Quote of the Day “Striving to better, oft we mar what’s well.” –William Shakespeare from King Lear
Folly Beach, South Carolina, is an imperfect beach town. The sand has a little to high a percentage of dirt mixed in, the water isn’t blue. Condos line the beach and block the ocean from view of anyone not in them. With all the condos, there is also a little too much car traffic and there are far too many realtors. I don’t believe there is a bakery. It might rain tomorrow.
As TB strolled around Folly this morning, I thought about what makes the perfect beach town. Unlike “A Great Bar” a great beach town is not dependent upon which set of inhabitants are present at a particular moment. It needs a mix of locals, young and old, rich and middle class. It has to welcome travelers though shouldn’t cater only to certain niches. It ought to be equally navigable by car, golf cart and sneakers. The inland streets and yards should be encroached on by sand and the homes and yards should be alternately ramshackle and manicured. There must be no national chains, save perhaps a solitary quick stop, but there needs to be a pizza joint, a burger joint and a juke joint. I’d love to see a few cottages hidden by banana leaves, hydrangeas and ivy and shaded by palmettos or oaks or palm trees, and it would be nice if a few were available to rent. A large public pier and a place to dine over the water would add a lot to the overall ambiance. A great beach town needs a lighthouse. All of these are characteristics of Folly and they are enough to make it a damned fine beach town. Of all TB’s beach town sojourns, I’d rank it second only to Cannon Beach, Oregon.
But perfect, Folly is not. Is any place? Does it matter? I think seeking perfection in a beach town, or completing a task, or in living a life is commendable so long as we recognize at the outset perfection is a goal that will never be met. Yet we should recognize, appreciate and enjoy damned good when we see it. And at Folly I see it. And if it weren’t for those damned condos, I’d never have been able to come.
I could not agree more with your assessment of the perfect beach town. I started going to Destin in 1970 when it was just a “sleepy little fishing village” and had only a 2 lane highway going through it and a Piggly Wiggly. We went every year until we went out on our own so we saw the transformation with condos as well as shopping. Is anything perfect, no, but is something close to perfect, absolutely. It is all a matter of opinion and perception.
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