Column: Charleston has grown on me during my time at Eastern

Karina Delgado

When I came to Charleston, I was not amused. After seeing other college towns such as Bloomington and Urbana-Champaign, I was unsure about Charleston. I felt like I was back in my hometown, nothing to do besides Wal-Mart and Casey’s. Despite the town I still picked Eastern and I knew that I had to make the most out of Charleston. As a senior, I’m at a point where I know I will miss this town. Throughout these years I realized Charleston is underrated.

I know what you’re thinking, how could anyone potentially miss this town? It’s hard to see what Charleston has to offer when one only stays on campus. I have had the opportunity to visit so many places in town.

If I want to hike I’m able to go to Lake Charleston or Fox Ridge Park for some peace. I enjoy visiting Jackson Avenue Coffee shop and walking around the square to see other local businesses. On Thursday nights, I used to drop by Jackson Avenue Coffee shop for open mic nights. During Halloween time, I make sure to see Grand Ball Costumes & More to see what cool Halloween items they have to offer. When the holidays come around, Charleston has ‘Christmas in the Heart of Charleston’ where there is a parade, horse carriages, hot chocolate, and local businesses with their doors open.

I knew Charleston had more. By the time I was a sophomore I had a plan to visit everything that Charleston and surrounding areas had to offer. I was able to go to Charleston’s farmer’s market on 18th Street to support local farmers and local businesses. Although the campground is closed, I drove by to see the world’s tallest Lincoln statue in Ashmore. I took a spontaneous trip to test out the world’s fastest pop machine in Lerna. Recently, I had the opportunity to visit Lincoln Log Cabin learning more about Lincoln’s parents and visiting farm animals.

I understand the importance of small-town attractions. I’m from Ottawa, Illinois, where Starved Rock is located, so our town is run by local businesses and attractions; we rely on tourists. So go out there and support local businesses and local attractions. Even without a car, one can hop onto the Panther shuttle to check out the town’s square or walk to Bob’s Bookstore to check out some books after grabbing some Dr. Smoothie. I am so glad I made the decision to live here, Chucktown forever.

 

Karina Delgado is a senior secondary English education major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]