Jerry’s turn this week! His take on Charleston, SC! Thanks for joining us!
We are in the beautiful city of Charleston, South Carolina. We are staying at the Mt. Pleasant/Charleston KOA RV Campground, which is owned by the Oakland Plantation. The drive from St. Helena Island was relatively easy as we covered the same route going to Charleston. We were able to travel on secondary roads that were in excellent shape and not crowded. Our GPS was awesome! We arrived perfectly with no hysterics!! Always a plus in our world now!
Charleston is a return to “Susan’s mother’s roots”. For those of you who knew about Susan’s incredible mom, she was from Brooklyn but had a slew of relatives in Charleston. She would come visit them as a young girl. Last week Susan showed you the boulevard sign for her mom’s uncle, Sam Rittenberg, who was a state senator. I guess he was Susan’s uncle also. That was pretty cool for me to see!
Susan was fortunate enough to meet many of the relatives when she was following her parents in their RV back in the 80’s. If you do not know the story, Susan’s mom and dad were full-time RVers back in the day, towing a travel trailer. How the heck did they do it without GPS???? Using paper maps, of course! That is how Susan knew she wanted to live this life.
She has been to Charleston a few times in her life. One other time was with her best friend, CJ, who lives in Southern California. Ever since that time, she has wanted me to see Charleston.
Susan dragged me to King Street on my birthday! I say this because she had the entire day planned to celebrate my birthday which is great, however, she wanted to go to a store that is owned by a cast member of the Southern Charm reality show on Bravo! Sewing Down South. It’s a pillow store. (What??) Yes, Susan bought a pillow for my birthday. Really? Actually, it looks great in the RV.
We then had a drink and ate at a restaurant that is featured on this show. Hey, I thought it was my birthday? Jokes aside, it was pretty cool. The restaurant is called Mesu, a really eclectic place that serves both Mexican and Sushi. Yes, it was a great birthday dinner! We also had a drink at another place that is owned by the same cast member called Republic. Great outdoor bar! She actually owns four restaurants on King Street. I believe her name is Leva, but what do I know?
Of course, I learned all about this from Susan. The crazy thing is, outside the store there were a couple of women taking pictures of the store sign. Susan started talking to them about the show. I, of course, was just standing there going…”Hello, birthday boy here. It’s all about me, remember?”
Susan and I toured the Boone Hall Plantation as part of my birthday celebration. We were amazed at the reenactors talent and story telling of the slaves of the Boone Hall Plantation. The plantation mansion was amazing and is an active house of the current owners. The plantation was bought by two German men as brick manufacturers. The plantation labor force was used to produce bricks for construction of Charleston and surrounding areas. Children were used to make bricks. In fact, there are places where small fingerprints can be seen on bricks all over the City!
We took a tour in a wagon towed by a John Deere tractor. The tour guide provided details of the history of the plantation. The plantation is mainly a tourist destination and with a large u-pick vegetable business. The plantation grows produce for the local restaurants. We were enthralled by a lady who is a descendant of the slaves brought to the plantation in the 1600’s. Not only could this lady sing and give us chills, but her storytelling was captivating! I had to give her a hug at the end of her presentation!
We learned that the name for the slaves was the Gullah Geechee and are known for preserving their language and cultural heritage. This group of people had their own language. They also used singing as a way to communicate what was happening, for example if a group of slaves were planning on escaping but the slave master knew about it. The slaves would sing about it while working the fields using phrases like “not tonight no go away not tonight going to go away.” This was a way to warn each other and avoid harsh punishment, which could even include being whipped or hung! We were educated to the point of tears as we heard the stories and saw the slave quarters. I had to give the amazing lady who entertained and educated us a big hug!
Overall, I had a great birthday in Charleston!
We have been to Sullivan’s Island where Susan’s aunt had a home that she visited years ago. What a beautiful beach. We had GREAT BBQ at this funky restaurant called Home Team. They had the best shrimp tacos and pulled pork nachos! Can you believe it? The service was amazing. Check it out!
In Charleston there is so much history. We toured Fort Sumter and learned about the bombardment of the fort as the civil war started. Fascinating history and incredible artifacts on this man made island at the opening of the Charleston harbor. We walked around the really small fortress discovering three locations where cannon balls and rifled rounds are stuck in the brick walls. We saw bricks that had finger prints on them here as well. We were told the bricks could have been from the Boone Farm Plantation slaves.
The Fort was where the first shots of the civil war were fired! After being relentlessly bombarded by the confederates, setting on fire and demolishing most of the fort, Major Anderson surrendered. Major Anderson was allowed to lower the flag and render a 100 gun salute and leave moving to New York where he was hailed as a hero! The fort was built as a 3 story fortress, however after the bombing by the confederates the fort was reduced to a one story building.
We also enjoyed the Island of Palm Beach. Another beautiful beach. We are trying to hit all the beaches before we leave here. I mean, it’s 77 degrees and sunny. What else do you do during November in the south but hit the beach?
Of course this is only a small sample of the history of Charleston! We are experiencing so much more about the Civil War even after all the time we spent in Washington DC and Gettysburg there is still so much to learn!
We have many more tours we are going on. Susan is an amazing concierge! She plans everything we do in each city! Stay tuned next week for more of our Charleston adventures!
Just One More…..history lesson (obviously, you cannot have too many)
Happy Belated Birthday! Charleston looks like an amazing city!
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Sounds absolutely wonderful. Thanks so much for sharing. Hope you enjoy your pillow. Haha. But really it was the shared tour time that was the gift. Happy birthday darlin.
You two are learning so much everywhere you go! How great that this blog helps keep the information!! Must have been very hard to hear about slavery from direct descendants. Thank you for all you are sharing!
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Paul and I visited Fort Sumter in 2014. We were staying at Hilton Head and took a day to Charleston. The fort was amazing and as you read the history of the Fort, you could almost picture back then what it must have felt like. We also toured the down area, but not the Slave area. The food, however, was great. Another great blog. Jerry, your birthday sounded like fun with so many different places to visit (Susan has good taste in places to visit) lol
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Right????? She really does