Sunday, June 15, 2014

Charleston Day 3

I have a new favorite person in American History! I'm not sure who it was before, but it is now Eliza Lucas Pinckney. A few months ago I started reading "Founding Mothers" by Cookie Roberts whose book explores the women who, "had the ears of the Founding Fathers." She notes that although just about every grocery list written by a Founding Father has survived, very few women left writings.

An exception is Eliza Lucas Pinckney who at age 16 was left in charge of her father's three South Carolina plantations. She recorded her letters to him explaining her business decisions and details of her experiments with cultivating indigo seeds. She was the first person to successful cultivate an indigo seed to grow in SC and the blue state flag is a tribute to her! She later became the mother to two Founding Fathers and when she died George Washington insisted on acting as a pallbearer at her funeral.

Okay, enough history lesson! So when we were in Charleston I wanted to see what was left of her home. Not much but some of her relatives' homes are still around. Her nephew's plantation is now a national park. So we started there. But before we started there we explored Sullivan's Island and Fort Moultrie because I misread the flyer and didn't notice that the address given for the Pinckney's Snee Farm national park was different than the address for the fort. Oops!

Fort Moultrie had a beautiful little museum in the visitor's center and was much more accessible and affordable ($5 for both of us) than Fort Sumter. It also offered a great view of Fort Sumter and Charleston's coast line. If you are short on time or just don't like big crowds, I'd suggest visiting Moultrie over Sumter. Lots more to see and there were only a handful of people there.

A tribute to the slave population who eventually became known as the Gullah Geechee. Gullah is sometimes called "Sea Island Creole" and is a hybrid of English and West African expressions. Geechee describes those African Americans who live along the coasts of SC, Georgia and northern Florida who speak the Gullah language.  

Taken from the viewing deck on top of the visitor's center looking towards the fort. The fort first defending Charleston from the British in 1776. It also held back two years of Union attacks during the Civil War. It was also active during both World Wars. The fort was fun to walk through and there were displays set up for how it looked from the 1770s to the 1940s. There was even an Underwood type writer in the media room (Frank Underwood makes mention to his family's typewriter business in House of Cards!).

After exploring Sullivan's Island a bit, we headed over to Island of the Palms where the Snee Farm is located. It's also a National Historic Site. The house is open and there's a short video you can watch all about the Pinckney family and their contribution to South Carolina and the formation of the United States. 

The house was the smallest of all the Pinckney plantations but was the family's favorite. I can see why - the oak trees and Spanish moss were some of the prettiest I've ever seen. 

We spent our last afternoon walking around Charleston and eating! 

We spent a good bit of time just wandering up and down the smaller streets off of downtown just looking at the beautiful homes. We found a reference to Eliza outside of this house at 8 Legare Street. It actually belonged to her great-grandson Cleland Kinlock Huger, who played an important role during the Civil War years, but notes the accomplishments of his great-grandmother in a plaque outside the house. Other Pinckney sites around town include Charles' grave at Saint Michael's Episcopal Church and this little island that is visible from the waterfront is called Pinckney Castle.

A couple we talked to a Folly Beach on our first day had mentioned Happy Hour at Pearlz. It was amazing. We started off with the fried oysters and followed that with a bowl of crab chowder. We were excited to hear that they have a sister restaurant in Greenville!

Our selfies need some work - neither one of us ever seems to be looking directly at the camera!

We had such a fabulous trip and can't wait to go back when the weather cools off. We left Wednesday morning and were home a little after 10 a.m. I met my Aunt Carole and the minister at First Pres in Senatobia, Frank Beck, in Asheville, NC for lunch. I was so happy to see my Senatobia people! It's amazing to live in a place where I can have breakfast on the coast and lunch in the mountains, but it's not quite feeling like home yet!

Here's Day 1 and Day 2 if you're interested!

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