Saturday, March 20, 2010

Discovering Charleston

My mother, my sister, my stepfather and two stepsisters and I moved to Charleston in 1965 right after I graduated from high school. I hated this place. I did not know anyone, I had just graduated and knew everything there was to know except why the %^&* I was here.
All my friends were in Georgia getting excited about going away to college, getting married, going off to fight in Viet Nam. I was stuck here in this hot humid town that did not even have a shopping center.
At this time Charleston was a backwater town. This was before the tourist invasion. The town was old, the stores older. The people were not friendly and did not really want you in their town. It was the most stuck-up place I had ever been, at 17.
Since then, the town has taken off in directions that few thought possible. We now have two shopping centers, the Medical University, The College of Charleston, and an Interstate.
The school situation is still abominable, but we do have a lovely Board of Education building built at a a time that some of the schools here did not even have air conditioning. Because the building was downtown and the tourists would see it, it had to be. When the shipyard closed in 1994-95, everyone thought Charleston would fold. But more and more tourist poured in.We soon will have a lovely port terminal for cruise ships. We are bringing in tourists by land and sea!
Isn't it funny that you never really visit the attractions in your hometown. It takes out of town visitors to point out to you how pretty your town is when all you see is the inconveniences of traffic, parking, no mass transit, etc.
We have been blessed with a lot of visitors to our home this year. It has been wonderful. Due to this influx of visitors I have been downtown a lot. I have taken bus tours, walking tours, house tours and museum tours. I would not have done any of this had it not been for the"tourists" in my home.
But today I went with a group to the Avery Institute in downtown Charleston to see an exhibit of sweet grass baskets and to see the paintings of Jonathan Green ..
The tour was in reality a tour of the Institute, and viewing the small collection of sweet grass baskets that are soooooo Charleston.
I had never heard of the artist, Jonathan Green. I loved his primary colors and the happiness of the people in the pictures.I had hoped for a more in depth discussion of the baskets, perhaps a demo, but no....
I had never heard of the Avery Institute. It was a private school for the newly freed blacks in 1865. It had a nursing program and a teaching program. One could go to school through the twelfth grade and get a diploma or go one more year and get a teaching certificate. It closed in 1954.Who knew?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Little Grand Canyon

Did you know that Georgia had a grand Canyon? I didn't. After we left Brunswick we drove forever on two lane highways to reach Providence Gorge. We had a beautiful campsite but it was miles and miles from anything. We were on a lake;on one side is Georgia, on the other Alabama.
Apparently this Gorge was created by erosion caused by farmers plowing up the fields for cotton planting. This is a good study on the layers and colors found in the Georgia clay.
We hiked a few trails, but the trails were slick so we did not venture far.

One day just riding around we found out we were not far from the boyhood home of Jimmy Carter.We had been to Plains years ago, but it was just a train stop then, not too much touristy things. This trip, we went to his boyhood home, drove past his present home, toured his high school and read information about our past president.

a little late, but hey!

I have typed this about three times and lost it each time. So I will try again.......

Our first camping trip of the year was to Brunswick Georgia. Somewhere out there there are pictures and a monologue about our trip.

I can tell you it was freezing cold, too cold to do too much outside bout great to be in our camper again. We really miss the travelling life and are considering rejoining the RV crowd. but the plans for now are to go to DC the last of April, come home for a while then leave again for July and probably Aug.I would love to go back to South Dakota for a while and to Wyoming,, but I don't know that that is in the cards...Anyway,

Brunswick is a small South Georgia town. In its early years it was a bustling seaport for GA but now it is a sleepy town known for being between Savannah and Jacksonville.
We stayed in a very nice city campground.
Then the day before we returned to SC we found a very nice resort not far from where we were comped with pool, paved sites and paved roads. We had shade, they do not but who needed shade when the temp was less than 40 degrees during the day and windy and less than 20 degrees at night.
We did one day of geocaching and found a beautiful wayside park that we just loved. It had a boardwalk out to the salt marshes. It was too windy for any of the birds to be there, but I am sure this is a popular place in the spring and early summer. There is a shaded picnic area that is really nice.

Following other clues in our geocache file we wound up on the docks in Brunswick. During WWll the shipyards there built Liberty ships for the government.

Does this tell you how cold we were?

On the one warm day we had we drove over to Okefenokee Park and took a boat ride down the canal. That was fun, but slightly chilly.

The day was so still it was hard to tell where the water ended and the bank began. It was like a mirror. I can see how you could really get lot in there and we were on a man made canal.
Okefenokee means trembling earth in Indian. Through out the marshes are floating islands of reeds that look like regular islands, but if you step on them they feel like floating docks, sort of dip and sway, hence the name. We saw no alligators but we did see deer crossing in front of our car as we left.
We left there chilled to the bone, but glad we had taken the trip. Also glad that it was too cold for alligators.
From Brunswick we went to Providence Gorge, Georgia to the Little Grand Canyon. Twas a big ditch complex. we enjoyed the hike and really thought our campground was nice but it was miles and miles from civilization. We were on the border of Georgia and Alabama, close to Columbus.