Charleston

We’ve had several days under way, with a stopover in Georgetown, South Carolina, one of my favorite little towns along the way.We stayed only one night, definitely not enough. We’ll stay several days when we head back north, for sure. Dinner out at the River Room Restaurant was delicious. I had the Shrimp and Grits. . .

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totally new for me! I would do it again. I was told by someone years ago that grits are a “carrier” for flavor, as they have (evidently?) no flavor of their own. So if you want sweet, add sugar, honey, etc. You want butter? Bacon? Ham? Shrimp? There you go! Well I do admit that I never tasted the grits, but man oh man, the total combination (shrimp, smoked sausage, a mild Cajun ham “gravy” which had a tomato base and slivers of ham, all on the grits which lined the bowl at the bottom) was incredible. We stayed a bit late before departing so we could visit the “Independent Seafood” place next to the shrimp boats, which opens at 8 am. I bought 2 lbs of shrimp and 1 lb of flounder filet. Fresh off the boats! YUMMMM!

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Travel yesterday was “interesting,” with winds and current strong but all behind us, so we were never uncomfortable, just pushed along a bit faster than we normally go. For a while we were winding our way through cypress forests — I particularly love the trees draped with Spanish Moss. I call this one “Cypress Bride. . . “

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. . . and this one, “Cypress Bridesmaids.”

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Then we were in the wide open, with some “skinny” places where the water gets shallow and channel narrows, but Hans has been able to figure out how to “read” the water, and we never saw less than 5’ under our keel, which is 4.5 feet.

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Entering the Charleston Harbor you are IN THE OCEAN! I cannot imagine what this place would be in a hurricane, because it’s right out there!

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We are in Charleston at the Charleston City Marina, and I understand why a lot of boaters from up north take advantage of the Winter Specials here. . . The facilities are great, the staff courteous, there is a van that leaves from the marina hourly to take you where you want to go, and will pick you up when you’re ready to come back.

AND. . . The city itself is delightful! The homes remind me of Annapolis style homes, small, charming, and on narrow streets, except there are a lot more of them.

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The City Market runs for blocks, part of it heated, part not (some of the vendors were “cold” in the high 60s temperatures that we had.)

ImageImageImageYou walk through a building, cross a street and into the next. Everything from high end jewelry to leather wallets and sun glasses. But the Sweetgrass Baskets. . .

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I had NO IDEA about the Sweetgrass Baskets that this area is known for! They are made from local sweetgrass and longleaf pine needles (for contrast). This art (for truly, it is more than a craft!) was brought to the area by African slaves from the “Rice Coast” of western Africa. Rice was being grown here, and the knowledge and experience of the Africans was valuable to the landowners here.  In the late 17th century the woven baskets were used in the planting and harvesting of rice and other crops, but in the late 19th century the art expanded to home and decorative use. The knowledge and techniques are handed down generation to generation, and the weavers we spoke to were obviously very proud of having been given the honor to carry it on.

Image We were encouraged to consider the basket as an item to be handed down to children and grandchildren, as they will “last forever.” I couldn’t quite bring myself to come up with something in the neighborhood of $100 for a basket, but they are lovely, impressive, substantial, and will have many uses, so perhaps on our way back north I will have made that decision.

Lots of other tempting things in the market, jewelry, knitted stuff,  and the “Gullah” culture (which I assumed was primarily in Louisiana) is quite evident, with a lot of local pride and cultural influence.

One thing that I was very impressed with (in the very short day we’ve spent here!) is the evidence of a strong art/craft vitality. I think I could live here. . . . but perhaps a three month winter stay on the boat some year will satisfy. Maybe in our future. . .

In any event, I wish we could stay for a few more days right now, but if we’re going to make it home for the holidays we want to be farther south when we leave the boat.

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3 thoughts on “Charleston

  1. We saw them making those baskets when we went to myrtle beach. The moss is so artistic! Going by the house today, its nice here. You’ve been gone two wks now so I’m sure sir speedy is just a memory for you now. GOOD! Say hi to Hans and woofy. xxoo Date: Sat, 8 Dec 2012 13:51:16 +0000 To: mosey626@hotmail.com

  2. Peggy,
    Reading about your adventures brings back wonderful memories of our first moments of being awstruck by living such a wonderful lifestyle. We can relate to each experience and chuckle along at the discoveries. Keep up the great narrative and fantastic photos.

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