Getting the flavor of...
South Carolina’s wildest island
Just outside cosmopolitan Charleston, S.C., you’ll find a barrier island as unspoiled as it was when colonial explorers found it, said John Bordsen in USA Today. I recently played Robinson Crusoe for a day and took the 30-minute ferry ride to Bulls Island, a 5,000-acre wilderness where you’re largely on your own. Except, that is, for the baby crabs that skitter around your beach towel, the bobcats and minks hiding in the scrub, and the 300 species of birds that flit above the shores and saw-grass marshes. Bulls Island, as part of the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, retains a biosphere “as close to pure as can be found on the Eastern Seaboard.” From the ferry you may see bottlenose dolphins. Fall brings migrating birds and cool temperatures, perfect for hiking the inland trails. One path leads to a heap of oyster shells left centuries ago by Native Americans; another leads to the ruins of a tower built in the early 1700s to spot pirates.
Chicago’s sophisticated neighbor
Evanston, Ill., is a type of city that’s “woefully uncommon” in the U.S., said Aaron Gettinger in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Undivided by freeways but bisected by Chicago’s L train, this community of 75,000 combines the best of urban life with the polish and beauty of leafy suburbia. Evanston benefits from Northwestern University’s cultural offerings, including the Block Museum of Art, but it’s more than a college town. Just north of the lakeside campus is the handsome Grosse Point Lighthouse; in the summer, its beach is the perfect place to spend an afternoon with a book. The city is also home to a good rock venue, Evanston SPACE, and to American Legion Post 42, the best place in the Chicago area to hear bluegrass. When it’s time to eat, try the Stained Glass Bistro or the Barn, a repurposed 1883 stable where you can get a nice butter-poached king crab. More and more, Evanston seems “a place to appreciate the finer things.” ■