There is a tiny—and I mean less than a block long—commercial district, which includes some good restaurants, one of which is Poe’s Tavern. Based on Son1 and Lovely Girlfriend’s recommendation, we decided to check it out one afternoon. Named for American author and poet, Edgar Allen Poe, the tavern features some amazing burgers and, as a bow to Poe’s notorious vice, a huge list of beers and ales. Often cited as the originator of the literary genre of horror, Poe enlisted in the U.S. Army as Edgar Allen Perry in 1827. He was 18 at the time, and was sent to his post at Fort Moultrie on the southern most tip of Sullivan’s Island. Poe spent a little more than two years at Fort Moultrie, where he wrote “The Goldbug,” and several other lesser-known short stories. One of the Mister’s more colorful relatives told the Mister and his cousins that they were all related to Poe. Hmmmm. Personally I see little resemblance. To read more about Edgar Allen Poe’s life on Sullivan’s Island and in Charleston, take a look at the Literary Traveler. Fort Moultrie, where Poe served, was an active fort through the American Revolution, the Civil War, World War I, and World War II. The National Park Service has done a wonderful job interpreting the fort’s history through on-site recreations, a small museum and a film shot by my mother’s cousin, photographer Tom Gray.The original fort was built of palmetto logs, which because of their incredibly fibrous trunks turned out to be surprisingly effective in absorbing enemy ammunition.Many who see the South Carolina flag believe that the state symbol is little more than a plug for the state’s lovely beaches with a palm tree and a crescent moon.
In fact, the symbol is the palmetto tree, which represents Colonel Moultrie’s heroic defense of the British fleet on June 28, 1776. What appears to be a jolly crescent moon is meant to recall a piece of armor, called a gorget and worn around the neck, hanging from a chain . Opinions vary as to whether Carolina soldiers actually wore this protection, but most scholars concur that a gorget/crescent was a decorative element on the soldiers’ caps. The flag’s ground, which is not quite navy blue, is the color of Moultrie’s men’s uniforms.
It’s also one of my favorite colors, especially when contrasted with one of the fort’s weathered interior walls. Middle took this photo, and I have to admit I kind of like it. It’s almost enough to make me forget it was 97 degrees, and that boys (even older ones) can spend a long time exploring forts.
So college. He’s all moved in. I was pretty cool that day. The next day? Well, let’s just say that if you hold stock in Kimberly-Clark, you may see an increase in your February dividend.
What about him?
(Special thanks to my Facebook source, who procured this photo of Son1 and his roommate’s window for me.)
We actually started our day in Charleston at the Visitor’s Center, which provided a parking garage as well as innumerable guides and maps, some paper ones for the fogeys like me and digital ones for everyone who brought their “iGizmos.” Just down the street is Marion Park, which honors the legendary “Swamp Fox,” the Revolutionary War hero Francis Marion. Supposedly, my family is related to FM, but since he had no sons and the documentation is rather sketchy, I am somewhat skeptical. A more believable link is that the Mister’s family always stayed at the Francis Marion Hotel when they came to Charleston to visit the Mister’s brother when he was a student at The Citadel.
Charleston is often touted as America’s most polite city, and I would have to concur, but what’s with all this gum? Miss Janice would definitely not approve!
Middle is intrigued with the colorful display; he especially liked the face in the upper right of the post. Ewwww!Happily, on King Street, a diversion is always easy to find! Everyone wanted to check out Robot Candy & Toys!
There were gummies for days! My favorites—to look at--were the blue sharks.
Even Son1 and Lovely Girlfriend enjoyed this kiddie stop!
Preppy wear is all the rage on King Street. Seersucker and white bucks are the uniform for gentlemen; I even saw one charming older fellow in patchwork seersucker pants with a gorgeous needlepoint belt. Middle decided he must have a blue and white seersucker belt, so we found one on sale! I’m not sure what he has his eye on in this window, but if you’re wondering why the seat of his britches is so dirty, let’s just say he never met a stair rail he didn’t want to slide down!
A little more shopping and some great people-watching, and the next thing we knew we were at Charleston’s new Waterfront Park, with a view of Fort Sumter. Waterfront Park, although not as historic as The Battery, is a beautiful green space where we enjoyed a slight breeze. While everyone was still in a good mood, we decided to call it a day. Truthfully, the Mister and I seriously wanted to keep going, but Little and her cousin Miss M were about “done in” from the heat and walking.A verdant spot in which to sit and contemplate, but, as you can see, it was just too hot, even in the shade.Quintessential Charleston colors between King and Meeting streets. This isn’t the famed Rainbow Row, but it certainly reflects the same aesthetic.
Here’s a peek into the courtyard of the Peninsula Grill, one of Charleston’s most highly recommended restaurants, and one the Mister and I plan to try sans children.To stave off crankiness a bit longer, we enjoyed peach smoothies and a bit of air conditioning. Middle is at an age where he likes to make goofy faces in almost every photograph, but I caught him here on the sly.Winding up the day in the Holy City, I took a few shots of the exterior of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church. Founded in 1680, the congregation has met continuously since then, although the building has been destroyed and re-built several times. Hurricanes, fires, earthquakes, Indian attacks, British occupation, smallpox, yellow fever, more hurricanes, slave uprisings, Union occupation, and still more hurricanes have not prevailed against this faithful congregation. I’m not one hundred percent sure this is a Philip Simmons’ gate, but it certainly is a gorgeous example of wrought iron craftsmanship.
As in most historic cities, Ghost Tours are a profitable venture for imaginative entrepreneurs. No doubt St. Philip’s churchyard, where statesman John C. Calhoun and many other notables are buried, is a regular stop on these tours. I absolutely love St. Philip’s response to those looking for a, shall we say, spiritual connection. Can I get an amen?!
A lot of chop on our first day out, but still so beautiful!
I think he would follow her anywhere.
(And, please God, don’t let anyone take a picture of me walking down the beach from behind!)
Me: What are we stopping here for?
Mister: I think I stopped here when I helped my aunt move down here from Vermont!
Me: When was that?
Mister: Let’s see, I guess that would’ve been 1993.
Me: How can you remember that?
Mister: It was one long trip.
Me: No, I mean, how can you remember this is where you stopped?
Mister: Oh, they have an alligat0r pond around here somewhere.
Me, eyeing the drainage ditch, only yards away: I don’t see an alligator pond. Where are we anyway?
Mister: Oh, it’s probably kind of grown over; it’s behind that big sign, I think. We’re in Starke; you know, where the state prison is.
Me, eyeing the other cars: Oh, um, yeah, I guess I did know that.
So, in we all troop. The kids fan out to look out all the amazing souvenir creatures that can be made from shells. The Mister, of course, strikes up a conversation with the proprietor/clerk, who from the looks of things was probably there in 1993, and confirms that there is indeed an alligator pond round back. I head on outside, and he follows a few minutes later with a small bag, which I realize must be what we’ve come to call a “pity purchase,” that is, some small purchase made entirely because we feel sorry for the store owner. In this case, it turned out to be beautiful white sea star for me and a jar of coconut toast spread.We find the pond, complete with large gator, probably about 10 feet in length. The pond was triple-fenced, and I took some comfort in that. I wish I had a picture to show, but the pool was so shadowy and shady that a good shot was impossible. Nevertheless, we succumbed to the Seminole legend, and tossed in a few coins. My wish came true almost immediately—minutes later I was back in the air-conditioned van, and we were driving away—the Mister and I each thinking the other was completely