Thursday (10/17/13) we decided would be a good day to head to the historic downtown area and HEY,,, the government finally got their heads out of the sand (do ya like how I cleaned that up) so the Fort Sumter National Monument is open so we toured it as well.
After getting downtown we visited the market first. The City Market, one of the oldest in the country, is significant enough to be part of a permanent exhibit entitled “Life in Coastal South Carolina” at the American History Museum of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC.
Four blocks of open-air buildings make up the market and a good chunk of what’s there is hand made by local artisans.
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney ceded the land on which the Market is built to the City of Charleston in 1788. He stipulated that a public market be built on the site and that it remain in use as a public market into the future..
To fulfill this requirement, the low buildings that stretch from Market Hall to the waterfront were built between 1804 and the 1830’s. These originally housed meat, vegetable and fish markets and rented for $1.00 per day — or $2.00, if the space had a piece of marble to keep the meat or fish cold. Butchers were known to throw meat scraps into the streets, attracting many buzzards that were nicknamed Charleston Eagles. Through the years, the sheds have survived many disasters, including fires, tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes and bombardment.
Diane couldn’t help but look at all of the Sweet Grass baskets and trinkets being weaved. I’m certain if we were in the sticks and brinks we would own one of the hand crafted baskets by now LOL!!
There are shops on both sides of the street on either side of the market place as well and you could certainly spend some time there if you’re a shopper. We spent roughly 1 ½ hours milling around before we decided to have lunch at a Irish Pub called Tommy Condon’s.
We both had the Irish breakfast burger that consisted of a 1/2lb patty, cheese, bacon, green fried tomato and an egg. But after Diane picked everything off of hers she may as well have ordered a plain cheeseburger LOL!!! But she wanted the fried green tomato Needless to say our lunch once again took care of lunch AND dinner LOL!!
After lunch we decided to walk the roughly 10 blocks to the pier where we would visit the visitor center and catch our boat for a tour of Fort Sumter Island. Once we reached the visitor center we paid our $34 for the tour of the island and went inside. We had about 45 minutes until our boat departed so we had plenty of time to look around.
Then we made our way to the dock where we boarded our boat for a ½ hour narrated ride out to the fort. We were lucky enough to have a couple dolphin sightings along the way but I wasn’t really fast enough with the camera to get any good pictures. But it was a great day to be on the top open air deck for our ride.
Fort Sumter is an island fortification located in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina. Originally constructed in 1829 as a coastal garrison, Fort Sumter is most famous for being the site of the first shots of the Civil War. U.S. Major Robert Anderson occupied the unfinished fort in December 1860 following South Carolina’s secession from the Union, initiating a standoff with the state’s militia forces. When President Abraham Lincoln announced plans to resupply the fort, Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard bombarded Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861. After a 34-hour exchange of artillery fire, Anderson and 86 soldiers surrendered the fort on April 13. Confederate troops then occupied Fort Sumter for nearly four years, resisting several bombardments by Union forces before abandoning the garrison prior to William T. Sherman’s capture of Charleston in February 1865. After the Civil War, Fort Sumter was restored by the U.S. military and manned during the Spanish-American War (1898), World War I (1914-18) and World War II (1939-45).
Once we were at the fort we had 1 hour to attend a short talk by a park ranger and tour the island. I thought we would feel a little more rushed with only a hour but as it turned out it was just about the right amount of time. Unless you tried to read everything in the museum area.
Structurally Fort Sumter is no longer the looming presence it was in 1860. The fort walls no longer stand 55 foot above the water. They now range from 9 to 25 foot. But it’s still a very powerful symbol of times past.
The task of cleaning up Fort Sumter began in the 1870’s but funds ran out and the fort was used as a lighthouse station for the next 20 years. In 1899 the Endicott Battery was added and was used through World War II and was finally decommissioned in 1947. In 1948 it was turned over to the National Parks Department and became a National Monument.
We enjoyed the tour and would recommend it if you are ever in the area. Who knows,, it may be roped off someday never to be seen again the way our government runs things. I shouldn’t say that sort of thing!!
Here is a link you might find interesting. http://www.us-civilwar.com/sumter.htm
By the time we finished our tour it was time to head home. So we hoofed it the roughly 10 blocks back to the Jeep. Unfortunately by that time it was a little after 5pm and rush hour traffic was in full bloom. And HWY 17 was packed and though moving it was not fast going. If we were to come back to the area I might take a look at the location of a different campground that might be off the beaten path a bit more. Oak Plantation is a very clean and nice campground with pretty good sized spaces compared to some but it certainly has some road noise and is on a very busy highway. When I found it on the map I thought it would be far enough out to avoid the business but I was wrong LOL!! Oh well,, it’s all good.
I think we have decided to just hang around home Friday and defrost the Refer. It’s the first time it has frosted up since we hit the road so we can’t complain much I guess.
Plus by staying home Friday we can avoid the commuting workers and head back downtown Saturday morning to the Farmers Market and finish touring that area.