Charleston - What a great city 11.26.2017

We spent three nights in Charleston – what a great city. We took a horse drawn carriage ride with Justin who introduced us to the history of the city: the wars, storms and fires that it survived. I learned:

Hugh, Karen Sheila and Bob with buggy - who is that other guy???

Justine our tour guide

The buggy driver throws down this marker when the horse takes a pee so that the workers can come and wash down the street.

Calhoun house in historic area

  1. There is one corner in historic Charleston called four corners of law – there is a church, a court house, post office and city hall on the four corners

  2. Draught horses used by the buggy tours were trained in Ohio by the Amish

  3. The City of Charleston controls the buggy tours and the path each tour guide gets each time is decided by a bingo ball.

  4. The horses used have four inch rubber cushions on their shoes for comfort and the number of hours they can work in a given day is strictly controlled.

  5. The Palmetto tree is the state tree and is on the South Carolina flag along with a crescent shape which commemorates a pin on the confederate soldier hats

  6. Taxes were determined by the footage along the front of the homeowner’s lot, so most of the houses are very narrow with the main porch on the side.

  7. In colonial times, if the door to the street was open it was an invitation to come visit.But many front doors don’t lead into the house - but instead to either the garden or to a porch.

  8. South of Broad (SOB) is a very exclusive area in the historic district where no short term rentals are allowed.

  9. Having a front door painted red is a Lutheran tradition that comes from “the blood of Christ”.

  10. No building can be built higher than the steeple on St Mathew’s Church and the first board of architectural review for construction started in Charleston in 1930.

  11. Plantation owners’ summer homes were built in Charleston and they had so much money that they were looking for things to spend it on - they imported exotic plants from overseas for their large elaborate gardens.

  12. The city is full of ‘live oak’ trees.These trees live for hundreds of years and the wood is used for building boats because it is so strong

We visited the public market that runs down the center of the historic area. The family that donated the land wanted to make sure there was a location for central purchasing of food and household goods. They stipulated that if the land ever changes its purpose the land reverts back to the family. Sale of slaves was specifically prohibited because it was such a lucrative business, and they feared it would grow and squeeze out the food businesses. Interestingly, there are no commercial enterprises in the historic residential areas because everything was concentrated in the central market.

We were docked at the Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina which is east of the city – not right downtown.

Hawk in tree at Marina - He had just killed a squarel that had landed on the top of a car and he was waiting for the people to go away so he could eat it.

As the name indicates, it is associated with a hotel/resort. The docks were great – the customer service and showers not so. They didn’t properly represent the cost as they didn’t mention a service fee for the privilege of being able to use certain amenities of the resort. (Which we didn’t use) Also, it was the first time I had seen a separate little room for each shower with virtually no room to get dressed and certainly no dry space for dressing. I snuck out of the room and into the ladies room next door to dress each time – not the best situation. To add insult to injury, only 2 of the 4 showers were working when we arrived. (Bob’s note – Sheila prevailed upon the management and they refunded the amenities fee for both boats).

Charleston Marina has a submarine and warship museum right next to it. Note the bridge in the background. - very impressive.

We toured a Slave Mart Museum which was very unsettling. The written material described the pricing mechanism used for each person based on sex, age, skills and physical condition. I also had my own experience with discrimination here in Charleston. While buying tickets for the buggy tour, I asked about the old synagogue; where it was and if it cost to get it to the museum they have there. The woman selling the tickets made a comment about how the synagogue (museum) charges admission but the churches don’t. She said – “I could make a joke about that one”. I told her I was Jewish and found her comment offensive. I was too taken aback by this that it put me in a terrible mood. Such stupidity from someone who works with the public!!! We did visit the temple later in the day and had a very nice conversation with the woman who runs the gift shop. Turns out she is very close friends with the owner of the carriage tour company. I think the tour sales person may be getting some sensitivity training… The congregation is reportedly the oldest continuously operating congregation in the U.S. – established in the 1600’s.

