A day in Charleston then back to the beach

24 Mar

Week ends at State Parks are busy so two nights at a private campground near Charleston with a hire car for us to drive in to the city seemed a good idea.  We collected the car on Saturday lunchtime so after getting haRVey settled we drove out to the Bigalow tea plantation. We opted to take the free ‘tour’ of the processing area rather than the $12 per person ride around the plantation. A sequence of video screens above a viewing gallery explained the method by which the fresh leaves are transformed into one of three types, green, Oolong, or black tea. We were surprised to discover its all determined by the length of time the leaves are allowed to oxidize before being dried, green tea getting the least oxidation. The picking begins in May so we were a little early to see any activity in the processing area which I imagine for several months would be very busy as three pickings are expected between then and September.

Sunday we prepared for a full day visit to Charleston, its not often we go out without haRVey, its convenient taking your home visiting with you, you can pop back for lunch or if you forget something so we have to think carefully what we might need while we are away.

We parked at the visitor centre and as usual picked up a map and information before setting off on foot to wander.

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some choose an easier option

A very strong wind was blowing in from the water, a bit of a blessing as it was a warm day. Walking past Marion Square which was bustling with preparations for a fashion week we took King Street, the main shopping street where modern business are housed in Victorian buildings, very reminiscent of many English towns, so felt familiar.

In the busy city market  a collection of stalls offered both locally made items and obvious mass produced lines. The traditional and locally made sweet grass baskets were on offer in several locations at extortionate prices.

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Pineapple fountain in the White Point Gardens

Robert had read that once you get south of Broad Street the houses became more interesting and as a harbour side park was shown on the map we thought it would be a good place to look for a bench to sit and eat lunch. The tree covered park area was lovely, however the wind was not so great. Fortunately the park runs around a bend in the river, by walking further around we managed to find a bench mostly out of the wind and overlooking the water. Our lunchtime entertainment became watching the small craft trying to negotiate the very choppy waters.

We had expected Charleston to have a similar feel to Savannah, the property in this area certainly was impressive, but not as diverse.

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Its nice that the property, while huge is well maintained in the majority of cases and looks not to have been split for multiple occupancy. The house above was perhaps of medium size compared to others. Walking the quiet back streets gave us a glimpse into the gardens

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so pretty with the spring flowers,

 

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We made our way back to the visitor centre having walked for around four hours. I felt if we had visited here before Savannah we might have been more impressed, we did not find the same amount to interest us despite having had a lovely day and enjoying what we did see.

Not content with our exertions of the day this far, when we got back Robert set to work giving haRVey a much needed bath while I tackled the ironing!  As I have previously mentioned Spring is in the air…. and so is the pollen. By next morning haRVey was once more covered in a yellow film of tree pollen. At present everywhere you look is the same, I am sure we are not actually as brown as we think, its just a layer of yellow pollen on our skin!

Our third beach State Park was Huntington Beach, similar but different to Hunting Island and Edisto Beach, a huge expanse of flat firm sand at low tide allows for many visitors to enjoy the beach with no fear of overcrowding, sea side as it should be, there are dangerous rip tides but the waves obligingly leave small paddling pools with sandy bottoms deep enough, and after the sun has warmed them, a lovely temperature for playing in.

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We have a whole week to explore our surroundings and play on the sand!

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