Doing the Charleston

Final episode of our US camping trip, heading south along the coast.

Thursday 21

Off to Charleston (cue for another song – and dance?), but stopped first to look round a small town called Edgefield, about 20 miles from Modoc. We’d passed through the previous day, and thought it seemed a quirky kind of place, especially with the wild turkey statues!

Turkey statue in Edgefield

Turkey statue in Edgefield

We treated ourselves to a motel in downtown Charleston, which was convenient for the sights.  There are many beautiful historic houses, and we did a guided tour of one, the Nathanial Russell House.  It was perfect timing, as the rain started as we were going in, and stopped as we came out.  Later we walked down to the waterfront, and admired more of the architecture, but by then we’d almost lost the sun. We sampled a restaurant and a couple of bars which were also conveniently close to our motel!

Nathaniel Russell house

Nathaniel Russell house

The floating spiral staircase

The floating spiral staircase

Detail of the decoration in the house

Detail of the decoration in the house

St Michael's church

St Michael’s church

Friday 22. Before checking out, we had time for another walk around Charleston; the white and coloured buildings look their best in the sun.

The Pineapple Fountain

The Pineapple Fountain

'Rainbow Row'

‘Rainbow Row’

Then we were off to Edisto Island: not far as the crow flies, but about 50 miles by road.  We’d never been there before, but it is the current home of Ruth and Robert Anderson, who were good friends when we lived in Greenville.  Somehow we’d lost touch about 20 years ago, but last year the minister of Travelers Rest Methodist Church (see previous blog) helped us to make contact. It was great to see them again, and enjoy their hospitality.  We had a lot to catch up on, so we spent much of the next two days talking!         

Ruth and Robert have a beautiful house, very close to the beach, so we all went for a swim in the afternoon.  In the early evening they took us to a place called Botany Bay, which used to be an old plantation.  Botany Bay Beach has dead trees decorated by shells, so is very picturesque. On the way back to the car we saw the sunset.

On the beach at Edisto

On the beach at Edisto

Old ice house at Botany Bay

Old ice house at Botany Bay

Conch shell on a dead tree

Conch shell on a dead tree

Dead tree on the beach

Dead tree on the beach

Sunset at Botany Bay

Sunset at Botany Bay

Saturday 23.  This morning we went to the Ace Basin Wildlife Refuge, and walked down a long path to the Grove plantation house, which is now being restored.  It was very hot, with little shade, and lot of mosquitos!  We went on to Roxbury Park, and walked round the lake there.  In the afternoon we went back to the beach.

Plantation house

Plantation house

Heron at Roxbury Park

Heron at Roxbury Park

Flight of pelicans at the beach

Flight of pelicans at the beach

Sunday 24.  After brunch, we said farewell to Ruth and Robert, and continued our journey south.  First stop was the small town of Beaufort; they had a ‘Water Festival’ on, but it was almost over.  Then on to Hunting Island State Park, where we spent some time on the beach, climbed the lighthouse, and had a brief stroll by the lagoon.

Shrimp boat at Beaufort

Shrimp boat at Beaufort

Hunting Island lighthouse

Hunting Island lighthouse

Inside the lighthouse

Inside the lighthouse

More dead trees on the beach

More dead trees on the beach

Monday 25.  Drove down to Savannah (Georgia), and spent the day walking round the city. We’d been there twice before, long ago, but enjoyed seeing it again.  The many squares, with their colonial mansions and live oaks coved in Spanish moss, are so picturesque.  In Forsyth Park, there is an elaborate and beautiful fountain. We also visited the RC cathedral and the Colonial Park cemetery.  And we walked along the riverfront, from the Waving Girl Monument to the Globe (WWII) monument.  We looked in a couple of shops, but didn’t buy anything!

Morning at the campsite

Morning at the campsite

Savannah fountain

Savannah fountain

Armillary sphere

Armillary sphere

Waving girl statue

Waving girl statue

Winged lion fountain

Winged lion fountain

Tuesday 26.  Drove about 60 miles further south to Brunswick, where we had coffee and strolled around the downtown.  We spotted the Presbyterian church where we had attended services in 1982 and also 1989.  Then we drove over the causeway to St Simon’s Island.  First stop was the Fort Frederica National Monument.  The fort was built by the British in the 18th century; only a few ruins remain, but the place is quite atmospheric.  We stopped at Christchurch (nearby) to see the stained glass windows, including those depicting the John and Charles Wesley, who preached there.

