Friday, June 26, 2015

Charleston: Part I

I am trying to get some trips in to places I 've always wanted to go. I just came back from visiting Charleston, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia. My friend Tiffany went with me. This photo is us at the airport before leaving, before being exposed to unbelievable heat and humidity for 8 days.

The first place we went was Boone Hall plantation. Boone Hall is known for this beautiful avenue of oaks. They were planted before our country was a nation. It's a beautiful sight. What is interesting, is that these oaks are all over the South. They line many streets and drives. They meet over the roads and extend for an unbelievable expanse. And everything is covered in Spanish moss (which is not really a moss), even the power lines.

One of the things that was powerful to me on this trip, is how many physical reminders there are of slavery. These are some of the more than 27 slave cabins that were at this plantation. Each cabin housed at least 8 slaves. There are many artifacts of slavery still in existence and those whose not too distant relatives were slaves. It makes it seem very different and more present than it ever did to me living in the western US.

In South Carolina, the first crop that early plantations grew was rice. Because of that they purposely procured slaves from areas in Africa that grew rice. They wanted skilled labor. One of the legacies of this practice was the baskets that they made and used as part of the harvest process. The artistry to make these baskets has been passed down the generations and are now a prized object d'art.

Making sweetgrass baskets.

Tiffany and I were melting pretty quickly.

This was the plantation house. We did a quick tour of the ground floor. No photos were allowed inside.

This lady did a presentation on the Gullah culture. This is the culture that arose among the Africans who came here. It also referred to the language that developed, some African words, some English. Her great grandmother was a slave. She told us stories and sang us songs.

There are lots of rivers and islands in the area. There is marsh grass thick in the area and you don't see the open water I would expect. These waterways were the mode of transport for many years. The plantation houses faced the rivers.

I kept looking for wildlife. Didn't see too much, but here are some crabs.

 Tiffany was interested in the archeological dig that they were doing in regards to the slave cabins and artifacts.
 Tour that took us around the grounds.
 This is the old cotton gin. During  an attempted remodel, the building became unstable. this is the attempt to stabilize it.
Egret I think. Or maybe crane.

The plantation boards polo ponies.

Late afternoon, I drove out to Fort Moultrie. This fortification was used to protect Charleston during the revolutionary war, the war of 1812, during the civil war and up to World war II.

Some sights in historic downtown Charleston.

These are some of the houses along the Battery. the sideways facing porches and door are typical of the Charleston single house style. The wrought iron designs are also typical of the area.

That first night, we had booked a ghost tour. These are very popular in both Savannah and Charleston. Here are some folks petting some of the carriage tour horses.

 On our tour we were told some ghost stories and taken to a few sites before going to an old church graveyard. Here are a few photos of  some interesting old stones.

Our tour guide.

The spookiest thing of the night, was there was a lot of police helicopters and police presence. We heard that there had been a shooting nearby and that the shooter was still on the loose. People going by in cars told us we needed to get off the streets right away. We made our way back to our car, which was right by where the police had blockaded the street. It wasn't until we were back in our hotel room the night that we heard of the horrible tragedy in the historic AME church. We were literally just down the block from the events. So horrible and tragic. We felt terrible about the events.

No comments: