Charleston, South Carolina   1 comment

Day 34-36

Once we all arrived at the cg early and 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!

Our first evening in Charleston, we provided a chili hot dog feast for our guests.

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.

We took the first boat of the morning over, so we were able to see them raise the flag. Many of the bystanders began to sing our National Anthem. Very cool!

What history this fort holds.

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 400 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. A trolley ride through the planation is most informative.

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. Pictured below right shows untrimmed tea bushes. See unruly they can become.

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 plants ready for the fields.

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 Firefly Distillery and Deep Water Vineyard is a great way to end a long day of touring.

What a fun place to visit.

Our last travel briefing is always sad, because….it’s our last travel briefing.

Charleston will always be one of my favorite cities!


Posted April 8, 2017 by carolnbill in Travel

One response to “Charleston, South Carolina

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  1. Thanks for your blogs. We remember this trip well as we went on the inaugural trip. There have been several changes but we are glad that the Tea plantation is still one of the stops as it was one of Carole’s favorites.

    Bill & Carole Sistek

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