Six years ago this week I traveled from where I was living in Tennessee to visit a friend in Charleston, South Carolina. The drive there was the bad kind of eventful: that mysterious phenomenon peculiar to the coastal south where you’re just driving along, minding your own business, & out of nowhere it’s raining so hard that all you can see is the taillights of the vehicle in front of you. Nothing to deluge instantaneously. That trip was also the first time I ever saw an armadillo dead on the side of the road & I legit thought it was a dinosaur for a hot second. My friend told me that Charleston doesn’t allow any buildings to be taller than the tallest church steeple, which gives the city a very open, down-to-earth feel since there aren’t any skyscrapers.
My first stop was to the history park at Charles Towne Landing, the site of the first English settlement in the Carolinas in 1670. They have something for everyone – a reconstructed fort, a sailing ship, a historic home, & even a small zoo displaying native wildlife. I was NOT expecting to see a huge alligator in the pond as I was exploring the gardens!
The next day I visited the South Carolina Aquarium and Charleston Museum, but my camera decided to completely break in between those two sites so I didn’t really get any pictures of the museum. 😦 The aquarium has this incredible ocean tank with a giant two-story window that their resident sea turtle likes to hang out in. When I was there they had a special Madagascar exhibit with lemurs & they were really fun to watch! Charleston Museum is packed with just about everything possible & keeps going forever, it would take multiple visits to even come close to absorbing it all.
On my last day I visited two historic forts – Fort Sumter & Fort Moultrie, both of which were in use for generations & saw many changes & renovations over several wars. Fort Sumter was where the Civil War got its official start when Confederates drove out the federal troops stationed there. It sits on a tiny island in the harbor, accessible by ferry for a 2-ish hour tour. Its a really great museum, they even have the original flags that were flown over the fort in the 1860s. Fort Moultrie takes you backwards in time – they’ve restored it to various periods, starting at the World War II entrance & going back to the Revolution-era log fort. Most places like this are set in a specific time frame, so it’s really interesting to see these two forts actively embracing the changes & innovations that occurred.
Charleston is a very pretty city, & I wish my camera hadn’t broken so I would have better pictures of it! My phone camera just couldn’t do it justice. I was also sad to miss the H.L. Hunley museum – it’s only open on weekends. There’s way too much happening in Charleston for a three-day trip to cover it all anyway so I guess I’ll have to go back!