Throughout the area there are beautiful, old southern homes surrounded by weeping willows and expansive lawns. Some of these were, a long time ago, the grand homes of plantation owners and seeing them made it easy to feel the grace and beauty of the South.
Also seen are the cabins in the slave quarters. Such reality can smack out the nostalgia and romance.
This picture is of The Hermitage. Built in 1848 by Dr.Allard Belin Flagg and it is believed that the spirit of his sister, Alice, who died of malaria at the age of 16, visits this house on moon lite nights.
It is possible to drive past a few of these lovely homes but there is also Plantation River Tours which really helps to reach into the historical aspects of this part of the country.
Photo by Ernest Ferguson
Murrell is a family name and I spent some time here researching. I wanted to find if there was any connection to my family.
Murrell's Inlet, just a short drive from Myrtle Beach, is considered the pleasure and charter boat headquarters for the Grand Strand. Murrell's Inlet is the Seafood Restaurant Capital, and is the origin of many tales of ghosts and pirates.
The name Murrell comes from a Captian who, it is reported, dumped his valuable cargo into the ocean, to allow room for the passengers of a near by sinking ship, thereby saving hundreds of lives. What a good thing to do. I do hope we are actually related, I never found out for sure.
However, if you are not motivated to research your family tree, this is a wonderful place for the Eco-Tourist to visit. The residents of this village are quite interested and active with many ways of perserving their marsh and water ways. As they say, "Preserving and protecting it is this community's top goal."
Photo by Ernest Ferguson
"Carlopolis", or Charles Towne, is one among the oldest cities in the USA as it was founded in AD 1670. It lies in a splendid location for defensive purposes and Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie did their part to cover the access from the ocean,
Fort Sumter occupies a small island in the middle of the inlet with ferry services to it. This fort is protected under the National Parks system as well as Fort Moultrie built along the coast of Sullivans Island. It played its main role at the time of the American Civil War and it grew in time until WWII. It was then abandoned as submarine and other warfare technology went beyond its defensive capabilities. A visit reveals the changes through the years and the latest command quarters used during WWII. Nice views over the bay with groups of dolphins frequently seen.
Right in the heart of town, the Historical City Market is an indoor-type street market where clothing, food, local crafts and other special or unusual items can be found in addition to regular merchandise. Open daily, year-round.
I visited it in November and finding imported Italian Panettone - the typical Italian Christmas cake - for sale was a nice surprise.
- To be continued -
We spent an entire day walking around historic Charleston. There are so many things to see and do. I'm sure we could have easily spent several days there. Be sure you check out the pineapple fountain, Rainbow Row and the harbor.
I wasn't really sure what to expect when visiting Congaree National Park. It's close to Columbia but it seems like you are in the middle of nowhere when you get there. The area around Congaree Park is predominantly farmland and that's probably why it's a national park. Congaree is an old-growth floodplain forest. The largest remaining on this continent. The Congaree River periodically floods the entire area and turns it into a swamp. When you walk through the Congaree it's completely different from the land around the park that you passed to get to it. Large Cypress and Loblolly pine cover the area and provided the timber industry a good revenue stream prior to it becoming a protected area.
The park is outstanding with a 2.5 mile elevated boardwalk that provides a nice easy walk through the park that starts and ends at the visitor center. From the boardwalk there are several other trails that will let you visit other areas of the park. Finally, canoeing trips are available as well along the 50 mile Congaree River Blue Trail. Wildlife is abundant in the park and the scenery is beautiful!
An exciting and unique way to spend a day and a half canoeing along the Edisto River. The hosts drop you 15 or so miles up river and with your choice of an individual kayak or tandem canoe you row approximately halfway to your fully furnished treehouse (complete with grill, mini-stove and essential cooking utensils). Subsequently, breakfast for the next morning will be awaiting as the hosts drop it off on your trek.
A romantic or family getaway.
Although the neighboring state of Georgia is known as "The Peach State", South Carolina, only half the size of Georgia, grows more peaches. And the small town of Johnston, SC, lays claim to being the Peach Capital of the World.
Johnston is a small town in Edgefield County, which lies on the Savannah River and shares a border with Georgia. There's not a great deal for a tourist to do in Johnston, but it is still well worth exploring if you find yourself in the area. The old Cotton Exchange downtown has been converted into the Peach Exchange and now houses the town's modern public library. Victorian style houses line picturesque shaded streets. There are also historical markers in and around the downtown area that tell the history of this community that began as a highway crossing and railroad stop after the Civil War.
The best time to visit Johnston, as I did once, is during the town's annual Peach Blossom Festival, held every year on the first Saturday in April. There you will find food, crafts, music and much more. Early April is when Johnston is the prettiest, with not only peach blossoms, but also azaleas, dogwood, and other flowers are at their best then.
Come back to Johnston in mid-summer and bite down on a fresh tree-ripened peach that has been warmed by the hot South Carolina sun. That's got to be one of earth's most delightful taste treats. Bland grocery store peaches, picked green and trucked in from California, aren't even in the same category.
This forest is located in Dorchester County. There is a boardwalk that walks through part of Four Holes Swamp, and also a gift shop and museum. The forest has the largest remaining stand of bald cypress and tupelo gum trees in the world. This is a very educational and interesting trip, and you get a wonderful view of the SC swampland.
336 Sanctuary Road, Harleyville, South Carolina
South Carolina has some world class golf courses that you must try you own skills on.
Too many to list (48) check site below for more details and numbers.
Hilton Head Island
There is at least 10 beautiful golf courses on this island, all top notch. You can use your Celebration Visitors Card mentioned in Must See Tip for any where from $5 to $15 off.
