Charleston, South Carolina

February 10-16,  2019

South Carolina is the 31st state we have visited on this adventure. We are officially on the last leg of our trip and have the Northeast region to finish it out. We are heading up the coast because it’s still cold and we are hoping to stay in mild temps for as long as we can.

South Carolina



Charleston was a port city established in 1670 and is known for its pastel houses, cobblestone roads, live oaks, plantations and the site of the first shots of the Civil War. It is also known as the Holy City because of the numbers church steeples that adorn the skyline.

James Island County Park

This was a lovely park. I highly recommend it, especially during the summer. They have a wonderful lake for kayaking, SUPing, a water park, a huge dog park, huge playground and bike/running paths.



We went biking everyday and even did a little running. The girls begged to go to the dog park to just play with the dogs even though we don’t have one- seemed strange to me but it actually was fun. They had dogs chasing them so the owners were happy to have dog sitters for a bit. We miss our Simba so much.



Our first night in town we were treated with a dolphin swimming by our window while we ate our seafood at Charleston Crab House. Abby and I were in heaven as dove into our steamed crabs.


I just love all the live oak trees with Spanish Moss (which is neither Spanish nor Moss) that line all the streets here. Combined with the cobblestone streets downtown, you feel like you have stepped back in time.

Angel Oaks Tree

This Southern Live Oak tree is over 500 years old and is 66 feet tall. The canopy it covers is extensive. It was damaged in Hurricane Hugo (can you believe that was 30 years ago?) but it recovered. Folklore has it that ghosts of former slaves appear as angels around the tree at night.


I wish that they didn’t have to have signs all around it stating not to climb on it because it distracts from the beauty.


Charleston Tea Plantation

This is the only Tea Plantation in America, so we had to visit. For those of you that know me well, this was my cup of tea (hehe). We toured the property and the factory after we enjoyed the complimentary all-you-can-taste Tea Bar. Of course they were all sweetened…duh, we are in the south y’all.

Fun facts:

-Tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world behind WATER.

-Heat releases caffeine in the tea leaves. You can reduce the amount of caffeine by over 50% by using cold water and letting it sit out over night, aka ‘Moon Tea’. Or you can simply pour out the first cup of tea and use the tea bag a second time.

-Green Tea doesn’t have less caffeine (it comes from the same exact camellia sinuses tea plant- it’s just not oxidized), they just put less green tea leaves in a bag so there is less caffeine. Marketing people.

-Bigelow tea has helped the financial well-being of the American Classic Tea company. You can find Bigelow tea in most grocery stores. Constant Comment blend, in the red box, was the first speciality tea to be sold in American supermarkets.



Fort Sumter

This is the site of the first shot of the Civil War. Decades of growing political tension around the issue of slavery between North and South erupted in civil war on April 12, 1861 when Confederate army opened fire on this Federal fort in Charleston Harbor.

Several things lead to this attack such as; The book Uncle Tom’s Cabin, the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the Dred Scott case.

The election of 1860 was also a key event leading to the attack on Fort Sumter. When Abraham Lincoln won the election, the southerners were convinced he was going to end slavery. This led to the secession of some of the southern states. When President Lincoln announced he was sending unarmed ships to resupply Fort Sumter, the South had to decide if they would stop these ships or allow them to go to Fort Sumter. The South decided to attack the ships, leading to the start of the Civil War.

It was especially humbling to be standing at the site of the first shots. To look back at the city of Charleston and imagine what the citizens in town were thinking as they heard the shots was emotional. 

Fort Sumter surrendered 34 hours later. It took the Union nearly four years to take it back.fullsizeoutput_1f0


Chris took a half day off of work because the only way to get to the fort is to take a ferry boat from Liberty Square and the last tour was at 2:30pm. Because it was the last tour of the day, we were able to help with the flag ceremony of retreat. This was a first for the girls and the ranger did a wonderful job teaching everyone about the ceremony. For over 200 years, our nation’s flag has been a symbol of unity in our country. If everyone could participate in a flag ceremony, I believe they’d have a new appreciation of the flag. Taking a minute to think about how far we’ve come while touching the flag with fellow American’s can only spark respect for those that have fought before us and the desire to continue to move towards peace and unity.

