I took a job with this newspaper in October 1983. People wondered why I would trade life in New York City for a sultry, slow-moving town that was way more shabby than chic. But I wanted to return to the South. And no Southern city casts a spell as powerful as Charleston.

Thirty years later, the magic is more potent than ever. Charleston is one of the most vibrant cities in the country, still rich in its "sense of place."

And fun as heck. Here's a small sampling of what I love about living here:

Meeting friends for shrimp salad, okra soup and sinful desserts on the upstairs porch of St. Philip's tea room.

Seeing birds soar and swoop at the Birds of Prey Center, or spotting a big ol' gator or a white squirrel along a golf course.

Hanging out at Home Team BBQ for an afternoon of scorching blues music and briny oysters.

Being enchanted by the sights on the semi-secretive Gateway Walk in downtown Charleston (above).

Teasing fat blue crabs into netting position with chicken parts on a string (repeatedly), then ending the day with a crab boil and a cold White Thai beer.

Teresa Taylor is Life Editor of The Post and Courier.