Thursday, April 7, 2016

Spring Found... Our April Escape Part I

Ahhhh. That's better. I sigh, sip my tea on the porch, watch the wind move the Spanish moss hanging from the live oaks. And breath. We've been in Charleston, South Carolina for four days. And it's been wonderful. Warm, sunny, breezy, perfect spring weather. This is the view from the second floor, screened-porch at our B&B.

Plantation Oaks Inn, Mt Pleasant SC
Looking out from screened porch at Plantation Oaks Inn

Yep, the weather has been perfect for walking on the beach, watching the kite surfers. And then heading back to our B&B for a cup of tea and a nap.

Beach at Sullivan's Island SC
Beach at Sulllivan's Island

Perfect for heading into historic Charleston on the water taxi, for a day of exploring. We took a horse-drawn carriage tour; that was fun. Saw lots of beautiful old churches.

Huguenot church in Charleston SC
Huguenot church in Charleston


Learned the difference between a graveyard (attached to a church) and a cemetary (not attached to a church.) Walked through this lovely old graveyard, apparently a favourite on the "Ghost Walk" tours.

Saint Phillips church graveyard, Charleston, SC
Graveyard at Saint Phillips church in Charleston

That is until the church grew a little tired of the "creative" narrative of some of the guides, and erected this plaque. Very droll, if you ask me.


We saw gorgeous old, colourful homes like these.

Historic homes in Charleston, SC
Colourful historic homes in Charleston


And this one, which is an inn now.


And which has a chimney in the shape of the Arc du Triomphe. Cool. Especially now that we've also seen the real one in Paris.

Historic home in Charleston SC
Historic home in Charleston

After lunch we hopped the water taxi back to our B&B and just had time to squeeze in a nap before we changed for dinner. Are you seeing a pattern here?

Oak Allee at Boone Hall Plantation
Oak Allee at Boone Hall Plantation
Yesterday we spent some time at Boone Hall Plantation. Where they used to grow cotton. But not anymore. They still have a working farm, though, and lots and lots of visitors.

Cotton plants at Boone Hall Plantation
Cotton growing at Boone Hall Plantation
I was a little surprised that, although the original house on the site was built in 1790, the current house is recent, completed in 1936... and built by Canadian Thomas Stone.

Boone Hall Plantation, house
Boone Hall Plantation

But we loved the historical talks best, especially the one on "Gulla" history and culture, given by Gloria, whose great-grandmother was a slave and lived to be 113, apparently. Gloria's mother is 98, and Gloria herself must be well over 70. But can that women sing! She wove several spiritual songs into her talk.

"Slave cabins" at Boone Hall Plantation
Historic "slave cabins" at Boone Hall Plantation

Mostly though we just admired the trees and the gardens. Those giant live oaks are something else.

Boone Hall Plantation, SC
Live oak at Boone Hall Plantation
Gardens at Boone Hall, SC
Boone Hall gardens

This morning we stayed close to home. Went for a long walk on the trails of a park near our B&B. Watched the sun sparkle off the water. And tried to work off three days of fabulous food. We haven't had a mediocre meal since we've been here. Last night at the Old Post House Inn we ate the best meal we've had in years. I had crispy soft-shelled crab. Oh my, it was luscious. Hubby had shrimp and grits... which tasted better than it sounds. Much, much better. At least for a couple of northerners whose experience with grits to date had been watching a patron of the buffet breakfast at the Holiday Inn Express in Homestead Florida in 2014 spoon grits onto their plate... along with hot biscuits slathered in chipped beef and white gravy, and two doughnuts on the side. I still can't believe that guy ate all of that for breakfast. But I'm digressing. So... grits... not necessarily disgusting. And if prepared like they were last night, quite divine, actually.

Near Mount Pleasant, SC
On our walk this morning.

