We discuss the Top 5 highlights and lowlights of our visit to the east coast of Georgia and South Carolina. This post includes sites found in Savannah, Beaufort, Charleston, and Yemassee.
1. Savannah – We loved Savannah! We will definitely be back to spend more time. Being camped an hour away we could not really partake in the nightlife. We walked by so many cool, little pubs we want to visit in the future.
What we did get to enjoy during our brief visit was the amazing parks this city has. No matter where you go in Savannah, you’ll eventually come across a square with a statue or fountain dedicated to someone or some event and it transports you back in time. History is found everywhere. Forsyth park is much larger than we expected. We enjoyed listening to horn instruments, strolling through the weekend market, and saying hello to all the dogs taking advantage of the beautiful lawn. Walking around we feel more at home as the atmosphere of the city is reminiscent of one of our favorite places to visit, New Orleans.
We did check out St. John’s Cathedral, which was absolutely beautiful and is apparently an iconic feature of the city. We now see why as the dual steeples are seen throughout the city. The church dates back to 1876 and almost burned to the ground in 1898. Of course it was recovered, restored, and reopened in 1900. The architecture of the cathedral is breathtaking and the stained glass murals remind us of Notre Dame in Paris. According to what we’ve read online, the cathedral remains in the top 10 historic sites to visit. If visiting, make sure you step inside. This is an active church but tours are still offered when there is no mass scheduled.
2. Old Sheldon Church – These church ruins are off the beaten path a bit and well worth the drive. Old Sheldon Church can be found outside of Yemassee [yeh-meh-see], South Carolina. These ruins date back to the 1750’s. It’s kind of weird to say there are ‘ruins’ in South Carolina, amiright? When we think of the word, ruin, I personally draw a visual of Rome or Greece. Well kids, this is exactly what we encountered here. You’re just driving in the middle of the woods, and BAM! you stumble into this. How cool is that?!
The ruins and surrounding graves are hundreds of years old and they are just a reminder of what used to be in our nation’s history. America’s history, which in terms of the rest of the world is still young at 250 years old, is pretty magnificent to see and feel. There is a somber and peaceful esthetic here. If you like to take pictures, this is an amazing backdrop. Honestly old Sheldon Church was one of our favorite sites we stopped at and it didn’t cost us a thing. Ok, well a little bit of diesel money.
FOR THE WIN: There are plantations peppered along the roads leading to Sheldon Church. Keep your eyes peeled for truly southern oak-lined entrances like this picture-perfect one, named Tomotley.
3. Angel Oak Tree – Another freebie we found was Angel Oak. Like Sheldon Church, it’s old and found off the beaten path. Angel Oak is a southern live oak that is estimated to be between 400-500 years old. It is the oldest tree east of the Mississippi. The longest branch measure 187 feet in length, stands almost 66 feet tall, and is almost 30 feet in circumference. It’s HUGE!! What a site to see.
It’s shit like this why we wanted to change our entire lifestyle and go on the road. Not only visit new places but to see cool stuff like old trees, large frying pans, and Caddillac stone hedges. Ok, so I’ll probably have to convince JC everytime I want to go see an old tree, but I think that’s what it is all about. I’m lucky enough to have a mate that goes along with. He’s a true peacekeeper, you know. HA HA!
4. History found in Charleston – Let’s face it, if you want to explore America’s early history, you visit the east coast. We stopped in the Old Exchange and Provost Museum and took the dungeon tour. [Insert spooky Scooby Doo music] Actually The Dungeon, what it was dubbed back in the day, was more stinky than spooky.
Did you know? The word, provost, is the Old English word for prison. And we went inside it. Muahahhaaahhaaa!
Ok. Let’s be serious for a minute. The dungeon tour actually taught us a lot about the topography of the area, the agriculture, the city, and how the Exchange building transformed over time. We learned how during the Revolutionary War, the English actually occupied the building not knowing they were sitting on top of a stashed, hidden pile of gunpowder. Some pretty cool stories during this history lesson. If visiting, we recommend the museum and a visit into the dungeon. You can learn quite a bit in a brief 20 minute tour.
