Charleston, SC   Leave a comment

Day 34-36

Once we all arrived at the campground (with the exception of our tailgunner who had a mishap with the highway grasscutter), we left to tour the Magnolia Plantation and Gardens (founded in 1676) by tram. In its time, it was a booming rice plantation. The Rice Plantation owners were the more affluent people in the area.

Yes, they had slave quarters, above left, and still have alligators here on the plantation. Where ever there is fresh water in the south, I think you’ll find alligators. The biggest and oldest alligator on the plantation, Bubba, is about 70 years old! We didn’t see him today.

Our first evening in Charleston, we provided a “low country boil” for our guests.

Lynn and Jack who have traveled with several times and knew a few people on this trip came by for our boil, as well as my cousin who lives in the area. We also celebrated the birthdays.

Bill and I have toured the USS Yorktown several times, and still love the tour.

Pictured below is a photo of the sailor’s berthing compartment

The torpedo workshop

There was also a surgical room onboard.

What a wonderful feeling to walk through the Medal of Honor Museum aboard the Yorktown. It was an overwhelming feeling to be proud to be an American!

The Medal of Honor is awarded by the President, in the name of Congress, to a person who, while a member of the Armed Forces, distinguished themselves by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of themselves beyond the call of duty while engaged in action against an enemy of the United States; while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party. The deed performed must have been one of bravery or self-sacrifice to clearly distinguish the individual above their comrades and must have involved risk of life.

One of the volunteers told us it was a humbling experience when they opened this section of the museum and there were over 100 Medal of Honor recipients present for the grand opening.

Bill looked up “Hershel W. Williams” who was a recipient – fighting the Japanese forces on Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands. He is from West Virginia and went to school with Bill’s dad. Bill actually met him and remembers him as “Woody.” According to their records, he is still alive.

The kitchen was enormous with enormous, with enormous appliances needed to fix the daily meals.

The recipe for 10,000 Chocolate Chip Cookies (which meant each sailor received 2) was:

112 pounds chocolate chips

165 pounds flour

500 eggs

100 pounds granulated sugar

87 pounds shortening

75 pounds brown sugar

12 pounds butter

3 pounds salt

3 cups vanilla extract

1 quart water

1.5 pounds baking soda


Our boat ride out to Ft. Sumter turned out to be a beautiful day.

Cruising over to Ft. Sumter, a ranger gave a GREAT introduction to the fort. Actually I would say it was “more” than an introduction.

Sarah was quite theatrical as she delivered years of history to us. How I wish our history classes in school were like this.

Below left is a photo of the fort in 1861 and below right is a photo as it is today, over 100 years of change.

Our historical bus tour of downtown Charleston was picturesque as well as informative. Linda, our guide, was the best ever.

We toured the Citadel. We did not realize the hero, who saved many people – but not himself – when the Air Florida Flight crashed into the 14th Street Bridge in Washington, D.C., in the 1980s, was a graduate of the Citadel.

We were able to stop and tour the Charles Pelot Summerall Chapel.

Anyone wearing a Citadel ring, can surely wear it proudly.

Don’t want to forget the bulldog, their mascot.

The Charleston Battery has always been my favorite place. It was never used in battle. After the war the cannons were brought in, some of them are even “Union” cannons, as a display. I’ll never forget visiting with my cousin’s family and bringing our children to the Battery to enjoy a beautiful evening. Walking along the wall, you’ll notice the beautiful homes that are set sideward. The front doors and porches are located on the side of the house. This was done because the lots are so narrow.

We stopped at the Charleston Market. You can’t go to Charleston and not go to the city market! You’ll find all kinds of craft items there. Our favorite is the sweet grass baskets, which has been part of the Mount Pleasant Community (a suburb of Charleston) for almost 400 years. The baskets are made from natural palmetto, long pine needles, bulrush and sweet grass. Basket making is a traditional art form brought over from West Africa by the slaves to the area and has been passed on from generation to generation. Today, it is one of the oldest art forms of African origin in the United States.

Over the years, these baskets have become quite expensive. A decent size basket, which isn’t real big, sells for a couple hundred dollars. I guess I am lucky that I bought my basket a long time ago.

We squeezed in a quick stop at the Angel Oak Tree. The tree is a Southern live oak located in Angel Oak Park on Johns Island near Charleston, South Carolina. It is estimated to be 1,500 years old. It stands 66.5 ft. tall, measures 28 ft. in circumference, and produces shade that covers 17,200 square feet. Its longest branch distance is 187 ft. in length.

