Oh The Places You’ll Go!

 

It’s time to talk about the places I’ve lived because I’ve moved around a lot. I’ve lived in a lot of places, in different states and stayed for a long time in a lot of places people don’t typically get to go. Most of them are places people dream of living in. So in that regard, I’m thankful. I’ve seen and experienced things a lot of people can’t even imagine, which I’m grateful for, and I hope one day I can share these places with my daughter.  

Where I’ve lived is different of course from places I’ve stayed for long periods of time, like New Hampshire or different spots in Florida or at the beach house in North Carolina. I traveled a lot as a child and into my twenties and thirties, I moved around a lot, looking for opportunities and adventure. I usually found more adventure than opportunities. Sometimes more than I wanted.

I’m a South Carolinian. I’ve lived in Quinby, Columbia, Lexington, Charleston, Bluffton, and Beaufort. I’ve lived in Asheville, NC. I’ve lived in and was born in Atlanta, GA. And by Atlanta, I mean the HEART of Atlanta, not the sprawling suburbs that people tend to want to include in that city, like Decatur and Alpharetta. I was born right on Peachtree St. In Crawford W. Long Hospital, which is about an 8 story building that was probably a magnificent edifice in 1969 when I was born. It’s right around the corner from The Varsity, a culinary institution where my dad and uncle were when I was born, having a beer and a hot dog. The little hospital’s still standing today, amazingly, dwarfed by glassy skyscrapers on every side. It’s owned by Emory Hospital and who knows what its fate will be. I hope it’s designated historic and won’t be leveled to the ground by development.

crawford w. long

Crawford W. Long Hospital. My birthplace.

I’m proud to be from South Carolina and my parents made a good decision to plant roots there. My mother went to Converse College in Spartanburg, SC, so she was introduced to the Palmetto State at an early age. We shuffled around Columbia, Lexington, and Irmo until my mother got her CPA and a job with Uncle Sam as a business tax auditor. I can’t imagine finding that interesting.  But she had a plan and was the leader of the family, for sure.

SC-regions map

I’ve lived in Montgomery and Tuscaloosa, Alabama and have spent a lot of time at Lake Martin in Eclectic, Alabama, where I married my last and final ex-wife. Coincidentally, my grandmother briefly lived in Eclectic before moving to Helen, Ga. I never cared for Alabama, and although I have a degree from the State University there, there’s not much that is compelling about it. It’s still very rural and is a low-lying piece of land, which makes it hard to develop and why it doesn’t have a lot of companies looking to headquarter there. So it maintains its quiet southern charm. But it doesn’t offer anything unique other than an incredible football and MBA program and some good hunting. I have relatives there, but only because my aunt married a person from Montgomery and he decided they would never leave. Ever. There are some good people there and some beauty, but nothing like if you went eastward.

Georgia Florida ALabama

You can see the many roads I’ve traveled just through these three states.

I spent 10 summers in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. We had beach houses in Holden Beach, North Carolina, Alligator Point along the panhandle of Florida and in Marathon Key in the southern part of Florida, and I went to school in Winter Park Florida for 9 months and spent a lot of time in Ft. Lauderdale, where my grandparents lived when I was growing up. Enough to know how to drive around the place and know my way around. I went down to Florida a lot, even though I’ve never liked Florida. I spent a lot of time there as a kid both in the car, and poking around on my own. It’s too flat, hurricane-prone, full of transients, grumbly Yankees and misfits, and in general, it’s a boring, weird state. It’s where a lot of people go to die. I’ve been going there since I can ever remember, having my 4th birthday down there at Alligator Point which I still have photos of. It’s changed a lot since then. I met the mother of my daughter not far from there, and we even took a trip to the house we owned, which is still there in its same form, when my grandfather built it back in the 1950s. I have a lot of childhood memories from that beach house as do my parents and relatives. I’ve spent a lot of my life in Florida, mostly unwillingly. But the memories are good and the beaches are pristine. It’s the closest to California you’ll get in the East. Unless you surf – the waves in Florida aren’t anything to write home about. My grandparents moved there to keep an eye on things/their daughter and grandchild when my father announced he was going to some diving program down there, and of course, didn’t. It’s similar to the false alarm that caused me to move from Asheville to Montgomery, Alabama which comes later. And my grandparents stayed, with a house in Albany and in Alligator Point, which we made good use of until they sold them.

