Saturday, March 19, 2011

Revisiting America

Picking up where I left off (quite some time ago) on the way to Charleston:
Lou had eaten at The Lady & Sons in Savannah before but I had not.  So we took the time to run into downtown and had lunch there.  We were rushed because of our parking meter and trying to be on Kiawah Island before 5:00 pm.  But it was worth the effort.  We had the buffet and it was delicious. 
Even with the buffet, they serve you a cheese biscuit and a hoecake before your meal and dessert after.
Lou had the banana pudding and I had Paula's original recipe "gooey" cake.  Good and gooey.  Quite an array of choices on the buffet line - the "fried" corn was great, a particular favorite of mine.  None of the Deens were about, but we didn't really expect them to be.  And we arrived on Kiawah a little after four. This week has been fun.  Started with a horse-drawn carriage ride.  The drivers are in grey "confederate" pants with a red sash, white shirt, and a Rebel soldier's hat.  Our driver was Steve and our horse was George.  George was a very big horse - lightly mottled gray - a French Percheron that we were told is spoiled rotten.  Steve and George both handled their jobs extremely well.  Interesting tour with a lot of the history of Charleston.  The Battery was part of the drive as well as Rainbow Row, Broad Street, and several old and historic churches.  Charleston isn't called the "Holy City" for nothing - 184 (guide book) to 188 (Steve) church spires are present in the skyline.  Not to mention all of the churches, many of them, on the surrounding islands and in the countryside.  After the ride, we had lunch at Hyman's Seafood, a Charleston "must do," but I was a little disappointed.  The shrimp po' boy was good but not unusually so.  From there, we drove to the harbor and boarded a ferry boat for a ride around the city and islands.  We saw Ft. Sumter, Ft. Moultrie, the Battery, and lots of interesting sights including the aircraft carrier Yorktown.  The state of South Carolina is named the Palmetto State because of the Civil War action at Ft. Moultrie.  It seems that the fort was constructed of palmetto logs which are quite spongy.  The cannon balls of the Union Army either lodged in the logs or bounced off.  The Rebels would then harvest the cannon balls and shoot them back.  Great story, huh?  Apparently, it's true and a fascinating part of the history of the state.  What other tree can claim that kind of glory? There's another tree with a claim to fame in the area.  On Thursday, we stopped at Angel Oak park on the way home.  Angel Oak is a live oak that is 1,500+ years old.  It would have sprouted before Columbus' voyage.  The statistics on the tree are amazing:  its age, height of 65 feet, diameter of spread of 160 feet, trunk circumference of 25 feet, and it covers 17,100 square feet of ground.  Remember the last line of Kilmer's poem, "But only God can make a tree."?  And this is a magnificent tree.
Tuesday was an off-day.  Then on Wednesday we went to Magnolia Plantation and Gardens - another one of the Charleston "must do"s.  This one was worth it.  The plantation and gardens have been in the Drayton family for 11 generations.  This is the third house on the property.  The first two houses were destroyed by fires.  The current house was originally a hunting camp house (rather a large one) that was disassembled, floated down the Ashley River, and reassembled at the current site.  We toured the house and it was very impressive.    During the 20s "jazz age" one of the guests was Orson Welles.  We also took the boat tram up the Ashley and saw some interesting wildlife.  Moor hens, anhingas (the "snake" bird), egrets, herons, and lots of alligators, a couple of them huge.
Thursday was Charleston City Market day.  Several large, open, brick buildings lined up one behind the other make up the market.  Inside the buildings are "stalls" selling everything from jewelry to the famous sweetgrass baskets.  Art, carvings, photography, old signs, and food were for sale.  We sampled the benne seed wafers, a Charleston favorite, and they were delicious.  On the way home, we ate dinner at The Fat Hen on John's Island.  We had a nice window table in a corner of the glassed-in front porch and enjoyed the light and openness.  Dinner was excellent and our waiter, Hy, was great.  We had an appetizer of fried green tomatoes, and shared a dessert of lemon coconut cream cake.  To die for.  Lou's entree was salmon with Bearnaise sauce and mine was mahi mahi with a great sauce and locally grown vegetables.  Yesterday and today were spent resting up for next week.  We already have tickets to three evening events and will share our adventures with you in our next postings.  Charleston is great.

1 comment:

  1. Good to hear you're having lots of fun and lots of good food, too! It all sounds lovely. Hope you have good weather to enjoy the rest of your days there.
    It is the evening before the LA Marathon! I went with Russ & met Brian at Dodger Stadium near downtown LA to pick up their racing numbers, etc. The race goes through many interesting areas of the city & ends by the ocean in Santa Monica. I'm cheering @ Mile 15 & then going to the finish line. I'm very proud of them!