Friday, January 22, 2016

Friday, October 30, 2015 – Charleston, SC – Cloudy – 60sF

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. 

20151030_ Emaneul Shootings 2 (Small)

20151030_Emaneul Shootings-1 (Small)

20151030_ Emaneul Shootings 3 (Small)

Emanuel Church

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.

20151030_Francis Marion Square (Small)20151030_Francis Marion square Swamp fox (Small)

Francis Marion Square

Our bus tour took us past some nice Charleston homes – very Southern.

20151030_ Charleston house 1 (Small)

20151030_Charleston house (Small)20151030_Charleston house 2 (Small)

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.

20151030_Marshland (Small)20151030_Marshland 1 (Small)

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.

20151030_ White Point Garden sign (Small)

20151030_White Point Garden (Small)

White Point Park

20151030_Charleston bay (Small)

20151030_Ft. Sumter (Small)

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.

20151030_Hunley civil war sub (Small)

H.L. Hunley

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.

20151030_Magnolia Mansion (Small)

20151030_Magnolia Plantation veranda (Small)

20151030_Live Oak Spanish moss (Small)

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.

20151030_ Magnolia Plantation garden walk (Small). 20151030_ Magnolia Plantation garden walk 1 (Small)20151030_ Magnolia Plantation garden walk 3 (Small)20151030_ Magnolia Plantation garden walk 4 (Small)20151030_ Magnolia Plantation garden walk 5 (Small)20151030_ Magnolia Plantation garden walk 6 (Small)20151030_ Magnolia Plantation gardn Spanish moss (Small)

20151030_Magnolia Plantation (Small)

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.

20151030_bald cypress knees (Small)20151030_Bald knees (Small)

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.

20151030_ Tram ride gator (Small)

20151030_ Tram ride gator 1 (Small)

20151030_Duck Weed coated pond (Small)

20151030_Gator (Small)20151030_Gator 1 (Small)20151030_Great blue heron (Small)

Great Blue Heron

20151030_Slave Houses Magnolia (Small)

Slave House

20151030_Tram ride boo (Small)

Halloween at Magnolia

20151030_tupelo swamp (Small)

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).

20151030_Deer Magnolia Zoo (Small)

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.

20151030_Veggie Lunch Magnolia (Small)

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.

20151030_Carib Princess docked Charleston SC (Small)

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.

20151030_Charleston Sailaway (Small)20151030_Charleston sunset (Small)20151030_ Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge  (Small)

Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge from Aft Deck

20151030_Sunset and military jet (Small)

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.

20151030_USS Yorktown  Patriots Point (Small)20151030_USS Yorktown (Small)

USS Yorktown

We had twin US Coast Guard Gunboats escort Caribbean Princess out to sea.  We passed Fort Sumter on the way.

20151030_Ft Sumter sailaway (Small)20151030_ USCG gunboat escort 1 (Small)20151030_ USCG gunboat escort 2 (Small)

20151030_USCG gunboat escort (Small)

The ship, of course, decked out the Atrium for Halloween.

20151030_Halloween at sea (Small)

After dinner, we didn’t catch Showtime – Chris Watkins.  We did get a mini-concert from Jennifer Fair in the Piazza.

20151030_Jennifer Fair 1-1 (Small)20151030_Jennifer Fair-1 (Small)

A long but nice day in Charleston, SC.

Seas are smooth…

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