So tonight we're going to wander around the Chem Creek area near where we are staying. Find a very casual spot for dinner and enjoy our last night in South Carolina. Tomorrow we head for the hills, so to speak. We have a cabin booked in the Smoky Mountains. We're looking forward to getting back to cooking for ourselves, many fewer elaborate meals, and much more exercise.

And. Now that I'm finished this post, I'm going to put my feet up. Read my book. Have another cup of tea. Maybe wander down to the dock. And sit a spell.

Spring Found: Our April Escape to South Carolina
The dock at Plantation Oaks Inn

I'm pretty sure our cabin in the Smokies does not have wi-fi, so I'll have to wait until we get back to Ottawa to talk about the rest of our April Escape. And speaking of escapes. Hubby and I were laughing... a bit guiltily... this morning. We had postponed this trip a couple of times for various reasons, and we had worried that we'd left it so late that, just as we were leaving, the weather in Ottawa would be turning wonderful. Ha. Our neighbour just e-mailed us about the ten centimetres of snow they had last night. In April. Makes me feel a bit guilty to be here. In my flip-flops. Watching the Spanish moss flutter in the balmy breeze.

Okay. Now I'm just being cruel. Twenty-two degrees celsius is... well, not exactly... balmy.

But it ain't bad.






31 comments:

  1. I've often thought how beautiful Charleston and its environs sounded when reading books featuring this lovely area, such as the Kay Scarpetta books and I have looked at it on Google Earth. So glad you are having a warm and pleasant holiday. I have never fancied the sound of biscuits, gravy and grits and unless I come to Charleston one day I will probably still pass on them.

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    1. Historic downtown Charleston is lovely. I love biscuits... but I passed on the chipped beef and white gravy. Lots of other wonderful food in Charleston, though.

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  2. Yes, Charleston is a very special place and the food fabulous. Glad the weather has been great! Enjoy the Smokies....I've never been there so look forward to your travel photos!

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    1. Thanks, Libby. I hope we get sunshine for good hiking and great pictures.

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  3. Yes, Sue, you are being unnecessarily cruel! But I don't begrudge you your great weather, delicious food and interesting tours - hm, graveyard vs. cemetery ... I've learned something too! Enjoy your time in the mountains.

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    1. Sorry, Patricia. Bet that last snowstorm hurt!

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  4. This sounds heavenly, and I'm glad you are making the most of it. It's nice to have a change of scenery, especially when the usual is just taking too long to change on its own!

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    1. Thanks, Bridget. Back home it's turned into winter again! So the change of scenery is verrrry welcome.

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  5. I've been dying to visit this part of the country for ages. You have only fanned the flames:). I always wonder about via into plantations though - I suppose if those who profit are descendants of slaves that would shift my perspective.

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    1. I agree. The whole plantation thing makes me feel a bit weird. I was happy that the history and presentations were very matter-of-fact about the wealth of the area being built on the free labour of slaves. And the description of the journey from Africa to America was very graphic. No soft soaping that I could discern.

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  6. Reminds me of our holiday in South Carolina. I love the Carolinas. Not many UK people think of that part of the USA for vacations but I wanted to show my kids the USA isn't Disneyland. Your vacation looks ideal. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Good point, Anna. The part where we are headed now is even further away from the idea of Disneyland.

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  7. charleston is on my bucket list! Sounds like you have spent your time wisely.
    :)
    https://gwingal.blogspot.com/

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    1. We've had a good time. I was surprised that Charleston was so large, with so much industry etc. The downtown historic area was my favourite. Still... people need jobs, I guess. Certainly there seems to be a lot of wealth in the Charleston area, and on Sullivan's Island and the Mount Pleasant area where we stayed. I wondered whether the servers in the restaurants could afford to live there.

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  8. Leslie in OregonApril 8, 2016 at 4:03 PM

    I'm glad you are enjoying your vacation. What are you reading? Can one swim off the plantation dock in your photograph? As a Canadian, you have the luxury of a different perspective on Southern plantations and Southern history: for me, as an American, both reek of the tragic and shameful history of slavery in the United States.

