to see a young girl, about eight years old, skip out to the car where her father waited.

She held up a small shopping bag, and proudly proclaimed to her dad that she had everything she needed to start school. I smiled over her genuine excitement…and my heart broke a little.

As they drove away, tears filled my eyes. The father seemed uncomfortable that his daughter picked up her school clothes at a charitable organization and yet he expressed gratitude too, for the help.

I asked, aloud, why I witnessed that interaction. The answer I immediately received was that only that morning, I asked to see compassion displayed in the world. Here was compassion given…to the girl and her father. And here was compassion stirring, in my heart, for the father’s plight and the daughter’s enthusiasm. I’ve continued to donate to that clothing closet, so that other children in need can go to school with something new to wear.

Do you thrift shop? Share with me your favorite shops and finds.

And do you donate the clothing you no longer want, to shops and charitable organizations? It makes a difference, in the world and in someone’s life…like that beautiful girl returning to school.

 

Five Benefits of Thrift Shopping J Crew
A J. Crew dress at Goodwill.

Check Out This Find from Amazon:

 

 

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Top Ten Hipster Cities in the US

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

This post is a collaboration with Lawnstarter. They provided the stats from their Hipster City research and I added the info about each city.

 

Last month I received a fun email from LawnStarter about one of their studies. It featured the best cities for hipsters and I was immediately intrigued. After an exchange of emails, I received their permission to share the results of their study along with the criteria they used to determine which cities are the best for hipsters.

I’m adding some additional info and a brief overview of each of the top ten hipster cities in the US. Looking for a fun way to explore some of America’s best cities? This is your guide!

Top Ten Hipster Cities in the US title meme

What Is a Hipster?

Hipsters are non-conformists, people who enjoy living outside the cultural mainstream. They value progressive, independent thinking, counter-culture, art and indie music and films, creativity, intelligence and witty banter.

Hipsters appreciate eco-friendly everything, thrift stores, vintage clothing and craft beers, among other things.

The term “hipster”, in its present form, first appeared in the 1990s and became prominent in the late 2000s and early 2010s. Although the meaning has shifted, Harlem jazz clubs of the 1940s created the word. The first hipster is recognized as Harry “the Hipster” Gibson, the stage name for a Juilliard trained musician.

The Criteria

LawnStarter compared 150 of the biggest US cities, based on anti-mainstream factors. Those factors were each assigned a number between 1-3. The cities were ranked based on their overall scores, out of 100 possible points.

Anti-Mainstream Factors:

Fashion

  • Thrift stores per 100,000 residents
  • Vintage clothing and consignment shops per 100,000 residents
  • Tattoo parlors per 100,000 residents
  • Barber shops per 100,000 residents – many male hipsters sport a beard or mustache

Lifestyle

  • Environmental consciousness – includes sustainability and eco-friendly lifestyle
  • Biking friendliness
  • Car free living
  • Yoga studios per 100,000 residents

Culture

  • Record stores per 100,000 residents
  • Music venues per 100,000 residents
  • Antique shops per 100,000 residents
  • Local flavor spots per 100,000 residents – local flavor refers to places unique to that city
  • Art galleries per 100,000 residents
  • Art events per 100,000 residents

Food and Drink

  • Locavore friendliness – locavore refers to eating foods sourced from the local region
  • Urban garden friendliness – co-op gardening where the whole community benefits
  • Vegan and vegetarian restaurants per 100,000 residents
  • Farmer’s markets per 100,000 residents
  • Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods locations per 100,000 residents
  • Coffee roasteries per 100,000 residents
  • Craft breweries per 100,000 residents
  • Dive bars per 100,000 residents

Top Ten Hipster Cities in the US

And here we go. Based on the criteria above, the top ten hipster cities in the US are…

1. San Francisco, CA

This city is the cultural, commercial and financial center in Northern California.

With a population of 873,965 as of 2020, it is the 4th largest city in the state and the 16th largest in the US.

