A recent visitor is tired of only seeing old stuff in Charleston, and is demanding we get some “new stuff”. Christopher Vincent of Boca Raton, Florida will not be one of our repeat visitors. During his vacation last weekend, Mr. Vincent was very dismayed with the concentration of old, historical buildings in Charleston. Mr. Vincent commented, “What’s up with all this old crap? Would it kill ya to get a strip mall and maybe some fast food joints around here? We got em in Florida, it’s not that difficult.”
Mr. Vincent vowed to never return to Charleston unless we get rid of our historical homes and buildings. He was obviously not aware that Charlestonians take a lot of pride in the preservation of these treasures. We realize we may not be as architecturally “progressive” as Los Angeles or New York City, but most of us are OK with that.
We caught up with Mr. Vincent after he returned home on Tuesday. We asked if he would perhaps give us a second chance and revisit our historical hometown. He replied, “Hell No I’m not coming back to that place! It’s all…old this…historical that, antique shops, cobblestone streets, antebellum houses, blah, blah, blah. Las Vegas got the message that new stuff is better than old, why can’t you people?” Then the phone line went dead, he hung up on us.
We contacted the resident expert tour company, Charleston Stroll’s, wanting to inquire if they have noticed a trend in new visitors wanting to see new stuff rather than old. Tour guide John LaVerne commented, “We have explored the possibility of a ‘Charleston Outlet Mall Tour‘ as well as a ‘Charleston Mobile Home & Garden Tour’, but our research shows they wouldn’t be very popular. Our guests tend to enjoy history, 18th century architecture, historical churches, and our quaint alleyways.”
Perhaps Charleston Strolls and the rest of our hospitality community are not listening to the needs of some of our visitors. There is obviously a type of visitor that could care less about our historical homes and would prefer to see us add some modern touches. Maybe the new wave of tourism should embrace something like, “Charleston, out with the old, in with the new”.