Brunswick Presbyterian church

Brunswick Presbyterian church

Old City Hall

Old City Hall

Fort Frederica

Fort Frederica

Fort with cannons

Fort with cannons

Stained glass showing John Wesley preaching at Frederica

Stained glass showing John Wesley preaching at Frederica

In the village we saw the lighthouse (but decided not to go up) and the fishing pier.  We had enormous ice creams, and went for a stroll along the beach. There are no campgrounds on St Simon’s, so we drove over to Jekyll Island, and pitched our tent there. Later in the evening we heard loud rustling noises.  No bears this time – just a large raccoon come to inspect our rubbish bag!

Wednesday 27. We spent the morning on Jekyll Island. First we went for an early morning walk along Driftwood Beach – lots of dead trees, very picturesque.  On the way back to the car we saw a lot of small crabs in a pond.  Next we stopped at the Horton House ruins, and walked round to see the cemetery and remains of the warehouse.  Then to the Jekyll Island Historic District, where we walked along the river and took photos of the posh ‘cottages’.  We had coffee in the café belonging to the Jekyll Club Hotel, which gave us an opportunity to see how the other half live.  Finally we enjoyed a refreshing swim on Great Dunes Beach.

Morning on Driftwood Beach

Morning on Driftwood Beach

A congregation of crabs

A congregation of crabs

The old Horton House

The old Horton House

How the other half lives

How the other half lives

Coffee on the terrace of the Jekyll Island Hotel

Coffee on the terrace of the Jekyll Island Hotel

Then it was on to St Augustine.  Back into Florida!  We parked near the Castillo de San Marcos at 4pm, which gave us time for a good look round before it closed at 5.15.  This was our second visit, the first being at New Year 1983.  We had drinks in an Irish bar nearby, then drove out to Anastasia State Park, and booked two nights at the campground.  When Sandie went to the bathroom, she heard rustling in the bushes, thought it was another raccoon, but flashed her torch around and saw three armadillos scurrying for cover!  No shortage of wildlife in these parts.

Castillo de San Marcos

Castillo de San Marcos

No shortage of cannons

No shortage of cannons

Elaborately decorated cannon

Elaborately decorated cannon

St George's Street, 1983

St George’s Street, 1983

St George's Street, 2016

St George’s Street, 2016

Thursday 28.  This morning we drove to Washington Oaks State Park; we’d read about it but were rather disappointed.  The formal gardens were not that exciting, especially as the ponds had been drained for maintenance.  The beach (with lots of coquina outcroppings) was more interesting, and we enjoyed a stroll.

Washington Oaks beach

Washington Oaks beach

Handstands on the beach

Handstands on the beach

Coquina stone

Coquina stone

This afternoon we went back into St Augustine, stopping briefly en route to take photos of the lighthouse. We went to the Colonial Spanish Quarter – a kind of open-air museum.  The tour included demonstrations of blacksmithing and firing guns.  When it finally finished we had drinks in the ‘British pub’.  We had time for a quick visit to the cathedral, and the San Sebastian Winery.  We then went to the Lightner Museum, where they were having an open evening, which gave us a chance to look round the works of art, with free entry and cheap drinks.

Inside the cathedral

Inside the cathedral

Inside the Lightner Museum

Inside the Lightner Museum

Friday 29.  This morning we went for a short walk along the beach, and then headed for Silver Springs – the final stop on our nostalgia tour.  On our first-ever visit to Florida (from Greenville, in December 1982) we stopped there on our way to Disneyworld.  The glass-bottomed boat trips in Silver Springs have been famous for many years.  We discovered that it recently became part of the adjacent state park, but otherwise it was just as we remembered.

Ripples on the beach

Ripples on the beach

Silver Springs entrance

Silver Springs entrance

Glass-bottomed boats

Glass-bottomed boats

In the water

In the water

Silver Springs, 1982

Silver Springs, 1982

Silver Springs, 2016

Silver Springs, 2016

Red bird

Red cardinal

Silver Springs is close to Ocala, on the I75 (motorway) which goes south to Sarasota.   So from there it was an easy drive home!

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