Charmed by Charleston

We knew we wanted to visit Charleston, South Carolina so we took a few extra days getting there so we could take advantage of Enterprise’s weekend car rental deal. Only $10 a day to rent a car Friday through Monday. We checked into the Elks Lodge in Augusta and met Rick, the Exalted Ruler and he showed us where to park. They had a dance that night but the rest of the time we had the place to ourselves.

We found another Elks in Summerville, just north of Charleston for the next four nights near a bike trail along the canal. The Elks was quiet and deserted and kitties had free run of the place. We rode the Sawmill Branch for about 50 miles over a couple days and got into seafood eating mode while we were there. We found the Shuckin’ House and settled in for drinks and shrimp and, of course, oysters. The shrimp was so good that we went back the next day for more.

Besides the trail, Summerville has old neighborhoods and gardens and the railroad runs right through town flanked by mature magnolia trees. And lots of places to eat!

We knew we could stay three nights at the Elks in Charleston and we wanted to make the most of it. We picked up the car on the way to our nice shady spot where we once again had the place to ourselves. Elks rule!

First we went to see the Angel Oak, a huge live oak tree that is hundreds of years old and spreads its massive twisting branches across almost an acre of ground. Some of the branches draping along the ground were the size of a large tree themselves. Carmella would have loved running all around in it but no pets allowed.

My fisheye lens got a workout.

This guy was working on a painting of the tree.
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We drove down the road on Johns Island to St. Johns Church built in 1719. In the graveyard; no relation to Jim.

This stone was carved with a full thesis about the person; many of them were. And some were laying flat so no chance of reading them now. The earliest grave I saw had a death date of 1801.

We headed into Charleston to look around and find more seafood and happy hour specials. We landed at Pearlz Oyster House on East Bay Street for more shrimp after seeing someone’s plate with giant shrimps on it. It did not disappoint and provided good people watching from the sidewalk cafe.

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Shrimps!

We walked all around the waterfront and historic districts to take in the sights. Parking is a big problem in Charleston but we found a paid church lot and easily got in 11,000+ steps wandering around. Windowboxes of flowers are profusely extravagant and lovely. Lots of ornate ironwork adorns the historic houses with descriptive plaques telling when they were built, by whom and whose ghosts remain. Some have lush southern gardens you can peek into. Many were built in the 1740s and ’50s. Rainbow Row features houses of all different colors. Art galleries abound as do tourists.
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Old cobblestone street.

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The Waterfront Park was cool and shady with fountains for the kids and live oak arches over the promenades. The Charlestown Historic Market has been in existence in the same spot since back before the slave days. They were selling lots of sweetgrass baskets which were beautiful! And expensive. A small, like miniature one cost $60. I didn’t price one this size.
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This church summed up my feelings exactly.

After walking and driving around, we went back to the bus where the cats were raring to go outside. They explored around the grounds while we enjoyed the beautiful evening.
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Next stop: Drayton Hall, the oldest unrestored plantation house open to the public.

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