The East Cooper area, experiencing a long-running development boom due to its desirability, might remind one of the oft-quoted quip from the late baseball great Yogi Berra; "Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded."
Of course, lots of people go there, and live and work there. Residents are attracted by the public schools, quality recreation programs, low taxes and low crime rates, while residents and visitors enjoy the town's convenient location between historic Charleston and the barrier island beaches.
Mount Pleasant is South Carolina's fourth-largest city, but it's easy to imagine what it was like before suburban subdivisions at places including Charles Pinckney National Historic Site, operated by the National Park Service, and privately run Boone Hall Plantation and Gardens. Sites where one could find themselves alone with nature include the expansive trails at Laurel Hill County Park on the north side of town, and marsh-front pocket parks in out-of-the-way places around town, such as Marsh View Trail behind the Mount Pleasant Waterworks treatment plant, and Kearns Park Trail off Wando Park Boulevard.
No large city east of the Mississippi River grew as quickly as Mount Pleasant did in 2015 according to Census Bureau estimates. Rapid growth has lately prompted a backlash, with the town placing new limits on development that range from building height caps in part of the town to a moratorium on new apartment development.
To see what some of the town's longtime residents fear they are losing amid the growth pressures, visit the part of town where Mount Pleasant started out as a small village.
Pick a nice day, put on some walking shoes or take bicycles, and start out at the beautiful Pickett Bridge Recreation Area, which most people simply call the Pitt Street bridge (it's at the end of Pitt Street, and used to be a bridge to Sullivan's Island). When you've had your fill of expansive marsh and harbor views, walk a mile down Pitt Street through the historic Old Village, and when you get to a very small commercial area, duck into the Pitt Street Pharmacy for some refreshments at the counter.
Traditional makers of sweetgrass baskets still sell their wares from roadside stands on U.S. Highway 17, although the road is much wider than it used to be. And shrimp fresh off the boat is still sold along Shem Creek, as well as at the town's seasonal farmers market at Moultrie Middle School.
The East Cooper community has more than a dozen public schools with solid reputations for academic and sporting achievement. Wando High School is the largest in South Carolina, and a second high school is in the works.
The town has won the state’s top award for a recreation department in years past and there’s a continued emphasis not only on youth sports but also activities for senior citizens.
Both the town and Charleston County operate large parks that offer a combination of natural beauty and active recreation. Palmetto Islands County Park includes a water park, dog park, kayak launch, and large playground. The town's Waterfront Memorial Park on the Cooper River regularly hosts events, and includes a fishing pier and playground.