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Published: November 16th 2010
We made it through the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel, actually 2 tunnels located under water. The total distance of the bridge/tunnels is 17 miles . We were initially concerned about our 12 foot 3 inches making it through, but after learning that trucks routinely travel it we knew we’d clear the tunnel. Thanks Marty for the information!
We crossed into the Outer Banks and found Avon, a small community on the Outer Banks with a small and friendly campground. We loved both so extended our stay and enjoyed more ocean walks with Harley, Pea Island Wildlife Refuge and several light houses including Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. The area attracts shore fisherman with very long poles. The dunes are gorgeous and include the highest on the East Coast.
We took a 40 minute ferry ride to Ocracoke Island and enjoyed shopping in this charming fishing village. The island is rumored to be the last headquarters of Blackbeard. In a quiet little corner we found a WW2 British Graveyard where four British seamen are buried. Their bodies washed ashore when their ship was torpedoed by a German submarine in 1942.
On to Myrtle Beach, always a favorite location with us.
More beach walks (poor us) on hard packed sand the color of brown sugar. Our campground on the beach was very crowded with families ready to celebrate Halloween and party that weekend. The onslaught of 300 Trick or Treater’s we did not know sounded too hectic so we escaped to the Market Common and the movies. We stayed an extra day to see the Carolina Oprey perform their Christmas program and were glad we went. There is so much entertainment in this show and we got an early dose of Christmas spirit.
Our next stop was Charleston and we stayed at St. James Island County Campground, such a jewel of a park. The elaborate Christmas light display strewn over this large park is a famous attraction in the area. We took an interesting narrated bus tour of the city which included a ferry trip to Fort Sumter, where the Civil War began. (Organized tours are such a wonderful way to learn the city history and attractions of the area.)
South Carolina had seceded from the Union, the first state to do so. Yet Union forces still occupied Fort Sumter. The firing on the fort resulted in the surrender
by Union forces and the first shots of the Civil War. Due to continual bombardment by the Union soldiers until they took possession 4 years later, the fort is largely rubble with portions of the wall still standing. The tour and museum there inject life into the fort. We visited the Citadel, the military college originally established as an arsenal and a refuge for whites in the event of a slave uprising.
Savannah, our favorite Eastern city, is located approximately 100 miles south of Charleston. Designed by British General Oglethorpe, the historical area has 21 one-acre squares of lovely live oak trees surrounded by grass and each showcasing the statue of an historical hero. Antebellum homes (mansions) surround the squares. It is just beautiful as the “gracious city" originally planned. And over 800 of the 1100 historic buildings have been renovated.
The Riverfront area has been renovated into interesting shops and restaurants. The shopping here is not to be outdone by the City Market. You may all wonder about my husband’s participation in this “shopping” that I enjoy. Yes you are correct; he humors me with slight interest for a short period and then I’m on my own
(until he is ready to leave.) We toured the Own Thomas House and he was very patient.
We enjoyed our “lunch” at Mrs. Wilkes Boarding House where traditional southern foods are served family style from large round tables. So you may get to know your neighbor, and you eat like it’s Thanksgiving dinner, even though it costs just $15. The owner and her daughter sat with us, not because we are important people, but because there was room at our table and they were hungry. It was great conversation since she shared the details of President Obama’s visit there the month prior. Apparently one of the security team ate there for 5 days prior to his visit to scope it out. The owner knew the day of the Prez’s visit but not the time. So his staff gave her 5 minutes notice of his arrival. Security moved the line waiting to get in away from the entry. When he entered the security team informed the guests already there that they would have to wait to leave until the Prez left. No problem, they said. The owner reported that he visited each table and spoke to everyone. Such a classy
guy! She said the staff made comments about his cholesterol. No kidding!
We toured the Yorktown Aircraft Carrier, the “Fighting Lady,” which helped win the war in the Pacific and was also involved in Vietnam.
We stayed at Skidaway Island State Park which we enjoyed and allowed an easy drive into Savannah. We have learned that the state parks are often interesting campgrounds with more luxury than we once thought, even cable TV and less expensive.) Most often there are lots of hiking trails and lovely nature spots. Again we began our visit with an organized tour with a real hoot of a driver/narrator.
Stay tuned for the continuing saga of the Geritol Gypsies.
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