Beaufort is beautiful but it will go the same way as Charleston eventually and soon. There’s only so much waterfront property and plantations around. And the Yankees are buying it all up. And hiking up the prices of everything and bringing the worst aspects of the North with them, changing the landscape of the South that I grew up in. That’s how life goes — I understand it. I’m complaining but I’m not ignorant of what’s going on.

the castle in beaufort

I lived across the street from this house for over a year.

New Hampshire was like a dream. I was there from late spring until early fall so I got to experience the best weather, the freshest air, the cleanest spring water, the juiciest blueberries, and all that New England had to offer every year. Happy, friendly people all around, and they should be. It took me away from my friends back in SC so of course, I complained like a child. But looking back it was perfection. I went to a two-week boy’s camp every Summer on a big lake and took golf and tennis lessons and traveled around New England with my grandfather in a giant pink and white Cadillac for 3 months out of the year. What more could you ask for? I had it all. I have some funny stories from hanging out with a bunch of 70 and 80-year-olds all summer every year.

boathouses on lake

Boathouses were everywhere on Lake Winnipesaukee, housing some gorgeous Chris Crafts

I plan to go back to New Hampshire and revisit my old haunts. Things change slowly up there, so although I know it’s not going to be the same, it shouldn’t be too different. I know my name is still emblazoned on the wall in the Lodge at Camp Belknap, nearly forty years later. And I can still get ice cream at Baileys and bread from the Yum Yum Shop. And I can still catch crayfish and sunfish all day long in Lake Winnipesaukee.

I’ve lived in some dumpy apartments and some grand mansions. Every place I’ve lived had some character, though. And has a lot of stories through me they can now tell. I’ve lived in some of the most beautiful places in this country, which at times makes me think I’ve been spoiled. But we all have the ability to some degree to choose where we live, and I think it’s an important decision. I was married to someone who I honestly believe didn’t care where she lived and in what manner. She never evaluated the quality of what was around her, to her detriment. Including her spouses. But to me, it’s one of the most important aspects of life. So I’ve chosen some very pretty places. And I’ve wound up in Louisville, which I’m bound to stay at least until my daughter turns 18, or my ex-wife and I decide to move to another place, which is unlikely to the degree that it’s impossible. She’s gotten everything she wants, (at everyone else’s expense) so she’s settled in for a while until she has another selfish folly or something truly extraordinary happens, which on occasion does happen I’ve found.

new zealand

New Zealand, which is a small magical country consisting of 2 big islands and a few really small ones.

I’ve spent time in places for rather long periods as well. I spent 3 months in New Zealand, for example, which was an adventure to remember. And a month in Statesboro, Georgia in a hospital setting, which is where I got the Statesboro Blues. Georgia is where my family really hearkens from. My father was born in Macon, Ga, where the Allman Brothers are from, which is about the only cool thing about Macon. My mother was born in Brunswick, Ga., near Savannah, which is near Bluffton where I lived for a long while. I was born in Atlanta, as stated earlier, and my parents lived almost on Piedmont Park, back when Atlanta was much different. The hippies hung out at Piedmont Park and Atlanta didn’t sprawl out into the suburbs like it does today. Lenox Mall was an outdoor mall, and everything north of it was fields and Kudzu. The crime rate wasn’t off the charts and the political corruption was under control. My parents grew up in Albany, Georgia, and that’s where I visited a lot growing up. Radium Springs and the Flint River were all I heard about and I’ve spent some cold time swimming in both. My dad was stationed in Ft. Benning, Ga. when he was in the Army. My grandmother eventually moved to Helen, Georgia, in the northern part and is buried among many of my relatives in Thompson, Ga., if I remember correctly. I went to her funeral in 1993 or so, so my memory fails me sometimes.  

bluffton

I spent much time in Bluffton, SC

At one point I was free financially and unburdened in every way, and I had the liberty to decide where on this Earth I wanted to live. It seems like a liberating situation, but it’s overwhelming, in fact. I kept trying to think of a place like Asheville, NC. I went to Roanoke, Va, and found a beautiful house and even made an offer on some mountaintop property for sale there. But I finally realized, instead of looking for a place “like” Asheville, just move TO Asheville. Which I did.

