Saturday, November 9, 2013

A Few Days in Historic Charleston, SC

    Thus far, our southern fall migration has been relatively mild in comparison to what we'd experienced last year. Weather has been dry and warm with minimal amounts of rain. Unlike last fall, we have not experienced any hurricanes, tropical storms or gales. Simple Life's onboard fireplace hasn't been lit this season! One weather factor that has affected most of us this fall has been the number of cold fronts that have not caused plummeting temperatures but, have brought numerous days of high wind conditions both inshore and offshore. This has limited the number of travel days.

An example of a Charleston Single House
     We planned to stay in Charleston, SC for a couple of days and decided to extend it to a week after two back to back cold fronts came through in a matter of three days and altered our plans. Being held hostage by weather in Charleston can be an enjoyable experience and not necessarily negative. Charleston is another of our favorite southern ports of call steeped in history with the finest southern cuisine and convenient amenities for itinerant cruisers like us. There isn't a good anchorage in Charleston but, there are a few marina choices. This season we stayed at The Charleston Maritime Center and found it to be convienient to the historic district and provisioning. The staff was friendly, helpful and...not  texting as we made our approach into the dock. That was a positive experience after The Town Creek Marina episode in Beaufort, NC. If you're curious read the blog on Beaufort, NC.


      Simple Life arrived at her berth around mid-day and I took the opportunity to do one load of laundry while the machine was available. That made my day! Getting chores done on a boat tends to give such a feeling of contentment. I always feel a sense of safety and comfort when I know we have clean laundry and groceries. It's a strange phenomenon since the things I disliked most when living on land was grocery shopping and laundry chores and now these chores lift my spirits. I suppose I am merely reconnecting with my primal instincts.

One of the remaining cobblestone streets in Charleston
 The proximity of the Maritime Center gave us the opportunity to come and go as we pleased. Other marinas offer transportation to town via vehicle or water taxi but, you are then relegated to the marinas' scheduled departures and arrival times. At this point in my life, I've had enough of other's schedules. We were free to return to the boat whenever we chose to have lunch or take showers before a night on the town.

     When all the boat chores were taken care of Joe began researching places where we could watch what we hoped would be the final game of the Boston Red Sox World Series. The King Street Bar and Grill looked like a good choice and it was offering half price burgers and multiple TV screens at the bar. The excitement in the bar was palpable as the Red Sox roared home with their victory and once again became baseballs' world champions. We were thrilled to be able to actually watch the game since we'd been following all week via staticky radio transmissions while anchored out.
Stately home in the Battery section of Charleston

Ornate iron work adorns most buildings

The Calhoun Mansion
During our second day in Charleston the sun shone brightly and I wanted to take the opportunity to photograph the city with good lighting conditions. We managed to cover some ground visiting my favorite southern cemeteries and historic haunts. I know I've said it before but, the graveyards in the south are pleasant places to visit. Offering a feeling of peace and tranquility in a modern life. There's a sense of coming to grips with one's own mortality when reading the names and dates of birth and death of those who came long before us.
A gravestone dating back to 1760


      I've often been told, "There is no free lunch" and being a New Englander I've often suspected anyone offering one. A light mist began falling upon Charleston during our last day in town. While walking along Meeting Street toward one of our favorite restaurants, Jestine's Kitchen for lunch, a young man lurking on a nearby corner hailed us. He was clearly a "salesman" of sort and definitely relentless since we waved him off. But, it was beginning to rain and he was offering...a free lunch! Although we were skeptical we decided to allow him to reel us in and listened to his promotion. He offered us a $25.00 gift certificate to Amen Restaurant and Raw Bar for lunch and a $50.00 gift certificate for dinner along with $50.00 in cash if we attended a seminar for 90 minutes pitching a membership in a wholesale travel club. It was raining, we were hungry, what did we have to lose? We took the $25.00 and went to Amen on East Bay St. Joe ordered a beer, a cup of she crab soup and an appetizer of fried green tomatoes with pickled okra. I ordered a glass of Chardonnay and a half pound of peel and eat shrimp! All far. At 3:00PM we attended a hard sell seminar for 90 minutes and came out the other side no worse for wear with the gift certificate for $50.00 for dinner at Amen Street Raw Bar and $50.00 cash! That night we dined on the best shrimp and grits (I've sampled shrimp and grits up and down the low country coast) and crab cakes! All free! By the way, we didn't buy into the wholesale travel club. For now, we do enough traveling aboard the Simple Life. Beaufort, SC would be our next to collect a mail delivery, renew passports and stage for an overnight offshore passage from Port Royal Sound to St. Mary's Inlet on the Florida/Georgia border.

Dinner was fabulous!