A Travellerspoint blog

September 2011

Charleston walking tour

14 September 2011

sunny 85 °F

charleston window

charleston window


Walking, walking and more walking is all we did in Charleston today. Before our tour we spent the morning on king street again for some more shops and a few cupcakes. I have to say the ones from the shop in San Antonio were better.
We met for lunch at Bubba Gumps prior to departing forour walking tour. Tricia was our native Charlestonian guide who told stories of playing in the area when she was a child for two hours.
Charleston flower box

Charleston flower box


Up and down Church and East Bay street she pointed out houses and other interesting points. One house had pineapples as part of the decoration on their gate. She explained that a previous home owner brought fruit from South America which was another show of wealth. He would set the fruit out front of his house for people to take. The pineapple would last the longest and so became the universal sign for hospitality.
wooden charleston house

wooden charleston house


This house is actually wooden. The couple that moved in could not agree on stone vs. wood. THe wife had grown up in a wooden house so told her husband she would live in nothing less. Bricks and a house close to the water was a demonstration of wealth so he disagreed. The story goes that she may have given him a heart attack with oleander tea. A couple of weeks after his death the house was covered on the outside with wood.
Charleston ivy

Charleston ivy


Many of the stairs up to the houses or gateways are covered with the type of ivy that does not damage the wall.
battery

battery


Our final walk was along the battery before stopping at the Palmer home for wine and cheese.
wine and cheese

wine and cheese


Supposedly the owner was offered $8 million for the house and everything in it by Oprah. The guide stated he laughed at her and said the rug they were standing on was $1 million itself. In other words no possible way!

Exhausted we took naps before getting dolled up for dinner at Magnolias. It is the last night of restaurant week that has a set menu for $30. One choice of appetizer, main course and dessert. Curt and I had butternut squash bisque and salmon. Dessert was either a chocolate pie or lemon cheesecake.

Posted by ErinDriver 19:01 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Culinary and Tea Tour in Charleston

13 September 2011

sunny 87 °F

tea field

tea field


First order of business today was the Charleston Tea Plantation. This is the only tea garden in all of the United States. Despite this fact we were told the majority of tea consumed in the US comes from Argentina. We were also informed that around the world tea is the #2 drink, second only to water.
freshly cut tea bushes

freshly cut tea bushes


The plantation here is free to visit but there is a $10 fee for the trolley that takes you around the tea fields.
tea plantation workers

tea plantation workers


They claim to only need 2 men to harvest the entire place. Each section of plants are cut 7-10 times per year from April to October. Here they are able to have the tea ready to drink in only 18 hours.
harvesting tea leaves

harvesting tea leaves


If you are lucky you can get some wildlife viewing in. There was an alligator living in one of the ponds as well as bobcat, fox and deer in the area. The deer do not eat the tea because it is not a local plant. They also do not need pesticides. These plants grow well in South Carolina because they love heat, humidity and rain. We were told that ice tea was born when India was trying to serve hot tea at the St Louis world fair in the summer. They had no takers until they dropped a bunch of ice in the tea. Then they went like hot cakes and a new drink was created.
There is also a brief tour showing how they make the tea. All the teas are made from the same plant but spend different amounts of time in production. There is a cute shop at the end where samples of tea are available.
Angel tree

Angel tree


A quick stopon the way home is to see an oak tree called the Angel tree. It is humongous and apparently hosts a lot of weddings at its base.
church on church street

church on church street


After a break we again set off for our culinary tour. Charleston Culinary Tours was a 2.5 hour history tour with three restaurants included.
Southend Brewery

Southend Brewery


The guide and owner Glen was a good guide and personable guy. We started at the Southend Brewery and Smokehouse.
Summer Sangria

Summer Sangria


We were early so there were some beers and a summer sangria with white wine that was awesome.
Southend Brewery Beer

Southend Brewery Beer


They smoke their own meat upstairs and brew six kinds of beer. We got to sample five of these because they were in the process of making another batch of blonde.
fried green tomato

fried green tomato


The first course was a fried green tomato on ratatouille and balsamic vinegar.
BBQ pulled pork

BBQ pulled pork


Next was BBQ pulled pork on a slice of apple.
shrimp and grits

shrimp and grits


Last but not least was shrimp and grits. This is a popular dish here but the guide claims this restaurant does it the best. My first grits were actually quite tasty :)
We proceeded around the French quarter with Glen pointing out historical notes about the buildings in the area.
Philadelphia alley

