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{ Category Archives } South Carolina

Hilton Head

Fortunately you also pass through some neighborhoods where 1950’s single-level run-down homes and double-wides predominate, a good visual reminder that the black and white population that was there after the plantations fell apart are still there and have to some extent survived the onslaught of environmental correctness. … The beaches (or the one we saw on a cold windy November afternoon) are as advertised: gorgeous, firm sand, free of trash IMG_6825 There was a dolphin 10 feet offshore engaged in stranding small fish for dinner, bluebirds in the brush along the high tide line and herons and ibis by the score in the salt marshes. The marshes, as they are all along this SE Atlantic coast, are gorgeous, and there are numerous public boardwalks built out into them at strategic places which allow you to get away from the shore and out where you can see the critters. IMG_6848 The architecture of houses and condos we saw was uniformly bland in color, and occasionally attractive in design. … The South Carolina Yacht Club was heavily engaged in decorating for Christmas, and in design and appearance looked as if the architects had wished it had been there since the time of William Hilton, or at least since the time when gentlemen sailed yachts. D7K_0672 However, it is a pretty building, and it must be pleasant to sit on the wide porch in warmer weather and watch friends and neighbors chug by on their way in and out of the purpose-built locks that separate the harbor from the tidal river to prevent the boats owners having to cope with tides in the boat basin; in a properly managed life, it is always high tide after all. D7K_0667 One startling aspect is the school buses: there are actually people living in these houses and/or apartments/condos, and there is a public school system on HHI; there is also a private academy, as you might expect.

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Beaufort, SC

The number of rivers, creeks, coves, marshes and bays is impressive: Beaufort-SC There are marinas tucked into many of those coves and it looks as if the ICW traffic enjoys visiting here, though the day we left they were all hunkered down for a day of rain and wind. D7K_0647 Normally it’s a lovely harbor IMG_6815 D7K_0596 Why were we not surprised that the harbor tour boat in this charming town is called “The Prince of Tides”? … The huge live oak trees lining street after street of antebellum houses drip with history and Spanish moss. D7K_0588 IMG_6808 D7K_0583 The town is a miniature Charleston in architectural variety and grandeur, and each house has a long and colorful story known by hairdressers and waitresses as well as the carriage tour guides. And like every other place we’ve been so far in South Carolina, people here are genuinely hospitable to the stranger: go in to get the battery replaced in your watch and you’re included without so much as a by-your-leave in a crowd which includes grandpa and the grandkids, and it seems not to matter that you’re obviously from “away” and even have a “Yankee” accent. In a way similar to our visit to Southport, we came away from Beaufort with a sense of a town which, despite its reknown and tourism, retains its sense of itself and an openness to others which is the kind of tradition that makes the traveler feel at ease, even if not necessarily at home.

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Charleston and Thanksgiving

The bird was delicious and the company good and we thought of everyone spread out worldwide and hoped your gathering was equally rewarding.IMG_6772 We took another horse tour of Charleston with John, and saw a lot of buildings and streets we hadn’t already seen. … We showed John a couple more of the plantations, passing some of the local businesses (concealed weapons courses, and boiled peanuts) D7K_0570 and went to Folly Beach for lunch IMG_6793 and drove up to the northern tip to see the lighthouse and the view over to the southern tip of Sullivan’s Island and Fort Moultrie. D7K_0579 One of the discoveries of the stay was the town of Mount Pleasant. It first appears to be just a bedroom community of Charleston but turns out to have some lovely old houses and districts and some well-done access via boardwalks and old bridge causeways to marshlands and waterfront.D7K_0527. It also offers departures for visits to Fort Sumter (well worth it) and the option to visit the Yorktown. D7K_0253 There is a great deal of history to be seen in this area but unless you’re devoted only to that, it’s also rewarding to get out and visit the parks, road ends, beaches, marshes and other natural areas, which abound.

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Happy Thanksgiving

We did a drive-by on the rows of gorgeous houses in the southern end of town in order to get oriented and then took in the SC Aquarium (free tickets), with a spectacular three-story ocean tank but a less intimate and welcoming feel than the NC Aquarium on Cape Fear. This morning was our turn to use the free tickets (again) to take the horse-drawn carriage trip through town, and listen to the guide describe what we saw and discuss some of the history of Charleston; it was well-done: he had a fine sense of humor and a solid grasp of not only the facts but also the social and political trends of the times. … It is undeniably a lovely downtown area and appears to be thriving; there a lots of young people around (and an unusual and noticeable number of gorgeous girls), some clearly students at the College of Charleston (our guide asserted that SC comes 49th in educational ratings of the 50 states) where the student body is 2/3 female); clearly there are also many local businesses, likely many related to the tourist trade. … Dan’s brother John arrives, by train from Boston, tomorrow morning early, we’re baking a pie tonight, and going to cook a turkey on Thursday; that in itself will be unusual as we are nearly always in Switzerland at Thanksgiving, and have to have it on the weekend after if we want to do it.

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Wilmington, NC, to Charleston, SC

Right next to it was the Orton Plantation which is clearly still in operation but farming pine trees for International Paper (that’s right, you do remember: the paper company that sold off its operations in Maine to concentrate on monoculture pine cropping in the SE US; drive through the town of Jay Maine and look at the tower in the middle of town, at the falls on the Androscoggin and admire the name still there: International Paper). … This site had some interesting archeology and displays, but unless you’re a serious student of Civil War torpedoes or Colonial artifacts, interest flags fast; it isn’t because the displays are not well-done – they are, and you have to admire the resources that the State spends here; they might cut budgets in any number of ways these days, and probably are doing so. … It resembles Beaufort in the sense that it lies at the intersection of a number of waterways, harbors the station for the pilots for the Cape Fear River and Wilmington , and has a gorgeous old town with the classic wide-set-back streets of North Carolina with lines of beautiful live oaks overhanging them. … Nowadays the southwestern horizon in G’Town outlines the mills of International Paper and Arcelor/Mittal Steel; why a a steel mill should be located in coastal South Carolina isn’t clear (though this article provides a little background), but there it is, and it’s an ugly hulk; but when the wind blows the wrong way, what you notice is the good ol’ hydrogen sulfide (i.e., rotten eggs) odor of a pulp mill.

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