Think being a gentleman comes easy? Think again. Sometimes even the most worldly of us need some help from the locals. Here’s what a few had to say about fitting in, standing out, and getting the most out of Charleston.
A Gentleman Knows his Surroundings: “What I love about Charleston are its juxtapositions. You have all these cultural and historical things that back right up against real wilderness. Via the water you can get really close to downtown and all that that has to offer, or you can go, for example, to Botany Bay Island. There you get this nice boneyard effect because the ocean comes right up to old-growth forests, so you can see all these bleached-out dead trees, often without a soul around. It can be magical. And there’s tons of barrier islands all along the coast that have other amazing things to offer.” — Luke Pope Corbett: Owner/Operator and Lead Guide, Charleston Kayak Company, www.charlestonkayakcompany.com
And He Knows How to Treat People: “In the restaurant business, we realize that you can never be 100-percent perfect, and it’s impossible to make every single person happy. But if you can identify those two to three percent of customers who come to your place and aren’t totally satisfied, you need to concentrate on them. If you can A.) show them that you’ve noticed they’re dissatisfied, and B.) show them that you’re doing everything in your power to make their experience as good as possible, those people will eventually become your most loyal, most vocal supporters. And they’ll spread the word quickly, believe me.” — Eli Hyman, owner of the iconic Hyman’s Seafood
A Gentleman Knows How to Get About Town: “This isn’t the Bahamas. Things are spaced out here. Even a trip from Charleston to Beaufort offshore can take two days. So the thing to do is get back into those pristine creeks and tributaries that are in-country a bit. And to do that you need a good tender. A good tender is the key to cruising anywhere, but even more so around here. Plus with a tender, you can put on your camo and go duck hunting, or fish the flats for redfish—we call ’em spot-tails down here. Oh one more thing, if you like to kiteboard, do it here. I’ve traveled all over the world kiteboarding and this is the best place to do it. People don’t know that.”— Ted Turner Jr.; former businessman turned high school teacher; avid boater
And He Realizes the Importance of Giving Back: “Charleston Community Sailing essentially provides public access for anyone who wants to get on the water. We’re youth-based and in the summer we’ll have about 320 kids ages five and up in the program. We also have scholastic teams and even a Special Olympics team. We also work with other nonprofits and charities to get kids from downtown who a lot of times have never even seen the ocean, and we take them out. They don’t understand why they can’t see the bottom most times. But being on the boats helps them overcome fears and build confidence, and it can be really life changing for them in a positive way.” — Jessica Koenig, Executive Director at Charleston Community Sailing (full disclosure, she’s also the author’s cousin), www.charlestoncommunitysailing.org
He Knows Who Has to Go—And Who Gets to Stay: “We run hunts for fox, coyote, pigs, and occasionally some other animals. When it comes to the fox, it’s actually more of a chase than a hunt. We’ll wear our colors, the scarlet coats for the men, and black ones for the women, I’m sure you’ve seen pictures. And we will have the dogs chase the foxes. It’s funny because the foxes really are sly, they play with the dogs, sometimes make fools of them. But once the fox goes to ground—that is, goes into its den—we call off the hounds. Foxes aren’t pests, so we let them live another day. The coyotes though, that’s another story. They’ll kill your pets, kill your livestock, so we do try to keep that population down. Same with the wild pigs. Of course when we get one of them, we have a good old-fashioned barbecue. What else would you expect?” — Melinda Shambley, Master of Foxhounds at Lowcountry Hunt, www.thelowcountryhunt.com
He Understands the Soul of the City: “Charleston is a beautiful city. Geographically it’s incredible, right on the harbor, and its been called a sea-drinking city by writers, which is a great description, because the whole coast is braided with rivers and inlets and estuaries. Because of that, you end up with a city full of water people. It’s a truly great place, a great harbor to come cruising into, because you’re surrounded by like-minded people.” — Pierre Manigault; Charleston native, Publisher of Garden & Gun magazine, www.gardenandgun.com
And He Knows How to Dress: “In Charleston you want to think light, bright colors. The lighter and brighter the better. Light blues, yellows, reds, typical spring colors are very big here. And of course, make sure it breathes well because it does get hot. Linen, poplin, cotton, those are the fabrics you want. Things to stay away from are cargo shorts, and socks with flip flops and loafers. And don’t try too hard. A gentleman doesn’t force anything. If your occasion doesn’t call for a bowtie, don’t wear the bowtie.” -Alex Frech, Salesman at Grady Ervin, The “Classic Clothiers to Gentlemen,” on King Street, www.gradyervin.com
This article originally appeared in the April 2015 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.