Philadelphia alley


This alley was named Pennsylvania Alley because after the earthquake Philly collected money for restoration and this alley was created.
Amen Street

Amen Street


Before long we arrived on Amen Street at the Amen Fish and Raw Bar.
Shrimp and lobster risotto

Shrimp and lobster risotto


Here we had shrimp and lobster risotto that was my favorite.
Another bit of walking took us to see a building where slaves were sold. At one point it was outlawed to sell slaves in public so this was a behind the scenes way to do it. Now it holds a museum.
The Roof Top Restaurant

The Roof Top Restaurant


Last restaurant was The Rooftop which had a great view of the town and their drink of the day was 007.
007

007


A mix of Orange vodka, Orange juice and 7up. Very tasty!
appetizers at the rooftop

appetizers at the rooftop


Next was a plate with tuna tar tar on a cracker which was a bit spicy for me. A California roll with real crab meat and red pepper hummus with crackers.
Belgian gelato

Belgian gelato


The taste of Southern cooking was good but for some reason then we went to have Belgian gelato for dessert. It was good but seemed odd on a culinary tour of southern food.
pineapple fountain

pineapple fountain


We were stuffed and tired so another nap ensued before we returned to the brewery to try the wood oven pizza. We ordered BBQ chicken pizza but I feel certain the chicken was plain. It was still good food though.

Posted by ErinDriver 19:13 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Boone Plantation

12 September 2011

sunny 85 °F

horses at plantation

horses at plantation


Andrew Pinckney Inn has a great balcony on the top floor where they serve a breakfast with biscuits and gravy, muffins, hard boiled eggs and cereal. After fueling up the group drove to Boone Plantation in Mt. Pleasant which offers a military discount and is then a $17 ticket. The plantation has been in the mini series NOrth and South and the Notebook. It claims to be the most photographed plantation and remains a working farm today.
Avenue of Oaks

Avenue of Oaks


One of its claims to fame is the Avenue of Oaks which was planted by Thomas Boone two centuries ago.
Boone plantation house

Boone plantation house


The drive leads up to the main house which is possible to tour. The bottom floor with a library, dining room and porch is available on the tour. The upstairs is still a living space for the son and daughter of the McCrae family that now owns the plantation. It is currently 750 acres but was at one point around 5000. It has been used to grow cotton, pecans, indigo and rice along with producing bricks.
slave houses

slave houses


The slave houses were made out of bricks that were not up to par for the main house or to be sent out to Charleston. These were along the road into the plantation as a show of wealth. It was expensive to have slaves so to show their many houses to visitors was sending a message. Most of the bricks in charleston were produced at this plantation. Each of the slave houses has a display on slavery. At some points 16 people lived in these houses. THe children lived in the top floor when the family put boards across the rafters. The slaves that lived in these houses were the more prominent ones, they either worked in the main house or were the carpenter, blacksmith, etc.
sweetgrass baskets

sweetgrass baskets


Of course there is an opportunity to buy sweetgrass baskets.
buying a basket

buying a basket


Mom bought me one for Christmas from this woman who learned the art from her mother. She is the third generation of weavers.
Gullah woman

Gullah woman


Probably the highlight of the plantation is the Gullah Theater where this woman tells the story of the Gullah Geechee people. The slaves were brought from all over west africa to work on the rice plantations in the south. They were property of the plantation owner so had no say in their own sale or that of their families. Many families were split up when the master died and the family members were bequethed to different people. She described their language and how they could talk to you and about you and no one ever knew. If the slaves ever got close enough to escape their only route out was the dock which was recently replaced.
Boone plantation view from dock

Boone plantation view from dock


She told the story of the master eating the pig and then the slaves being allowed to use the tail or feet for their cooking. The master was said to be eating "high on the hog".

At the end of her presentation she said their was a gullah food restaurant 5.3 miles down route 17. We attempted to find it but saw nothing at 5.3 miles. Along the way we had seen another place so had their lunch buffet for $9. This included fried chicken, pulled bbq chicken and pork, fish stew, collared greens, three or four kinds of rice (she mentioned if rice was not on the table dinner was not yet ready), sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, banana pudding and bread pudding. It was delicious and we found we didn't need dinner.
Charleston Battery

Charleston Battery


After a rest we picked ourselves up and walked to the battery.
Battery in late afternoon

Battery in late afternoon


Lots and lots of people were running along the water. After our walk and Curt and I trying unsuccessfully trying to buy cupcakes, we ate some snacks up on the roof patio. A dinner of grapes, chips, cheese and crackers, peaches and muffins worked for all of us.

