After two weeks in Myrtle Beach and a fun rally with friends from the Carriage RV Club we moved about 100 miles south to Charleston SC. We had been in Charleston before, but only for a day. We were staying for a week to see the area in more depth. Charleston is a super preserved Southern city. We bought a city walking tour book of the historic area. We spent four days walking the historic area. Walking the main tour and the two additional alternate tours we probably covered 4 or 5 miles. Of course we had to stop and have lunch in between. We took several hundred photo's of many of the buildings. It will take us a while to arrange all the photo's. We took a picture of the plaque for each building then several pictures of the buildings. We are arranging them in a digital file. The biggest problem with touring Charleston is parking. Each day we would drive the 10 miles from the RV Park and park at the visitors center or parking garage. The charge is a dollar an hour, with the max of ten dollars. Then we would take the free trolley to a different area of the historic area. Another problem was choosing what to see or tour to take.
In between walking the historic district we worked in several other tours. We took a boat trip out to Fort Sumter. At the fort was a very good interpretive ranger. Her talk about the fort was very informative. Again we took many photo's. It was a windy day but we road the boat on the top deck for the best views of the harbor. We saw several large container ships making their way to port.
The fort, the flag that flew over the fort during the siege, see the size of the cannons.
The cannon placements, the USS Yorktown, the new bridge.
We also took a tour of the only tea plantation in the country. The Charleston Tea Plantation. Unfortunately they only harvest tea in the spring and summer so the factory was ideal. But we did get to see all the equipment used in harvesting and making tea. There was a good video showing the entire process. Its was very interesting. Learned there is a lot more to tea then dunking a tea bag in hot water. Of course we walked away with a box of each of their flavors. Couldn't pass up a good deal, buy five boxes get the sixth for free. What a deal. See www.charlestonteaplantation.com
The tea plants, the factory and warehouse
The special tea harvesting machine, the only one in the world,Check out theses trees, the store, propagation story.
On the way to the tea plantation we saw a sign for a fish hatchery. It was the Bears Bluff National Fish Hatchery. It was a few miles off the main road, but what a super find. It is located along the North Edisto River. We had a super informative tour with a young fishery biologist. You could tell he really enjoyed his job. One of the Hatchery's main projects was working with Atlantic Sturgeons, a "species of concern". They also work with red drum. We were the only visitors and spent at least an hour learning about the hatchery projects. This was one of those super finds. We then walked a short trail around the hatchery. They have a great web site which explains a lot about their work. See www.fws.gov/warmsprings/bearsbluff
Atlantic sturgeons-13 months old, the underside mouth, two week old, a 200+ pound female, about 10 years old
Tanks with young fish, side view of the sturgeon, large tanks for older fish, Linda on the trail around the hatchery.
The young man at the hatchery told us about a winery and distillery about a mile from the hatchery.
WOW, double wow. This was another "shut the front door" find. The winery was Irvin House Vineyards.They make about 7 different Muscadine wines. There is a small charge for tasting, but you get to keep the glass. The wines were very good, each one better then the last, or is that the effect of the wine. Anyway we left with a few bottles. Part of the winery is the Firefly Distillery. WOW triple wow. Its six dollars to taste six different blends of vodka, rum and bourbon. But you can keep the shot glass. Good thing Linda is the designated driver. The Sweet Tea Bourbon is not your grandma's sweet tea. The flavored vodka's and rum's etc are wonderful. After six "shots" I was feeling good. But the hostess would bring out another bottle and say "this is my favorite", there no extra charge. This happened twice. The six of us tasting were having a good time. So I picked out a mix of 4 different vodka's and liqueurs. Wait, can't do that. The law states you can only buy 3 bottles. So I buy 3 and my "DD" buys 1. What a great finish to a great day. See www.fireflyvodka.com and
The wine in the fermenting tanks, a happy Bob, and is the picture blurry or is it just a very happy Bob.