Charleston, South Carolina
After leaving Savannah, we headed up the coast to South Carolina, and our first stop was Charleston. We parked our RV at the Military campground at Joint Base Charleston – AFB. Wow, for a FamCamp, this place is nice. It had trees, which offered a lot of shade, and concrete pads to park on. I have absolutely no complaints whatsoever.
Some campgrounds are nice when we stay on military bases, and some are just so-so. But overall, we feel safe, and they usually have a lot of walking trails to take off and go for a pleasant stroll and not worry about being accosted. This base was an excellent easy on and off as far as getting out of the gates. Some can be confusing, and if you have ever been on a military base, the GPS stops working once you cross the gate! That's where I get in trouble. I am an avid GPS user and rely upon one for everything. Mark has a much better sense of direction and always seems to find a landmark or two to navigate around when we get to a new area.
First day here, I found my gym and took off for a great workout; I came back and relaxed all day. Our patio is set up with our chairs in the shade, and it's a perfect place to read my book. There is a ton of noise, though; early in the morning, you hear horns blowing, trains running, and guns popping off. If you can get past that, you are ok.
Seeing the city of Charleston, of course, that was on top of our list, but the city has banned all hop-on-hop-off buses, and you know how I rely upon them to get us around. So, Mark and I booked a "walking tour" through the city (Charleston Old Walled City). Al was great, personable, and informative. I’m always nosey when I meet my tour guide, I want to know how long they have lived in the city. In other words, are they a native or a transplant? Al told me he was born and raised in Charleston.
So, of course, when you are walking, you can't cover as much ground, we focused on the architecture which led us down the road to seeing a ton of old houses, expensive houses that had so much charm, character, and infinite features. I took pictures of all of them. Al hit all the highlights, talking about architecture, churches, history, cemeteries, and a little bit in between.
I was just in AWE! The houses and buildings were stunning!
The tall Oak Trees tower above the houses casting shade and shelter from the hot sun on a sweltering summer day. The large porches with the old rocking chair to sit on and enjoy your "sweet tea" and hear your neighbors tell stories from long ago.
Another feature about the homes here in Charleston that Al talked about, the kitchen is set up basically like a separate building from the rest of the house. There are reasons for this; if you have a kitchen fire, the entire house will not burn down, innovative, huh? The kitchen had living quarters upstairs for the "house-help" whereas the "nanny quarter" would be in the home's central area. That was just a unique feature that I had never known.
As you can imagine, the porches took front stage to all of the homes here in Charleston; they had what I would call big Southern porches and balconies. As we took our tour, many landscapers manicured the shrubs, cutting the trees and ensuring everything was pristine.
If you find Southern Charm at the top of your list and can't quite make it to the South, try watching the Netflix series Sweet Magnolia's. The show depicts the South Carolina setting; however, I have found out that it is actually taped in Georgia. (BOOO!)
Additionally, as we are in the Bible Belt, there seems to be a church every couple of blocks. The churches in downtown Charleston were not just everyday ordinary-looking churches; these were churches with massive steeples on top, stained glass windows, and nostalgic architecture. We were able to walk inside one of the churches and snap a few pictures; this was the “Cathedral of St John the Baptist” (a Catholic Church), which was beautiful inside & out.
We walked through cemeteries, some of the graves and tombstones date back as far as the 1800s. Al is also a guide for the Ghost Tours and told us there were some pretty "crazy" stories involving Caspers in the graveyards and some of the homes in the area.
In Charleston, another feature you will find is the cobblestone streets and brick-paved sidewalks.
Some of the sidewalks were so intricately done they were just stunning. The architecture and the flower boxes were at the top of my list of things I loved about the city. I mean, who would not love to have these flower boxes outside your bedroom window?
The iron gates/entrances were also a nice feature of the homes. They just added extra charm, grandeur, and attractiveness to the houses in the area. You find window shutters on most homes that, of course, add that different personality and sparkle to brighten up the décor.
We then walked down to the water, an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean, at the junction of Ashley and Cooper rivers. It was a perfect day to be sitting down there. We saw many people strolling by, taking their afternoon run and enjoying the spring weather before it heats up.
We had lunch at a” local "favorite Blind Tiger Pub to finish our tour. We hit it during lunch, but they were quick to offer us a table and get our food to us as, by this time, we were starving. I would describe this place as an upscale bar/pub catering to many locals and people working in downtown Charleston. They had outdoor patio seating for which you were put on a waiting list; we were much too hungry to wait, so we sat inside, stuffing our faces and people watching. (Here we are patiently waiting for our food.)
We spent a lot of time just relaxing, enjoying our new friends at the campground, reading, watching a new series, and catching up on old shows on Netflix and Hulu. Most of the time, the weather was sunny and warm; there were a few days where the rain did rear its ugly head, and like anywhere, sightseeing in the rain is just no fun.
On one of the sunny days, we decided to take off and see a 400-year-old tree called Angel Oak Tree, which was about a 30-minute drive from North Charleston. We walked around and read about it, snapped a few pictures, and then headed on down to our next stop for the day Folly beach.
Folly Beach is a quaint little beach town, someone at our campground suggested to us to have lunch at Taco Boy while there. So, we took off and found a free place to park; it was our lucky day. We walked down to the Pier and just sat and enjoyed the sunshine. The beach was packed for it only being March, so you can only imagine what it's like in the summer months. Beaches are beautiful to look at, but honestly, I don't find it fun sitting in the sand with 100's of people around me fighting for a spot to spend the day. Just not my idea of an enjoyable afternoon.
Just a side note, talking to the locals enjoying the lakes and rivers here in South Carolina is nothing like it is in Washington State. There are a lot of alligators that like to hide and a ton of snakes that lurk in all the dark, scary places. So, when you think of it that way, I guess the beach would not be a bad place to hang out; it's just that a ton of people make it too busy for me.
So, after enjoying the beach, we headed over to have lunch, Taco Boy was a great suggestion. Tex Mex restaurant-type food with a very beachy atmosphere. They have an open bar type set up that allows the breeze to flow inside during hot days. There is an Octopus that hangs from the ceiling. Our server told us that it was constructed right there in the restaurant. A local artist came in and formed it out of wire, then took recycled products found on the beach and a little paper mache and made this beautiful piece of artwork that catches your eye, a talking point for sure.
Last but not least, we could not leave without one more site seeing trip over to Wadmalaw Island. While there, we toured the Charleston Tea Plantation.
That was quite a treat, 127 acres of Tea. First, we watched a short 15-minute video that walked us through the Tea making process steps from cutting the leaves to wilting, withering and drying them to prep for final packaging. The complete process takes less than 24 hrs. from cutting to final drying and ready for packaging. It was educational, and if you are in the area, I would suggest that you put this on your list.
After the Tea Plantation, we headed over to the Tattooed Moose for a great lunch that consisted of burgers and a sandwich. This was a wonderful place to grab some food, just by looking at the pictures you can tell it's a local hang-out.
While in Charleston, we have taken advantage of "self-care." We were here for a full 2-weeks and took in the sites, but also relaxed and took advantage of the fantastic campground and all it had to offer.
So I am going to leave you will a little thought that was shared with me by a very dear friend that sets apart the 3-beautiful cities we have visited:
Always remember that Savannah, Charleston, and New Orleans are like sisters.
Savannah is the youngest sister, sweet like a 16-year-old debutante.
Charleston has made her debut and has many young men after her.
New Orleans is the wicked Older Sister who wants to have fun, and she doesn't care what daddy thinks.
Again, thank you for following along. Mark and I feel so blessed to see so much and share all of our adventures with you!
Tootles for now!