In case you are unfamiliar with the ceremony of treat, it is a  daily observance at military bases, national parks and other public venues across our nation. People pay respect to the flag, the flag is lowered, folded in a triangle fold and kept under watch throughout the night as a tribute to our nation’s honored dead. The next morning, it is brought out and, at the ceremony of reveille in the morning, raised as a symbol of our belief in the resurrection of the body. Each of the 13 folds of the flag holds great significance.

  1. The first fold of our flag is a symbol of life.
  2. The second fold signifies our belief in eternal life.
  3. The third fold is made in honor and tribute of the veteran departing our ranks, and who gave a portion of his or her life for the defense of our country to attain peace.
  4. The fourth fold exemplifies our weaker nature as citizens trusting in God.
  5. The fifth fold is an acknowledgment to our country.
  6. The sixth fold is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
  7. The seventh fold is a tribute to our armed forces, for it is through the armed forces that we protect our country and our flag against all enemies.
  8. The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day, and to honor our mother.
  9. The ninth fold is an honor to womanhood, for it has been through their faith, love, loyalty, and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great have been molded.
  10. The 10th fold is a tribute to father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since he or she was first-born.
  11. The 11th fold, in the eyes of Hebrew citizens, represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies, in their eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
  12. The 12th fold, in the eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes, God the Father, the Son, and Holy Ghost.
  13. The last fold, when the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost, reminding us of our national motto, “In God We Trust.”

We learned about the many different flags in our history with a brochure the park provides. The girls earned their junior ranger badges on the ferry boat back to Liberty Square.



In the photograph of the brick wall you can see handprints of a young slave that made that brick. The slaves made the bricks for a fort that fought to keep them as slaves.

The fort also served as a checkpoint for every person that entered the Harbor, including African slaves. It was a quarantine station for the sick.

When road schooling aligns with Black History Month and you have a chance to pay respect to all the slaves that suffered by studying about their history at a national monument is what this trip is all about.  For a moment, we slipped our feet into their shoes where they stood and thought about how life was back then.

The Gadsden’s Wharf, adjacent to Liberty Square, was the site where most slaves were brought to America. South Carolina received more slaves than any of the other colonies.


Waterfront park and Rainbow row

We walked through this park at sunset and took in the lovely sites and weather. This is the pineapple fountain at sunset with no filter. Just gorgeous. fullsizeoutput_306

Chris and I visited Charleston 9 years ago during my treatments to get away for our anniversary. It was lovely coming back with the girls and exploring even more.




Cobble streets and he row of houses that are painted with pastel colors known as Rainbow Row.



Boone Hall Plantation

Boone Hall Plantation is one of America’s oldest working plantations, for the last 320 years. The Avenue of Oaks was planted in 1743 and is over half a mile long and leads up to the plantation house. It took 200 years for them to meet overhead.  Only one of the trees was lost during the Hurricane Hugo 30 years ago. As we drove through the Avenue of Oaks we felt like we were being transported into a different era.

The Boone family has a long heritage of important family members. John Rutledge, son of Sara Boone Rutledge, was a contributing author of the U.S. constitution and his brother Edward Rutledge was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

We toured the fields, the house and the slave quarters. The cabins house a national acclaimed Black History in America exhibit inside the 9 brick slave cabins that sit in front of the house. It’s thought that the Boone’s made these look so nice to show off his slaves because that represented wealth. The slaves on this plantation made the bricks for their own cabins and for Fort Sumter, the same one the confederate army bombed.


The grounds and buildings of Boone Hall Plantation have appeared in many movie and TV shows: Days of Our Lives, North and South, Queen, Scarlett, The Notebook, Army Wives, Wheel of Fortune, and Gone with the Wind. Naturally the girls and I had to watch Gone with the Wind and the Notebook this week.


For Valentine’s Day we ate the The Fleet downtown, which is an old Navy pier.  They have the best She Crab soup. We also took the girls to see the Lego Movie Part 2.

4 thoughts on “Charleston, South Carolina

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