We left Kissimmee on the ninth of April, the day before Diane's birthday. We drove to St Mary's Georgia. We would spend one night in a nice KOA just off I-95, a place we have stayed many times before including ten days the year before. Then we camped surrounded by staff and performers of Ringling Bros, Barnum and Bailey Circus. They were a very nice bunch of people. I am very sorry to hear the circus is ending. Anyway, back to the present. We had a pleasant evening, as usual we walked Teddy Bear around the whole place, and took him to the dog park. We had a quiet night and the next morning took advantage of the free waffles they have served for a very long time. Sometime around ten we were on the road to Charleston. Our next stop would be Plantation Oak RV resort off US 17. Diane received a few Happy Birthday calls as we went down the highway.
We arrived at Plantation Oaks around three, I think, set up camp which included opening all the awnings because it was very hot. We explored the campground for awhile, then decided to head into downtown Charleston for Dinner. We drove into town, found a parking garage and hit the street. The place was hopping, the restaurants were full. We thought about a seafood place called Hyman's but the wait was long, very long. It is a famous place, very popular with the tourists and it showed. We choose to eat at a place called Toast. No wait and the food was not bad, not great, but not bad. I decided to try a Pimento Cheese appetizer and the Shrimp and Grits. Diane had a lemon sauce chicken dish. I am here to report the Shrimp and Grits at Toast is no where near as good as what I have eaten at The Twisted Fork, right here in Galax. While eating dinner we planned our intinerary for the next two days, not much time, so we wanted to make the most of it. We decided to visit Magnolia Plantation and Gardens.
Founded in 1676 by the Drayton family, Magnolia Plantation has survived the centuries and witnessed the history of our nation unfold before it from the American Revolution through the Civil War and beyond. It is the oldest public tourist site in the Lowcountry, and the oldest public gardens in America, opening its doors to visitors in 1870 to view the thousands of beautiful flowers and plants in its famous gardens.
Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is beautiful, a peaceful place with winding trails along the Ashley River. Diane found it a little bit disappointing that the azaleas were no longer in bloom, we missed their show by a week or so. There were still lots of flowers to see and take pictures of and I did just that. I took many shots of ancient trees, green pools, arching bridges, orchids, Diane and other beautiful things. If you look closely at one picture you will see a South Carolina gator.
We walked for hours, stopping often, reading the posted signs, chatting with others along the way. There was so much beauty and so much history to take in. We visited a maze, gazed above us in a forest of bamboo, watched turtles sunning themselves and admired the Drayton Family Home. Our last stop was the petting zoo where the male peacocks were putting on a show for the peacock ladies, and anyone else who cared to watch. As we headed back to the parking lot, I took a parting shot of the old slave quarters.
We did visit Chareston during the daylight hours. We didn't have much time so we had to make the most of it. As soon as we parked, we walked across the street and booked a riding tour time with the Palmetto Carriage Works. We had a couple of hours before boarding time, so we window shopped the old Slave Market. Diane and I both bought new hats. We also grabbed about five biscuits, filled with all kinds of things including Pimento Cheese (I have to have a fix). The tour was good, we learned a lot of nifty things from our guide. She was a transplanted New Yorker and told us a lot of facts and trivia, like the old roaring twenties popular dance, The Charleston, was invented in Charleston by a bunch of orphan boys. We learned many other things about Charleston, a town that has suffered floods, fires and war. One of the most interesting stops was in Dirty Billy's Hat Shop. Dirty Billy restores and creates Civil War re-enactor hats and uniforms. He has a shop in Gettysburg as well. I found a kite shop and yes, I came home with a new kite, a good looking nylon dragon this time. We drove back to our coach. Later that evening Diane and I shared a low country boil pot of seafood at Gilligan's Seafood. I had a good local craft beer, but I don't remember what it was called.
We enjoyed our time in Charleston and have every intention of returning next winter.
It was a short visit but that was okay, we were more than ready to head back to our home in the Mountains of Virginia. Once again we hit the road. We headed east on 17 then to 26 and finally 77 north.
We are very glad to be back on Lot number 3!
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