Tuesday, May 15, 2012

On the road again -- To Charleston, SC

Charleston, SC,  Tuesday, May 15, 2012 -- We left Inverness yesterday morning and drove 392 miles to Charleston, SC to meet up with good friend Kathy Stratman and to spend some time visiting this beautiful southern port city.

As we approached Charleston we could not help but notice this stunning bridge.
The Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, also known as the New Cooper River Bridge, is a cable-stayed bridge over the Cooper River in South Carolina, connecting downtown Charleston to Mount Pleasant. The eight lane bridge satisfied the capacity of U.S. Route 17 when it opened in 2005 to replace two obsolete cantilever truss bridges. The bridge has a main span of 1,546 feet (471 m), the third longest among cable-stayed bridges in the Western Hemisphere. It was built using the design-build method and was designed by Parsons Brinckerhoff.  from Wikipedia.

This morning we drove about 4 miles into the heart of the city to play tourist.  We wanted to take a horse-drawn carriage ride, visit the open air market and enjoy some good southern food for lunch.  We accomplished our objectives.

Over the years I have read about the sweet grass baskets which are hand woven by local artisans.  The baskets are labor intensive and very expensive.  Sandy and I spoke to a few of the weavers and figured out that based on the selling price and the number of hours needed to make the basket that the artisians are getting only about $10 and hour for their efforts.
I spoke with this seller about the large round basket.  He said it is an African Wedding Basket and that it took him six months to create.  His asking price is $32,000.  Yes.  That is correct. It was just a little too steep for our budget.

Here are some of the many beautiful homes and buildings we rode past in the morning.

Many streets in the old part of the city were built using the ballast stones from ships.  While they are not the smoothest, they certainly last a long time.

The yellow sided house dates to pre-Revolutionary War days.  All of the other above houses are from the 1800s.

Our tour guide pointed out that while this home has the appearance of being constructed of stone it is actually made from  blocks of black cypress cut to resemble stone.  There was no native stone in this area so homes are mostly made from brick or stucco covered.

We had lunch in this small secluded  garden-like setting.

After lunch we visited the Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon where we were treated to an outstanding tour from a docent who clearly loved what he was doing.  The building served as a prison where a few unfortunate Revolutionary War heroes were murdered as were assorted pirates and criminals.

On the 2nd floor The Old Exchange is The Great Hall where George Washington was welcomed to the city.  There is a ton of history in this charming city.

Tomorrow -- weather permitting -- we hope to visit one of the larger plantations in the area.

We'll be back with more soon.

1 comment:

  1. $32K for a basket? That's insane! I moved to Charleston in 1975 and I could buy baskets along the side of the road for $10. Ah, the good old days. That Farmers Market is a crazy place now :)