Sunday, June 2, 2013

Charleston, Georgetown and Barefoot

As I said we had high expectations about Charleston. Many of our boating friends told us to make sure and spend some time there because there is a lot to see. Our first day in Charleston was indeed very nice. The marina shuttle took us to East Bay Street and dropped us off in the heart of the historical district with its many homes, restaurants, galleries and shops. And it is a very pleasant place indeed.
Why Knot sitting pretty at Ashley Marina
We were fortunate that we were able to meet up with our friends from One September, Good Karma and Jim's Joy again and we spent some time with them during docktails and dinner. But we were unfortunate that they had already been in Charleston for four days and they left the next morning. One September was only a few days away from finishing their loop and Good Karma still had to make their way up north. I think they are putting their boat up in New York state somewhere and resuming their loop next spring. Jim's Joy calls Charleston their home port. They have been wonderful to cruise with and we hope that we will be able to cruise with them again soon.
Adios Good Karma

Adios One September

The first thing you notice is the architecture. It is job-dropping beautiful. Many of the structures are from the late 1800s with a few dotting the landscape from even before that. Its hard to put a finger on what style of buildings they are. They are not exactly colonial in design and not exactly far southern.

Its also not 'french quarter-ish". There may be a smattering of Meditteranean styling. One thing that is obvious is that Charlestonians like color as the stucco and brick buildings are all painted a variety of soft-pallet, though bright pastel colors. They glowed wonderfully in the bright and sunny May skies.

Preservation of it's past is obviously something that Charleston takes very seriously as the main part of the peninsula that Charleston occupies takes one back in time. The lack of modern building styles is conspicous. The central business district is a bit more modern but still quaint. Not having a car at our disposal prevented us from exploring the outlying areas. I would think that modern suburbia is more prevelant there.

As we walked around the main streets of the historic district, mostly on Broad and East Bay streets, there were numerous old buildings with placques that would briefly say what the building was and when it was constructed, along with a description of some historical fact. We learned that during its history Charleston has pretty much been destroyed and rebuilt several times, falling victim to either large fires, hurricanes, and of course to the Civil War. One such interesting building is the Post Office on Broad Street.

Lisa had a few letters to mail so made our way there. Inside we were treated to beautiful old architecture that has been painstakingly preserved. The woods are dark and warm with understated but large bronze flourishes...and the marble was incredible! There was even a small, one room Charleston Post Office history museum which was entertaining and interesting.

East Bay Street is the center of all things touristy. There was a six block long covered market with booths selling all kinds of knick-knacks.
Baskets must be popular as there were a half a dozen or so booths all with someone in the corner basket-weaving away at the same style of baskets as the other basket booths. There were booths selling everything from soaps, necklaces, hats, tee shirts and whatever else the vendors could come up with to sell to the tourists. There was even a foot massage booth. Now that was tempting!

Food! As I have noted in many previous posts the quality of restaurant food has varied widely on our journey. Wonderful places such as the Mel's Riverdock Restaurant in Hardin, Illinois, the restaurant at Coinjock Marina, Patty's 1880s in Kentucky and only one or two others were exceptions with their wonderfully delicious food. (Overall the best eats have been from our own galley. Lisa's cooking is amazing.) Now I must add a restaurant named SNOB, which is an abbreviation for Slightly North of Broad. We were urged by Judy of One September to stop there for a meal and to order the shrimp and grits. We did, and wow, are we glad we did. It was outstanding. It is more in a style of a jambalaya with the grits instead of rice. The varied tastes just melted in our mouths. Outstanding. Plus we had a pleasant conversation with a couple from Colorado there on vacation, Tim and Sharon. They asked us a lot of questions about our boating life and we both got the feeling the Tim was letting himself get sucked into the idea that maybe they too could do this. Sharon appeared to be intriqued.

We walked down East Bay to the end of the penisula to the battery park. There were old cannons and stacks of cannonballs but it was covered with trees making it a cool and pleasant place to rest. We decided to walk back to the marina which allowed us to take in many of the beautiful homes in the area. The conditions of the homes varied from painstaking restorations to modern updates that never strayed too far from the original styles. There were a few more run down homes that were being worked on. But all of them were filled with a southern charm that delighted us.

Among the many relics we found this. A pay phone?

Our second day in Charleston was just as interesting as the first. We got a ride on the marina shuttle over to the Charleston Maritime Center where we hopped onto a water taxi to Patriot Point, a large development that includes a large marina and an exhibit of World War 2 ships.

