Thursday, February 7, 2013

Road Trip #1 - Day 3 - Wilmington, North Carolina to Charleston, South Carolina

Today began and ended as a beautiful day with a number of interesting learning opportunities. The objective was to reach Charleston and on the way, look for anything we could learn about he Gullah culture. So, we had a quick, light breakfast at the Red Roof Inn we stayed at. We then departed with the GPS set and the compass headed south on Rt. 17.

Blue skies, light traffic and the temperatures easing up toward the 70-degree (F) mark made for a great day to be on the road. We left Wilmington, crossed into South Carolina and stopped to gas up. As we left the gas station we saw this building with this sign. It struck us funny. It speaks for itself.

The driving was good and matched up with nice scenery on this Blue U.S. Highway.

We kept noticing large plumes of smoke off in the distance. It turns out they were controlled burns throughout the pine forests. The forest service cleans up all the underbrush, I imagine to prevent more serious wild fires during the dry season when places like this become tinderboxes.

Here's a picture of what is left after a controlled burn. This will regenerate itself and become an even more lush forest in the future. 

We also made a stop and drove around Pawley's Island, where we understood we'd find some of the Gullah culture we were looking forward to learning more about. Unfortunately, rental cottages and condominiums populated the entire island. No Gullah culture in evidence.

We reached the first stop on our trip to Charleston. It's a pretty, historical town named Georgetown. Here we're approaching downtown.

We drove down to the historic downtown district, parked the car and proceeded to walk up the street looking for a unique place for lunch. And that's when we found Limpin' Jane. She was writing the days specials on a chalkboard in front of Limpin' Jane's Old South Eatery & Tap Room.

So, the menu looked inviting and the prices were right and Limpin' Jane (who didn't really limp) personally invited us in. We walked all the way through the place and found her outside patio area right on the boardwalk of the river. Here's a photo of the back entrance and patio area

And here's a look up the boardwalk with some of the boats moored behind the buildings as well as the rear entrances to other businesses in this historic district. By the way, the lunch at Limpin' Jane's was very good and I highly recommend it if you're ever in Georgetown, South Carolina.

Here are some other photos of the historic Main Street district of Georgetown. Most of the buildings are on the National Register of Historic Properties.

This brilliantly colored home dated back to the 1700's.
How about finding a beautiful example of an old Art Deco movie theater, the Strand. And, it's still in operation.

After leaving Georgetown and continued driving south, we continued looking for vestiges of Gullah culture. We saw a sign for Hampton Plantation, now a state park, and decided to check it out. Hampton was a huge rice plantation operating from approximately 1730. Here is a photo of what living in luxury during the mid 1750's through the 1800's.

Here's what it looks like to survey your domain from the front porch. By the way, Mr. Rutledge, owner of this plantation was going to chop down the huge oak tree you're looking in this photo. It was saved by none other than President George Washington. Yes, George Washington was here, too.

After several more disappointments in our search for anything to do with the Gullah culture we arrived at our objective for the day, Charleston, as we crossed this beautiful, modern suspension bridge into the city of Charleston, South Carolina.

We drove downtown to the historic district, parked the van and walked around until we found a small, Mediterranean bistro near the University of Charleston. It filled the bill for a light dinner at a very moderate price.

Back to the car and off on a search for a decent budget motel for the night. Tonight, it's a Motel 6 that kept the light on for us. The room is small but clean, comfortable and the beds are comfortable. And as soon as this is posted, I'm ready for a nice night of sleep.

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