S: Charleston South Carolina March 2013
FC: Charleston South Carolina March 2013
1: March 10 Sun. Left around 10:30 and drove to St. Augustine. We got there around 3. Found out it's Bike Week! Drove to historic downtown and walked around for several hours. It's nice and cool. Had dinner at the Conch Seafood Grill; split a shrimp dinner. It's a cool place. Every Sunday they have a group playing out on the water; a big area with boardwalks going to it and a bar out there. Lots of fun going on here, and lots of little romantic alcoves to eat in outside. A bit cool so we ate indoors. On our return trip we wanted to stay at the Super 8 we booked, but they have no rooms available since Spring break begins for Flagler College. We'll look for a motel outside Jacksonville.
2: March 11 Mon. Got on the road around 10:00 and arrived at Charleston at 3. We are staying at the Best Western Sweetgrass Inn which is in West Ashley, just over the bridge of the Ashley River. This is about 15 min. to the downtown historic area. Went for dinner early as we had no lunch. Went to the Crab Shack. I had shrimp & grits and Bud had Frogmore stew, which is shrimp, potatoes, sausage and corn. Huge shrimp! March 12 Tues. We'll be going into historic Charleston for 2 days. Drove on the Savannah Hwy over the bridge and into town. Parked by the city market and browsed a bit. The market is open to the air, but still warm inside. They sell everything. Sampled Benne wafers and bought some. It's cold today and misty, rainy, so may postpone our carriage ride. We attended a travel presentation for 2 hrs. and purchased a package. Went to lunch at AW Shucks and had fish tacos. Went into the Rainbow Market then got our car. Weather is really yucky. We rode all around trying to get our bearings. Only a few through streets; E Bay, King and Meeting streets. A lot of 1 ways and streets that go for a few blocks and stop. Only 1 building is up to 8 stories. No skyscrapers allowed and building heights are monitored to keep the historical setting. This area on the water is the Battery 1810-1850's. At Battery St. and Murray the Ashley and Cooper rivers merge to join the Atlantic Ocean. "Charleston Harbor"
3: Charleston is called the "Holy City" because there are so many churches. It is referred to as "Low Country". We think of she crab soup, shrimp and grits, fried green tomatoes, Pimento burgers etc. Huge Live Oaks and basket ladies. Years ago Charleston cultivated rice, indigo and cotton. The reason we see rice plantations!
4: Above is Waterfront Park, which is along the Battery and the Pineapple Fountain. Charleston is a peninsula surrounded by rivulets, salt water marshes, barrier islands. Charleston proper is between the Ashley and Cooper Rivers. The oldest areas have cobblestones. Very uneven ground walking here. We are looking to see where Washington Pk. is because we go on a "picture perfect "'photo tour tomorrow with Joyce and that's where we meet her. Found it and a nearby parking garage. Yeah! Practiced 3 times.
5: More antebellum houses along the battery. Here we are in the French Quarter area | Found the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon. Built in 1771 by the British as the Exchange and Customs House. We took the dungeon tour. American Patriots were prisoners in the Provost during the War of America's Independence.
6: March 13 Wed. Had breakfast at our hotel (nice) and headed into Charleston around 9. Parked in the garage and walked around the block to find our park. Met Joyce, our photo-tour guide. We began our walk at the "4 corners of law"; St. Michael's Episcopal church (hail), Post office Museum (mail), Judicial Bldg. (bail), and City Hall (jail). This famous 4 corners is at the intersection of Meeting and Broad Streets. George Washington sat in Pew 43 at this church.
7: Joyce loves Charleston and knows everything about its' architecture and history! We passed a Gullah lady weaving and selling her sweetgrass baskets. Gullahs had ancestors who were slaves. These baskets sell for $35 for a small one to $600 for a large one. A bit pricey. You may take a photo of the baskets, but not the gullah. We have begun our walk "South of Broad" - SOB.
9: The spikes were used to prevent slaves from scaling the wall during a slave revolt. Most of the houses have piazzas or porches to catch the breeze. Real wrought iron on gates and fencing. Many of the buildings have earthquake bolts on them to help hold them together and keep aligned after the Earthquake of 1865. We are walking towards the Battery and French Quarter.
11: We're continuing on our walking tour (2 hrs +). Charleston is stunning. Notice the lit lantern hanging from the gate. Often seen. This pink, red tree is a cinnamon tree. The blossoms look like colored or white popcorn. This cistern collected water, but the pirates or whoever would put rum in it to make it drinkable. This is where grog came from. The weather for our tour was great. We wore fleece but it was sunny all day. Tomorrow will be 39 in the early day. I've seen a lot of pineapple items here which is a welcome type symbol.
12: Above is part of a strip of attached house called Rainbow Row as some are also yellow blue, etc. I can never capture the entire buildings, only the top and middle because cars are parked bumper to bumper all over, and who wants to see cars. Beautiful gardens everywhere. Rainbow Row is British architecture.
13: The pink house at the top is the oldest house in Charleston-1692. The next photo was supposed to capture the cobblestone road in front of the slave mart-1851. The church here is the Circular Presbyterian Church where we will hear "Sound of Charleston" tomorrow night. Left is a water tower and lots of sharp spikes to keep the slaves away. Our walking tour is over now and our poor feet are so tired. It was great! I really wanted to see if we could do the Gateway Walk. Beginning at St. Phillip's church cemetery, there are hidden garden paths that connect for 4 blocks, and each time you go to a different church or building, you follow the path through a gate. A slight problem; some of the connecting gates were locked!
15: March 13 Wed - lots of pictures today We decided not to do the hour boat ride out to Ft. Sumter as it was so cold and not much to do or see there. The 1st shots of the Civil War were fired at Ft. Sumter from Ft. Johnson. After the Gateway walk we got our car from the parking garage and drove up to the Pickney St. Garage and parked. (near the city market). We had a free carriage ride with Carolina Polo Co. at 2:15. Got in the carriage. We are packed tight, 4 rows, 4 people to a row.We rode down to the Battery to Waterfront Park and past the famous Calhoun House. Our guide told us that the Jewish are the largest denomination here.
16: The Powder Magazine; oldest bldg. in Carolinas. Thinking about all of the beautiful church steeples here, there are about 20 places of worship here in the "Holy City."
17: Above are some last pictures of the city market. Lots of food in there, too. March 14 Thur. Headed out around 9:30 to find Ashley Rd and hit a few of the plantations. It is cold and very windy today. We paid about $18. to walk through the gardens and see the mansion. Saw beautiful camellias and azaleas. Went in the really nice gift shop and bought a pineapple (hospitality) cutting board and a napkin holder that looks like a beautiful gate. So cold!
19: We were not that impressed with Magnolia. The Gardens are supposed to be the best and I'm sure they are even more beautiful in about 6 weeks. The only place to eat is outside and it's too cold. You could pay more to tour the mansion, go on the boardwalk through the swamp, ride a little train, etc. Each is an added price. It's off to see the Middleton Place just down the road.
20: Middleton Place grounds look like a true plantation. Parking spaces are between trees and here are sheep on the green. It was first settled in 1705 and bought by Henry Middleton, then damaged in the Civil War and earthquake in late 1800's.
23: We walked around the landscaped gardens, the stable yards, gift shop. restaurant, the house museum etc.It is an awesome plantation! The small building on the water was the rice mill, the final step in rice processing.