The first ship we visited was a post WW2 submarine called the USS Clamagor. The exterior of the sub is badly rusting away but the inside was in good condition. We had visited a sub in Mobile that had actually seen combat. Man, sub duty must have just sucked. I'm six foot tall and there is no way I could have existed on one of those things.

The second ship was a destroyer, the USS Laffey, that had seen extensive duty during the war. It was in pristine condition and was the best exhibit of the three ships. The Laffey had been bombarded, strafed and hit all kinds of ways by the Japanese but she stayed afloat. She is a bit of a legendary ship having survived an incredible beating of five or six kamikaze strikes in one battle. Oh and she took several direct hits by dive bombers. She was featured on a History Channel show which was playing as a continuous loop in a small theatre.

The big party piece is the the USS Yorktown, a WW2 aircraft carrier. As you would expect she is massive with lots of aircraft in static displays in her hanger deck and on the main launch deck. It was certainly facinating but we both got the feeling that too much of her available touring space was devoted to displays that after a while began to be a bit repititous. It was however a great exhibit.

During our time in Charleston a large city wide arts festival was going on. One of the exhibits we wanted to see was a painting exhibit devoted to the Coast Guard, but we had written that off because we could not figure out where it was. Well, it turned out that it was on the Yorktown and we bumped into it. There were two guardians there and we enjoyed talking with them.

Upon returning to the Maritime Center we hopped onto one of the free trolley buses that crisscrossed the city. On it we were able to run through the real heart of Charleston, the downtown district, and it looked as charming and interesting as everything else we had seen previously.

All in all we enjoyed out time in Charleston quite a lot. Its a great destination and we heartily recommend anyone to stop and spend some time there. But it is time to head out onto Georgetown.

Georgetown - Not much to say here other than we stopped at Georgetown Landing Marina for the night. We also took on 550 gallons of diesel fuel which added a hair over two tons of dead weight to the boat. This added weight was apparent with our reach to Barefoot Marina in South Myrtle Beach, SC. It was sloooooow. Not only did we have all that extra weight but we also managed to hit all the outgoing tides. We were only able to get over seven miles per hour a few times. Most of the time we were going at six and a half-ish. But the weather was great! The breeze was just enough to keep the bugs away, there was a 70% clound cover that kept the bright sunshine slightly obscured and it never got very hot at all. Other than that it was a routine day. One of my favorite strips on the ICW is in this stretch. I think cruising the Waccamaw River region is beautiful, with its tall thick cypress tree lined shores.

Waccamaw River
We arrived at Barefoot about 3:00 and met up with Jim and Dale McGovern of Sweet Pea. It has been a bit over a year since we have seen them and we were looking forward to this reunion. They are from Massachusetts but have sold everything off there and have transplanted to this part of South Carolina. They are funny and delightful people. Good times.

We will be staying here for a few days. The weather pattern is shifting to the typical summer thing of there always being a 30% to 40% chance of precipitation in the afternoon. After here we will make the usual stops on the way up to Chesapeake Bay with a few exceptions. We will be staying at Bald Head Island in Southport instead of in Southport itself. We are also going to drop anchor in the Camp Lajeune Basin for something different. Also, instead of slicing through North Carolina on the ICW we are going to swing out to the outer banks and visit Ocracoke and Manteo. I have things plotted out up to Norfolk, Virginia so far.


Anonymous said...

We arrived in Charleston yesterday and looked for you. Maybe we will catch you somewhere along the way as we head for Wash DC.
David and Barbara
MemoryMaker too

Cathryn said...

Still enjoying your photos and stories! Glad your electrical problems are behind you and you're enjoying Looping again! Sorry you missed connecting with Harbor Hosts Jenny and Jerry Reeves in Charleston; they took us to many wonderful restaurants including SNOB and loaned us their truck for a day. We loved the cypress-lined shores of the Waccamaw also AND the Camp LeJuene anchorage was a hoot! Take a glass of wine out on the bow of your boat and just lie back and watch the amazing show in the night sky. Hilarious! Wish we could join your Chesapeake Bay mini-Rendezvous! Hugs to you two, Cathryn and Bob, dirt dwellers formerly on Next To Me

Mike said...

I guess I’ve spent 15 to 20 nights at Mile Hammock Bay inside USMC Camp Lejeune. Good stop, one of the few in the area.

Make sure you know the limits of the dredged portion, and heed the warnings about not going ashore. My fear is that since people do violate that provision someday the Marines may close it, which will make that stretch of the ICW more difficult.

Can be noisy at night since there is a helo landing field just beyond the treeline.

Fair winds,

DeFever 40