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10 - 16 June 2016 South Carolina - Charleston

Friday 10th June

We left Savannah today. Crossing the Savannah River

we entered South Carolina and made our way north along the coast to Charleston. A nice route along US-17 through woods and the ACE Basin grassland wet area. Saw evidence of wild life alongside the road. A large turtle, a dead alligator and birds of prey.

We checked in at Lake Aire RV Park, twelve miles west of Charleston.

The park is surrounded by woods and has a good trail through the trees for Sandy to run along. We met out next door neighbours also named Hill, Jill and Ben Hill. They live in Costa Rica where they run a boutique hotel, Costa Rica - Yoga Spa. They spend six months of the year travelling the US in their RV.

Saturday 11th June

Went into Charleston but too hot to walk around for long. We had a look at the City Market which is a similar structure to the French Market in New Orleans.

This evening we went downtown to take The Original Pub Tour of Charleston. Met up with our guide Brian at the Molly Darcy Irish Pub in East Bay Street. We were introduced to four others also taking the tour who are here for the weekend on a Bachelor Party – Forrest (the Bridegroom), Kevin, Chris and Marty.

The idea of the tour is to see some of Charleston most interesting pubs, sample the beers and cocktails and on the way hear something about the history of the city.

Whilst we sat nibbling on Irish Nachos (meaning, includes potato slices which were delicious) Brian gave us some background on how Charleston started. Settled by English colonists in 1670 Charleston soon became a busy seaport, growing and exporting rice, cotton and indigo.

We then headed down to the waterfront and past the Custom house built by the British.

Called in at the Cumberland Street Smokehouse for a cocktail.

On past the Waterfront Park fountain where the towns children were keeping cool.

The sun was setting and we had a nice view over the Cooper River. To our left was Fort Sumter where the first bullets of the Civil War were fired.

Bachelor Party – Marty, Forrest (the Bridegroom), Chris and Kevin

The Griffon Pub has the feel of an old tavern. There are thousands of dollar bills stapled to the walls, to which we added one of our own.

We moved away from the river along old streets with interesting looking art galleries

until we passed picturesque Cow Alley.

St Philips Church built in the 19th century resembled many churches of the period in England. In fact the whole area felt like I had stepped into an English county town.

From here we continued our pub and history tour to Tommy Condon’s Irish pub

and finally the O-Bar Oyster House.

Brian our guide was a fountain of knowledge on the history and people of Charleston and we had a thoroughly enjoyable evening with the Bachelor Party boys.

Sunday 12th June

It’s hot! Stayed around camp and the swimming pool

Monday 13th June – Happy Birthday Charlotte

Went to Sullivan Island today which is about ten miles from Charleston across the mouth of the Cooper and Wando Rivers. There is a long wide beach here where dogs can go on the beach before 10 am during the summer months. A permit is required to take a dog on the beach and we thought we would go to the town hall to enquire. The cost of the permit was $35, as we are only here until Thursday we thought we would give it a miss.

Called Charlotte to wish her happy birthday. The whole family were at her house where Teine was cooking dinner for everyone.

Tuesday 14th June

Another hot and steamy day. Caught up with the blog and did laundry. I understand now why they had afternoon naps in Gone with the Wind, it’s too hot here to do anything else.

Just spoke to Tom he is at Atlanta Airport on his way home for the summer. He did well in his past two competitions in Orlando and got a PB. He was out in Orlando on Saturday evening when the awful attack took place in the nightclub. He was on his way home when he saw all the police cars and fire engines. No one knew what was going on until the next morning.

Wednesday 15th June

I visited the Aitken-Rhett House in Charleston whilst Tony and Sandy found somewhere cool to hang out.

An antebellum townhouse built in the 1820’s and eventually owned in the 1830’s by Governor William Aiken Jr and his wife Harriett. What is interesting about this house is that it is mostly preserved and not renovated. The outside of the house is the only area that has had a full renovation to its 1860’s look. Members of Aiken family lived in the house for over 140 years and many of the rooms were closed off and the untouched over this period.

I started the audio tour at the back of the house where the intact slave quarters, coach house and stables are situated.

First was the food Warming Room, Kitchen and Laundry Room where the house slaves worked. There was evidence on the walls that these rooms had once been brightly in red, yellow and blue.

On the floor above was the slaves living quarters. After emancipation some of the slaves remained to work in the house and stayed until they died.

Moving outside and across the courtyard was the stables and the coach house.

Back into the house via a set of steps, I entered a hallway with a winding staircase.

To the right was a double drawing room with a beautiful chandelier – brought back from Europe by the Aiken’s - as the centre piece. There were photographs of how these rooms looked in their heyday and examples of what once was some pretty fancy wall paper.

Out onto the Piazza, the balcony that wraps around two sides of the house, and back in around the corner of the house to the dining room.

Past the hall and stairs to the small library.

On to a dressing room and bedrooms. Across a wide hallway to another bedroom and bathroom.

Next into the 1830’s extension to the house and the ballroom. As ballrooms go this was relatively small but still had some examples of the original red and silver wallpaper.

In the 1850’s the William and Harriet went on the grand tour through Europe. To house some of the art treasures they brought back a small art gallery was built.

The audio tour was very comprehensive and enjoyable. A real insight into Charleston life in the 19th century.

I met up with Tony and Sandy at the Molly Dacey pub and well-earned sit down. We walked around downtown for a while before returning to the RV Park.

Heavy rain this evening which cleared the air a little.

Thursday 16th June

Still hot and humid, temperatures in the 30’s. Night time temperatures have also been high and the ceiling vent fans we fitted have been excellent, keeping a cool flow of air coming through the bedroom windows. Stayed around camp and had a few dips in the pool. The laundry is well equipped here with industrial sized machines, took advantage and washed everything in sight!

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