Port Information. Charleston, S.C, has a population of 120,000 (city proper) and 650,00 in the surrounding metro area. Fort Sumter out in Charleston Harbor was involved in the start of the US Civil War. The Charleston area was once known for its stately plantations such as Magnolia Plantation and Gardens – the 18th Century estate features gardens – lakes and alligators. Battery Park contains antebellum homes and White Point Park. Hurricane Joaquin storm surge and heavy rain caused extensive flooding in the city in mid October 2015. The film, “The Notebook”, was filmed in Charleston.
It is a gorgeous day in the beautiful Southern city of Charleston, SC.
We are both on the same tour today: “City Tour and Magnolia Mansion”. Our guide was a true Southern Belle, Kimberley Kee (really). She came complete with long dress and a big floppy hat – my my.
The first part of our tour involved a bus tour of the city. Sadly, one of our first sites was the Emanuel African Methodist Church, one of the oldest black churches. It was also the scene of another of the US mass shootings, when on June 17, 2015, a gunman opened fire on a prayer service, killing nine people.
We passed by Francis Marion Square – named for the Swamp Fox, Francis Marion – which is a greenspace complete with trees and monuments. Marion was a Revolutionary officer who developed guerilla tactics against the British – whom he fought in the South – earning his famous nickname.
Francis Marion Square
Our bus tour took us past some nice Charleston homes – very Southern.
The bus made its way to a photo stop at Charleston Bay. I noticed that the area near the road leading to our stop was essentially marshland. I suspect that this was the remnants of the massive flooding that occurred in Charleston just a couple of weeks ago. The city itself, which was under water in many spots, recovered quite well from the deluge.
Newly minted Marshland
The first stop was on a peninsula jutting out into Charleston Bay. The site was White Point Garden, a public park encompassing almost six acres. Across the street from the park, you can just about see Fort Sumter, the flash point for the US Civil War.
White Point Park
Charleston Bay and Fort Sumter
Leaving the park we made a short stop to get a look at the H.L. Hunley, a Civil War era Submarine launched in 1864 – the Hunley sank a Union Waarship before being lost with all aboard (she had sunk twice previously). When it was recovered in 2000, DNA testing and other forensic methods were used to identify the men trapped inside the sub.
At this point, we hit the highway for our relatively short ride to Magnolia Plantation. This is our second visit to the plantation – we came here on a road trip through the South many years ago.
Magnolia Plantation – porch – Grounds near House
Our first activity here is a walk through the extensive gardens. I tried to keep up with Kimberley but I also had to herd any stray passengers so I didn’t really get much of the narration. Still, the gardens were very plush and interesting.
Above Series – Walking Through the Gardens
Of particular interest were the “Knees” of the Bald Cypress Trees. These are projections of the roots and their function is unknown. Since they are mostly found in trees in swampy areas, they are thought to assist in the physical stabilitization of the trees. Some role in photosynthesis/tree chemisty may also be possible.
Bald Cypress Tree Knees
After walking through the Gardens, we went back to the main house, where we had a guided tour of the Mansion. We heard about the history of the owners and the fate of the Mansion through the years. No pictures were allowed inside the Mansion.
From the tour, we boarded trams to take us on a tour of the Plantation Grounds. The grounds consists mainly of swamps (convered in a smooth green sheet of plants called Duckweed) filled with alligators. Many of the gators were sunning themselves on specially constructed inclines. The series below documents our tram ride.
Great Blue Heron
Halloween at Magnolia
After the tram ride, we spent a little time at the petting zoo down the road from the Mansion. Not any exotic animals – just the kind you can pet, like the deer below (who doesn’t want to be petted).
We had requested veggie options for the included lunch. The tour supplied veggie wraps for us – they were OK but something in there was real salty. I was pretty hungry so I did eat mine.
Lunch at Magnolia Plantation
After lunch, it was back to the pier. It was difficult to get a picture of the ship from the bus but I got part of the Caribbean Princess docked.
The ship didn’t depart until after sunset so I got some very nice pictures of the Charleston Bay as the sun was going down.
Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge from Aft Deck
Military Jet Taking Off
When we were here last, we visited the USS Yorktown and Patriots Point. Now we got a view of the same area from the aft end of the ship.
We had twin US Coast Guard Gunboats escort Caribbean Princess out to sea. We passed Fort Sumter on the way.
The ship, of course, decked out the Atrium for Halloween.
After dinner, we didn’t catch Showtime – Chris Watkins. We did get a mini-concert from Jennifer Fair in the Piazza.
A long but nice day in Charleston, SC.
Seas are smooth…