So we had a lovely few days in Hilton Head Island [fun fact: the island is shaped like a shoe!], South Carolina. It is a beach resort town that is a bit like Pauanui [in NZ for those not from NZ!] on steroids!! It had a laid back feel, and was a great place to get some ‘R n R’ – all this travelling is a bit exhausting sometimes, and we are not getting any younger 😂 There were a lot of holiday homes, tennis courts, beautiful golf courses and a magnificent white sandy ocean beach. It is flat as a pancake and everyone rides their bikes through the pines and palms, and even along the beach as the silica sand is ‘as hard as’ when it is wet. We could see and hear the sea from our lovely apartment 🏝
So our ‘neighbours’ were in town for a thanksgiving dinner with family who lived in Seaport, which is the gated community part that you pay the privilege of entering on the island!! So we were lucky enough to get our names put on the gate!! It is even grander that the main part of the island with elegant homes and even more impressive golf courses! This is also where you go for sea based tours and to visit the lighthouse.
Not that you can tell from this picture, but it was really busy the day we went, so we didn’t climb up. It is only really small lighthouse [114 stairs] but it is significant as it has a great camera angle for the 18th hole on the golf course!! It is located in Harbourtown, Sea Pines, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina!! We had a meander around the village, watched the pelicans and checked out all the fancy boats.
After leaving our ‘island paradise’ we headed for North Charleston in South Carolina. On the way we stopped in a delightful seaside town called ‘Beaufort’. We walked around the waterfront which has the most beautiful streets lined with the live-oak trees with dangling Spanish Moss and houses that are so old they shouldn’t be standing! Not sure how come, with everything we know about house building, that we build rubbish that hardly lasts and these ‘ancient’ houses are still standing, albeit some with the ravishes of time. Some of the properties here were just stunning.
So we arrived at our next ‘assignment’ on Monday afternoon and met our new furry friends. We have Laurel [Collie], Pip [Border Collie], Cooper [Beagle X] and Bear the cat. They are all rescue animals, so we have different levels of anxiety to deal with. We are staying in suburban North Charleston. It is about a 30 minute drive into town, so not too bad.
On our first day we decided to visit Magnolia Plantation. It was a freezing day, but the sun was poking its head out … just! This plantation was founded in 1676 and became a ‘public garden’ in the late 1870’s making it America’s oldest garden and tourist site. I had read a bit about is history and decided that we should visit. We were underwhelmed! Not to say there isn’t a lot of history here, but the gardens themselves left us wondering why they are meant to be so special … I wonder if we would have found it more ‘spectacular’ if we had visited in spring/summer. This bridge is one of the most photographed place as everyone wants their wedding photos here.
The next day we went into Charleston, which used to called Charles Town but somewhere along the way it became Charleston. It is such a elegant town with houses built circa late 1700’s, cobbled streets and a beautiful waterfront. We spent 4 hours walking around here and just ooooohing and aaaahhhhing at all the architecture.
While walking along the waterfront, we found a little lighthouse at the Coast Guards gate … couldn’t climb this one! There was actually two – one either side of the gate … one with a red light and one with a green light.
This is America’s oldest liquor store, located in downtown and has been trading since 1686 … I hope they know how to do stock rotations – who knows what might be hidden at the back 😂. We didn’t buy anything here as it was pretty pricey!
As we were stood on a street corner waiting to take a photo of the beautiful church (below) a gentleman came along and asked if we needed any help. After chatting to him for a few minutes he told us he was the director of the Historic Dock Street Theatre [which was were we standing] and offered to take us on a history tour. He gave us a brief overview of its history [first show 1736], took us through the building and lucky for us into the theatre where they were working on the stage for opening night of the The Christmas Carol. What a cool experience – of course I asked all the appropriate questions and then had to fess up that I was a Front of House Manager in a previous life!!
Charleston is famous for a lot of things – one of them being all the churches and there are dozens of them with amazing steeples and spiers. They call Charleston the ‘holy city’ as there is more churches capita than anywhere else!! I have taken photos of a few of them as they were such gorgeous buildings, the architecture, the stained glass windows and of course when all the bells chime across the city it sounds wonderful. I have put a few pictures below for your enjoyment.
That nearly brings you up-to-date, although we do have a few more days here so I am sure I will have some other things to share from Charleston.
“Be brave, take risks…the experience is worth it”