asheville

Asheville was great, and it was where I met up and adopted a very good friend, Annie. I had a lot of friends there (I still have a few), and there was a good reason George Vanderbilt decided to build his little vacation home there: it’s gorgeous. The Blue Ridge Mountains are cozy and rich in color and history and I loved the stone and river feel to it all. There are a lot of craftsman style houses there, and the world’s largest Stickley furniture collection is at the Grove Park Inn, which I lived a stone’s throw from. The fishing and air and arts and people were all lovely, and although the NYT calls it “progressively minded” and there are a lot of hippies around there, it’s not overwhelming like you might find in Portland, Oregon or San Francisco. Or Louisville, for that matter. 

asheville

As I mentioned earlier, like my grandparents, I was conned into picking everything up and moving to Alabama, to renovate a little weird house for my father to move into, which he never did. But I fixed it up and maintained it for him for several years and ended up staying in Montgomery, Alabama which had its good moments and bad. I have family there, which was wonderful to be able to finally get to know them. My entire life I was shielded from that part of my family for reasons I won’t get into, so I’m grateful for that overdue opportunity. And I enjoyed being so close to and getting to know them while there. Montgomery itself was a pretty bad place to live. High crime, sprawling development, very segregated, hot, hot and hot. I had someone steal the hanging plants off my front porch. I had someone steal my CDs out of my car at a gas station while I paid. Hardly any decent restaurants or places to go for entertainment. You make your own fun and food, which I was groomed to do, fortunately. Luckily I lived in one of the most picturesque neighborhoods. Unfortunately, as soon as you stepped across the street you were in the ghetto everywhere you turned and risked your life going to the store after dark. I tried to find some nice pictures to post here of Montgomery and failed. That says it all.

I moved from there to Tuscaloosa, about 2 hours Northwest to go to graduate school and earn my MBA, which was a goal I’d had in mind for a number of years. I was glad to be able to check that off. I traveled between Tuscaloosa, Eclectic Alabama, where my family had a lake house and where I got married in 2010, and Montgomery relentlessly. I must have driven that triangle a thousand times. I got to know that region of Alabam really well and documented it pretty well with photographs. I lived in a teeny-tiny one-bedroom apartment with Annie while I went to school, and would go to Montgomery on the weekends to maintain my father’s house there, and to the lake house during the warmer months in Eclectic. Tuscaloosa is a small University town, that without the school, would be like most small towns in Alabama are, a place for truckers and trains to pause and travelers to fill up with gas and food on their way to a better place. Alabama has its southern chams, but if you’re from the South then that doesn’t matter much.  

And from there, I ended up moving to Louisville so my wife could live out her dreams and I could watch. And that places me here, where I am now. I long to move back to the “real” South – it doesn’t even matter where. But that goal is in the distant future because of the situation I now find myself. I hope to one day share the oceans and woods and mountains that I enjoyed growing up with my daughter. It may appear that I love moving around. I don’t. In fact, I hate it. I would love to have a home in one place and never move from it, which I believed at one time I’d found but it was taken from me. I’d somehow always planned to get back to South Carolina, where all my best friends still live, as life passes us all by.

I love to travel, which is much different than moving, which of course is more difficult, exhausting, expensive, stressful, dangerous and taxing in every way than traveling for pleasure. But at least I know the world well enough now to present it to my daughter and know what I’m talking about.

 

 

 

 

 
 
 

downtown charleston

Beaufort is beautiful but it will go the same way as Charleston eventually and soon. There’s only so much waterfront property and plantations around. And the Yankees are buying it all up. And hiking up the prices of everything and bringing the worst aspects of the North with them, changing the landscape of the South that I grew up in. That’s how life goes — I understand it. I’m complaining but I’m not ignorant of what’s going on.

the castle in beaufort

I lived across the street from this house for over a year.

