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Sullivan's Island

Barely three square miles small, Sullivan’s Island sits right at the mouth of the Charleston Harbor. This charming community is much beloved for its relaxed, authentic feel, with no beachfront commercial development or hotels allowed. As a result, Sullivan’s Island feels like a throwback in time, where chatting with neighbors over a good meal and a sunset stroll on the beach is about as busy as it gets. Edgar Allan Poe, stationed here in the 1820s, set “The Gold Bug,” a short story about a buried fortune, right here on the island. Today, the local library, several streets, and a restaurant are all named in honor of the author and his writings. Though no cache of gold coins has ever been found, the island’s real treasure is its idyllic lifestyle, which does come at a price—Sullivan’s Island boasts some of the area’s most valuable real estate.

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Living in Charleston

Greater Charleston, which includes the city’s suburban neighbor of Mount Pleasant as well as the nearby barrier islands, is the epitome of southern charm. Charleston has a place for every mood, with relaxed beach towns just across the water from historic neighborhoods boasting cobblestone streets and colorful row houses. The subtropical climate of the South Carolina Lowcountry is a heaven for plant lovers, with a distinct fragrance perfumed by the abundant jasmine and gardenia shrubs as well as the smell of the surrounding marshes’ pluff mud. To outsiders, the latter might seem like an odd thing to love—it’s made of decomposing swamp grass and sea life—but Charlestonians know that the oozy goo and its scent is as central to the city’s identity as the famously delicious oysters that live in it. That’s Charleston for you—a city where the locals are passionate about their idiosyncratic and layered history.