Last time, I wrote of how we decided to go south for a vacation this year. Yes, we took a summer vacation in the humid, yet sultry, American south; we weren’t far from where “The Walking Dead” takes place. This column chronicles our time in Charleston.
The Fort Sumter departure building is right next to the aquarium. We walked down there the next day and used our free tickets for admission. If you like history, this is surely the place for you! The ferry ride on Charleston Harbor was nice and quiet, taking about 30 minutes from dock-to-dock.
We saw the Ravenal Bridge from a different view, along with the USS Yorktown across the Harbor in Point Pleasant. Since we didn't have a car, we didn't cross the bridge or go visit the Yorktown. Maybe, next time we visit Charleston.
By the time we got to Fort Sumter, it was hot. Because I perspire a lot, I always carry a washcloth with me, or as the kids call it, a sweat rag. They have such a way with words. I also where a baseball cap whenever I'm outside, because my hair in thin on top and I don't want to get a sunburn on my scalp. It happened to my father, and it wasn't pleasant.
There are two National Park Rangers on the ferry with us. They talked of the history of the fort; how much it meant to the defense of Charleston during the Civil War. I wish they would have given us a tour at the Fort, as well, but it is self-guided.
We saw the cannons and fortifications as well as the exhibits underground, which explain the history of the fort from the beginnings to its closing after World War II. It's very interesting, if you like history or forts.
After that, we went back to the hotel. The kids wanted to go out on their own for lunch and some shopping. Marcy and I explored the other end of King Street, the main street, and had some lunch. When you're hot, tired and hungry, pretty much anything will taste good. We split an order of fish and chips and it was very good.
That night was took our one and only "evening haunted tour," which was to the old downtown city jail. It was as a dark and scary adventure; at least, it billed as such. We had to go to the tour office to get the tickets and walk several blocks to the jail, which sucked because we were already in that area the day before.
At the ticket office, we met a mother and daughter visiting from Florida. We walked with them to the jail. The walk over there turned out to be more interesting and scarier than the jail itself.
The tour guide was a former Charleston police officer, named Sean. He seemed like a real down home southern kind of fellow. He wasn't over dramatic during the tour and didn't make any weird noise or try to scare us. He gave a very good history of the jail. He told how the guards and prisoners lived. How most of them died from little or no food, beatings and disease.
“When you take pictures,” Sean said, “take two in a row, because sometimes on the second one, you can see a floating orb.” Yeah, right. I took plenty of pictures. There were no floating orbs in my photographs. This tour was interesting, but not worth $80.
Next time, it’s all about Savannah! Last time, how the south won our vacation money.
Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.
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