We started today like we would the rest of the week at The Meeting Street Inn, with a gorgeous breakfast. Today options: fresh pineapple and canalope, yogurt with blueberries and strawberries, topped with granola, scrambled eggs and sausage patties, and assorted juices with coffee as well. A note on the coffee: it’s amazing what “good coffee” tastes like. We spent all week just amazed at how much better this was than our Foldgers, but I digress.
Today, we got to see the starting point of the Civil War, Fort Sumter. This amazing place looks NOTHING like you see in the pictures. Time and the true ravages of war have left it a literal shell of its former glory, however, it is well worth the trip. To get the the fort, you take a 20 minute ferry ride out across the harbor, an awesome way to get their. As we were waiting to head out, we got to see porpoises! Two of them came within 100 yards of our boat, so we got some blurry pictures, but pictures all the same! Next on our wild life tour, pelicans! We thought big splashes in the water were the porpoises, but in fact, they were dive bombing pelicans, hell bent on a fish! So awesome to see these things creatures in the harbor!
As we arrived, our guide informed us we have an hour at the fort, not enough time at all. So we disembark and are off! We got the honor of seeing the American flag raised over the fort, which was very cool indeed. So many things to read about the fort, how Union troops held out over 30 hours of bombing before surrendering. The surrender was a proper affair, with Union troops able to board Union vessels rather than be taken a prisoner of war. The first casualty of the war happened not during the bombardment of the fort, but during a 100 gun salute being done by Union ships (that was a new fact for me as well). While is a small amount of time, it’s well worth the trip to see this living artifact of the Civil War. They have a great interpretive center next to the South Carolina Aquarium where the time leading up to the Civil War is discussed. Many of the quotes, I could easily see being uttered by politicians on both sides today as we talk about immigration, but that is for another blog entirely! 🙂
Next, lunch! As we are wandering back, we stop at a place called Saffron Cafe and Bakery.
This place is a treasure for a few reasons. The sweet tea (of course), the buttermilk spicy fried chicken sandwich was tender and juicy, and the ginger shrimp salad had TONS of shrimp and was delicious as well. We were not expecting our lunch to last an hour, but between the food and our conversation, suddenly, we lost track of time. Then, we topped it off with a summer berry tort. Cream cheese, a fruit mix, slathered between layers of cake, topped with whipped cream and a strawberry.
We waddled back to our hotel room for our afternoon nap, then took a more leisurely stroll down Tradd Street. We found the William Harvey House at the corner of Tradd and Meeting Streets, which was fun because my wife’s maiden name is also Harvey. We doubt any relation because she comes from horse thieves in England who settling in in Vermont and possibly Pennsylvania, but it was fun to bump into this massive place! We continued down Tradd Street, marveling at the size and condition of the house, many of which are over a million dollars, if they are on the market (we looked!). We continued down to the water front, and made our way back to our hotel to prepare of the ghost tour!
While in New Orleans five years ago, we took one of these tours and loved it! We learned of local legends, spooky haunting, and silly fun stuff of the area, so we figured this would happen too. We were not disappointed! Our tour guide shared with us the grisly legends of Charleston, some of the awful things that happened to people in the city (Charleston was NOT a good place to live way, way back in the day), along with some of the lighter hearted haunts of the area. One of the ghosts, a dog named Poogan, who haunts a restaurant called, Poogan’s Porch (with the most delicious fried green tomatoes). We also learned of the horrors of Philadelphia Alley, where slaves were run during the high years of the slave trade, and many men were shot all killed (it also had the nickname “Dueler’s Alley and is rumored to be haunted by a ghost who lost his life during a duel). It’s a beautiful alleyway, but it’s been rebranded because of awful things that happened there.
We met and ended our tour at The Griffon, the “best dive bar in Charleston” (someone else’s words, not mine!). However, it was a marvelous place to finish our day with some good old fashioned fish and chips and some quality local beers. The bartenders are a sassy type, but in the end, very good hearted and wished us well on our vacation in their city!
Another awesome day, with a few more coming up!