Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Savannah to Charleston

We headed towards Charleston and arrived in a fit of traffic. It was a busy and fast town with a taste for the expensive. In many areas, evidence of economic hard times showed, but in Charleston, people admitted the downturn was hard. What was once a heavy shipping area now had only occasional ships coming in to dock. People were very aware of the slow economic times.

Again, we stayed close to waterfront and walked many places. Some shopping areas but mostly the storefronts were places to eat and drink. In the early evening, we walked a long way down to a pier. The sun began to sink while we watched a few sailboats and a couple of ships come in to unload. The South Battery was gorgeous from here.

We wanted to eat on the way back to the hotel, but choose not to eat fish, the most popular type of food available. We settled on a small Italian eatery where the food was delicious. I had chicken picata, always a favorite for me. This picata had southern twist as it was served over rice.

The next morning we started early because we caught the first boat out to Fort Sumter. It turned out to be a lovely ride and the fort was more interesting than most. The National Park Ranger was a young gal who knew her stuff and added drama to her presentation. She was fascinating! The time went so fast that it was time to board the boat again before I was truly finished. On the ride back, we saw several pods of dolphins romping in the ocean waters near the boat.

With only a little time before we were to board a tall ship for sailing, we went to the city market. It was full of lots of items. Some were cheesy and commercial, but some were true artisans. There were many stands selling the famous sea grass baskets of the area. The African American women who did the weaving explained to me that one learned the craft only from mothers and grandmothers. The baskets were gorgeous, full of handmade details, and very expensive. I brought home one small woven medallion.

In the afternoon, we went out on a sailboat, known as The Pride, an 84-foot tall ship. It was a pleasant ride, and once again we saw dolphins. We also saw beautiful pelicans gliding in and landing on the water. I had no idea a pelican was so graceful in flight. We tolerated the sun well because I remembered sun block, but several other people burned to crisp. However, we were tired from sun and wind. We took a few minutes to check out the shrimp boats on the other side of Ravenal Bridge. I think the fishermen were teasing us because we were tourists, but they answered our questions and showed us their catch of large white shrimp. Then we treated ourselves to the rare occasion of hamburgers and crashed into bed early.

The next morning we were up and out of town. Heading across the Ravenal Bridge once again, we headed towards North Carolina. DH saw a sign for Hampton Plantation he wanted to check out so we head down a lane lined by oak and pine. The Spanish moss draped over the limbs like a lace mantilla. Then a narrow path headed down to the plantation home that had once belonged to rice planters. We were too early to get inside, but we walked the grounds. It was no long before massive hoards of mosquitoes attacked us. I cannot imagine how those rice planters and families lived in this area years ago. The tree in front of the house was once saved by George Washington in 1791 on his visit to the area.

Back on the road again, we passed up Myrtle Beach to go to Surfside Beach, one recommended by one of the sailors on The Pride. He was right; it was a gorgeous beach with pristine sand. Being the off-season, there were few people, and we walked the beach, waded the ocean, and picked up seashells.

Finally, we headed back to the car and moved north, stopping at Georgetown, a small village of modern shops and wide, clean streets. We stopped in front of the Upper Crust bakery where we bought the most delicious apple caramel bars. We made one other quick stop at a flea market to check out the local merchandise. Crammed full, it sported more of the same that we have here. However, I did find two English Blue Willow mugs like nothing I had seen before and a lovely knife rest.

1 comment:

Paul said...

Thanks for sharing your experience. People at charleston west virginia downtown are aware of economy. Clean streets and the best shopping places is the mark of charleston west virginia.