New Hampshire was like a dream. I was there from late spring until early fall so I got to experience the best weather, the freshest air, the cleanest spring water, the juiciest blueberries, and all that New England had to offer every year. Happy, friendly people all around, and they should be. It took me away from my friends back in SC so of course, I complained like a child. But looking back it was perfection. I went to a two-week boy’s camp every Summer on a big lake and took golf and tennis lessons and traveled around New England with my grandfather in a giant pink and white Cadillac for 3 months out of the year. What more could you ask for? I had it all. I have some funny stories from hanging out with a bunch of 70 and 80-year-olds all summer every year.

boathouses on lake

Boathouses were everywhere on Lake Winnipesaukee, housing some gorgeous Chris Crafts

I plan to go back to New Hampshire and revisit my old haunts. Things change slowly up there, so although I know it’s not going to be the same, it shouldn’t be too different. I know my name is still emblazoned on the wall in the Lodge at Camp Belknap, nearly forty years later. And I can still get ice cream at Baileys and bread from the Yum Yum Shop. And I can still catch crayfish and sunfish all day long in Lake Winnipesaukee.

I’ve lived in some dumpy apartments and some grand mansions. Every place I’ve lived had some character, though. And has a lot of stories through me they can now tell. I’ve lived in some of the most beautiful places in this country, which at times makes me think I’ve been spoiled. But we all have the ability to some degree to choose where we live, and I think it’s an important decision. I was married to someone who I honestly believe didn’t care where she lived and in what manner. She never evaluated the quality of what was around her, to her detriment. Including her spouses. But to me, it’s one of the most important aspects of life. So I’ve chosen some very pretty places. And I’ve wound up in Louisville, which I’m bound to stay at least until my daughter turns 18, or my ex-wife and I decide to move to another place, which is unlikely to the degree that it’s impossible. She’s gotten everything she wants, (at everyone else’s expense) so she’s settled in for a while until she has another selfish folly or something truly extraordinary happens, which on occasion does happen I’ve found.

new zealand

New Zealand, which is a small magical country consisting of 2 big islands and a few really small ones.

I’ve spent time in places for rather long periods as well. I spent 3 months in New Zealand, for example, which was an adventure to remember. And a month in Statesboro, Georgia in a hospital setting, which is where I got the Statesboro Blues. Georgia is where my family really hearkens from. My father was born in Macon, Ga, where the Allman Brothers are from, which is about the only cool thing about Macon. My mother was born in Brunswick, Ga., near Savannah, which is near Bluffton where I lived for a long while. I was born in Atlanta, as stated earlier, and my parents lived almost on Piedmont Park, back when Atlanta was much different. The hippies hung out at Piedmont Park and Atlanta didn’t sprawl out into the suburbs like it does today. Lenox Mall was an outdoor mall, and everything north of it was fields and Kudzu. The crime rate wasn’t off the charts and the political corruption was under control. My parents grew up in Albany, Georgia, and that’s where I visited a lot growing up. Radium Springs and the Flint River were all I heard about and I’ve spent some cold time swimming in both. My dad was stationed in Ft. Benning, Ga. when he was in the Army. My grandmother eventually moved to Helen, Georgia, in the northern part and is buried among many of my relatives in Thompson, Ga., if I remember correctly. I went to her funeral in 1993 or so, so my memory fails me sometimes.  

bluffton

I spent much time in Bluffton, SC

At one point I was free financially and unburdened in every way, and I had the liberty to decide where on this Earth I wanted to live. It seems like a liberating situation, but it’s overwhelming, in fact. I kept trying to think of a place like Asheville, NC. I went to Roanoke, Va, and found a beautiful house and even made an offer on some mountaintop property for sale there. But I finally realized, instead of looking for a place “like” Asheville, just move TO Asheville. Which I did.

asheville

Asheville was great, and it was where I met up and adopted a very good friend, Annie. I had a lot of friends there (I still have a few), and there was a good reason George Vanderbilt decided to build his little vacation home there: it’s gorgeous. The Blue Ridge Mountains are cozy and rich in color and history and I loved the stone and river feel to it all. There are a lot of craftsman style houses there, and the world’s largest Stickley furniture collection is at the Grove Park Inn, which I lived a stone’s throw from. The fishing and air and arts and people were all lovely, and although the NYT calls it “progressively minded” and there are a lot of hippies around there, it’s not overwhelming like you might find in Portland, Oregon or San Francisco. Or Louisville, for that matter. 