As you can see, it is pretty impressive.

Charleston Tea Plantation

Producers of American Classic Tea. They are the ONLY tea growing location in North America.

It takes about 7 years for the tea bushes to start producing the harvested tea leaves. You can tell in the photos below that the field pictured on the left is a younger plant than the field on the right. They only harvest the leaves from the top of the bush. The sides are too “woody.” If they tried to harvest the leaves from the sides of the bushes, it would take too long to separate the limbs and stems from the tea leaves, so they just use the leaves cut from the top. The tea plants bloom in November. During harvesting season, depending on the weather conditions, they hope to get 6-10 cuttings.

The equipment they use to harvest the tea is one of a kind.

The machine was created in the 1800s by one of the employees and has to be maintained in order to keep it going.

They now have a greenhouse so they can take clippings off their current bushes to produce more plants.

Just outside the greenhouse are a couple of beautiful pecan trees. They don’t harvest the pecans commercially, but Mr. Hunt does gather them for his own use.

Below are the “newer” fields and were probably in the greenhouse on our visit in 2012.

Once Bill Hunt partnered with the Bigelows, his tea business increased tremendously. He processes the tea leaves and sends it up north to the Bigelow plant for packaging and then it is sent back to the tea plantation. Bigelow tea is produced in China for the most part. Below left is a photo of the current day processing plant, while below right is a photo of the first processing plant.

The photos above were taken during our 2014 tour because this year Bill and I stayed back while the rest of the group went on the trolley ride. Kermit and I enjoyed a cup of tea.

This year, Adventure Caravans added the Firefly Distillery and Deep Water Vineyard to our tour.

Our last travel briefing was sad for two reasons. One because it was our last travel briefing and two because Wes and Gayle were leaving the trip to get back home. So of course they shared with us their most memorable and funniest memory of the trip.

The talented Cyndi Pride shared with the group a poem that she wrote for us:

Pretty soon forty days will have gone by,

“It’s hard to believe,” she says with a sigh.

In just a few days we will all be alone.

We’ll have to make reservations

and plan routes on our own.

No one to thump tires. No one who cares

When we leave and when we get there.

Ah, but Bill and Carol will get to stay in bed,

They don’t have to leave early to get there ahead,

They don’t have to count and map every camp site

And determine who will fit and for whom it’s too tight.

Charleston was the last stop for Gayle and Wes.

They are on their way back to Lubbock, Texas.

Sandy already left us and she’s on her own,

Taking care of the things in her yard that have grown.

We’ve been all through Florida and we’ve seen a lot

Of alligators, azaleas, large homes and big yachts.

John and Joyce were almost always first on the bus

And they often got out of camp before all of us.

If you wanted to walk you could go with Marie or Fran,

You could also take a hike with Mike and Jan.

Karen and Speed went out on boats to fish,

And treated us at the potluck with a yummy fish dish.

And as you know, the exit of most every stop

Involved going through some sort of gift shop.

You could count on Ceil to be shopping there;

She bought candy and cigars and at least

one stuffed bear.

At happy hours Sylvia had the most interesting drinks,

And Mike always had a wisecrack, quick as a wink.

I have to admire Dell for sticking with his plan;

He’s kept losing weight,

does that make him less of a man?!

And Judy is there, to help him decide

What he can eat and what’s best put aside.

Our weather was near perfect. We had lots of sun,

For the most part the rain came after our fun.

We saw planes and forts and artillery

And lovely homes and gardens and a distillery.

Our travels went well with only a few bumps in the road,

Ron and Mary lost a wheel and a new camper was


Drew had low oil as he forgot to replace the cap,

And John and Joyce experienced a flat.

Jim and Cherrill lost their AC, and a mirror as well,

If it were me, I’d tell that mower he could go to….well,

This poem is getting far too long,

It’s really time to get moving on.

I won’t say, “Good bye”, because one thing I know,

I’ll see you again on a trip, at a rally or show.

Travel in health and may God be on your side

As you travel down the road,

I hope you have a smooth ride.


We were able to visit with my cousin and her family, which is always a lot of fun.

We love visiting with them.


Posted April 13, 2016 by carolnbill in Adventure Caravans, Family, Friends, RV, Travel

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