It's been another good week on the road out here in South Carolina. This week I've meandered through cypress swamps, wandered wild beaches and dug deep into the history of the lowcountry of South Carolina. The weather has been up and down, and I guess April showers are showing up a little early, but that has left me with some time to work on my next podcast and do some reading and writing as well.
I started the week by leaving Beaufort behind and making my way out to Walterboro. I wanted to check out the South Carolina Artisan Center there. On the way, I stopped to see one of the bigger oaks in the state. It was pretty awesome to see as I do love these old oaks draped in Spanish moss. They are one of my favorite things about this part of the country. I also stopped at the ruins of the Old Sheldon Church. I've been there a few times before, but never on a sunny day. It is one of my favorite photo spots, and you can see a photo of it at the bottom of this post. The Artisan Center was good with several hundred artists from around the state represented. There were a lot of nice pieces there and I enjoyed wandering around. It was no Tamarack, but it did display a lot of beautiful work from South Carolina.
Then I headed out to the wonderful wildlife sanctuary they have just outside of town. It took me down long boardwalks and through the heart of the cypress swamp. The trees were amazing and the water was the color of strong tea. I really loved wandering around the swamp - it was very well done.
I stopped into a hole-in-the-wall place called William's Seafood and Soul Food for dinner and got the Frogmore Stew. Also called a lowcountry boil, this is a pile of steamed shrimp with potatoes and sausage and corn and I got mine topped with some garlic crabs for good measure. It was the best I've ever had. I will say that the crabs were a little hard to get into but I also know I'm spoiled by extra-large Chesapeake Bay blue crabs at home. After dinner I went to see A Wrinkle In Time, based on one of my favorite books from my childhood. The movie theater was funny - after paying, the girl said I didn't need a ticket and that she'd remember me. As I walked into the empty theater, I understood. I had it all to myself which was pretty cool.
The next day I headed out to Edisto Island. My first impression was that it was just okay. The beach was nice enough and I sat and read with my feet in the sand for a while until the wind picked up. It seems like it would be a nice place to live, but it didn't really do much for me. That all changed when I turned into Botany Bay Preserve on my way off the island. The approach took me down a beautiful dirt road under a canopy of oak trees seen in the cover photo for this post. Then I turned into the preserve and talked to one of the volunteers handing out maps. She sent me down to the beach and it was really cool to be on a wild beach for a change. The beach has eroded and left downed trees everywhere with their branches and roots sprawling up and down the coast. It was really wonderful to photograph, especially in black and white, something I haven't done a lot of recently. I then went to some of the remains of an old plantation and saw some cool examples of tabby - essentially buildings that used oyster shells in their construction. You don't see a lot of this anymore, and I really enjoyed getting a close look at a few really good examples of the method.
Leaving in the afternoon, I made my way up to Folly Beach, just south of Charleston. I had a great seafood dinner with a sunset view out at Bowens Island, a ramshackle restaurant on the river. I had some great fish and shrimp, and then tucked into a cluster of shuck-your-own oysters. I only stabbed myself a few dozen times, but I didn't draw any blood. I think I prefer paying a little extra to get them shucked by a pro. After dinner I enjoyed a few beers at the Surf Bar, a nice divey place back on Folly Island.
Saturday was St. Patrick's Day, so I headed to downtown Charleston for their big parade. I really enjoyed it, especially the old cars. Be sure to see my photos from the parade HERE. After the parade, I stopped in for a few pints of Guinness at Tommy Condon's, Charleston's main Irish Bar. The doorman was keeping the number of people inside to fire code, so it was busy but not packed. I was really impressed with their whole operation. I like to get in early and get out early on St. Patrick's Day so by about 4, I was on my way back to my van.
On Sunday I went to church at the Circular Church in Charleston, a congregation that dates back to 1681. It is a progressive Christian congregational church which welcomes all and works extensively in the community. When beginning the service, the pastor was sure to start by saying that "whoever you are, and wherever you are on life’s journey - you are welcome here". I really enjoyed my time at this church. It felt very welcoming and as though the congregation was actively working to follow the teachings of Jesus - not just talking a big game, but living it.
After church I had a wonderful brunch at Eli's Table right across the street and then set off to take some more photos around Charleston, a truly beautiful city. In the afternoon, I headed out of the city over the bridge and went to visit Charles Pinckney National Historic Site in Mount Pleasant. I had been there before, but it had been a while. It was interesting to read about this man who signed the Declaration of Independence and gave his life to public service. After my visit, I headed out to Isle of Palms and then on to Sullivan's Island. I liked the vibe of Sullivan's Island and enjoyed some really great barbecue at Fiery Ron's Home Team Barbecue and a delicious beer across the street at Poe's Tavern.
Monday I spent in the library trying to catch up on some things. It was raining out most of the day so it seemed like a good place to be. I edited a lot of photos from St. Patrick's Day and also started to assemble my North Carolina Gallery which you can check out HERE. It will get some more photos later this week, but it's a good start. I also put together my playlist for South Carolina which you can find HERE or on Spotify HERE. There's a lot of great music from South Carolina, and I hope to get out and see some live shows while I'm here as well and add to the list. The rest of the day I spent working on my next podcast which is hopefully a week or so away from being done.
When I finished up at the library, I went and caught up with a good friend I had worked with on St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. I got a first-hand account of riding out Hurricane Irma and about what he's been up to since. It is so great to be able to catch up with so many of my friends from so many different chapters of my life out here. It seems like when I'm feeling a little down or lonely, I run into someone I know and we have a few beers and I'm ready to go again. We hit up a couple of local bars here in Mount Pleasant and had probably a few too many. I know I don't drink nearly as much as I did when I lived "on da rock", and today I remember the reason why.
It's been a recovery day here, but with some big storms coming through, I'm just as happy to be in the library as out in it. But the library is closing soon and I got a good amount of work done, so it's about time for me to get out into it.
The week ahead will take me all the way up the coast and back to my one-time home of Myrtle Beach. From there, I am turning inland and into the great unknown of South Carolina for a few weeks. If you have any suggestions please, please comment below. Be sure you are getting the whole story by following me on facebook HERE and on Instagram @miles2gobeforeisleep. I really appreciate you all being a part of this journey and for following along as I go. Until next time, happy trails.