Tuesday, June 25, 2013

POSITIVELY CHARLESTON


by Mauverneen

From the Lowcountry of South Carolina we traveled up to the city of Charleston to spend a couple of days.

I have to say Charleston is one of the most walkable cities I’ve ever been to. Our bed and breakfast was located just half a block off King Street (a shopaholic’s dream) - in a large old house with a charming courtyard in the back – and a porch that was perfect for breakfast and afternoon tea.
 
City Market
In Charleston
























We walked King Street, walked to the old city Market, to historic houses, to restaurants and to the dock where we caught the ferry over to Fort Sumter and walked some more. It’s a pleasant 30 minute, narrated ride to the Fort with great views of Charleston Harbor, one of the 10 busiest ports in the U.S.
Exploring Fort Sumter
Small cannon
























Civil War scholars and History buffs have walked the Fort’s grounds reverently and although I am neither, I always feel privileged whenever I get the chance to set foot on ground where history was actually made. Visitors are able to walk around at will - but are cautioned to listen for the boarding call for the return trip. The well done and very informative museum there should not be skipped.
Don't stick your head in there!

While in Charleston proper we got to try a good sampling of southern cooking – dinner at Hank’s Seafood Restaurant for pan seared scallops, grilled salmon, oysters, and Seafood a la Wando, accompanied by an impressive wine list and topped off with a delightful crème Brule and peanut butter pie. Lunch at Jestine’s kitchen for crab cakes and fried green tomatoes was a treat and lunch another afternoon was at Queology, where a trio of bbq sauces is offered to spice up the very tender and delicious pulled pork sandwiches and ribs.




Pulled Pork Sliders

Salmon at Hank's
Several plantations grace the outskirts of Charleston - several of them separated by only a few miles on Ashley River Road. They all have their individual, unique features but time permitted us to see only one. We settled on Magnolia Plantation.  http://www.magnoliaplantation.com/

Magnolia Plantation House
 It is the oldest public tourist site in the Lowountry, and the oldest public gardens in America – open to visitors since 1870. We enjoyed walking the grounds, where we actually spotted a couple of alligators, one of which was large enough to be scary! They are not supposed to be aggressive toward humans but I wouldn’t want to push my luck. There is a petting zoo – the one downside to the visit. It is small and cramped and the animals in the cages and pens were not meant to live that way. I would love for it to be phased out. We did enjoy the numerous peacocks that roamed about though. One poor guy kept circling a car, looking at his reflection in the chrome bumper and circling again. I hope he didn’t drive himself crazy by the end of the day!


Vain or crazy?

Plumage to be proud of!

Right next to the plantation is the Audubon Swamp Garden which I was looking forward to.
In the Swamp
Tickets are bought at the Plantation, and you punch in a code at the gate. The boardwalk leads you into the place, and further in there are paths. We spotted a couple of much larger alligators but of more interest to me were the birds. It was nesting time for the herons and the trees were filled with them! It was lovely.

Young Egrets
 
One more place I need to mention is the Magnolia Cemetery, which we stopped at on our way into Charleston.   

We heard about it from someone at the party we had recently attended and since I love old cemeteries and it was on the outskirts of town, stopping was a no-brainer. On the National Register of Historic Places, it is the final resting place for authors, politicians, military and assorted notables. It certainly is a walk through history. One of the most fascinating plots is that of the crew of the H.L. Hunley, a Confederate submarine which sunk three times, losing her entire crew each time, including the inventor for which it was named.
One of the crews of the H.L. Hunley-  R.I.P.
It’s a lovely place, with large oaks and a pond and a sign that says ‘Do Not Tease The Alligators’. I can’t imagine why they even need a sign. I mean, would YOU tease one?
Easy to miss
There is much to see in and around Charleston, and we only touched the surface. It’s another place I need to get back to someday. Which is why my list keeps getting longer, not shorter.

Walking the Battery
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