Tag Archives: South Carolina

Vacation June 2014 First stop Charleston SC

Charleston Highlights

Beachwalker Park, Kiawah
Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island SC

Beachwalker County Park on Kiawah Island After a day of travelling, I spent my first real vacation day at an almost deserted beach. My fellow beach walkers respected one another’s space, walking along the shore in silence, at a distance. I walked just at the water’s edge on the hard, brown sand so that each wave rushed up and covered my feet with cool surf. Eventually the signs on the beach warned  of a current and prohibited swimming.

Crab
Horseshoe Crab shells

I walked on until nobody was walking ahead of me and all I could see was sea and shore. As I spread out my towel to sit down, I noticed the remains of some strange looking crustaceans.  After posting a picture on Facebook three friends identified these horseshoe crabs. Either someone has a sense of humor or these two may have some tragic love story in the crab universe.

On the first day on my summer vacation I usually have a pajama day and sit around the house all day to enjoy some alone time. This year I took my pajama day at the beach. Silent. Peaceful. Breathing in and out in rhythm with the waves.

While I was at the beach Ted enjoyed a round of golf at the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, one of his bucket list courses. I met up with  him for drinks afterwards on the back porch of the club house and watched rain come in over the ocean.

Chez Fish. On the way back to Charleston we stopped at a place called Chez Fish.  It looked pretty unassuming, there were a good number of cars in the parking lot, and we were hungry.  Everything was a-mazing. I had a pan seared flounder with some veggies and potatoes that were perfect. I expected great seafood on the Atlantic coast and this turned out to my favorite eatery of the trip…and we ate at some great places.

The Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon. This building has a history dating back to the 1670’s. The newly written Declaration of Independence was read for South Carolina citizens to debate revolution, and yes, George Washington did some military and presidential business in these very walls. Ironically in the shadow of this same building where important documents like the Declaration and Constitution were adopted by SC, a slave market operated on its grounds. So many influential lives and events touched this one place.

Old provost exchange and dungeon SC
Dungeon of Old Provost Exchange, Charleston SC

It’s basement served as a prison for Blackbeard and other pirates.  Patriots and Redcoats were held there during the Revolutionary War and Union soldiers and runaway slaves during the Civil War.

The support arches in the dungeon were constructed by hand and are still holding up this building hundreds of years later.  I found this space more beautiful and fascinating than the more opulent spaces above it.

The Charleston City Market on the corner of Broad and Meeting streets which has operated as the site of a public market since 1639. The market is like a very large, very nice flea market. Artisans sell baskets, jewelry, chachkies, clothing, and foods. It was fun walking through and looking at amazing art and amazingly tacky art displayed side by side.  I regret not buying a Gullah sweetgrass basket Ted’s mom asked us to bring her one and they were plentiful at the market but I figured I’d buy a basket on the Gullah tour I’d scheduled on Hilton Head (my excursion while Ted played another bucket list course.) Who knew Gullah crafts were dying out on Hilton Head? Not me. At least not before the tour I would take days later.

GRACEAlpha-Tography is a shop near the Market where we met John Laukaitis, a photographer who takes pictures of architectural features that look like letters of the alphabet and creates unique art pieces. We designed and bought one as a souvenir to remember the amazing buildings and gates we saw. More than that, it reflects our focus on God’s amazing spiritual message.

Angel Oak branch
Branch of the Angel Oak near Charleston SC

The Angel Oak is located a just a bit out of Charleston on John’s Island. Age estimates range from 400-1500 years old. It’s massive and its branches twist in every direction. I think I saw Treebeard’s elephant cousin.

This whole region is full of beautiful spreading oaks hung with Spanish moss. Their branches arch across the road like a tunnels.

Charleston tea
Spreading oaks at Charleston Tea Plantation. Tea garden is on left side of the road.

Charleston Tea Plantation. Speaking of old plants, we toured the nation’s only commercial tea plantation and found out that tea plants can live as long as 600 years. Some of the tea plants we saw were planted in 1799. We saw the harvesting and processing machines. They stop processing at different points to produce white, green, oolong, and black teas. Of course we sampled and brought back a tea ball and a tin of mint tea.

Charleston bridge
Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, Charleston SC

The greatest adventures often happen when things go wrong.  We were supposed to take a tall ship tour to look for dolphins and see Fort Sumpter, lighthouses, etc. but it was cancelled. I was kind of hoping we’d go out in the rain.  I like seeing places in the rain.

We got soaked, went back to the hotel, ordered pizza and watched the World Cup, so the day wasn’t a total loss.

These were my favorite Charleston experiences. We spent five days there then headed to Savannah.