Before leaving Beaufort, SC (aka Bewwwwfur), we met up with our friends Jerry and Margot, freshly back from arm-cast removal, for some fun catch-up time and a yummy dinner at a tapas restaurant—great blackened grouper and curried shrimp! (forgot to take a pic!)
We left Beaufort under great conditions– air and water were fantastic. Scenery was too!
We passed a pair of replica boats. Here’s the Nina:
A nice day on the water got us to the Charleston City Marina:
After our arrival at the marina, we jumped on the marina shuttle for a quick ride into the historic center and reconnoitered for our full day, tourist- extravaganza the next day. Lots of quality-looking restaurants here as well “old stuff” to learn about. BUT we saved the learning for the next day, and focussed on a great raw oyster place for a super deal (so great, apparently N returned there the following day without B while she was getting a haircut!)
The next morning we skipped our usual breakfast on board but still enjoyed our early sunrise walk:
Well, in the name of efficiency, we decided to combine an eating AND a walking tour into one event and also finally cash in on a birthday gift from one of the kids. Can’t get much better combo than that!
The tour included 6 or so super good foodie stops, an introduction to Low Country food, solid general history, Gullah history, and a lot of other interesting tidbits from a knowledgeable guide.
The Gullah descendants of former Sierra Leone slaves were specifically brought here to cultivate the golden rice-the original crop. That crop was one of those accidents that changed the course of history: A ship Captain came into the Charleston port for repairs and to thank the city gave them a 12 pound bag of golden rice from the west coast of Africa. Oddly, they did exactly what should have been done and threw it out! And in the marshy land and climate that matched the Sierra Leone conditions, the rice naturally thrived. Those English colonists had no idea how to cultivate it (nor the desire to hang out in mosquito infested marshlands) so that, actually, marks the starting point of the whole concept of slavery in the South…and then it moved on to cotton and tobacco, etc.
The Gullah are amazing linguistically too: 25% of their current words are still exactly those of the Sierra Leoneons on the western coast of Africa. Only because there was minimal mixing in of other Africans into the rice fields and the geographic isolation of this Low Country and the barrier islands. In fact, children’s songs and stories are the same as those that are still used in Sierra Leone!
After all that eating, walking and learning in the humid heat, we jumped onto a horse drawn carriage for some neighborhood touring and more history lessons.
Both of these houses are classic—a door from the street leading to the outside deck (they called it a piazza…but pronounced as if you were from New York) that either faced south or west to get the breeze from the river. The piazza faced a small area that abutted the neighboring house which, for privacy, had no windows facing that side. If that door was open, it meant neighbors and friends could stop in for a visit; if closed, it meant you were in your underwear cooling off! Guess that was their solution to the scarcity of pineapples!
A long needed hair cut for B and a couple of little museums (the Old Slave Mart Museum and the Daughters of the confederacy’s Confederate Museum) for N finished off the day ….oh, and those other dozen oysters on the half shell for N!