Old synagogue in Charleston

Thanksgiving day it rained and rained. We had a pot luck dinner with Karen and Hugh and Michael and Bill (a couple that Karen and Hugh met at Alligator Marina earlier in the trip when we were separated) on Trekker. It was wonderful. Karen made a roasted chicken, because the grocery was all out of turkeys. I brought guacamole, sweet potato and green beans and the Boys brought vegetarian loafs, brussel sprouts, carrots and pumpkin pie. Everything was delicious and we all felt incredibly grateful to be on this adventure, have family who we love and have the opportunity to meet such great new friends with kindred spirits on this journey.

Friday we left via the ICW for an anchorage on the way to Beaufort SC. The trip down the ICW was uneventful as we left at mid tide rising. Michael and Bill were supposed to come with us but they had engine trouble and had to spend an extra day in Charleston to get it worked out.

We anchored around 4:00 pm – it is now getting dark at 5:30 PM – in TooGooDoo Creek. It was beautiful, quiet but very cold. We were the only two boats in the anchorage which was mainly marshland. We grilled steaks and used the generator to heat up the cabin before we went to bed – which was early! Had it been warmer I would have sat out looking at the stars- this will have to wait for a warmer night.

The next morning we motored on toward Beaufort S.C. – traveling through numerous areas that were known for shoaling. (shallow areas from the shifting mud and sand that make up the bottom) This is particularly troublesome where creeks and rivers join along the way. There were numerous private docks that jutted out into the river on both sides with quaint homes.

Kayaker racing us on the river

Private dock on the ICW

We slowly picked our way around the green and red markers, reading the advice in our waterway guides and with the help of high tide – did not even come close to hitting bottom. We arrived at Beaufort City Marina and went out for dinner. We sat at a community table where we spoke with some locals who gave us some advice about what to see. Unfortunately, we were going to be there on Sunday and Monday which meant that many things were closed – We were in bible country – as I was frequently reminded.

We took a buggy tour of the city which gave us a view of the lovely old homes in the historic center. Large summer homes were built by plantation owners who made vast sums of money from gold rice (the color the brackish water turns the rice) and from cotton. They grow cotton that is softer than Egyptian cotton which brought in more money than the rice. The agricultural economy and their success was of course built on the backs of slaves. There were many live oak trees with Spanish moss hanging from them. There was one live oak with branches that touched the ground caused by a mutation which only occurs very rarely. Strangely, there are more than a few of these mutated trees growing in Beaufort. The other interesting thing about the Beaufort trees is that none are older than 300 hundred years because the entire area was clear cut in the 1800’s to support the ship building industry.

Old synagogue in Beaufort SC

Synagogue in Beaufort SC

I used our first day in Beaufort to do a thorough cleaning of the cockpit and the floor of the boat, including the rugs. We have cockpit grates that keep us from seeing the shmutz that falls below (out of sight – out of mind) but even this needs to be cleaned periodically.

Michael and Bill caught up with us and we decided to spend one more day in Beaufort before an overnight passage to Brunswick, GA.

Michael, Bill, Karen, Hugh and Bob

Took some time out to have lunch at the Cracked Egg - delicious!

Bike ride in Port Royal

Lookout tower at Beaufort, SC

Boardwalk at Port Royal lookout

The other four rented bikes and we finally used ours and rode a beautiful bike path to Port Royal. We went about 12 miles round trip, stopping at The Cracked Egg for lunch. I made Homer Smith Shrimp for dinner and we had a quiet night.

We left around noon for the open-ocean and Brunswick GA. We had been told that the Georgia stretch of the ICW was problematic so we thought doing a good portion on the outside was a good idea. The forecast was for calm winds and we anticipated a motor sail on a calm ocean with waves less than 3 feet. What we got was a different story. The wind was moderate to light – barely enough to fill the sails - but the waves were out of control. They came at us from all different directions and they were close together which made for a rock and roll trip. It wasn’t as cold as the last overnight, which I was thankful for. It wasn’t dangerous but it was at times quite uncomfortable. Bob and I took watches and before we knew it the sun was rising and we were pulling into Brunswick. Unfortunately our timing was not so great and we approached at maximum ebb which meant we had to fight a 2 to 3 knot current the entire 11 miles up to the marina. But the three boats got here safely and WE MADE IT TO GEORGIA!!!

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