Summer Vacation Day 8, SC

Arriving in Charleston in the evening, Deb steered us to the beautiful bridge on the northern side of the peninsula. We crashed hard at the hotel that night, but a bountiful Wafflehouse breakfast did get us moving Sunday morning. Leafing through brochures for local plantations, the 500 acre Magnolia plantation won our tickets for holding one of the top gardens in the nation. Although it was the heat of the summer, the gardens were very well maintained. A glimpse at one of the plantation buildings nestled in the trees and fence posts.

Nothing wanted to move in this heat: including any fish that weren't already cooked in this pond. More reflection for me. Best in show.

The long driveway onto the grounds.

Grazing grounds for the mini ponies and sheep.

Magnificent live oaks hosed in Spanish moss became a keepsake to the grounds.

More live oaks.

The garden is famous for being a balance between old, sculpted gardens and more modern, natural gardens. This maze was modeled after the a European version. I stood on a platform for this, as the bushes stood at least 6 feet tall. The statue in the middle was the prize, IF you could avoid the minotaur.

Cheating by looking between the bushes for the next turn in the maze. You wouldn't dare cut through though, as the bushes were pointy and the spiders optimistic.

More ground in the maze.

These guys varied from an inch to I'd imagine 8 inches long. That's the spider, not the web. Later, we'd go on to see these guy feasting on dragonflies, birds and paper airplanes.

A glimpse near the back of the pond.

We had some time to tour the grounds before our busy schedule of guided tours. How women wore so much clothes back in this period while enjoying these gardens was beyond me. Both of us were dripped wet within an hour.

We're not lost.

Densely wooded paths.

Plants of all types.

With the heat and humidity in triple-digits, there wasn't any room for a blue sky. Instead, a bright-white haze filled the sky. I liked the trees that grew right at the edge of the bank.

Don't step on me.

Formal gardens in an informal landscape.

Without the paths, the foliage was too thick to pass. Likewise the humidity.

More water and trees.

No, we're still not lost.

The long path to the river.

We made it back with a few minutes before our walking tour of the plantation house. No photographs were allowed inside. The animals looked just as hot as we were. View from the front porch...coffee in hand.

People got around those days by the river, so the front entrance was the back of the driving port we entered. To the river.

At the river, looking downstream.

Near the river, looking back to the plantation house. Apparently I forgot to actually take a picture of the house itself.

The front of the house was covered in small lizards. This little guy waited on the concrete arm rail for the main stairs.

He was hot too.

It wasn't algae in the water, but the smallest flowering plant in the world. These little plants make the water appear red in the spring with their crimson blossoms.

Bird. We were told what they were called. Bird.

Alligator ramps were strewn throughout the lakes and neglected rice fields. Wonder what goes on an alligator ramp?

Nature.

Another small pond in the front of the house. Note that the garden extends onto the bridge as well.

Path to the bridge.

On the bridge, looking towards the river.

This is why live oaks have to be so strong. Weighing almost 80 pounds per cubic foot, there was a lot of weight dangling out over the water.

Another path.

Slave's quarters.

Waiting for our boat ride...soaked.

A friend. For every inch between the nose and the eyes, the alligator is one foot long altogether. This was a 5-6 footer.

On our boat ride we learned of many birds that waded on top of the plants. These birds didn't have webbed feet like a duck, but clung to the plants with chicken-like feet.

This just goes to show that there are hundreds of alligators beneath us. Our tour guide was helping to convince us that many, many gators waited under the boat for someone to drop in. Apparently, they had some alligators over 14 feet long nearby. Originally, they rented canoes for people go to find them. However, it wasn't raking in the cash as they had hoped, so instead we all piled into a pontoon. Children were provided as bait to give us adults a sporting chance to find the shore should something go awry.

Alligator eyes.

A heron took off not far from our boat. This series marks it's flight over the bushes. Amazing.

Our boat chased down an alligator. Deb ran to the front to take a picture of it before it dove under the surface.

More of the tour ahead.

Everyone kept an eager eye out for alligators. I was looking for flying ones.

Too hot for the alligators to sun themselves.

Surviving the boat tour, we saw wild turkeys.

Peacocks also hung out.

Geese.

A slightly blurry chicken nesting in the woods.

Stealthy patrol of the fence.

A turtle and stumps.

So much life everywhere. The air was rich with smells.

Slave's quarters.

Walking back through parts of the train ride we took over the grounds, I liked these live oaks in a row.

More slave quarters.

We paid for admission to the swamp grounds. Hot and tired, we made a quick pass. Fortunately, we cross the alligator-risk region before reading the sign of our inherent danger.

Swamp.

A cardinal taking flight.

About 6 inches of spider. Scary mask.

Swamped with swamp.

Headed back to the car.

Swathing heat had one that day. We headed back to the hotel for showers and dinner.

Once we found a more reasonably-priced hotel, we cleaned up for dinner downtown. Deb found a place that was highly recommended. She was right. I think it was called The Queens.

Very romantic ambiance between cityscape.

Table for romantic two.

Charleston was all about class. Every opening was carefully groomed with ornate fountains and precise ivy.

We stopped into a cemetery before being asked to leave. The dead needed their rest.

We walked along some of the major streets to the ocean. These houses set a new standard for class.

A typical house and corresponding courtyard for the tiered porches to overlook.

A front entrance.

Peaking into one of the courtyards.

Not sure. We say many near front doors. Maybe to get horse-poop off of your boot.

I was quite upset about the metal object pictured above. When I then saw this, Deb offered that perhaps milk was place there. I think she was still talking about the foot thing, and not the spike of spikes. Perhaps milk was placed up here to spear a kitty for dinner.

Charlestonian stairs.

Clever.

Another front door, peaking through the gate.

A side entrance to the side lot.

My last clean shirt.

The ocean view late evening.

Charleston was going to sleep, and so were we. After ice cream of course.

back.