asheville

As I mentioned earlier, like my grandparents, I was conned into picking everything up and moving to Alabama, to renovate a little weird house for my father to move into, which he never did. But I fixed it up and maintained it for him for several years and ended up staying in Montgomery, Alabama which had its good moments and bad. I have family there, which was wonderful to be able to finally get to know them. My entire life I was shielded from that part of my family for reasons I won’t get into, so I’m grateful for that overdue opportunity. And I enjoyed being so close to and getting to know them while there. Montgomery itself was a pretty bad place to live. High crime, sprawling development, very segregated, hot, hot and hot. I had someone steal the hanging plants off my front porch. I had someone steal my CDs out of my car at a gas station while I paid. Hardly any decent restaurants or places to go for entertainment. You make your own fun and food, which I was groomed to do, fortunately. Luckily I lived in one of the most picturesque neighborhoods. Unfortunately, as soon as you stepped across the street you were in the ghetto everywhere you turned and risked your life going to the store after dark. I tried to find some nice pictures to post here of Montgomery and failed. That says it all.

I moved from there to Tuscaloosa, about 2 hours Northwest to go to graduate school and earn my MBA, which was a goal I’d had in mind for a number of years. I was glad to be able to check that off. I traveled between Tuscaloosa, Eclectic Alabama, where my family had a lake house and where I got married in 2010, and Montgomery relentlessly. I must have driven that triangle a thousand times. I got to know that region of Alabam really well and documented it pretty well with photographs. I lived in a teeny-tiny one-bedroom apartment with Annie while I went to school, and would go to Montgomery on the weekends to maintain my father’s house there, and to the lake house during the warmer months in Eclectic. Tuscaloosa is a small University town, that without the school, would be like most small towns in Alabama are, a place for truckers and trains to pause and travelers to fill up with gas and food on their way to a better place. Alabama has its southern chams, but if you’re from the South then that doesn’t matter much.  

And from there, I ended up moving to Louisville so my wife could live out her dreams and I could watch. And that places me here, where I am now. I long to move back to the “real” South – it doesn’t even matter where. But that goal is in the distant future because of the situation I now find myself. I hope to one day share the oceans and woods and mountains that I enjoyed growing up with my daughter. It may appear that I love moving around. I don’t. In fact, I hate it. I would love to have a home in one place and never move from it, which I believed at one time I’d found but it was taken from me. I’d somehow always planned to get back to South Carolina, where all my best friends still live, as life passes us all by.

I love to travel, which is much different than moving, which of course is more difficult, exhausting, expensive, stressful, dangerous and taxing in every way than traveling for pleasure. But at least I know the world well enough now to present it to my daughter and know what I’m talking about.

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
new hampshire

I was headquartered in Wolfeboro on Lake Winnepesaukee which is the BIG lake in NH

I spent my teen years in pastoral Virginia near Charlottesville and went to Washington DC quite a bit, so I know northern Virginia pretty well. I lived in Arlington after my freshman year in college in fact and hung out on a farm in the Shenandoah Valley. Virginia is one of the prettiest States we have with its rolling green fields and white fences and blue skies. I love Virginia, and Virginia was my grandmother’s name, which makes it even more special. I tried to stay close to the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is one of the most beautiful drives you can take in the Fall. I drove along it in a convertible red Porsche I owned for about a year when I lived in Asheville, and the experience is truly magical. Fall in Virginia is absolutely incredible. Crisp, clean air, warm colors everywhere you look, everyone’s invigorated. 

The rolling hills of Virginia. It gets much hillier than this.

My best friend growing up had a beach house in Litchfield, SC, right near Pawley’s Island, so I spent a lot of time surfing and playing in and around Litchfield, which is the beach across the inlet from Pawley’s Island, which was where more people visited because it was bigger. But we spent a lot of time on Pawley’s as well. And he lived in Darlington and had a large family farm, so I spent a lot of time out in the country on that farm with him. And I was an hour from Myrtle Beach, so I drove over to the beach a lot back before it turned into a crazy place. From the woods to the farm to the beach. Most of my beach time was at Pawleys, Litchfield and Holden Beach. Holden was with family, Pawleys was for fun with friends. And I had lots and lots of fun at Litchfield growing up.

pawleys island - litchfield

Litchfield and Pawleys Island. Much time was spent here.

