First of All –
- First tour of an Historic City Hall
- Miles Cruised today: 0 – Layover Day
- Total Miles Cruised to date: 3,769
- Hours Underway: NA
- Fuel: NA
- Morning House Battery Reading: 12.57
- Wind Speed: 15; Wind Direction: NE
- Daily High Temperature: 68
- Water Temperature: 66
We’ve set this day aside to tour Charleston. We spent time seeing visiting this city in 2003, so we’ll try to do a few different things this time. We arrange for the marina shuttle to drop us off at the main visitor center, where I buy tickets for a guided motor tour of the City, coupled with a tour of one of the City’s historic homes. We’ll do our tours in the afternoon, and spend the first part of our day on our own. We take the free trolley down to the waterfront, where we have our picture taken in front of the beautiful pineapple fountain. We then walk by the Old Exchange Building, which we toured last time, and over to the City Hall building. This imposing structure was built in the late 1800’s and is still used as City Hall. It’s open to the public, and we’re able to go up to the second floor, where the Council Chambers are located. The room is actually fairly small in terms of floor area, but the ceilings are high, and the rich, dark paneled walls are covered with portraits. It’s more like an art gallery than a council chambers. The City actually has a full time docent who tells us about the paintings and other artifacts on display there. This building stands at the corner of Meeting and Broad Streets. On one of the other corners St. Michaels Church is located, with state and federal court buildings located on the other corners. Around here they refer to this location as “the four corners of the law”, supposedly the only place in the country where, on four corners of one intersection you can find city law, state law, federal law, and God’s law. We take a few moments to look inside St. Michaels, an Anglican Church with a beautiful front altar and a fascinating history. It’s the oldest church building in Charleston, dating to 1761 and sitting on the site of a church which dates back to the 1680’s. Both George Washington and Robert E. Lee visited this church, and they worshipped in the same pew. During the seige of Charleston in the Civil War, a Union shell burst in the chancel, and a scar from that shell can be seen at the base of the pulpit.
By now we’re getting tight on time for our tours, which start back at the visitor center at 1pm. We grab fast food at a Subway and eat on the run, as we hustle up Meeting Street, getting there with 10 minutes to spare. It’s hard to be moving so quickly through this fascinating City, but at least we’ll be able to sit back on the bus and take a bit of a break. Our driver and guide is very knowledgeable and engaging. He takes us on an extended tour of the City, covering far more territory than the horse drawn or foot tours can. We go through historically and architecturally interesting neighborhoods, and through the Citadel campus, which is rich in tradition and which has educated and trained many of our country’s great military leaders. We get dropped off at the Joseph Manigault House, built in 1803, and we’re taken on a guided tour of this beautifully preserved home. It’s owned by the City’s historical society, and it contains some lovely period furniture.
After visiting the Manigault House we walk across the street, to the Visitor Center where we started out this morning. We take in a well done 30 minute film on the history of Charleston, and then step outside to wait for Annie. Annie is a fellow MacGregor owner who came across this blog back in the fall, just as we were getting off Lake Michigan. When we got close to Charleston, her home, she contacted us by email, expressing a desire to meet up. She dropped by the boat yesterday afternoon and we made plans to have dinner together today. She swings by the Visitor Center after work and takes us to Leons Oyster Shop, a well known neighborhood restaurant which is well off the tourist trail. After mingling all day with throngs of tourists, it’s just the place to hang out, enjoy dinner, and talk boats. Since we own the same type of boat we have much in common. Annie has just recently bought her boat and it’s really fun to see the enthusiasm she has for taking it out. We hope that she and her boat share many happy times out on the water together.