MOUNT PLEASANT ATTRACTS TRANSPLANTS FROM NEAR AND FAR

One newcomer calls it “Mayberry with Wi-Fi”

BY: Mark LIpsmeyer, VP FrontDoor Communities

The town’s name says it all. Mount Pleasant. From the Wando River at sunset to a bald eagle perched on a pier at Cooper River Bridge, southern charm oozes from this town.
In recent years, Mount Pleasant has attracted those relocating from different parts of the Charleston area, from the Southeast and even from other regions of the country.

Rob Walker and his family moved from Atlanta five years ago. “It’s a great place to live, but don’t tell anybody,” said Walker. “Everything I didn’t want in my 20s, but needed in my 40s, I have now. The pace of life is relaxed.”

He and his wife own several restaurants, including “My Father’s Moustache,” a British pub in Mount Pleasant. “I love talking to people and the locals here are amazing,” Walker said. “People walk, bicycle or take golf carts to our restaurant. You can do lunch or dinner with friends and the kids play together without too much worry. It’s really Mayberry with Wi-Fi.”

Before Interstate 526 was built, Mount Pleasant was a sleepy, bedroom community, just across the bridge from Charleston. It wasn’t until the mid 90s that an easy thoroughfare to the town ushered in builders who erected neighborhoods and commercial properties. But soon, the influx of new residents overwhelmed the town, leading to a temporary building moratorium, restricting building permits. When the down economy turned around, building activity boomed again to meet pent-up demand from those who wanted to live in this quaint South Carolina community.

“There’s a lot of opportunity here, especially with Boeing coming to Charleston, bringing in lots of young professionals who can afford to live here,” said Kris Kordonowy, Carolina One New Homes operations manager. “We have a lot of high-tech, high-paying jobs, so this is no longer just a town for second homes.”

People in Mount Pleasant value culture and history, pointing to attractions like Boone Hall Plantation, which takes visitors back to the 1800s Civil War era. But when they leave, they can still enjoy modern conveniences.

The Walker family chose a community called Tributary, where stylized, traditional Charleston architecture and design is married with the positive aspects of living in the suburbs. The architecture harkens to Low country lifestyle with porches, which are an integral part of South Carolina heritage.

In addition to the architecture, convenience and lifestyle are draws to Mount Pleasant. The locals say there’s always something to do from boating to museums to festivals.  They can be found shopping at Town Centre, learning about history at Charles Pinckney National Historic Site or kayaking along Shem Creek. There’s also the connectivity to Charleston, which has been rated a #1 travel destination for the last three years by Conde Nast.

BJ Mohl left Seattle and moved to Tributary in Mount Pleasant less than a year ago when her husband’s job with Boeing transferred him to the area.

“We have the convenience of beaches, golfing and biking with everything so close,” said Mohl. “There’s so much to do on weekends plus historical things like Patriots Point. We’re practically overwhelmed.”

Finding the right high school was critical for the Mohl family and they’re thrilled with Wando High School, which has a culinary program ideal for their son, Tyler. Great schools were a draw for Walker, too, who has one student at Moultrie Middle School and one at Wando High School.

And finally the sense of community in Mount Pleasant can’t be beaten and it’s one of the things Mohl loves about her new home at Tributary.

“My husband and I were in the driveway and this guy who was biking asked us if we had a boat cutter he could borrow,” she said. “He borrowed it and was back in two minutes with it. People are just so nice around here in Tributary.”

Between “you-pick” vegetable events on plantation lawns and concerts at Memorial Waterfront Park, there’s always something to do to meet new people and see old friends. It’s a fun place to live, the perfect place to raise a family, too. It’s not as overbuilt as other areas and it’s just a quick hop over the bridge to get downtown or to the beaches. The Ashley, Cooper and Wando rivers are all accessible by boat and you don’t need to be a millionaire to access the water.

The population explosion has brought more than just young families to Mount Pleasant. Retirees are relocating to the town to live closer to children and grandchildren. The great quality of life keeps them there.

“Between the history, food, social activities and the beach, there’s a lot to offer here,” said Kordonowy. “If you can’t find something to connect with, I’d be worried where you would be happy.”

This article originally appeared in the September issue of Mount Pleasant Living.