About Charleston

Charleston is usually described in travel guides as being a truly southern town, with old mansions, big porches and horse drawn carriages. In fact, downtown Charleston is truly as you might imagine it. People really do sit on the porch and watch the world go by with a glass of iced tea in their hand. Of course, graduate students do not live in the mansions with big porches, but students usually find that things really do move more slowly here. It is not uncommon to overhear natives of the northeast U.S. talking about how slowly people drive and the fact that no one ever seems to be in a hurry. However, after a short period of adjustment, people usually discover that not being in a rush isn’t really all that bad. In fact, many (probably more than half) of the students decide to stay in the Charleston area after they graduate.

Of course, the more important information concerns things like:

  • Where do students typically live?
  • What is there to do?
  • How far to the beach?

Most students rent houses or apartments near the lab on James Island. Rent is usually very affordable if a home is shared by three or four students. Other students will rent houses in the Folly Beach community. They are usually not beachfront, but they are within walking distance of the beach. Folly Beach is only 10 minutes from the lab. Folly is not a resort community filled with golf courses, expensive homes and condos. Instead, it is generally a community of full time residents, students and surfers.

Grice Cove

Other than sitting on the beach, boating, fishing and shrimping are some of the favorite activities of Charleston residents. What is shrimping? Let’s just say that you can catch all the shrimp you could ever want to eat - up to 48 quarts a day! But, you’ll probably need to find a friend with a boat. Although Charleston is not a large city, there are quite a few good restaurants and bars. Charleston is also known for its music scene. There are several small clubs and micro breweries in town that regularly attract well known bands and also have local music nightly. For other tastes, Charleston has a yearly jazz festival and a blues festival. The Spoleto Festival also occurs each summer and features many different concerts, gallery shows, opera, ballet, etc.

The weather in Charleston has a reputation for being warm and sticky. It’s true, it really does get hot here. In general, summer temperatures are in the low to mid 90’s. Usually the temperature at the beach is a bit cooler and it is breezy. So, weekends are spent sitting on the beach. On the other hand, anyone from a northern state would say that there are only about two weeks of real winter here. Charleston has about two to three weeks worth of days where a heavy jacket is needed. Most would probably agree that the temperate winter makes up for the summer heat. Emailing your friends in February to tell them that you are wearing shorts is always fun. The link below will show you today’s weather.

Here are a few links to Charleston related information.