1) Country Club of Hilton Head,
2) Golden Bear Golf Club,
3) Crescent Pointe Golf Club, (843) 706-2600, (843) 341-2500, or (888) 325-1833
4) Eagle's Pointe Golf Club (843) 686-4457
(843) 757-5900 or (888) 325-1833
5) Old Carolina Golf Links (843)785-6363
6)Old South Golf Links (843)785-5353
(800 257-8997 www.oldsouthgolf.com
7) Port Royal Golf & Racquet Club (843)689-golf, (800)234-6418 www.hiltonheadgolf.net
8) Shipyard Golf Club (843 689-golf
9) Daufuskie Island Golf Clubs
(843) 842-2000, (800) 648-6788
10) Rose Hill Golf Club (843) 842-3740
This island is a golfers dream!
One of the things my grandchildren like to do when it is hot is go to the beach. They mostly go to the Charleston area beaches. But there are very famous beaches to go to in the Myrtle Beach area AKA The GRAND STRAND, and then there are also Low County beaches, particularly Hilton Head.
My other suggestion for a day trip from Charleston is to head the other direction and venture into North Carolina. There is enough in NC to keep you busy for weeks so you can't venture too far into the state or you may never return to Charleston, but for a day trip, a very pleasant, relaxing seaside place is Sunset Beach.
Accessible only by a bridge over from the mainland, Sunset Beach is a tiny town just over the border from South Carolina. The beach is very peaceful and perfect for a nice long walk. If you have the time, Wilmington, a larger, more famous NC city, is just a little further north but standing between you and North Carolina is the traffic in Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach, which can seriously slow a person down.
By the way, I would skip Myrtle Beach. It is an extremely touristy town of shopping malls, flashy restaurants of very low quality, and old hotels left over from Myrtle Beach's mid-century heyday.
Okay, this may sound strange but while in South Carolina you might want to consider a day trip out of the state. Not that there isn't more than enough to do in South Carolina but, while in Charleston, you are so very close to two more states that have towns that make the perfect destination for a day trip.
When visiting a new place, I have a tendancy to notice how close I am to some place else. I'm not sure why I do this. It doesn't have anything to do with how much I'm enjoying my original destination, it's just my natural curiosity and wanderlust, I guess. Once, while in Washington, D.C. I ended up in Philadelphia! Long story but, the upshot of all this is if you're like me and there's nothing you love more than discovering new places, you're in the perfect place to do just that while in Charleston.
My first suggestion would be the first city founded in Georgia - Savannah. Located only a couple hours' drive southwest of Charleston, Savannah is a lovely southern belle of a town with a lot to see and do.
Savannah was made famous by the book and subsequent film "Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil." The movie especially made a star out of this gorgeous city designed with numerous public squares - little parks with a bit of green, some benches, some flowers, and maybe a statue or fountain - lined with amazing historic homes. The waterfront area on River Street has terrific shopping (buy some peanuts!) and dining, all located in historic buildings along cobblestone streets.
There are also art museums and historic homes that can be toured.
Okay, despite what I said about Drayton Hall being better, Boone Hall is still worth a visit and if you have the time you definitely should check it out. The 738-acre plantation was owned by Major John Boone, who arrived in South Carolina on the first boat of settlers in 1681. His daughter had a son - Edward Rutledge - who signed the Declaration of Indepence so there is much family history here. There is a lot of southern history here as well.
The plantation was originally a cotton plantation but later switched to pecan groves and became, for a while at the turn of the 20th Century, the largest pecan grove in the world. They also made their own bricks and most of the buildings on the property are built out of these handmade bricks. Because of that and the fact that most buildings are very well preserved, a lot of them are on the National Register of Historic Places, including the slave cabins. Cabins in this good of a condition are rare nowadays. A visit here really gives a good idea what living conditions were like for them (not good, considering the opulence of the main house compared to the one-room uninsulated cabins).
Guided tours take you through the main house and some of the grounds. The rest you are allowed to explore on your own. There is a gift shop with some nice cotton-themed gifts and souvenirs.
The main attraction of the plantation is the "Avenue of Oaks" - a road to the main house that is lined on both sides with live oaks dripping with Spanish Moss. This road (and the main house) have been used in numerous movies and tv shows.
If you're only in Charleston for a short time and can only go see one plantation, this is the one you should see. It's not in as pristine condition as Boone Hall but it is 100% original. Nothing has been updated and I mean NOTHING. There is no electricity, no central air or heat but alas, also no furniture. If you're familiar with Warwickshire, England, think of Drayton Hall as Kenilworth Castle and Boone Hall as Warwick Castle. The history almost comes alive more easily in a place like Drayton because you can see the toll time has taken on it and yet it's still beautiful and it still looks so much like it did a century earlier. In a perfectly preserved place it may look like the family is merely out to lunch and will be back soon and as such, the life of the place feels absent. In a place like Drayton Hall the ghosts are there whispering to you.
This plantation was originally built in 1738 and is the only plantation in South Carolina to survive both the Revolutionary War and the Civil War (and considering how much Sherman loved to burn things down, it's an amazing feat that Drayton is still around).
The real gem of this place is the interior architectural touches - the ceilings, the fireplace mantles, etc. It's simple and classy, even after all this time. The tour guides are terrific and very knowledgable. Most of them are degreed historians who know their subject very, very well.
Another excellent feature of the plantation is the grounds around the main house. There are two walks available to visitors. One is a river walk that takes you down to the river that edges the property. There is a small dock there. The plantation used to receive deliveries and guests there because it was quicker and easier to get a boat up the river than to get a team of horses down a swamp road. The other walk is a marsh walk, which is longer and, in my opinion, more interesting. The walk is done partly in the woods before branching out onto wooden walkways through the marshes. The birds and a few other critters are populous in the trees and tall grasses. You feel miles away from civilization out there, even though you're not. It's relaxing and beautiful.
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