The first thing we did here was go out to Fort Sumter. Since it's on an island, we needed to take a boat.
The boat leaves from Patriots Point, home of the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown. Built in World War II, she had an exciting career until becoming a museum ship here in 1975.
Also here is the destroyer USS Laffey. She earned the nickname "The Ship That Would Not Die" for her exploits during the D-Day invasion and the battle of Okinawa.
As our boat left the dock, we got a different view of the USS Yorktown.
We also got a distant view of Castle Pinckney, a small fort built in 1810.
Fort Sumter is most famous for being the site of the first shot of the Civil War.
A tour was offered, but I just wandered around on my own.
Some of the walls are made from "tabby concrete," made by burning oyster shells to create lime, then mixing it with water, sand, ash and broken oyster shells.
I liked how the fort has not been pristinely restored. Lots of evidence of war damage is still there.
The fort was originally a three story fortress.
Fort Moultrie is also located near Charleston.
Three different forts were built on this site through the years.
We also took a trolley tour of the Charleston Tea Plantation, the only tea plantation in North America.
The reason all the plants are flat on top is that the tea is picked from the newest growth -
Using this machine that shears off the top.
This sign shows where the other tea plantations are. The closest one is in Argentina.
We also stopped off the see the Angel Oak Tree, a huge live oak tree 300-400 years old.
The trunk was too big to hug, being 25 1/2 feet around. The tree provides 17,000 square feet of shade.
We also went to see the Confederate submarine USS Hunley. It is being restored in a giant water tank, and was unfortunately difficult to see because of the reflection.
This is a picture of what was recovered in 2000. The Hunley was the first successful combat submarine when she sank the USS Housatonic in 1864! Unfortunately the Hunley never returned from the mission.
If you're wondering how a submarine was propelled in 1864, Phil is demonstrating how it was done. Seven men turned a hand-cranked propeller.
While at Charleston, we had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with our group. (Now you know how far behind I am...)
We also went to see the Holiday Festival of Lights in Charleston. It's a 3-mile drive through 700 light displays.
Noah's Ark was my favorite, and maybe the biggest presentation.