Picturesque gardens ... historic sites ... world-class restaurants ... well-preserved architecture ... Spoleto ... enchantingly timeless streets ... residents renowned for charm and grace ... the South's Oldest Daily Newspaper ...
Space limitations preclude a fuller listing of the wonderful assets that make Charleston so special.
But a reminder of this far less positive Port City feature precipitated anew Saturday:
Many experienced motorists around here check the tide tables before venturing downtown during or soon after a heavy rain.
Though the tide at 3:30 Saturday afternoon was only two hours into its incoming phase, my incoming quest was an all-too-familiar test of searching for long and winding roads dry enough to get to work.
OK, so even low and medium tides were higher than usual due to last weekend's "super moon" (see story, Page A1).
Back to that intrepid journey: After turning south onto Meeting Street from the exit off the Ravenel Bridge, my little car was soon endangered by big puddles.
A few blocks later, the crawling - make that wading - pace moved me to launch a flanking maneuver. So a bat turn took me back the other way on Meeting.
Then, perhaps dazed (or aged?) into an otherwise inexplicable blunder, I turned left, instead of right, onto Huger.
Of course, even deeper water lurked on Huger toward King.
Thus, another bat turn was needed to avoid submerging. Then it was onward in the opposite direction, dodging puddle hazards along the way.
After a right turn onto East Bay, and finally another right on Columbus, the congestion intensified.
Ultimately, a little after 4 o'clock, my harrowing adventure ended at The Post and Courier building on the corner of Columbus and King.
A retreat back over the Cooper River was never a responsible option. Journalistic duty called. The public has a right to know.
And most of the public around here already knows that peninsula streets frequently flood.
At least it's not as bad as it used to be.
The city, with state and federal funding help, has been pumping more money into drainage improvements in recent years.
Just don't try convincing folks still repeatedly stuck and/or detoured by rising waters that those efforts are doing much good.
Don't try, either, to persuade them that local priorities haven't been skewed.
Over the last two decades, we've added a $19.5 million baseball stadium and a $69 million aquarium that's already getting a costly makeover.
Now we're in the process of a $142 million Gaillard Auditorium "renovation" that looks a lot like the construction of an entirely new facility.
Hey, those are all impressive places. Yet good luck getting to any of them when Charleston's streets become streams, as they so often do.
That includes a Crosstown that routinely transforms into a soggy slowdown.
And what about the risks of frequent flooding on the way to, and even in, the hospital district?
Unfortunately, deepening a harbor is evidently easier than shallowing a city.
However, Joe Riley, who has only 16 months left in what will be a 40-year mayoral tenure, has long offered assurances of ongoing and future progress against flooding.
Early this year, in his State of the City address, he cited the $30 million Market Street drainage initiative, the second phase of the Crosstown project, work on both ends of Calhoun street, and the looming St. Andrews/Forest Acres project west of the Ashley.
As the mayor put it: "These four drainage construction projects have a total cost of $112 million and are funded and under construction this year."
Go with the flow
Meanwhile, though, try to avoid swimming - or driving - against the tide.
Try instead, as adaptable downtowners did Saturday, to put a lawn chair on a dry spot (if you can find one) during the next street flood and watch the low-speed parade.
Try to learn from the passing spectacle of modern humanity again thwarted by nature's stubborn ways.
Try not to let the ominously symbolic subtext of an inexorable deluge sink your spirits.
Try to recognize that if you find both short- and long-term climate change not just aggravating and frightening but confusing, you've got plenty of wary company.
After all, three weeks ago today the South's Oldest Daily Newspaper ran these two seemingly conflicting - but actually accurate - headlines on the same page:
"River levels dropping despite rain, spurring concern" and "Higher seas mean extreme floods in South Carolina, experts say."
Finally, ascend above trouble's tide by taking heed of this enduring wisdom that William Shakespeare, aka "The Bard," first conveyed through Shylock more than 400 years ago in "The Merchant of Venice":
"But ships are but boards, sailors but men: there be land-rats and water-rats, water-thieves and land-thieves, I mean pirates, and then there is the peril of waters, winds and rocks."
And when Charleston streets flood, cars are but boats.
Frank Wooten is assistant editor of The Post and Courier. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.