San Francisco is famous for the Golden Gate Bridge, steep streets, cable cars and Alcatraz.

It ranked high in bike friendliness, local flavor spots and the culture and lifestyle categories.

Fun fact: The gold rush that began in 1848 resulted in many ships left abandoned in the port. The city tore the ships apart and repurposed them for homes, banks and businesses.

2. Portland, OR

Portland sits on the Columbia and Williamette Rivers, in the shadow of snow capped Mount Hood.

With a population of 662,549 as of 2020, it ranks 1st in the state and the 27th largest city in the US.

Portland is famous for green parks, bridges and bicycle paths, eco-friendliness and its microbreweries and coffeehouses.

It ranked high in bike friendliness, vintage clothing, craft beers, vinyl records, vegan and vegetarian foods and specialty coffees.

Fun fact: The city founders couldn’t agree on a name for the community, in 1842. They flipped a coin to determine whether the city name became Boston…or Portland. Visitors can view the Portland Penny at the Oregon Historical Society downtown.

Top Ten Hipster Cities in the US San Francisco
Top Ten Hipster Cities in the US – #1 San Francisco.   Photo Canva

3. Oakland, CA

Oakland sits on the east side of the San Francisco Bay.

With a population of 435,224 as of 2020, Oakland is the 8th largest city in California and the 45th largest in the US.

Oakland is famous for its sports teams, the Oakland Raiders and Golden State Warriors, renewable energy, diversity (one of the top five most diverse cities in the US) and local foods.

It ranked high in the food category, yoga and specialty coffees on the hipster scale.

Fun fact: Lake Merritt in Oakland has a sea monster in it. Sightings began in the 1940s. According to witnesses, the beast is a Loch Ness style creature with humps, spikes and a long tongue. The best place to catch a glimpse of the Oak Ness Monster is from the docks of the Lake Chalet Restaurant.

4. Fort Lauderdale, FL

This city is on Florida’s southeastern coast.

With a population of 182,760 as of 2020, it is the 10th largest city in Florida and the 142nd largest in the US.

Fort Lauderdale is famous for its beaches and boating canals, The Strip…a promenade running along oceanside highway A1A, upscale outdoor restaurants, boutiques and luxury hotels.

It ranked high for urban gardening, vintage clothing and consignment shops,  and in the culture and food and drink categories.

Fun fact: Due to its many canals, Fort Lauderdale is known as the “Venice of America”. Bonus fact: This city and I share a name. My maiden name is Lauderdale.

Top Ten Hipster Cities in the US Fort Lauderdale
Top Ten Hipster Cities in the US – #4 Fort Lauderdale   Photo Unsplash Debby Hudson

5. Jersey City, NJ

Jersey City lies in northeastern New Jersey. Its eastern waterfront faces the Hudson River where it meets Upper New York Bay.

With a population of 292,449 as of 2020, it’s the 2nd largest city in New Jersey and the 87th largest in the US.

Jersey City is famous for Liberty Island National Park that includes Ellis Island Immigration Station, the views of the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan, being the Diner Capital of the Country with 525 diners, its iconic Colgate Clock and an incredible food and art scene.

The city ranked high for art events and the fashion, culture and lifestyle categories.

Fun fact: In spite of New York having legal jurisdiction over her, the Statue of Liberty is actually in Jersey City.

6. Tempe, AZ

Tempe is located just east of Phoenix. Rising above the city is Hayden Butte, a mountain dotted with centuries old rock art.

With a population of 203,923 as of 2020, Tempe is the 8th largest city in Arizona and the 117th largest in the US.

Tempe is famous for Tempe Town Lake, Tempe Beach Park, one of the longest standing juried arts festivals in the state, and 100+ bohemian shops, restaurants, bars and nightclubs in the downtown area.

Tempe ranked high in the arts and the fashion, food and drink and culture categories.

Fun fact: The city is named after the Vale of Tempe in Greece, a gorge located between Olympus and Ossa.

