Fort Sumter is the premier site in Charleston but there is another fort on an opposite shore that coordinated with Sumter in the defense of the harbor. It is Fort Moultrie. It wasn’t as built up as Sumter with 3 stories of brick but it has been used in wars from the Revolution to WWII and that is its significance. Here were cannon and armaments from all these wars but my favorite part was the WWII bunker where they had communications equipment. They were watching for German subs on the Atlantic shore so were underground. They had decorated these rooms just as if they were in WWII with typewriters, packages of Camel cigarettes, posters on the wall, period office furniture, a telephone, typewriters and, in the background, Bing Crosby singing Johnny Mercer’s old song ‘Ac-cen-tu-ate the Positive’. A real step back in time. I can almost imagine being here during the war.
Across the harbor waters we could see Sumter and realize how well positioned these two forts were to protect he Charleston harbor. We took a short trail which led us to some WWI bunkers and we wandered around in them seeing the ammunition rooms and how they got the armaments around using pulleys and overhead tracks.
One of the first things that you see when you enter the actual fort is the grave of Osceola, a legendary Seminole chief who died here in 1838 and the graves of 5 seamen who died when their ship sunk in the harbor.
We wandered back to the parking lot and down to the water’s edge to see the grave of William Moultrie for whom the fort is named. He was the commander of the fort when it was attacked by the British in 1776. He defeated them and protected Charleston harbor.
We left and drove down the road to the Charles Pinckney NM. So, who’s ever heard of Charles Pinckney? Well, if you live in South Carolina, you probably have but, other than that, I doubt that many have. But he was a member of the Constitutional Convention at the age of 30, wrote at least 30 provisions that were incorporated into the final document, was the South Carolina campaign manager for Jefferson in the election of 1800, an ambassador to Spain and was elected 4 times Governor of South Carolina. There, now you know. His family home is in the northeastern suburbs of Charleston and we visited it today. However, his home really does not exist today except as some bricks that the park archaeologists have put around an area that they think used to be his home.
But, we did learn a lot about the man and his importance to the Constitutional Convention that designed our government today. We also met an older gentleman who was the volunteer at the gift shop. He’s quite the traveler. His wife died 14 years ago and he hasn’t stopped yet. He lives in Philadelphia but comes down to SC to visit his children and volunteer at the NM during the winter. During the summer he travels. He’s been to Japan and the Antartica recently and is going on a trip to Ireland and a boat trip down the rivers of Europe later this year. ‘Can’t hit a moving target’ he says. He usually travels in a group and the last time he and another single traveler, a woman, hit it off and when he mentioned his next trip, she said she’d do that one too. He’s happy. Much more fun to travel with someone else than alone.
I don’t often look at the legs of other men (only Gary’s - and that’s when I’m behind him on a hike) but today, this pair of legs stood in front of me at the Ranger talk at the fort. How long did those tattoos take? Beautifully done but, how long did they take?
Is this a picture of pickled beets? What in the world is a picture of pickled beets doing in a travel blog? We were at Costco recently and, of course, we were tempted to sample several different types of food. That’s half the fun of going there. The other half is sharing a Very Berry sundae before we walk out. Today I sampled the Pickled Beets that one of the demonstrators was hawking. I like beets so I listened to her whole pitch: the nutritional value, the ease of preparation, the many uses. Then she told me that I could snack on them at night with very few calories. She had me there. Now I don’t have to just watch Gary eat his nightly snack - I can have some pickled beets. Hmmm. Beets as a snack food? Who would fall for such a line as that? Well, maybe someone who fell for Gary’s ‘lonely sailor’ line. Yep, I bought those beets.
‘Let me show you my bathrooms.’ Huh? At our campground, the owner, a sprightly 82, who says his hobby is ‘work’ asked us if we’d like to see his bathrooms. He’s pretty proud of the RV park he built and wanted to show it off to us. He was in construction and when the recession hit in 2007, he decided to make an RV park in his back lot. Very nice park, big level grassy lots, pull-thrus, a pond - and, yes, nice clean bathrooms, but, no, I don’t have a picture of them.
When I was registering for this campground, the first question on the form was ‘What is your name?’ Pretty standard but the second question is, ‘What is your wife’s name?’ Hmmm. I think they need to update their forms.
‘The whole of travel is not to set foot on foreign land: it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.’
Gilbert K. Chesterton