Originally published on 31 July 2014.
Run, run, run! That’s what I wanted to do on this first morning in Charleston. Let’s see the sights!
Down Ashley Avenue we go, past Colonial Lake and down around Battery Park. And this guy had come out to say hello!
Along the waterfront, I could see Fort Sumter in the distance, as well as Castle Pinckney in the foreground (could not find much info on Castle Pinckney, except the Pinckney family was one of the first in the Carolinas, and the name is still found in town; someone has bought and is restoring Castle Pickney, so perhaps next time I’ll go see it in the flesh!). Past some B&B’s, along the original city wall, and then I found it!
Pronounced “Hazel” Street, but it sure does look like “Hassell” Street! That makes me wonder if my folks were ever citizens here.
I got a little bit lost (Charleston is not set up on a very good grid system), but eventually I found my way back to the B&B and showered in time for breakfast! I met the nicest couple from Florida. We had peach crepes with blueberry sauce and some really good cream stuff. Delicious!
After breakfast, I wrote some postcards (but I think I had an absent-minded moment and forgot to put addresses on some of them… whoops!) and took the opportunity to rest a bit, and then I went to meet my friend Paul Garberini again! We’d agreed yesterday to meet this morning for a 17th and 18th century tour. He was so kind, he even gave me a book about Revolutionary Charleston because I was so interested in it!
Fun facts: North and South Carolina began as just one colony, Carolina; it split for some complex “crown colony” reasons in 1729. Carolina began officially in 1663 with eight land grants, one for each of the original Lords Proprietors. Their names are still distinguishable today! And the picture below shows a portion of the original city wall:
And this is what happens if you try to repair a wall using original bricks but present-day mortar:
Oops! The wrong mortar eats away at the old bricks!
Fun fact. Charleston is the only walled city in what is now the United States. The other two walled cities in North America are St. Augustine, FL; and Quebec, Canada.
We also stopped in at the Old Exchange and Provost. It would have been the first building that ships would see as they came into the Harbor in the 1770s. This building served as a prison, post office, place to pay taxes, town meetings, and the place where the Declaration of Independence was read for the first time in Charleston on August 5, 1776.
And now about Fort Moultrie. It has a lot more history than Fort Sumter, believe it or not! As a matter of fact… let’s just go there! Paul finished up his tour with me, then offered to drive me to Fort Moultrie on Sullivan’s Island! You can only get there by car (and maybe by boat), so I wouldn’t have been able to go otherwise. Across the bridge we go!
So, the British navy came in to attack Charleston in 1776. Fort Moultrie, made of sand and Palmetto wood, was Charleston’s first line of defense. You know what’s good about Palmetto wood? It repels or absorbs cannons and bullets! So it was basically indestructible. Colonel Moultrie was, of course, the hero of the battle, and that is how the fort came across its name.
Fun fact. Have you ever noticed the white spot on the South Carolina flag that looks like a crescent moon? And the Palmetto tree–which, incidentally, is South Carolina’s state tree?
Hm… That white shape on this fella’s hat looks an awful lot like the alleged “crescent moon” on the flag. And the Palmetto tree… wasn’t that the material the fort was made from and that made the for impervious to cannon fire? Why yes! It seems as though we have indeed found the origins of the South Carolina State Flag. There is much more speculation, of course, so believe what you like. That’s the fun of history… sometimes we don’t know for sure, so we can occasionally decide which ending we like best and go with it! But truly, that explanation seems to have the most credibility of all the theories Paul mentioned to me.
Anyway, Fort Moultrie has the Revolutionary history, Quasi-War history, Civil War history, and I believe more, but I neglected to write those down. Oops!
By now it was lunch time, and Quick Whit’s little crepes did not hold her over as long as she’d have liked. Time for a hamburger, which is something I usually only have once every couple of years–but I was sure craving one! Paul dropped me off at the Blind Tiger Pub, famous for its speak-easy days during Prohibition!
Meet the Broad Street Burger: Fried green tomatoes, goat cheese, and sweet potato fries. There’s a bun under all that as well. Quick Whit was satisfied the rest of the day! Mmm-mmm!
Moving on! More to see! More to do! To the Old Exchange and Provost!
It was quite intriguing, the Old Exchange and Provost. It served so many different purposes, and a tour of the basement (which served as a jail) revealed the original sea-front wall, as well as the fun fact that the Carolinians hid several hundred pounds of gunpowder from the British for years–while the British occupied the building! Sneaky sneaky…
And we’re walking… Walking as fast as we can… But it’s too late! I had just missed the dolphin cruise boat, but fortunately I could still hop on the Water Taxi–if I ran to catch the boat! Fortunately for me, the Water Taxi guys were very good-humored. I saw at almost every stop that they regularly have to wait for stragglers! Here’s how the trip started out:
Lovely, partly sunny, breezy…
And this is how we ended up… dark and ominous! Uh oh!
The rain mostly stayed to the north of the city, but when it started to sprinkle, I was fortunate enough to duck inside a shop. The woman working there was so kind and so friendly… I miss the South!
And we’re walking… the rain didn’t last long, so I was back on my way in no time. I walked over to a CVS to pick up some blister band-aids. No, I was not wearing new shoes, I was actually wearing my last pair of running shoes, which I thought would be ideal for walking so much… but nope! Those blister band-aids really are miraculous, though–cushiony, water-proof, multi-day use. They’re great!
And back to the B&B. Walking, walking, walking. I feel like I really got to know the residential streets of Charleston! I stopped off for some to-go food from Hominy Grill, even though I was not yet hungry since lunch, because it was just a block away from the B&B, and it came so highly recommended. I got the fried green tomatoes (when in the South!) appetizer and the buttermilk pie:
Ha! That was good for a giggle. =)
The Ashley Inn also provides snacks in the afternoon/early evening: fudge, fruit, cheese, wine, etc. The fudge was quite possibly the best I ever put in my mouth! Wow. That was worth coming back for!
So then I showered, ate, put pictures on Facebook, slept the best sleep ever, and got up again the next morning for another run! I was feeling ambitious (and feeling the finality of my last day in Charleston), and Paul had told me about a nearby park, so off I went!
That is exactly what I wanted on my morning run. What a way to greet the day! Hampton Park is a beautiful running spot, or anyone interested in running where you travel!
After a shower and a few moments of resting those wearing feet of mine (and re-bandaging), this is what greeted me on the piazza:
Yes, a beautiful, sunshiny day and a sausage turnover with scrambled eggs and fruit! What a delight. I spent my final hours in Charleston enjoying the B&B, reading, and starting on my blog as I waited for my taxi back to the airport. My sweet husband greeted me at Dulles airport. Join me next week as I visit my friend Carol Sims in Memphis, TN!