My parents bought a beach house in Holden Beach, North Carolina which we went to frequently. Holden Beach is just above the NC/SC border and was about 3 hours from our house. I fished, surfed, learned a lot about sea life and nature there. I complained a lot about being bored when we were there, which in retrospect was ridiculous. I was free to roam about the entire island, sea, inlets and wherever I pleased. Which was how my life was growing up everywhere, which is entirely different from today, where I wouldn’t dare let my daughter out of my sight. Not because I don’t trust her. I do. Because I don’t trust the world to behave the same as it did when I was young. It doesn’t anymore. America has twice the population it did when I was a kid, and the types of people and rules are different. It’s not for the better. It’s been much for the worse, which politically, the left wants more of. Keep that in mind.

holden beach pier

Our beachfront house was very close to this pier, to the left of it in this photo. I walked down there to the arcade, to surf and see what people were catching all the time. The longest pier in NC, actually. 

I’ve spent my life growing up in the Deep South, near the Atlantic Ocean. I grew up during a time when it was normal and safe to play outside, with friends. Football games in friends’ yards, biking and exploring creeks, woods, rivers, farms, and ditches with my buddies. And since there were so fewer people around, there was a lot more wilderness to explore. I spent a lot of time in the woods, the fields, the dirt roads, the creeks and swamps and many other places I discovered. And I learned a lot about the animals and vegetation that grew around such places. I’ve always loved animals, so finding new ones was always exciting. I’ve always loved catching animals and know how to properly catch nearly every living thing. I had a bike, and roamed as far as I could pedal, which at times was pretty far. Crazy far, to places that Daniel Boone and Captain James Cook would have been frightened of. 

Something I’ve noticed is that when I was a kid there were lots of forests and land overgrown with Kudzu. Today that land has all been subdivided, turned into apartment complexes and groomed to look like an architect’s rendering. Everything is nicely curbed, with trimmed bushes and flowers, and just so. It’s all starting to look the same. There’s not the abundance of nature and unkempt properties like there were in the 1970s and 1980s even. That’s not to say it doesn’t still exist, but you have to go farther into the heart of the south and look deep to find them. When they used to be everywhere. Kids probably don’t even know what Kudzu is today.

kudzu

I live in Louisville, Kentucky today. They like to pretend it’s the south here, but it’s not. I’d even say Kentucky itself isn’t Southern. It doesn’t have anything southern about it. Tennessee is below and it has some southerners, and especially a southern twang. Virginia is the South by proxy. It’s the gentleman’s south.

South Carolina is where my heart is and will always be. It fits me and I consider myself a South Carolinian above all else. And Proudly I should say. SC gets a lot of unfair heat thrown its way(no pun intended. SC can get HOT), but it’s one of the best Staes in the union, even though one of the smallest. I never realized how small until I moved back to Atlanta, and found out the populations we’re the same. It’s why I feel like I know everyone in SC, and I still feel that way. Everyone that matters, at least. It’s a unique place and the people there are special.

oak alleyI’ve spent a lot of time on plantations in South Carolina

I graduated from the University of South Carolina and spent years in Columbia, which is a fine city, but too hot for my taste with no relief. It gets hot in Charleston but at least you can go jump in the water. Which is why I love Charleston. Charleston is an elegant city with more to do than you can believe. But over the past few decades the secret got out and its become overrun. It’s not as fun anymore. Traffic. High prices. People that aren’t from SC living there and telling you what to do. It got crowded with Yankees, basically. It’s not the same at all. 

My heart belongs to Charleston. Charleston is neither the same as North Charleston nor the areas surrounding it, which people confuse it with, intentionally or not. Like Atlanta proper, and the many square miles that surround it. South of Calhoun Street is what I mean. It’s a richly storied, historic neighborhood where I spent my youth and many days and nights walking, bicycling, running, singing and stumbling down the streets of. At night, when no one else is around at all and the streets are empty and strangely quiet, with the gas lights and cobblestone and brick streets and pathways, it feels like you’re in Europe. Charleston has a distinct smell, with horse pee from carriage tours, the marshes, the ocean, the vegetation, and the trash cans all the restaurants have out in alleyways. You’d think it smells atrocious which on some summer days it does. But with the sea breeze that comes through, it’s tempered with a fresh life-fulfilling scent that you get nowhere else. And the bright sunny days from the reflection of the sun off the water is something I took for granted until I moved ot drearier, greyer inland locations.

