I’m trying so hard to get back into what passes for normal for me round here!  That includes blogging more frequently again and also very soon, hopefully, card making and entering challenges again, not to mention What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday posts once more.  So, whilst I’m sitting here eating my lunch I thought I’d pop up the second post about the Charleston area.  There won’t be as much history or info this time!  More photos, less chat, but you can click on the pictures for a bigger view!

Let’s start with Boone Hall, once a major plantation in the area, it was ransacked during the civil war and this beautiful house was built in 1936, but in an old style, on the site of the original home.  We toured a few rooms inside and it really did look like something from the 1850’s, it was incredibly and beautifully done.

It’s billed as Americas most photographed plantation, and here’s one of the reasons why:

The approach to the hall is along this stunning avenue of Live Oaks, over 200 years old and draped with Spanish Moss.  Live Oaks are a type of Oak tree that remain green all year round, they were something we’d never even heard of before visiting this part of the world.

To one side of the oaks are the old brick slaves houses, beautifully restored and each one depicting the history of black America starting with slavery and ending with the election of President Obama.  It was a very poignant journey through history visiting each of these little cabins in turn.

The gardens at Boone are another feature and are arranged on either side of this main entrance to the house. The white arbors are where the groups wait for the nest available tour, and as I said yesterday, it was full summer in Charleston.  This house has also been used for a number of Hollywood productions, the most well known of which is North and South starring Patrick Swayzee, Kirstie Alley and LesleyAnne Down.

We stayed on the Isle of Palms, a long narrow island linked to the mainland via two bridges yet still only 20 minutes from central Charleston.  It was a fantastic base as we were also only a couple of minutes walk from this fabulous beach:

Although it looked more like this after the one day of rain and thunderstorms that we had at the end of our stay:

We also visited Patriots Point, home to the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier and the USS Clamagore which is a submarine, as well as other static military displays.  That was another great day out and comes highly recommended.

We also spent a fantastic morning kayaking on Shem Creek and out into Charleston Bay where we visited Crab Island to see the nesting Pelicans (it’s a preserved nesting site and you’re not allowed to land at all).  We also was numerous other seabirds and witnessed three dolphins swimming in the bay that kept cresting above the water.  We went on a guided tour even though we’re very experienced kayakers mainly because the creeks are all tidal so you have to know when to go into them without getting stuck and also because the guides are very knowledgeable about the whole area and the wildlife, so they could answer any question put to them and keep you informed about what it was you were seeing.

Another amazing property we visited was Drayton Hall, which is perhaps the most incredible house I’ve ever visited in America, mainly because it’s totally original and completely un-restored, apart from important work such as making it safe and fixing the leaky roof etc.  It’s also completely unfurnished as they decided they didn’t want to showcase it as a property from a certain era, instead they want to show you the house itself.  You’d be forgiven for thinking that this house would then be  stark and uninviting but it isn’t, it actually has the opposite effect and it allows the beautiful old house to absolutely shine.  It’s truly remarkable as it stands, and it’s one of the oldest houses in America, built as it was in 1722.  It’s also quite remarkable that it was one of the very few plantation houses left standing in South Carolina after the Civil War, and rather amusingly, that’s because they nailed signs all around the perimeter of the property stating it was a smallpox hospital!  The Union troops gave it a very wide berth indeed!  It’s also rare as houses go as they allow flash photography inside due entirely to the fact that there are no precious furnishings, drapes or pictures to be damaged.  Unfortunately though my little camera just couldn’t capture the amazing detail of the rooms so I strongly suggest a visit to their website.

We had a fantastic experience in South Carolina, so much so in fact that I can’t quite bring myself to finish unpacking my suitcase!!  It’s still half full and sitting in a corner of my bedroom, and my car is now proudly sporting a South Carolina state decal on the back.  South Carolina isn’t just a State, it’s a state of mind.