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    1. Not doing much reading in the past few days, but I will now that we're in the mountains.Reading Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey... recommended by a former student who is a book reviewer now. No swimming in the tidal creek at the end of the dock at our B&B. I do understand what you mean about that "reek of slavery"... certainly thought about that during our carriage tour of Charleston, and the many, many rich historic homes.

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  9. Weather and surroundings, look and sound idyllic Sue ...I can feel that warm breeze! :) glad you're both having a good time and thanks for sharing. Looking forward to hearing about your hikes and the cabin in the mountains ....that sounds pretty good too!
    Take care, hope the sun keeps shining for you.
    Rosie

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    1. Thanks, Rosie. So far so good, sunshine-wise. Bit cooler in the mountains, though. Glad I packed my wooly hat.

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  10. I'm home from my own trip & can now enjoy yours . Like you , we love interesting old buildings & historical townscapes- then feel the need for greenery & beautiful countryside . Such a lot of history is dreadfully sad & slavery was a shameful period . Many of the grand stately houses of Britain were built on the profits of slavery & the families concerned took a long time to admit it . I believe the UK Tate museum collection originated on the sales of West Indian sugar . However slavery is a part of history & it seems disrespectful to ignore it .
    Looking forward to the rest of your holiday - watch out for the Bears ?
    Wendy in York

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    1. Hope Spain was wonderful, Wendy. We're happy to be in more rural surroundings now. Accommodation is a bit more basic... okay... a lot more basic. But the scenery is great, and makes up for iffy wi-fi, electrical plugs that don't work etc etc. I know what you mean about the great houses in the UK. I still remember my comment while touring Howard Castle, when the guide seemed so proud of the connection with Henry's Queen Katherine Howard. Hubby had to shush me when I mumbled.."Oh yeah. Selling your 15 year old niece to a sick, old, lecherous king is really a proud moment!" Guess that's a whole other kind of slavery though. But you're right... we brush history of any kind under the carpet to our peril.

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  11. Looks like a lovely place and interesting. Fabulous to see blue skies. Hope the mountain part is as enjoyable. I enjoyed Elizabeth is Missing. Will be interested to hear what you think. Iris

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    1. I'm about half-way through Elizabeth Is Missing, Iris. it's definitely engaging, just maybe a bit dark for vacation reading. I'll let you know how I feel when I finish it.

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  12. But what are you wearing? I'd love to know!

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    1. Ha. Well, my Gap Yoga pants, a tee shirt, and flip-flops a lot. Hiking boots. Cropped jeans, a tee, Theory windbreaker, and my Stan Smith Adidas. Not high fashion...for sure. More like comfy, low fashion.

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  13. I've always wanted to visit Charleston! Thank you for sharing your beautiful pictures and giving me a taste of the loveliness.

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    1. It is lovely, Cindy. Charleston and Savannah (in 2014) are two of the nicest cities we been to. Love all the history and the lovely old homes... and the food.

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  14. Susan, I am so envious of your vacation...especially the naps. LOL! Everything you have done and visited sounds so charming and fun. Those churches are amazing, and plaque at St. Philips is funny as all get out. Did you go on any of the haunted tours? I cannot wait to see your Smoky Mountains photos. The hubby and I went there some years ago, and I would love to get back. It's beautiful country. Thank you so much for sharing with #UpsyDaisyLinkup!

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    1. No, we didn't go on any haunted tours... we had heard they were a bit sketchy as far as historical fact. Thanks for hosting the link-up, Regina.

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  15. Wow, that looks like a great place to visit and to spend some serious time in. Lovely pics and thanks for sharing.

    http://csuhpat1.blogspot.com/2016/04/walking-around-reno.html

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  16. Hi Sue! I really enjoyed reading this post! I was rather surprised to see you guys in the hot tub because I would have guessed there was some trick to getting that turned on! You guys really did perservere on your trip! I love the photo of the priest walking!

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All comments, ideas, commiserations, questions, complaints... are most welcome.