Some more photos :)
plantation house from garden

plantation house from garden


resting on the oak tree

resting on the oak tree


entrance to the house

entrance to the house

oak trees

oak trees

Posted by ErinDriver 19:07 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Pawleys Island to Charleston

11 September 2011

sunny 85 °F

Pawleys Island hammock shop

Pawleys Island hammock shop


Sadly around 1000 today we drove away from the beach and started the two hour drive to Charleston. The goal was to hit up the Pawleys Island original hammock shop on the way out of town. However it was Sunday and too early for the shop to be open so I had to make due with a photo.
On route 17 into charleston we stopped at the Boone Hall Farmers market and picked up some peaches, pears, muffins and californa rolls.
Soon enough we arrived at the Andrew Pinckney Inn but we could not get in to the room just yet. We had our sushi and walked to King Street. ON the second sunday of the month they close the street to traffic and the shops have sales. Most of the shops were typically expensive but I did find a pizza restaurant! The Mellow Mushroom was really crowded but served up agood lunch to hold us over until my parents arrived.
Mom and Dad arrived around 1500 and we walked the market about a block from the hotel. A merchant told us to try The Noisy Oyster for dinner. He advertised it as good food, off the tourist strip and slightly cheaper. Curt wasn't too happy with it when they said they didn't have salmon, then they didn't have the second choice of fish tacos. Finally he ordered crab cakes but in the mean time we discovered the Noisy OYSTER had no oysters! I guess the recent storms had stopped production at the farms so each restaurant only got a small supply each day. The place was an open air restaurant with beachy decor and I thought good food.

Posted by ErinDriver 18:32 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Pawleys Island, South Carolina

8-10 September 2011

sunny 85 °F

Our freedom from the Army was gained at 0900 on 8 September when we "graduated" from the career course. Shortly after we hopped on a flight to Myrtle Beach. A rental car took us the rest of the way to Pawleys Island.
the rental house pawleys peach

the rental house pawleys peach


Curt's aunt rents a house there every year and is gracious enough to invite the family to enjoy.
Pawleys Peach

Pawleys Peach


The house is Pawleys Peach and right on the water. THe hammock on the porch just makes it perfect!
Pawleys Island 1

Pawleys Island 1


Luckily everyone waited for us to arrive (2000) so we got to enjoy the fish for dinner.
view from the porch

view from the porch


The next day we hit the beach and the kayaks.
prekayak group photo

prekayak group photo


The marshy side of the house is perfect for kayaking.
Elise and Hayden on swim break

Elise and Hayden on swim break


The kids joined us on the endeavor so swim breaks were necessary but all returned without unwanted dips in the water.
Erica an Elise

Erica an Elise


oyster shell build up

oyster shell build up


Curt and Elise

Curt and Elise


the marsh

the marsh


Dinner was something I had never heard of before being that I am a yankee - a low country boil. It was a delicious mix of shrimp, sausage, corn on the cob, potato and vegetables.
pelican grooming

pelican grooming


On 10 September the kiddos departed so everyone took a nap. Curt and I spent the day reading, walking on the beach and swimming. It is a luxury to have nothing you HAVE to get done!

Posted by ErinDriver 15:11 Archived in USA Comments (0)

First Monday Trade Show, Canton, Texas

2-5 September 2011, Labor Day Weekend

sunny 95 °F

Is it possible that I went for a four day weekend and did not take a single photo. Yes - however I still thought Canton, Texas deserved an honorable mention. They proclaim themselves to be world famous because of this trade show. The weekend before the first monday of the month 7000 vendors descend on this small town in west Texas.
I have hardly ever seen so much stuff in my entire life, I never knew which way to turn. Curt and I returned with the Xterra full of new goodies. Rumor has it the October show is the best one to go to because it is cooler and I guess they start with the Christmas stuff.
We started each morning and could only stand to walk until about early afternoon looking for treasures. They have everything from bar stools to flower pots to dog clothes to fake flowers.
The town is dry so keep that in mind for planning purposes. Each night we ate at a small town restaurant that I must say I enjoyed. Val's Italian restaurant was good and fast, Ochoa's Cafe had EXCELLENT mexican, but no margarita :( Jerry's pizza was also busy and good quality food.
My advice for First MOnday - bring tennis shoes and your own drinks! Also plan for way more than one day because that would only scratch the surface.

Posted by ErinDriver 13:48 Archived in USA Comments (1)

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