By: leelefever on December 21, 2005 - 5:20am

I almost killed us yesterday.  We were on the way to the Magnolia Plantation just outside of Charleston and I was driving.  In the middle of telling a story, I looked up and the cars had stopped in front of us a bit unexpectedly, at least for me. I slammed on the breaks and ended up turning off the road (crossing the other lane) into a parking lot.  All was well, but Sachi now insists "No more telling stories- you just drive". I agree.

The Plantation has something I had never encountered before- a "Swamp Garden".  It sounds appealling eh?  It was pretty cool, I'd have to say. In the summer crocodiles live in the swamp and the scenery is somehow beautifully decayed.  Things seem to rot and be teeming with life at the same time.  What's a visit to SC without a Swamp Garden tour anyway?




Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, Charleston, South Carolina

By: leelefever on December 19, 2005 - 2:23pm
When I lived in Charleston 1996-1998, there were two bridges over the Cooper River and just before I left, studies were done and both bridges were given a grade of "F" in terms of overall structural integrity.  Something had to be done.
This summer (2005) the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge was opened and replaced the two previous bridges across the Cooper River. I wrote about it on my personal blog a while back.
Today Sachi and I walked across the bridge to check it out - an activity I recommend.  We started from the Mt. Pleasant (north end) side of the bridge. 
We both have a certain fascination with such huge structures and walking across the bridge was something we both agreed we wouldn't forget.  Below are some of the pictures we took on the walk.
This is the first of two spans, facing south. 
Facing North in the middle of the spans, with Sachi
 Here are what is left of the old rickety bridges that are now being broken.
This is what it looks like at night (Not our photo)
 Charleston Bridge.gif

Charleston and the South Carolina Lowcountry

By: leelefever on December 19, 2005 - 2:10pm
There is something special about Charleston, South Carolina and I think it has something that has to do with good ole' southern charm.  I always wish I could take Seattleites on a tour of Charleston to experience the South that I love instead of the South they see in Nascar races. Charleston is a bastion of the Old South and retains a load of southern charm and beauty that is unrivaled.  It's also where the first shots of the Civil War were fired.
JJ and Shannon, a couple of our best friends, moved from Seattle to Charleston recently and we're staying with them (and their dogs Pooch and Murphy) for a couple of days. This is JJ and Murphy on the right)
The aside from the charm of the people, it's the historical architecture that sets Charleston apart. It's a city that is situated on a peninsula with the majority of the historical homes toward the tip of the peninsula.  Back in the mid-to-late 1700's and early 1800's Charleston became one of the biggest cities in what was becoming America.  The land owners from all over the south built huge houses in Charleston as their "places in the city"; places to go and socialize with other rich land owners.
It should be mentioned that this was a time of slavery in the South and the spoils of land ownership, including the homes in Charleston, were built upon the labor of slaves.  Though not a proud history, slavery is very much a part of the history of Charleston.
Today, the homes of land owners still exist in Charleston and the vast majority are private residences.  Walking around the "Battery" or the tip of the peninsula, is perhaps the biggest draw among tourists and for good reason-- the area has block after block of impeccably maintained homes and gardens build in the late 1700's.  The place just bleeds with southern charm and historical societies play a big part in maintaining the history of the city.
The downtown area of Charleston is also home of the College of Charleston which is famous among many males in the South for having a very favorable female to male ratio.  I've heard 1:4 4:1 and 1:6 6:1 female to male estimates.  Having lived in Charleston for a couple of years, I can vouch for both the number and beauty of the residents- unlike any other place I've seen, honestly.   
I'll come back to Charleston one day when I'm ready for my life to be slower and more laid back. It will be a while. :)

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