Thursday, April 11, 2013

Nothin' Could Be Finer Than To Be In Carolina

We're at the KOA campground in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. That's just across Charleston Harbor from James Island. Last Saturday, we managed to secure what seemed to be the only  campsite in the county. 

What we didn't know then was that the April 7th Cajun Festival crowd at James Island was surely about to be "outdone" by the 36th Annual Cooper River Bridge Run on April 6th. I think it was wildly successful. We heard later in the week that the Cajun Festival at James Island had a record breaking attendance... (minus two).

But Sunday afternoon most of the campers (and runners) were nearly all gone and there were plenty camping spaces available.  Being easy-going folks, Ken and Nancy canceled their reservation at James Island Campground and joined us here at the KOA. While we didn't want to foul their plan at James Island, we were thrilled to have them join us.

This was just after Ken and Nancy arrived in early afternoon on Sunday.
They are in a campsite beside us.  (If I try real hard, I can see into their windows!)
Ken is such a nice guy. Smiling all the while he's heaving those plants again.
(I think I heard him curse under his breath)

Within minutes, Ken and Nancy's campsite looked inviting enough to welcome guests... so we went over for a visit!
(I took these pictures hanging my upper torso out our bedroom window.  I'm surprised they didn't throw something at me.)
Because eating is such an important part of socializing for the West Side Trailerhood (and this is a small part of that fine group), we immediately made a plan to eat dinner tonight at nearby Carrabbas. 

Dinner at Carrabbas was superb, as usual.
Sadly, no food photos this time.  I forgot.
With only three days to spend together, we had to carefully choose our Charleston sightseeing activities. The first day we'd take the boat ride out into Charleston Harbor to see where the Civil War began: Fort Sumter.

The tour of Fort Sumter begins at Patriots Point in Mount Pleasant.
The USS Yorktown is a National Historic Landmark and museum ship at Patriots Point. That's her behind us.
The USS Yorktown is one of 24 Essex class aircraft carriers built during WWII. 
She earned eleven battle stars and the Presidential Unit Citation.
The USS Yorktown served as a recovery vessel for the Apollo 8 space mission
 and was used in the movie "Tora! Tora! Tora!"
We didn't tour the Yorktown today because our time is so limited. We added it to our list of the many nice things to see and do in and around this area.  Nancy and I agree we must return to Charleston for more than just a few days.
This is the view of the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge from Patriots Point.
It just so happened a huge, loaded cargo freighter was making it's way under the bridge
while we were at Patriots Point.
Aboard the vessel that would take us to Ft Sumter, we got some terrific views, including other  Navy vessels, the marina near Patriots Point and Fort Moultrie.  The Charleston skyline was pretty nice too.
Charleston is known as the "Holy City" because of the number of church steeples.
Fort Moultrie on Sullivan Island dates to 1776
This is another "must see" for a return trip to Charleston.

Fort Sumter History (In A Nutshell)

South Carolina seceded from the Union, yet Union forces still occupied Fort Sumter at the entrance of Charleston Harbor. The South demanded Fort Sumter be vacated but the North refused. Finally, on April 12, 1861, South Carolina Confederate troops fired on the fort -- the start of a two day bombardment that resulted in the surrender of Fort Sumter by the Union.
With the North's withdrawal, the South held Fort Sumter until it was finally evacuated on February 17, 1865. During that time, the fort experienced one of the longest sieges in modern warfare. For almost two years, 46,000 shells were fired at Fort Sumter. For those reason and more, Fort Sumter remains one of the most significant historic monuments in the United States.
Fort Sumter from a distance on boat.
During the Civil War, the fort was three stories high.
Today the two upper levels are gone, leaving just a single level of history.
Wayne and me, Ken and Nancy at the entrance to Ft Sumter
Our visit to Fort Sumter lasted a total of two hours:  1/2 hour each way on the boat and one hour to tour Fort Sumter itself.  Today's weather was what I consider perfect -- low 70's with a full compliment of sunshine.  We strolled the grounds, listed to the National Park Ranger talks and looked through the museum. It was a fine day for a history lesson.

About That South Carolina Flag...

Since we've been here I've been asking around about the design of South Carolina's state flag:  A crescent moon and a palm tree on a solid blue background. What's that all about?  Today, I learned about it.

The General Assembly adopted South Carolina’s flag on January 28, 1861. This version added the Palmetto tree to the original design by Colonel William Moultrie in 1775 for use by South Carolina troops during the Revolutionary War. Colonel Moultrie chose a blue color which matched the color of their uniforms and a crescent which reproduced the silver emblem worn on the front of their caps.
The palmetto tree symbolized Colonel Moultrie's heroic defense of the palmetto-log fort on Sullivan's Island against the attack of the British fleet on June 28, 1776.

By statute the flag shall be displayed "upon the inside of every public school building in this State so that all school children shall be instructed in proper respect for the flag," and daily except in rainy weather, from a staff upon the State House and from a staff upon each County Courthouse. The State Flag is also to be displayed in accordance with rules set by the State Superintendent of Education, on the grounds of educational institutions supported in whole or part, by funds derived from the State. It is also prescribed that any person who mutilates, injures or desecrates the State Flag, wherever displayed, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of not more than $100 or by imprisonment for not more than 30 days or both.

I especially like that last part -- the one that punishes anyone who mutilates, injures or desecrates the State Flag. Too bad that's not true for Old Glory, the flag of the United States of America.

South Carolina's original Palmetto Guard Flag is on display at Fort Sumter

With the entry of the victorious Confederate troops into Fort Sumter, Private John S. Byrd, hung the militia unit banner of the Palmetto Guard over the wall facing Charleston. The original is now on display at Fort Sumter having stayed in Byrd's family until it was donated to the National Park Service in 1979.
Returning to Patriots Point, we got still more great views of the USS Yorktown

Wayne looks onto the USS Yorktown bow

Returning to Patriots Point, of course we spent lots of time and no money in the gift shop.  This is where I first saw a Poo-Pourri display.  Yes, it is what you think it is.  Janie told me about it, but I was seeing it for sale here for the first time. 

Nancy looking to make a big purchase.

With our tourist duties officially concluded for the day, it would be important to get in a nap, so Ken does just that. 

Resting up for dinner.

We're headed out to a "unique little restaurant" called See Wee. It's a suggested restaurant by the campground.  We'll give it our taste test later this afternoon.

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