5. Shopping Local – Two words: Bacon. Ketchup. There was a quaint shop near our campground called Carolina Cider Company. JC saw a sign for his roadside delicacy and since WE BRAKE FOR BOILED P-NUTS, we stopped.
Cute store with their local made cider and other eats as well as treats. Reminded me [Erin] of my parent’s store. They too sold dips, jams, jellies, butters, pickles, biscuit mix, and all kinds of goodies made from the local and state areas. I stumbled across some Bacon Ketchup and since we both like both of those things, we bought some along with a few other things. DUDE! We are so glad we bought that bacon ketchup. It has turned out to be a delicious highlight for both of us. Here’s to hoping we can find that shiz online somewhere. It’s so good, ya’ll!
1. Rain and Lowcountry – The term lowcountry didn’t exist for us until this visit. We are from Florida. We got the Everglades and swamps of our own. We got that sticky humidity and mosquitoes galore. Lowcountry, no problem.
This is the perfect time of year to be visiting [we thought]… Winter. It’s cool, no bugs or humidity to contend with. However, we had no idea South Carolina’s wet season happens during Winter. Needless to say one of the lowlights was the rain and the low elevation at our campground. Having a nice front porch just wasn’t a thing during our stay. Too much rain, too many puddles.
2. Cobblestones of Savannah – The cobblestone streets of Savannah are way cool with their unique history and photograph appeal. Not sure who thought all the different sized rocks would make great material for streets, but okay Savannah. For a second there I thought we were in South Carolina. <– That line will be funny soon, we promise.
COBBLESTONE CAUTION: You MUST wear comfortable and sturdy footwear. Watch where you walk when you encounter these streets. Seriously, you will take out your ankle or possibly a knee cap.
3. Slave History of Charleston – Slavery is not a thing to be proud of in our nation’s history but it happened and if you are interested in learning about it, it is found in Charleston. This particular history lesson did help us understand why South Carolina would have been the first State to secede the Union. South Carolina’s agriculture, resulting wealth and power from slave labor plus the overall culture of acceptance was ingrained very deeply here. You can learn why by visiting the Old Exchange and Provost Museum. We did enjoy their focus on the history of the Revolutionary War while still remaining true to the slave history found at that site.
4. Parking in Charleston – Parking with our giant truck is problematic most places we will visit. We lucked out in Savannah by arriving early and found street parking where the spots were large and easy to navigate. This was not the case in the historic district of Charleston. We found street parking. However due to the size of the spot we ended up getting a ticket because we weren’t ‘parked correctly’. Not sure we could have avoided this due to either way, the back wheel on the curb [which is how we were parked] or the entire side of the truck out in the road. Either way we’re sure they would have ticketed us regardless. We took a chance on it and lesson learned. $10 ticket. We moved the truck to a parking garage where we barely fit and after the experience of trying to get the truck out of said garage, we vowed to avoid parking garages altogether. We understand this will not be the only time we suffer these circumstances. #BigBootyJudyProblems
5. Rough Roads of South Carolina – We stayed in Yemassee which is not too far over the Georgia border. The afternoon we arrived, we decided to take a quick ride over to the town to see what was there. We always try and get an idea of where things are like the pharmacy, grocery store, restaurants, etc. in each new stop. On our way we noticed a Rough Road caution sign which made us laugh because we were already thinking that the road was pretty busted. Little did we know that this Rough Road sign on day 1 would be the prelude to our entire roads experience during our almost 2 week stay in South Carolina. Note: Every road in South Carolina that we drove on needed one of those signs. It really makes you appreciate the roads in your home state. Even when they are under construction all the time.
All in all, we enjoyed this area and were happy to discover the highlights and live with the lowlights.