Charleston, Touring 24 Miles
"The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing."
Stately. That's my take on Charleston. And as I guessed, it was a very prosperous place back in the day. The reason it kept looking so good is because the North didn't burn it, and when broke after the war, people didn't harm the houses. 'They were too proud to whitewash and too broke to paint,' was a quote from the day. Eventually, the town got back on track and the houses received their facelifts and Botox.
We took a walking tour and I love tour guides. They provide great insight into the history and culture of the place. Our guide escorted us around town, pointing out interesting tidbits. Like the intersection where a post office, courthouse, law office and church stood on each corner. He pointed to each one, "Mail, jail, bail, hail." Very clever.
Charleston is a bit schizophrenic, with British and Bermudan influence. Big brick rectangular buildings stand beside three story places with shady verandahs, one room wide with windows to take advantage of the cool breezes.
We toured a church where the slaves sat in the balconies (babysitting the white kids) and the owners in the sanctuary proper, where the preacher would encourage them to obey their masters. When they got their freedom, the first thing they did was segregate to their own churches, and still do to this day. Now they worship their own way, and quite differently.
We visited a theater that had been in terrible condition until the city refurbished it to the tune of $18 million. Sorry, I don't get that. All that money for a 400 seat theater? Makes no sense.
Charleston's biggest industry is tourism, and the walking tours, bicycle cabs and horse tours stumble over one another, showing us gawking tourists their fair city. Funny they draw tourists with history, and my city, Las Vegas, draws them with almost none. But C- town comes in second place to Vegas for weddings, too. Lots of horse drawn carriages, churches and lovely parks. I bet they don't have an Elvis preacher though. Or a medieval theme.
We finished and rode to the Fort Sumter National Monument to catch a boat ride to the fort, but... grr! We tried to park in a parking garage, but 'No Motorcycles.' So we trolled for a spot on the street with meters. Found one. threw all our change into it. For you younger people, 'change' or 'coins' are like a debit card, only very antiquated.
Without enough coinage, we headed to the dock side Monument and I asked the gift shop for change for the meter and held my tongue as to why. Nope, they don't do change. I thought Obama was going to give us hope and change, but apparently not! At this point we lost hope too, as the boat, leaving in a few minutes, was full. We wandered through the exhibit, where it described the events leading up to the firing at Fort Sumter and the first shots of the Civil War. Alas, no boat ride to the fort.
With daylight burning off, we headed to a restaurant and the motel, a good day except for the parking situation. I think QG may start a rebellion for disassociated motorcyclists.
And now, angry and frustrated (okay maybe not), Quilter Girl!
Yeah, the no motorcycle rule in the garage really torqued me. Why is that a rule? I'm sure it has to do with insurance, but come on; cars can be damaged as easily as motorcycles. We all have heard how easily cars can be stolen, I don't get it. It left me with a very bad taste in my mouth for Charleston, which otherwise was a delightful city. There is nowhere to park and the sidewalks are full of gawking tourists, dogs, joggers and others who are enjoying the town. We toured the EA house on E. Battery Street, which is where General Beauregard, who was in charge of the defense of Charleston, watched the bombardment of Fort Sumter. The house is full of family heirlooms, portraits, and original furnishings belonging to the Alston family. The first two floors of the house are open for tours, but the owner of the house lives on the third floor. I am really hoping there is a back staircase somewhere or it would be very inconvenient to bring the shopping in between tour groups!
We had dinner at Jim and Nick's BBQ, a local place near the outlet mall here. It was not the same as Maurice's as it was a red bbq sauce, not the mustard based sauce that I love. That was okay; I had a burger that was very good along with fries that really tasted like potato. Kevin had pulled pork, cole slaw and baked beans. The cole slaw didn't win any prizes with Kevin, but the pulled pork and beans sure did. They offered pie, but we just groaned, shook our heads and rolled out to the bike.
Tomorrow we... we don't know what we're going to do. Supposed to rain in the
morning. We may tour a plantation, might head out to Savannah. We'll decide before... before we leave, for sure.