Days 63-65 – Enjoying Charleston

Wednesday October 8 (Muriel)

We walked across the street to the Charleston Visitor Center.  We waited in a long line with lots of fellow tourists and eventually we purchased tickets for a historical tour of Charleston.  As on several recent occasions, we were surprised to find so many tourists on a weekday in October.  The 90-minute tour was excellent.  We learned much about the history and architecture of the area.  The only negative was that we couldn’t see very far upwards because of the window design of the small bus.

We opted to leave the tour at the covered market place rather than returning to the visitor center.  We thought we would buy some sweet grass baskets from their weavers decided they were way too pricey.  After exploring the market we picked a nearby restaurant that looked particularly nice.  It was.  We enjoyed she-crab soup with parsnip foam, followed by small but oh-so-rich servings of pork belly with maple sugar beans, topped with fried leek.  It was a good thing that we had a fairly long walk back to our hotel after the feast.

We drove around much of the area we had seen on tour, getting better views of some of the buildings.  We walked through a waterfront park along the Ashley River, seeing diving Brown Pelicans and Common Grackles flying over the river.  A second-winter Laughing Gull posed for us, which identification we figured out back at our hotel.

It began to rain, so we scurried back to the car and drove back to our hotel.  By the time we freshened up for dinner, the rain had stopped.   We walked a few blocks to an interesting restaurant that specializes in unusual Asian-influenced modern cuisine.  By the time we left the restaurant it was raining again.

Thursday October 9 (Muriel)

We began the day with a drive to Magnolia Plantation, driving through a lovely alee of ancient Virginia live oaks, magnolias and other trees, beautifully festooned with Spanish moss.  We took a tram ride with a naturalist driver, largely on former rice fields that had reverted to swamps and ponds coated green by duckweed.  We saw alligators, ranging from foot long babies to oldsters the size of blown monstrous truck tires.  Birds included Common Moorhens, egrets, a Great Blue Heron, Wood Ducks, and an Anhinga.


Then it was time for a tour of the plantation house which was smaller and less fancy than we had expected.  The columns and piazza (porch) were painted white, the outside walls were rough mud-colored stucco.  The guide was informative.  We learned that this was a working plantation house.  In its heyday the owners also had an elaborate home in Charleston and a summer home in the mountains of South Carolina.

The tour finished, we took a walk through the gardens on the Ashley River side of the house.  We spied many Northern Mockingbirds, as well as a Carolina Wren and a Northern Cardinal.  We bought lunch at the outdoor café, which we ate at a picnic table in a covered area.  We practically had to fight off hungry peacocks and peahens during lunch, and watched horses and a donkey in the adjacent field.  It began to rain, soon very hard.  We watched Guinea Fowl scurry for cover under trees, and the bolder peafowl were joined by their shyer friends under the roof of our eating area.   The less tame peafowl were careful to stand under the shelter of picnic tables, while the bolder ones seemed to know the roof of the entire enclosure would protect them from the rain.

Grateful for bringing umbrellas, we headed back to our car.  The drenching rain continued.  We decided to leave and head for town.  As we drove, the rain stopped altogether.  I felt like an idiot for chickening out so quickly, but wasn’t willing to drive back.  We returned to our hotel, parked, regrouped, and walked less than a block to the Charleston Museum.  By the time we got there, it started to rain again.

We explored the historical section of the museum, learning about rice farming in the Carolinas, the role of Charleston in the American Revolution and Civil War, the geology, geography, and Native American tribes of the area.  When the museum closed at 5 PM, we walked back to our hotel, through puddles but not needing our umbrellas.

We walked to a restaurant specializing in South Carolina dishes.  We dined happily on specialties like fried green tomatoes and shrimp on grits.  We packed our suitcases as thoroughly as possible so we would be able to leave early the next morning.


0 Responses to “Days 63-65 – Enjoying Charleston”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: