Saturday, November 17, 2012

Charleston, SC

Our plan was to take two days to get from the Sharp's to Charleston, but because of another incoming storm we decided to do it in one day.  Those 300 plus miles are the most we have done on the East Coast and we did not pull into the park unto late in the afternoon.  We were glad we made that sprint because for the first three days we just sat out the weather and watched the election returns and all the spin.  "O" what a day that was.  We had been to Charleston many years ago so this was a more laid back visit. 
Our first visit was to the market where you can buy all kinds of items from cheap imports to many handmade crafts.  There were several sweetgrass basket makers and getting a small basket was one of Nanc's goals.  After looking and talking to a few weavers we finally bought a very small one from Eric.  He had learned the weaving from his mom and was already passing it on to his kids. 
A big change in Charleston since our last visit is the new Ravenel Bridge over the Cooper River.  It replaced a very rickety old span that literally shook when we crossed it.
We got our exercise one day walking across the bridge.  It offered great views of the Low Country and water around the city.  The Goodyear blimp was circling the entire time.  It was there for two basketball games that were being played on the deck of the Yorktown that is now a museum ship.  The evening game had to be cancelled because of condensation on the court.  Go figure an outdoor basketball game played on a ship deck is cancelled because of water.
Charleston is a very active harbor with many ships coming and going.  There was a Carnival Cruise ship in port one day.  We learned that many locals don't like the cruise ships because they pollute the air by running their engine the whole time they are there.  That said the day we went to the market there were many people from the ship spending money.
This is Fort Sumter, where the first shots of the Civil War were fired, in the harbor and a couple of canons along the Battery.  We went to the fort on our previous visit so we only went to the visitors center to get our park service stamp.  It is a worthwhile visit if you get to Charleston.
Nanc on the Battery.
One of the neatest things about Charleston is seeing the great old homes.  They have very strict laws about maintaining the historical integrity of the city so there are no new, "modern" homes in the historical areas of the city. 
A few of the beautiful gardens and entrances we saw.  The one with the crooked door was a house that has been in the same family for six generations.  Bottom left is a typical home with the door on the street going on to the side porch where the "front" door of the house is.
St. Philips Episcopal Church is one of several old churches in the city that dominates the skyline.
Many of the houses are narrow and long and they come in a variety of colors.
The circles on the side of this house are big nuts that hold the bolts that were put through many of the houses following the 1886 earthquake.  That quake was the most powerful to ever hit the Southeast.
A great way to see the city is a carriage ride.  This is something else we had done before so we passed this time.  There are people who drive around all day waiting to respond to the clean up calls.
A couple of big, old beautiful homes along the Battery.
Charleston is a very neat, small city with a lot of history and a great place to walk and sight see.  We did not do a plantation tour on this visit, but that is another great option for visitors.

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