The memories and stories I have from Charleston are epic and many. They defy reality at times. Which is what makes it such a magical place. There’s a lot of me in the streets, houses, graveyards, churches, nightclubs, gardens, porches and sidewalks of that city. And that doesn’t begin to mention the time I spent on the beaches of Sullivan’s Island, James Island, Johns Island and in Mt. Pleasant, where I lived for a long time. I was all over that place and saw it grow from a tween to an adult. The sudden development was mazing, which was due to a few things. But it managed to preserve its authenticity, which is important. Not without a lot of fights, to be sure, between architectural review boards and longtime residents, and no-good lawyers and carpetbaggers. At the heart of it all is money of course, versus keeping things like they were. I had boats and knew the waterways blindfolded. I could captain you all through the waterways, inlets and creeks of the coastline around Charleston. I spent the night in my boats around there and shrimped and fished there. It seems like another life looking at it from landlocked Louisville, where I’m trapped now.

downtown charleston

Beaufort is beautiful but it will go the same way as Charleston eventually and soon. There’s only so much waterfront property and plantations around. And the Yankees are buying it all up. And hiking up the prices of everything and bringing the worst aspects of the North with them, changing the landscape of the South that I grew up in. That’s how life goes — I understand it. I’m complaining but I’m not ignorant of what’s going on.

the castle in beaufort

I lived across the street from this house for over a year.

New Hampshire was like a dream. I was there from late spring until early fall so I got to experience the best weather, the freshest air, the cleanest spring water, the juiciest blueberries, and all that New England had to offer every year. Happy, friendly people all around, and they should be. It took me away from my friends back in SC so of course, I complained like a child. But looking back it was perfection. I went to a two-week boy’s camp every Summer on a big lake and took golf and tennis lessons and traveled around New England with my grandfather in a giant pink and white Cadillac for 3 months out of the year. What more could you ask for? I had it all. I have some funny stories from hanging out with a bunch of 70 and 80-year-olds all summer every year.

boathouses on lake

Boathouses were everywhere on Lake Winnipesaukee, housing some gorgeous Chris Crafts

I plan to go back to New Hampshire and revisit my old haunts. Things change slowly up there, so although I know it’s not going to be the same, it shouldn’t be too different. I know my name is still emblazoned on the wall in the Lodge at Camp Belknap, nearly forty years later. And I can still get ice cream at Baileys and bread from the Yum Yum Shop. And I can still catch crayfish and sunfish all day long in Lake Winnipesaukee.

I’ve lived in some dumpy apartments and some grand mansions. Every place I’ve lived had some character, though. And has a lot of stories through me they can now tell. I’ve lived in some of the most beautiful places in this country, which at times makes me think I’ve been spoiled. But we all have the ability to some degree to choose where we live, and I think it’s an important decision. I was married to someone who I honestly believe didn’t care where she lived and in what manner. She never evaluated the quality of what was around her, to her detriment. Including her spouses. But to me, it’s one of the most important aspects of life. So I’ve chosen some very pretty places. And I’ve wound up in Louisville, which I’m bound to stay at least until my daughter turns 18, or my ex-wife and I decide to move to another place, which is unlikely to the degree that it’s impossible. She’s gotten everything she wants, (at everyone else’s expense) so she’s settled in for a while until she has another selfish folly or something truly extraordinary happens, which on occasion does happen I’ve found.

new zealand

New Zealand, which is a small magical country consisting of 2 big islands and a few really small ones.

I’ve spent time in places for rather long periods as well. I spent 3 months in New Zealand, for example, which was an adventure to remember. And a month in Statesboro, Georgia in a hospital setting, which is where I got the Statesboro Blues. Georgia is where my family really hearkens from. My father was born in Macon, Ga, where the Allman Brothers are from, which is about the only cool thing about Macon. My mother was born in Brunswick, Ga., near Savannah, which is near Bluffton where I lived for a long while. I was born in Atlanta, as stated earlier, and my parents lived almost on Piedmont Park, back when Atlanta was much different. The hippies hung out at Piedmont Park and Atlanta didn’t sprawl out into the suburbs like it does today. Lenox Mall was an outdoor mall, and everything north of it was fields and Kudzu. The crime rate wasn’t off the charts and the political corruption was under control. My parents grew up in Albany, Georgia, and that’s where I visited a lot growing up. Radium Springs and the Flint River were all I heard about and I’ve spent some cold time swimming in both. My dad was stationed in Ft. Benning, Ga. when he was in the Army. My grandmother eventually moved to Helen, Georgia, in the northern part and is buried among many of my relatives in Thompson, Ga., if I remember correctly. I went to her funeral in 1993 or so, so my memory fails me sometimes.  