Top Ten Hipster Cities in the US Tempe
Top Ten Hipster Cities in the US – #5 Jersey City    Photo Unsplash Uvi D

7. Huntington Beach, CA

Huntington Beach is located southeast of Los Angeles.

With a population of 197,417 as of 2020, it is the 23rd largest city in California and the 127th largest in the US.

It is famous for surf beaches, Huntington Beach Pier, Huntington Central Park and Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve with its wetlands and dunes that shelter hundreds of bird species.

Huntington Beach ranked high in art events, urban gardening, number of Trader Joe and Whole Foods locations and the fashion category.

Fun fact: Huntington Beach Pier extends 1,850 feet, from Main Street into the Pacific Ocean. Ruby’s Diner sits at the end of the pier. It is an extremely popular restaurant with surfers.

8. Honolulu, HI

Honolulu, on the island of Oahu’s south shore, is the capital of Hawaii and the gateway to the island chain.

With a population of 341,302 as of 2020, Honolulu is the largest city in Hawaii and the 57th largest in the US.

Honolulu is famous for its iconic crescent shaped Waikiki Beach backed by palm trees and high rise hotels, Diamond Head volcanic crater and Pearl Harbor.

Honolulu ranked high in art events, local flavor spots and the lifestyle and culture categories.

Fun fact: The only royal palace in the US, Iolani Palace is located on Oahu. The palace had electricity before the White House did, and was the first palace in the world to contain flushing toilets.

Top Ten Hipster Cities in the US Huntington Beach
Top Ten Hipster Cities in the US – #7 Huntington Beach    Photo Unsplash Steady Hand Co

9. Providence, RI

This capital city of Rhode Island is home to Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design.

With a population of 180,609 as of 2020, Providence is the largest city in Rhode Island and the 145th largest in the US.

Providence is famous for its beautiful outdoor spaces, historic spots and the delicious food in its Little Italy area.

Providence ranked high in the food and drink, culture and fashion categories.

Fun fact: Providence has the most coffee and donut shops, per capita, of any city in the country.

10. New Orleans, LA

New Orleans is located in southern Louisiana on the Mississippi River near the Gulf of Mexico. Its nickname is the “Big Easy”.

With a population of 388,424 as of 2020, New Orleans is the largest city in Louisiana and the 53rd largest in the US.

New Orleans is famous for its round-the-clock nightlife, live music scene, spicy cuisine, Mardi Gras and its blend of French, African and American cultures.

It ranked high in local flavor spots and the cultural and food and drink categories.

Fun fact: Lake Pontchartrain Causeway near New Orleans is the longest continuous bridge in the world, as declared by Guinness World Records. It is 28,543 feet long.

Top Ten Hipster Cities in the US New Orleans
Top Ten Hipster Cities in the US – #10 New Orleans Photo Unsplash Caleb George

Which Hipster Cities Have You Visited?

So…do you consider yourself a hipster?

I believe I am! The definition certainly fits me, especially this year with my Wild Woman theme. Read my Wild Woman Manifesto.

On this list, I’ve only traveled to New Orleans, twice. It’s one of my favorite US cities to visit with its rich culture, beautiful architecture and fascinating stories.

What fun to go on a big adventure, visiting all ten of these hipster cities. I’m definitely interested!

And speaking of visiting, pop over to see LawnStarter’s study post HERE on hipster cities. They have other fun studies too such as Best Cities for Cat Lovers and Best Cities for Carless Weekend Trips.

LawnStarter is a startup company that makes lawn care easy, affordable and reliable. They have a blog for lawn care…and these fun studies.

Which of these ten hipster cities have you visited? And which one would you most like to explore?

Top Ten Hipster Cities in the US Honolulu
Top Ten Hipster Cities in the US – #8 Honolulu    Photo Unsplash Cosmin Serban

Fun Hipster Books from Amazon:

 


 

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.