Friday, December 23, 2011

Charmed by Charleston!

Hey everybody, the Happy Campers had a very busy November!!  With the "adventure" part of our trip winding down, we've been putting some focus into where we're going to settle for the winter here in FL.  But before that, we did manage to hit some beautiful parts of South Carolina and Georgia.

After pulling out of Maine and heading south, we picked up 98 square feet in NC and pointed our wheels towards the coast.  

First stop - Charleston, SC.  We absolutely loved this charming little southern seaside community. It was so rich in history and no different than any other town that we loved - we pretty much ate, drank and walked our way around town on several occassions!  And it's a place that we could almost see ourselves living - beautiful ocean, cool downtown, lots of activities, etc.  Of course that means we'd have to pick up adorable southern accents....which Tracy has been diligently practicing!

"Yes, I'm just the cutest southern bell you ever did lay eyes on"  It flows right off the tongue!

Here are the highlights of our coastal trip to this lovely city:
Charleston

Isle of Palms - very cool little island with absolutely stunning beach homes.  We loved starting our day with a walk on the beach and collecting amazing shells that lined miles of beautiful sandy shores. 

 
Just a sampling of the shells we
collected one day!


Miles of beautiful beach to take our morning stroll on


Downtown Charleston - as usual, we found some great pubs with good food and good beers.....and thanks to our handy AAA books, we took a cool walking tour through the downtown area to take in some culture.   The really neat thing about downtown were all the gas lanterns that adorned the streets as their street lights and are also featured on many people's homes - so beautiful and historic.


Balls!  Historic parks had cool war time displays - including
this one complete with Cannonballs!

Historic buildings all through
the area



Gas Lanterns everywhere - such a unique touch
to this historically rich city



Southern charm - huge, old mansions overlook
the parks and the bay.


Cannons once protected this area and supported
the Fort out on the bay













Cemeteries - wow, these were so amazing....tombstones from the 1700's.....really cool expereince!


Strolling through these cemeteries
was actually not creepy at all


We found ourselves looking at each one since
dates back to the 1700's fascinated us
 
Southend Brewery - quickly became a favorite, and was supposedly haunted.  The only ghosts we experienced were the ones who apparently kept emptying our glasses!



Even pubs are old...Circa 1880

The Griffon - our kind of place - a dive bar! When we walked in, there was a small wedding party (bride and groom included) on one side and a chic wearing a knit turkey hat on the other side....and the place was covered in dollar bills....Loved It!! 


 
The exact kind of dark, eerie pub you want to visit
when in a town like Charleston!

Sticky Fingers BBQ - no trip would be complete without some delicious southern wings and that's just what we got - the BBQ/Ranch dipping sauce was amazing!!  The drinks were yummy, too


Loved the name - couldn't
resist stopping in!










These went perfect with our
wing appetizer!


Rooftop Bar - had a couple of cocktails with an old friend, Kelly Moran, and enjoyed the incredible view.  Plus, we learned that no building can be taller than the church steeple....yes, religion is very strong down here in the south!  Apparently the Happy Campers forgot to snap some photos!

Cupcake - Like most college towns, Charleston has a collection of neat little shops all around - so when we saw "Cupcake", we knew we had to have one (or two)!  Plus, Martha gave them a thumbs up!  Delicious - and a good laugh since we ate them in the car while parked next to a church as a wedding let out.....nothing like stuffing your face with a chocolate cream cheese frosted cupcake while watching some poor chick squeezed into a wedding dress!



Amy promised to get ONE and we would
split it.  Guess how many came out?
Yep, TWO!

Festival of Lights - Voted in the Top 10 of Christmas light displays each year!  On James Island, they assemble this amazing 3 mile drive of Christmas Lights every year....and just our luck, it opened while we were there!  We couldn't believe how cool it was with everything from deer to animated snowball fights, to an undersea world, to candyland - it was endless with imagination!  The pictures can never do it justice since many of the lights had movement to them....and it's hard to capture the magic that comes with flickering lights via camera. 




This was cool - the dragon swims up as the fisherman
tries to reel in his catch


Snowball fight over the road as snowman family
watches - very fun!


Ahoy Matey!  Crap, here comes a Croc!



All different "lands" lined the streets



The church was cool

Tracy's personal favorite.  Sponsored by Weight Watchers,
Rudolph and Santa are measuring the chimney. 
Seriously made me laugh out loud!



Animals heading to the arc before we head into Candyland


The farm had some charm to it with the green grass













Boone Plantation - the incredible 500+ year old oak trees that line the entrance were the inspiration for scenes in Gone with the Wind.  And the original brick slave houses are still standing and now provide education to folks who visit.  The history of this place was amazing - they've produced everything from cotton, to bricks, to pecans...always adapting to the demands of the area.

500 year old trees greeted us as we drove into the Plantation



Sitting on the deck where supplies would arrive to the
Plantation via boats on waterway channels.
This structure burnt down, and they rebuilt it
to maintain the Plantations heritage


 
Inside one of the Slave Houses

















Slave House Row.  It's unimaginable that not long ago,
our great country once condoned slavery.
Reading all the amazing history was truly inspiring.
It's incredible to see the timelines and realize we went from
ugly discrimination to having an African American President
in the last 100 years.  Thankfully , we've come a long way.

The Plantation
This area has been used in the making of
many movies....including The Notebook

Battle of Secessionville was going on when we were
visiting - yep, the South still loses I'm afraid



Can't you just see us dressed up like this?  LOL!



One of the most photographed trees - it's branches
extend out in so many directions.



The Smokehouse
Built in 1750 - the oldest existing structure on the Plantation
It seriously still smells like smoked meat inside! 


As you can see, we really enjoyed Charleston.   If it stayed just a bit warmer in the winter, there's no question 98 square feet would have taken up residence for the next few months. 

Dear, sweet Charleston, I do believe we'll be back one day to take in more of your amazing grace and charm! (said with a southern drawl)

Until the next exit...

Amy & Tracy

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