The trip is from New River, West Virginia, to Stinking Creek, Tennessee, by way of Long Key, Florida.
Charleston, South Carolina
Shortly after leaving Pawnee Island we stopped for the night at an uninteresting private campground along Hwy. 17. In the morning we continued south on Hwy. 17 across the Waccamaw River and Great Pee Dee River through the edge of the Francis Marian National Forest into Charleston. It was a pleasant unhurried drive along the coast and through the forest. As we neared Charleston the traffic picked up. We started seeing many booths set up alongside Hwy. 17 selling sweetgrass baskets. We stopped at one to look them over and considered buying one, until we learned the price. Although they were unique and pretty, the price was too steep for us.
We stopped to tour Boone Hall Plantation. We approached on a gravel lane through an impressive arch of live oaks.
We toured the plantation house. No photography was allowed inside, I could only take them outdoors.
This house isn’t very old. The original had burned down. As had the second house that replaced it. This was the third incarnation. The plantation originally grew cotton. After the Civil War the plantation switched to pecans. After a blight wiped out their pecan trees the plantation was opened up for tourists and a small vegetable farm continued to sell fresh produce.
The house is surrounded by attractive gardens.
The smooth bright red bark doesn’t show up well on this tree, but it was distinctive. I wish I could think of the name of this tree, but it eludes me.
The plantation was on the Horlbeck Creek.
There is an old warehouse on the creek. While we were there they were setting up for a wedding reception.
There was another warehouse on the property they had braced to keep it from collapsing.
There was a classic palmetto next to it.
I thought this wind-twisted tree had character.
There was a pond, with a boardwalk around it.
There were warning signs for alligators. We didn’t see any, but we did spy this bird.
There were also slave cabins open to tour.
Adorned with interesting art work from the slave era.
And sweetwater baskets.
These brick cabins were homes for the overseers. The actual slave cabins weren’t nearly this nice. They were constructed of wood and had all burned down. In one of the cabins is a horrific display. A list of all the slave ships that docked in Charleston, which had one of the biggest, if not the biggest, slave markets in the country.
On this photo I zoomed in so it can be read. The 2 columns on the right show the number of slaves that embarked in Africa and the number that disembarked in Charleston. So many Africans didn’t even make it here, crossing the Atlantic was so brutal. The slavers crammed as many bodies as they could in their holds, then hardly cared for them at all during the months it took to get here.
At one of the slave cabins a historical interpreter gave a presentation about Gullah culture. This college professor (in the blue top) was incredible, her half-hour was one of the highlights of the entire trip.
I had no knowledge of Gullah before this. It was fascinating to see her portrayal. Here is a brief Wikipedia article. I encourage you to read more on your own, it is such an remarkable part of our American history:
The Gullah (/ˈɡʌlə/) are African Americans who live in the Lowcountry region of the U.S. states of Georgia and South Carolina, in both the coastal plain and the Sea Islands. They developed a creole language, the Gullah language, and a culture rich in African influences that makes them distinctive among African Americans.
Historically, the Gullah region extended from the Cape Fear area on North Carolina’s coast south to the vicinity of Jacksonville on Florida’s coast. Today, the Gullah area is confined to the Georgia and South Carolina Lowcountry. The Gullah people and their language are also called Geechee, which may be derived from the name of the Ogeechee River near Savannah, Georgia. Gullah is a term that was originally used to designate the creole dialect of English spoken by Gullah and Geechee people. Over time, its speakers have used this term to formally refer to their creole language and distinctive ethnic identity as a people. The Georgia communities are distinguished by identifying as either “Freshwater Geechee” or “Saltwater Geechee”, depending on whether they live on the mainland or the Sea Islands.
Because of a period of relative isolation from whites while working on large plantations in rural areas, the Africans, drawn from a variety of Central and West African ethnic groups, developed a creole culture that has preserved much of their African linguistic and cultural heritage from various peoples; in addition, they absorbed new influences from the region. The Gullah people speak an English-based creole language containing many African loanwords and influenced by African languages in grammar and sentence structure. Sometimes referred to as “Sea Island Creole” by linguists and scholars, the Gullah language is especially related to and almost identical to Bahamian Creole. There are also ties to Barbadian Creole, Belizean Creole, Jamaican Patois and the Krio language of West Africa. Gullah crafts, farming and fishing traditions, folk beliefs, music, rice-based cuisine and story-telling traditions all exhibit strong influences from Central and West African cultures.
On our way to the parking lot as we were leaving we encountered people in distress. A man was tending to his sister who was on the ground. She was having some kind of medical emergency, perhaps a stroke. It was a hot sunny day, so he and I lifted her up and carried her into the shade. My wife called 911, and we stayed with them until an ambulance arrived – which was very quickly. Once she was on her way to the hospital, we walked on to our motor home and left.
Next Location – Patriots Point, Charleston