LINKS TO PREVIOUS TRIPS


Previous trips can be accessed by clicking the following links:

2013
Iceland, Finland, Estonia, Russia, Mongolia, China, Thailand, Cambodia and South Korea

2014
Germany, Poland, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Israel, Jordan and Denmark

2015
Hawaii, Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia, Nepal, India and England

2016
Latvia, Lithhuania, Ukraine, Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia, Albania, Greece, Egypt, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Ethiopia, Kenya, Zimbabwe, South Africa, U.A.E. and Denmark.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

5/17: Charming Charleston, SC & Historic Jekyll Island, GA

We were thrilled to be back in Charleston as it's been a few years since we were here last and it's always been one of our favorite cities to come to. Charleston is one of the few cities outside our own that we don't need a map when visiting as we're so familiar with it. We've even toyed with the idea of renting a place for a few months to stay in during the colder winter months in Denver. Haven't done it yet but I still wonder if that's in our cards at some point down the line.

After parking in front of the US Customs House on Bay St., one of the main streets in town, I looked up and saw the Paw Paw Restaurant, and immediately thought of the small town in Michigan with the same name where our younger daughter, Natalie, will get married in early September. 
A stroll down Bay St. took us past the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon built in 1771. Years ago, we used to see local women sitting on the steps weaving sweetgrass baskets there.
The aptly named Rainbow Row, a string of lovely homes gaily painted a variety of colors:

A magnet for tourists in Charleston are the omnipresent horse and buggy tours of the downtown core.
Most of the stately older homes had shutters painted 'Charleston Green,' a green so deep it looks black. According to local legend, the color came about after the Civil War when Union troops sent buckets of black paint to help rebuild the decimated town. Colorful Charleston residents couldn’t bear the thought of their city being painted government-issued black, so they tinted the paint with yellow and green, creating Charleston’s signature greenish-black accent color.



Across the Charleston Harbor was Fort Sumter where the battle was fought that ultimately started the American Civil War.
We wondered if our boys, Alexander and Zachary, remembered playing years ago at Battery Park, located at the foot of Bay St. by the harbor. 


Just a few of the beautiful wrought-iron gates seen throughout downtown Charleston:

In my opinion, the South Carolina state flag is one of the most beautiful in the union.


This attractive front door wreath was made of cotton balls attached to cotton plant pods! Can't imagine seeing that up North but it looked perfect here in the heart of the South,
Even though it was only 9ish, it was hot and humid so we relished walking in the shade every chance we could.
We couldn't wait any longer to return to the Charleston City Market, an historic market complex established in the 1790s that stretched for four city blocks.

The Market was the perfect place to watch sweetgrass baskets being made and sold of course. Even though we walk through the Market every time we're in Charleston, it never grows old for us.
One always hear about Southern charm and that may mean something different to many people but to us, it means Charleston's incredibly friendly people who don't hesitate to smile and say hello when you walk past them. That hospitality even extended to drivers who smiled as they gestured that we could walk in front of their turning cars. Friendliness like that is unfortunately very uncommon in so many cities.

After too short a time in Charleston, we continued our drive south through South Carolina's beautiful coastal area, known as the Low Country.
 
We were in no rush to reach our hotel on the Atlantic Coast in northern Florida that night so we stopped in southern Georgia at Jekyll Island for a few hours. It's one of the Sea Islands and one of the Golden Isles of Georgia's barrier islands.

Driving across the causeway made us realize right away that we were entering a ritzier part of the country.
The island is famous for its Club Historic District, a private club founded in 1886 as a hunting retreat for its members who came from many of the world's wealthiest families, the Morgans, Rockefellers, and Vanderbilts, etc. Walking through the pedestrian-only area was like entering a bygone age where time had stood still. 

I was so relieved to finally see a Post Office as I had been looking for postcard stamps since the beginning of the trip. Alas, it only had morning hours.
This shop, constructed in 1905, had formerly been the Chauffeur's Dorm and was used as housing for employees of Club members. I had fun browsing in a number of the stores on the tree-lined avenue as the selection of gifts was very good. 
One of the mansion-sized 'cottages':
The centerpiece of the island was the Jekyll Island Hotel, formerly the Clubhouse.
Watching men, all dressed in white, mind you, play croquet on the Clubhouse green was like stepping into the early days of the last century where 'fifty-three prominent Jekyll Island Club members created an exclusive Gilded Retreat for their families and friends.' It was hard, though, for me to come to grips with the concentration of so much of the country's wealth in the hands of so few families.




The first transcontinental phone call was made on January 25th, 1915 at the Clubhouse on Jekyll Island by Theodore Vail, the first president of AT&T to Alexander Graham Bell in NY and Bell's assistant in San Francisco with President Woodrow Wilson joining in from D.C.
Directly across from the Clubhouse was Nelson Rockefeller's 'cottage' called Indian Mound.
A view from the Rockefellers' home to the Clubhouse:
We drove to the north end of the island called Driftwood Beach.


The unusual driftwood and trees looked like a tree graveyard!

Ancient driftwood 'monuments' for lack of a better word lined the beach as far as we could see.



The driftwood formations were absolutely spectacular if a little creepy! I was thankful we weren't seeing them at night when I feared they might take on a life of their own.
Onto Florida, 'our home away from home' for the next four weeks.
There'll only be a couple of posts coming up of our time in Florida as our lives on the beach at Grayton Beach State Park are pretty 'boring' - walks up and down the beach and lots of reading as we while away hour after hour being mesmerized by the soothing, emerald waters of Florida's Panhandle.

Posted from Grayton Beach State Park on May 23rd, 2017.