The Carolinas

Day 31IMG_0828IMG_0854

Miles Driven: 222

We stayed the night in the Yemassee KOA, just off the I-90. On our way back to the _MG_1221freeway, we discovered the Old Sheldon Church. The church had been built while South Carolina was a British colony and was burned during the Revolutionary war. It was rebuilt and burned again during the Civil war and has now stood in ruin for the past 140 years. The stone walls and surrounding grave yard still stand.

_MG_1222Our friend in Alabama, Nancy, recommended we visit the town of Beaufort on our drive north. We stopped in for brunch at Blackstone’s Cafe and learned that Tom Hanks, himself, would come eat at this diner while filming Forest Gump. Much of the film was shot in Beaufort and the surrounding plantations and roads. For brunch, mom decided to try the shrimp and grits, a southern favorite. Beaufort has some of the most beautiful homes too. Mom and I enjoyed driving through the neighborhood and window-shopping for home ideas.

IMG_0831We spent the afternoon in Charleston (pronounced “Chaaaaston” by the locals). A must do attraction is taking a horse and buggy tour of the historic downtown. We made reservations with Palmetto Carriage Tours. (A palmetto is the state tree, a small palm.) In order to control buggy traffic on the streets, the city has organized three routes the tour groups can take, and each buggy is assigned a route randomly. We were given route 1, a tour by the beautiful homes at the water’s edge.

During the hour-long tour, we saw Rainbow Row, where each of the townhomes is painted a different pastel color. Once we got to the water front, each home tried to outdo the one before it and became more extravagant. What was interesting is that each home had some sort of side sleeping porch for the family to use when the weather was hot. One home along the water front was at a slightly different angle from its neighbors. Our guide told us that the waters in the harbor were hard to navigate because of many hidden sand bars and that this home’s builder was in shipping. He designed the house at an angle so his crew could line up the columns and use it as a guide for navigating in.

IMG_0845IMG_0842We learned many fun facts on the tour. From the harbor, we could see Fort Sumter, where the first shot of the civil war was fired. Do you know the difference between a graveyard and a cemetery? A graveyard surrounds a church, and a cemetery is free standing.

At the end of the tour, we visited Market Street. Here, local artisans sold their wares including hand woven sweet grass baskets. These baskets are a craft preserved by the Gullah culture and can range from $10 for the little ornament we bought to over $100. Researchers believe that this craft and the Gullah culture were brought over from Africa and developed in America as the many different African cultural groups learned to work and live together on the plantations. They shared stories and traditions and developed an English-based Creole language.

We spent the night at the Mt. Pleasant KOA where we had the first cool, sleepable night in days. Situated on a lake, we had a nice breeze flowing through our car-rv.

Day 32.

Miles Driven: 205

We returned to Charleston this morning to visit the Calhoun Mansion. Built by one of the wealthiest merchants in town, (you can tell by all of the rope motifs used as decorations) George W. Williams was a blockade runner during the civil war. The Union occupied Fort Sumter and blocked the harbor from Confederate Charleston. Williams was so wealthy he was even able to build homes for his children across the street and down the block. Eventually, the home was sold to become a hotel, navy outpost, and was almost sold to a developer. After being restored, the current owner now uses his home to display and preserve his many collectables.

After the house tour, we stopped at King of Pops popsicle stand for a refreshing treat. I had discovered them yesterday by Market Street. Yesterday, I enjoyed a cantaloupe pop and today I had watermelon while mom had peach. Yum!

We got on the road and headed towards North Carolina. Did you know that King Charles was ruling Britain when the Carolina’s were established as colonies? And Carolina is feminine for Charles?

On the drive, we were caught in the most torrential downpour that lasted about 40 minutes. I had to drive so slowly with my wipers on high and the flashers on. We could barely see 15 feet in front of the car. And do you remember that little leak in the car? Well so much water came in, it was like a small foot bath for mom.

IMG_0856But we made it to Raleigh regardless of the weather. We are staying with family from my dad’s side. His brother’s wife Shirley, my cousin Beth, her husband Matt, and two kids Michael and Katy. I had so much fun with Michael and Katy. Two bundles of energy, we danced and played Mario Kart Wii together. I could not keep up with them!

Total Miles: 5,355

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