bluffton

I spent much time in Bluffton, SC

At one point I was free financially and unburdened in every way, and I had the liberty to decide where on this Earth I wanted to live. It seems like a liberating situation, but it’s overwhelming, in fact. I kept trying to think of a place like Asheville, NC. I went to Roanoke, Va, and found a beautiful house and even made an offer on some mountaintop property for sale there. But I finally realized, instead of looking for a place “like” Asheville, just move TO Asheville. Which I did.

asheville

Asheville was great, and it was where I met up and adopted a very good friend, Annie. I had a lot of friends there (I still have a few), and there was a good reason George Vanderbilt decided to build his little vacation home there: it’s gorgeous. The Blue Ridge Mountains are cozy and rich in color and history and I loved the stone and river feel to it all. There are a lot of craftsman style houses there, and the world’s largest Stickley furniture collection is at the Grove Park Inn, which I lived a stone’s throw from. The fishing and air and arts and people were all lovely, and although the NYT calls it “progressively minded” and there are a lot of hippies around there, it’s not overwhelming like you might find in Portland, Oregon or San Francisco. Or Louisville, for that matter. 

asheville

As I mentioned earlier, like my grandparents, I was conned into picking everything up and moving to Alabama, to renovate a little weird house for my father to move into, which he never did. But I fixed it up and maintained it for him for several years and ended up staying in Montgomery, Alabama which had its good moments and bad. I have family there, which was wonderful to be able to finally get to know them. My entire life I was shielded from that part of my family for reasons I won’t get into, so I’m grateful for that overdue opportunity. And I enjoyed being so close to and getting to know them while there. Montgomery itself was a pretty bad place to live. High crime, sprawling development, very segregated, hot, hot and hot. I had someone steal the hanging plants off my front porch. I had someone steal my CDs out of my car at a gas station while I paid. Hardly any decent restaurants or places to go for entertainment. You make your own fun and food, which I was groomed to do, fortunately. Luckily I lived in one of the most picturesque neighborhoods. Unfortunately, as soon as you stepped across the street you were in the ghetto everywhere you turned and risked your life going to the store after dark. I tried to find some nice pictures to post here of Montgomery and failed. That says it all.

I moved from there to Tuscaloosa, about 2 hours Northwest to go to graduate school and earn my MBA, which was a goal I’d had in mind for a number of years. I was glad to be able to check that off. I traveled between Tuscaloosa, Eclectic Alabama, where my family had a lake house and where I got married in 2010, and Montgomery relentlessly. I must have driven that triangle a thousand times. I got to know that region of Alabam really well and documented it pretty well with photographs. I lived in a teeny-tiny one-bedroom apartment with Annie while I went to school, and would go to Montgomery on the weekends to maintain my father’s house there, and to the lake house during the warmer months in Eclectic. Tuscaloosa is a small University town, that without the school, would be like most small towns in Alabama are, a place for truckers and trains to pause and travelers to fill up with gas and food on their way to a better place. Alabama has its southern chams, but if you’re from the South then that doesn’t matter much.  

And from there, I ended up moving to Louisville so my wife could live out her dreams and I could watch. And that places me here, where I am now. I long to move back to the “real” South – it doesn’t even matter where. But that goal is in the distant future because of the situation I now find myself. I hope to one day share the oceans and woods and mountains that I enjoyed growing up with my daughter. It may appear that I love moving around. I don’t. In fact, I hate it. I would love to have a home in one place and never move from it, which I believed at one time I’d found but it was taken from me. I’d somehow always planned to get back to South Carolina, where all my best friends still live, as life passes us all by.

I love to travel, which is much different than moving, which of course is more difficult, exhausting, expensive, stressful, dangerous and taxing in every way than traveling for pleasure. But at least I know the world well enough now to present it to my daughter and know what I’m talking about.