From somewhere in Charleston, with love

Toby Smith

Editor's note: It's easy to be a guest columnist. Send your submissions to charlestonscene@gmail.com. It can be on any topic. Maximum of 500 words.

There are so many fabulous places in Charleston to enjoy meaningful, but family-friendly moments with a sweetheart! I want to share one of my favorites.

But before I tell you where I am, I want to tell you why I visit this location often. Now don't look ahead yet ...

--This place is nestled -- I like that word -- in the heart of downtown Charleston. I am still crazy about downtown.

--A visit feels more like a trip back in time, not too, too long ago, but just long enough to get a taste of another era, which is really saying something given that history is our thing around here.

--This place is luxurious and elegant, but not stuffy. The staff is sincerely warm and welcoming.

--I get my exercise running up the stairs! Funny, little story here. A while back, I brought some of my "big-boned," as they say, family members here for a visit. Two of us took the stairs; three did not. The elevator got a little stuck between floors! Yikes! Oh, the shame! The staff calmly explained that it happens on occasion. They hit the reset button, and sent us on our way. Yes, I laughed when I got home.

--If you want to talk about a view, this place will take your breath away! When I am there alone, I love that it's all mine. In every direction, I find parts of my past and easily recognize places that I enjoy now.

Have you figured it out yet? Here is one last hint: It's located in the sky and you must look up. What? Okay, no more teasing.

The place I write from today is the cupola, that stunning dome-shaped structure on top of the Wentworth Mansion.

I am seated on the circular bench drinking in extraordinary views of our legendary city. As for the mansion, well, it needs little introduction. Visit it online.

You will find accolades going back to 1998, but when you go in person, just tell the front desk you want to visit the cupola. They will smile at you as if sharing a precious secret.

When I brought my sweetheart, Bernard, here for the first time, he sat down, looked around, and then asked "what would it cost to stay?"

We had a good laugh about that.

Every time Bernard visits, we make a special stop here. We climb the stairs and sit on the same bench. Sometimes we talk about what we are seeing; other times we sit and listen to the sounds of our vibrant city; usually we dream about possibilities.

After a long while we finally leave, knowing that another visit to the cupola at Wentworth Mansion is in our future.

Consider adding this to your "places to visit" list this weekend.