Today was our only full day in Charleston, and I was DETERMINED! to make the most of it. I was prepared to go out and get my tourist on, rain or shine, sun or storm! Fortunately, when we woke up, the weather was overcast, but not raining! And I succeeded, because as you will notice in the coming days – I had to make this day into three posts because we packed so much in! We headed up to the Holiday Inn restaurant for their breakfast buffet – most of the hotels we stay at have a continental breakfast, so this was a bit out of the ordinary for us, but it wasn’t included in the hotel price either. The food was good, with scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon and lots of fresh fruit and pastries. Sadly, the Diet Coke (yes, I like to drink soda with breakfast – but I don’t smoke or do drugs, so I figure I have to have one vice!) was flat, and the server said they had already changed out the tank and the new soda wasn’t any less flat, so I had to settle for hot tea.
Begin Off Topic Rant Here: I’m not sure why 80% of restaurants use those little stainless steel teapots for your extra hot water. There is no human on earth that can pour the water out of those without dripping hot water all over everywhere. Do restaurant management types not understand this? Would you settle for a coffee pot that dripped coffee every time you tried to pour it? Why do you buy these? End rant. We ate our breakfast efficiently, and Jon looked up the day’s weather in the paper. No time for lingering though – because we were on a mission!
We drove into downtown to the Visitor’s Center to see if they had any package deals on the things we wanted to see. There wasn’t. Apparently because we have eclectic tastes in touristing (at least that’s what my mom says…). But it’s a great place to start your day – and they have lots of postcards! Jon makes fun that I like to look in all the gift shops – he’s never traveled with my mom though, who can out-gift-shop me any day of the week! We decided to walk from the Visitor’s Center where we parked (you can park all day there for $12) to the far end of “Museum Mile” and then work our way back, seeing the sights along the way.
Museum Mile is what the Charleston Tourism folks have dubbed one of their main historic thoroughfares in downtown, because it features a lot the historic homes and buildings that you can visit and tour. I’m not sure if it really is a mile long from end to end, but if you don’t stay on the main drag, and end up going down side streets like we did, it seemed like a bit further. We made our way down, taking lots of pictures along the way and reading the plaques on all the historic homes. Charleston has done a great job of pointing out which homes were built when, and giving a bit of information about historic homes and other relevant sites.
We went all the way down to The Battery and took in the view. The Battery is a seawall promenade that was built up to provide protection from the surf for the stately homes that were being built there. Also along the water is White Point Garden, which is a park with beautiful live oak trees. During Charleston’s more violent past, White Point Garden was the location for the hanging of Stede Bonnet and Richard Worley and their gangs of pirates, which terrorized Charleston in 1718 and 1719. The Battery and White Point Garden were fortified with cannons during the Civil War to protect the city. Technically, the park and the promenade are two separate attractions, but it seems that most people, tourists and citizens alike, refer to the two together as Battery Park, or The Battery.
When we got to The Battery, Jon wanted to sit down and rest, as it was already pretty hot out and it was only 11 am. I kept snapping pictures – walking over to the promenade, and enjoying the cooling shading underneath the beautiful oak trees.
I have to be honest though, while I thought White Point Garden was really nice, I wasn’t all that wowed by the view of Charleston Harbor. After all, I live in a town on a beautiful bay, with cool islands in the distance and gorgeous sunsets! But not every sight can be amazing, I guess – it was really neat to wander around and imagine the Civil War years, with troops in the park and homeowners inviting friends over to watch the bombardments from their porches! You have to remember, in the beginning, both sides thought they would win the war in about three months – so wrong they were…
After visiting The Battery, I wanted to go to the Edmonton-Alston house, but I hadn’t realized that it didn’t open until 1 pm. So we came up with a new plan!