Charleston, South Carolina
"You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result."
– Mahatma Gandhi
Good morning everyone. What a wonderful time we had here in Charleston. Before I go any further, I must say that this is an absolutely gorgeous city with 1,000 things to do, so we highly recommend it as a vacation spot for the whole family. Steve and I were here for a week and we hardly scratched the surface of the history and beauty of this fine city. We are sad to leave but alas our schedule beckons us forward. We are headed to Myrtle Beach for a few days before heading into Darlington for the night race on Saturday. We will most definitely be back to Charleston. We hear Christmas in Charleston is not to be missed (to our children - - think about it!!!!!)
Ok, so let me get to our adventures for the week. We began with a trip Charles Towne Landing - - the very first permanent English settlement in the Carolinas dating back to 1670. As you will see from the pictures, the three ships that originally sailed for this location struggled to get here. Of the three, only the Carolina made it on time and even then, only after stops at Barbados and the Bahamas due to severe weather. The 148 men, women and children who arrived at Abermarle Pointe in April of 1670 received land from King Charles as a gift of gratitude for their allegiance to him during a coup by Oliver Cromwell. For this loyalty, these 8 men were given the title of the Lords Proprietors as well as hundreds of acres of land each in the Carolina settlement. The settlers came to the new world to farm products such as indigo (used for dyes), ginger root, rice and sugar cane.
We learned that the Kiawah Indians were not hostile to the new settlers at all. As a matter of fact, they were a great help to them as they led the original settlers to Abermarle Pointe (vs. Port Royal which was their original destination). According to the Indians, Abermarle Pointe was a better location for farming, so that is where they headed. The settlers stayed at the Charles Towne settlement for 10 years before they crossed the Ashley River and built what is today's Charleston (the "e" was removed and the two words combined after the Revolutionary War). Steve took some great pictures of this historic locale. Check them out.
Our next adventure was to visit the USS Yorktown CV-10 (CV stands for aircraft carrier) that is moored at Patriot's Point in Charleston. The Yorktown was the 10th aircraft carrier ever made by the Navy and was placed into service during World War II. This ship was quite impressive. It housed 3,500 sailors while out at sea and within the ship itself an entire "city" exists. We toured the ship and were taken aback at how complicated the layout was. There were hallways going every which way leading to various places to eat, doctors and dentist offices, control rooms, engine rooms, sleeping quarters, storage units, bakeries (see the recipe in the gallery for how to make 10,000 chocolate chip cookies), and mechanical repair facilities. In addition to all that were 90 airplanes that were brought up to the flight deck via 3 different elevators. And, to make things even more interesting, this ship is apparently haunted. On the day that we visited, the SyFy Channel aired an episode of Ghost Hunters which featured the USS Yorktown. Totally cool! In addition to the Yorktown, Patriots Point also houses the USS Laffey (a destroyer) and the USS Clagamore (a submarine) but both of those were under restoration and not available for tour. Lastly, available for tour was a mock up of a Vietnam Naval Support Base. The entire day was really quite interesting and as we walked through the Medal of Honor museum housed within the Yorktown, the dedication of our armed services really hit home. These men and women who give their lives for our freedom should really be thanked every time we see one. As you know, freedom is not free, and without their sacrifice this country (and the world) would be a completely different place.
Steve and I headed downtown one day to do a walking tour of historic Charleston. What a gorgeous city!!!!! I have to say that to me, it is a mix of New Orleans and Savannah - - beautiful homes and churches in various architectural styles like Romanesque, Greek Revival, Federal, Adam, Neoclassical, Georgian, Italian Renaissance, I could go on. Most of these buildingshave their porches and balconies facing southwest to avail themselves of the cooling breezes (and trust me, they needed it. While we were there, it was 90 degrees and 90% humidity and it was the first week in May). The gardens of these homes are all in the back of the house, just like New Orleans. The downtown area also has a number of beautiful parks or squares that the citizenry used as social gathering spots, much like Savannah. It is interesting to note that Charleston was also known as a "holy city" because of the number of houses of worship located within its city borders.
It was impossible to take enough pictures to give you a feel for the beauty of the city. Everywhere you looked there was something at which to marvel. The stained glass windows were spectacular and the iron work found in the gates and balconies of some of the homes were truly breathtaking. Additionally, Charleston itself is a study in perseverance. It survived attacks from the Spanish and French and from the Northern Yankees. It has suffered numerous hurricanes, an enormous earthquake, and a fire that nearly destroyed the entire city. Yet here it sits in all its glory. As we said earlier, you will have to travel here yourselves to check it out and again, we highly recommend it.
Our last venture was to view the H.L. Hunley. In 1864, the Confederate army devised the first successful combat submarine and sent it out into the harbor to destroy the USS Housatonic, a ship there to act as a blockade for supplies coming into Charleston harbor. The mission was a success as they struck the Housatonic with a blast large enough to sink the ship in 3 minutes. Unfortunately, the 8 men aboard the Hunley died when the submarine sank to the harbor floor shortly after its encounter with the Housatonic. There is sat for 130 years until the National Geographic Society found it and brought it to the surface. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take any pictures of the actual submarine as National Geographic owns all the rites to any media on the submarine.
Steve and I had a nice evening out as we took a dinner cruise around the harbor. The food was spectacular and we met some nice folks. We also toured the Del Webb community up in Summerville (since we are still searching for our permanent landing spot). Lastly, we headed out to Kiawah Island to view the rising of the super moon. Check out Steve's pics of the moon on the page with the Hunley submarine.
Alrighty then. Steve and I are headed to Myrtle Beach to tan our smokin' hot bods. The weather is cooling considerably (it will be in the lower 80's) so a day at the beach will not be oppressive. We look forward to our visit with family in June so we want to look our best when we see everyone!
Take care everyone. We miss you all and think of you often.
P.S. In case you are wondering, Terry and Jill left Hot Springs, North Carolina on Saturday and are headed to Damascus, Virginia for trail days. We plan to hook up with them the week of May 21. Can't wait!
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