Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Two for One ... A Long One!

I have fallen behind in my posting again, so this one will cover two of our stops: Charleston and Myrtle Beach South Carolina. Both very nice places!

We decided to go on another guided walking tour in Charleston. 

This time we choose a Civil War tour. Our guide was very knowledgeable, and I felt I learned many new things about the Civil War. 

As I have mentioned before, when on these tours I tend to give more attention to listening than to looking for good pictures, but here are a few that I took in the old town area of Charleston:

Some of the early residents felt they needed to protect their homes from possible slave uprisings. Of course, this wrought iron work was made with highly skilled slave labor. 

Some of the iron work is less intimidating. 

This wall detail caught my eye as we walked past it.

Part of the way our guide told the story of Charleston was by taking us from square to square in the old city. Each is a square block itself, and only a few blocks from the next. Each is graced by wonderful old live oaks, and commemorative statuary. Nowadays they are beautiful islands where tourists walk and locals bring their dogs or have their lunch breaks. Originally they were a place for community ovens and other such activities.

Almost all of the homes and buildings in Charleston were destroyed by bombardment during the Civil War, but have been beautifully restored. I'm sure their interiors are quite modern.

As in many old towns, horse drawn carriages are also used for tours. 

Our next stop up the coast was Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. We stayed at the state park which was very nice. 

On Sunday we went over to the pier and for a walk along the beach. This was within the State Park. Our campground was in the trees that you see inland from the sand.

We are coming to terms with the tradeoff between having a peaceful wooded site, where the satellite is blocked, vs. an open, treeless site where we can get satellite reception. I have become a bit of a political addict and Craig likes to watch sports. We have been lucky in that our Verizon phone is our hot spot and has been working quite well. We have an unlimited data plan, so in a pinch we have been able to stream the NBA playoffs and some of the CNN election coverage. We can also get local and network TV on the Alfa's original antenna if we want it.

While in Myrtle Beach we decided to spend some time visiting the Brookgreen Gardens.  It is the largest outdoor America sculpture garden and is on land that was once four rice plantations. Since the admission ticket was good for seven days, we took our time, and spread out our visit over two afternoons.

On the first day we took a guided garden tour. Although the flowers were very nice, they were secondary to the magnificent sculpture collection. All of the 1400 sculptures are figurative and by American artists. 

Gator Bender by Nathaniel Choate

This was one of  my favorites, I think I liked the back view best!  Nice buns.

Two of about twenty Dianas. I have lost track of the artists names.

Remember the movies based on the children's book "Night at the Museum"? In it the characters in the dioramas come alive. There was so much movement in the sculptures, I wondered for a moment what the place might be like in the dark. They all felt so alive, frozen in time.

After the garden tour we headed over to the Low Country dock where we got tickets for the boat ride. 

The boat captain spoke about the wildlife and birds of the area, and about the operation of the rice plantations using slave labor. At one time 80% of the population of the county were slaves. Rice cultivation in this area depended on their labor, and thus died out after the emancipation. Before the Civil War, rice was the main commodity sent down to Charleston for export.

On our second afternoon we went on a small bus tour of The Oaks, one of the four plantations that make up Brookgreen Gardens.

The acreage here is mostly reverting to it's pre-plantation state, and is a nature preserve. The plantation building sites are marked and are worked on by archeologists from time to time, but the buildings themselves are gone or not much more than foundation bricks here and there. The primary remaining feature is the well preserved, walled family cemetery.

Even though there were no structures to be seen, and the tour was a bumpy ride over dirt paths, our driver gave a good talk about the land, the Allston family that owned and operated the plantation through several generations, the tragedies and hardships they experienced, and the very hard lives of the slaves that built and worked the rice fields. 

It is one thing to read a history book, or novel, or see a movie about a time in the past, but visiting and walking in these places is an unbelievable experience. Our tours and walks these last few weeks, together with our visit to Gettysburg in 2013, have given me insight and understanding no book ever could. I have much to ponder.

On a lighter side, we finished the afternoon walking thru the small local wildlife zoo area. I liked the birds the best. All the mammals were sleeping.

There was an exhibit of large LEGO sculptures  on display in the zoo area.

This very large spider hung from a tree was one of the first we spotted.

The hummingbird also caught our imagination. 

We finished our day at Brookgreen with a walk through the butterfly house and then, on the advice of one of the volunteers of the garden, stopped and picked up some fresh fish to grill for dinner. 

So nice to be able to cook out after a beautiful day seeing beautiful things. 

RV life is good!


  1. nice recap of your visit! Myrtle Beach looks fabulous!!!

  2. So nice to tour around the country and enjoy the sights, thanks for taking us along.

  3. What a great time you are having. Sounds like fun just to meander through history. I enjoy your blog.

  4. Too bad we didn't appreciate history when we were young but we also didn't have a chance to experience it in real life which would have made a big difference.

  5. Kathy and I both enjoy learning about history the same way you are presently doing. As you said it puts a face to everything you read and learned while in school. More locations for our future explorations.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  6. We really love that area and stay at Huntington Beach State Park when we go. The beach is beautiful there. Nice post!

  7. History is one of the best things about full-timing


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