At twenty-five feet above sea level in rain-drenched South Carolina we found the dark woods again. Stopping at the Visitor Center, which was an old plantation home, the 250 years old tree out front was weeping with Spanish moss, and the trunk of it had a bearded face.
The ladies shared with us that the Parris Island Marine Base was having a graduation the next morning. As a Marine, Jim went through Boot Camp in San Diego about 48 years ago. He thought it would be interesting to see the east coast base, so we went. It was my first time on a military base so I especially enjoyed seeing the hundreds of graduates and their proud families, the campus, the marching platoons, and the obstacle courses. Jim pointed out they had real swamps all around to practice crawling through mud. Yuck.
We were also close to Hilton Head. The golf courses there are world famous. An area called Sea Pines was lovely. Canopies trees cover the streets of homes and condos. People on bikes enjoyed the beautiful day all along the community bike paths. A lighthouse reigned over the harbor at the end of the road and pristine white boats and yachts waited patiently in the marina.
Charleston is the fourth busiest container port in the nation. The ruins of Fort Sumter lay off the coast a few miles. It is said the first shot of the civil war took place there. A museum along the coastal waters has done a good job telling the civil war story without having any bad guy. The sadness of a nation fighting itself, slaves needing to be free, and a President that carried the whole burden on his shoulders, was carefully depicted.
Charleston is so “Southern.” It was Labor Day weekend and couples holding hands wandered through the streets of the beautiful old home, along intriguing shops and restaurants, and through the French Quarters. This is the kind of place it would be easy to stay a few days.
We had lunch on the marina. The menu offered shrimp and grits, and okra soup. I’m continually inspired by the variety of American foods across the nation.
Several people told us not to miss Savanna, Georgia. Now I know why. It’s going on the “One of my favorite spots” list. Savanna, Georgia has more than 2,300 restored colonial and Victorian homes and buildings. They offer trolley tours so we decided that would be the simplest way to see the area. Almost every block of the historic district had a park, or square, in the middle of the homes.
Our favorite (of course) was the Davenport home built in 1820 by Isaiah Davenport. He was a Master Builder so he used his house as the model home to showcase his skills while raising his family of ten children. His home was the first saved for restoration and is now a museum. They ask all the Davenports who visit to sign a guest book, and we were shown a copy of Isaiah’s branch of our family tree (it is on-line at davenporthousemuseum.org).
Isaiah Davenport, born 11/3/1787 died 10/16/1827. Married Sarah Rosamond Clark, born 2/22/1788 died 8/7/1869. The article states the first family’s first member to come to America was Thomas Davenport who was born in Dorchester, England in 1615 and died in Dorchester MA in 1685. His great-great grandson, Jonathan Davenport, was a Revolutionary War soldier and father of four sons. He apprenticed in New Bedford, Massachusetts.
We headed over to the riverbank where the cotton was once loaded on ships for overseas. The river wasn’t very wide so I was surprised when a huge cargo ship moved through. I love that they have left the cobblestone streets in front of the ancient buildings that are now shops and restaurants. It felt like a little bit of Europe.
We chose The Shrimp Factory for lunch and there it was again, shrimp and grits. This time it included maple bacon and some kind of amazing sounding sauce. I thought if I was ever going to try shrimp and grits that should be the place. There were several delicious sounding choices but our waitress said shrimp and grits was the “don’t miss” item on the menu. Totally Delicious.
I just had to save a picture of the recipe on the placemat for Chatham Artillery Punch from 1786 that the bar still serves. The story goes that a gentle lady made up the first beverage as lemonade, and then the officers sneaked in and added this and that.
On the trolley we passed an ice cream parlor with a long line of people waiting. The driver said there is always a line waiting to get into Leopold’s Ice Cream shop, which was established in 1919, and is on “The Top Ten Best Ice Cream In The World” list. As we finished our day we drove by again and the line prevailed. Sometimes we know we better not miss the one time opportunity so we joined the crowd. I tried Rum with Macaroons and Honey Almond Cream. Jim had Coconut, with real strings of coconut, and Chocolate Chocolate Chip. The unique flavors were a delicious finish to our day.
This blog sounds like Savanna was all about the food. Although they do have a reputation for delicious food, the arts reign, too. Many of the old business buildings around town have been purchased for the University of Art and Design. The old railroad depot is a historic museum for the area. Good job city leaders.
Traveling Blessed USA