Friday, May 31, 2013

Charleston ~ Finally!

Pineapple Fountain in Waterfront Park
Charleston, SC
I’ve been wanting to visit Charleston South Carolina for over 28 years!!!  When Scott and I married the first time our honeymoon was spent driving up the east coast starting on Tybee Island, Georgia and on up to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and into Delaware and then over to my new home in Pennsylvania … it was not via the Interstate … nope … no fun there.  We took the state two lane highways closest to the Ocean … and it was a beautiful trip though we really didn’t stop any where to spend real time … didn’t have a whole lot of money nor time.  But what we did get to see was free and we saw a lot … a lot of God’s beautiful country side and of course, a lot of the ocean and man’s beautiful cities.  One of the cities we went through was Charleston, SC and I’ve always wanted to go back for a real visit.  Well we finally did it!  Granted in a weekend you don’t get to see everything you want to see but I definitely want to return some day!!!

We met our oldest son and his wife there … we arrived on Friday afternoon and they arrived later that evening.  We had a great time with them and touring the city.  Did tons of walking … that was the plan … to stay in historic Charleston and walk to everything we wanted to see and boy did we walk, and walk and walk.  Note to self: take sneakers when you plan to do a lot of walking … flip flops don’t cut it!!!

There are lots and lots of beautiful historic homes, ally ways and streets of both brick and cobblestone … all must sees.  The architecture is amazing!  I am so into old architecture and history so this city was a perfect place for us to visit.

We did a horse drawn carriage tour via Palmetto Tours and these tours are on the lottery system (you have no idea which section of the city your tour will be on until you are actually ON the tour) … however, we enjoyed the one we got and our guide was both humorous and knowledgeable.  Saw the Old City Jail, dating back to 1802, and heard all the scary gruesome tales about it … its in stages of being renovated so it doesn’t crumble … apparently though the only way to see inside is to take a ghost tour and that just did not appeal to me … no way no how!  It’s supposedly the MOST haunted building in Charleston and from hearing the tales … I can understand why!

We took the trip to Fort Sumter via Ferry Boat … I was a little disappointed by it only because the narrated tour on the boat over was not as informative as I had expected.  Most of the Fort is in ruins so you really do not get the full impact of its place in history but I’m glad we did it.  It was pretty cool to see the architecture … or what was left of it … a good part of it was built much later on … in the 40’s or 50’s, I believe.

Fort Sumter
We also visited one plantation; most are about 10 miles outside town so driving is a must.  We decided on the Drayton Hall Plantation because it is the only one preserved as it was back when it was built in 1738.  We even walked the grounds after the tour which are immense and beautifully set on the Ashley River.  A must see if you are into history.

Drayton Hall

Ashley River behind Drayton Hall
In all of the walking we did we saw Battery Park, the Pineapple Fountain (in Waterfront Park), Rainbow Row, 'Slave Market' or City Market (though the name implies that slaves were sold there … NOPE … its an actual marketplace which dates back to 1807 and is more like a flea market today but they sell all kinds of neat stuff … a must see, for sure) and King Street (Charleston’s Rodeo Drive).  To me, King Street (the residential area which is toward the waterfront and Battery Park) had the most beautiful historic old homes.  We also saw numerous beautiful churches and historic homes that we just didn’t have time to tour … next time though, for sure!  We really enjoyed walking the streets of Charleston on our own and viewing  the architecture up close and personal! 

Battery Park

King Street (Charleston's Rodeo Drive)

We visited one cemetery beside a church where the graves were so old the headstones had fallen over so they propped them up against the fence … I’m always respectful of the dead in cemeteries … keeping my voice low.  Well my daughter-in-law thought it would be funny to scare me by jumping out from behind a bush and when she did I screamed so loud I bout woke the dead and peed in my britches LOL

The cemetery we visited ... bout woke the dead!

I’d say, our only disappointment in Charleston is that most of the shops and businesses open late ~ 11ish (as a lot of storefronts noted) and closed at 5:30ish … with the exception of Market Street restaurants and a couple shops … Market Street seemed to come alive after dark.  Oops and another disappointment … the only locals we met were transplants from up north or out west … Michigan, Indiana, Oregon, etc.  I would have loved to run into some native Charlestonians!!!

Had to throw this in ... see the sign?  We thought it was funny.
Waterfront Park ... some kids were having a ball!!!
A weekend in Charleston is just not long enough ... so many things to see!

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