Charleston The Beautiful

Published: April 11th 2006
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Charleston House & Garden TourCharleston House & Garden TourCharleston House & Garden Tour

The annual spring House & Garden Tour was in its final weekend when we visited Charleston in mid April. The style of architecture is distinctive.
April 8

Drove through the picturesque town of Beaufort, SC on our way from Hilton Head to Charleston. Lovely ante bellum homes and a national cemetery which is still in use, but dates back to Civil War. Arrived at James Island County Park. Storm, including funnels, hail and thunder kept us in on Saturday night. This is a great park, wonderful facilities including three separate bike path loops, a dock for crabbin’ and fishing, etc. We reserved seats on a shuttle from James Island to Savannah on Sunday morning ($5. round trip). Could take same to Folly Beach.

April 9

Sunday was another awesome day - round trip shuttle from the park. We got into Charleston by 9:30, took in the orientation film at the visitors center. Hopped a trolley toward the center of the historic district ($4. pass allows unlimited use all day long - other wise $1.25 / fare). Walked through Market St. Stopped at the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon on East Bay St. This is an important national shrine which was saved by the women of the DAR. The tour started in the dungeon - fascinating architecturally and the place where pirates and other bad guys and (to us) good guys like revolutionary war patriots were held. We walked north on East Bay St. to Magnolia’s for a great brunch. Pecan crusted catfish for him; shellfish and lobster on grits for me; very spicy (and pricy $10) bloody Mary’s for both of us. Then down to the Hayward Washington House for a nice tour of the house and garden. Could hardly put the camera away on the walk down Church St. Beautiful examples of the single house, lovely ironwork, and glimpses of precious gardens in full bloom. Walked to the Battery, then took the trolley back to the visitors center with just an hour to take in the Charleston Museum with a nice collection of historic Charleston items and a special costume collection on “glamorous” clothing, much of it dresses and special occasion clothes from the twenties.

Meanwhile back at the campground (this one is a campground where we can even have a campfire if we want) we unstrapped the bikes from the back of The Schooner and took a nice bike ride along one of their paths to a crabbing/fishing dock where we watched some kids catch crabs in traps baited with chicken. Ended the day with dinner aboard. Too tired to take a cab to a restaurant; but thrilled with the day. Tomorrow, Fort Sumter; the Aquarium, and who knows what else before we break camp on Tuesday morning to make it home for Easter.

April 10

Shuttle to Charleston. First to the Aquarium. VERY worthwhile. Then to the boat to Ft. Sumter. Lots of good info aboard via a taped presentation. Wonderfully informed National Parks Services person on the island. This trip helps put the history of the firing on Fort Sumter into perspective. Back on land a quick trip through the Joseph Manigault House. Very interesting tour - wow these volunteers put a great deal of study and thought into their presentations. Decided on a dinner in town and called the Park Shuttle to cancel our return. Took a trolley to Market St. where we joined a mule pulled wagon ride through some neighborhoods we hadn’t been to before. Our guide, Greg, had a little brush with a car along the way - no injuries - this was our second such event - our trolley in Savannah had a ricochet incident with a bicyclist near Lafayette Square. No injuries. Greg, by the way, was a good guide for us. Wonderful dinner - after martinis at the elegant bar - at Poogan’s Porch. Back to The Schooner via cab $14 plus tip.


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