From Congaree we drove straight to Charleston where we checked in at the Days Inn in Historic Charleston (perfect location) and walked to the harbor just in time to catch our ferry to Fort Sumter. Once we docked at the Fort we only had an hour before we had to turn around and get back on the boat. The fort was interesting enough with beautiful views that we wished we had had a little longer. That said, we listened to the ranger describe the historical significant of Fort Sumter and then walked around, checking out the remains of the interior structures, old fire ammunition and cannons. The only other fort we've been too that is similar to this one is Fort Jefferson in Dry Tortugas. Fort Jefferson was massive in comparison, but Fort Sumter was especially interesting given the role it played in our nation's history.
Once we returned to Charleston we took a long walk up to the upper, upper end of King Street to the corner of "King and I" to have dinner at Leon's. Pretty cool place known for fried chicken and oysters. We were surprised by how much we liked the oysters. After dinner we had another long walk back down King Street to the historic section of Charleston where we wandered in the dark looking at the gas lit homes. We also discovered Charleston hosts a Jenni's scoop shop and made sure we stopped in for my favorite chocolate ice cream ever (darkest chocolate in the world).
Saturday morning I went for a run along the harbor and explored new parts of Charleston. Not too long into it it started to rain and then it rained all day long. It paused long enough to walk to Palmetto Carriage where our morning carriage ride awaited. The tour guide was really informed and it was an educational and interesting 75-90 minutes. After our ride through the historic residential zone, we met up with a friend of mine and his family that moved to Charleston this time last year. We enjoyed a very filling (huge portions) brunch and enjoyed catching up. He then recommended a few other activities for us that day and walked the covered market with us. Eric was one of my favorite things about tutoring at Beechwood and this last year hasn't been the same without him. I loved getting the chance to connect!
That afternoon we took Eric up on his recommendation and visited the Rhett-Aiken house/museum. It's a preserved (not restored) home of a wealthy family with slave quarters, carriage house and rooms in tact. The narrated audio was pretty good and it was interesting to walk through a home very unlike ours in the west. We wrapped up late that afternoon and decided to walk back in the direction of our hotel. No sooner did we leave the museum then the already wet day turned into a complete and total down pour. We decided to escape it for a bit and rested our feet at the hotel for an hour or two. During that time the amount of rain that fell was unbelievable. We were grateful we weren't still out there.
Our evening ended with a fun and unlikely visit with my cousin and his wife who happened to be in town for their nephew's college graduation. We hadn't seen them in years! The visit was short (just a couple of hours) but really great. We hope we enticed them to come out and visit California (Yosemite) soon! We wrapped up our brief stay in Charleston with a late dinner at Hank's seafood restaurant. Lee finally tried the traditional shrimp and grits we had seen all week at restaurants and quite liked it. And that was a wrap for Charleston and South Carolina.