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Day 9
Monday, April 18
                     Sea Islands                      

Daffodils at Biltmore Hooray, I was able to find a Canon A95 in Charleston so I am back in the picture business. These daffodils were the last picture taken with the defunct Nikon -- they were at the gates of the Biltmore House.

Carriage tour Beautiful old house This morning in Charleston I took a horsedrawn carriage tour of the town -- a great way to see the houses when one's feet and knees are not up to the job, since the horses walk along slowly enough that one can take a good long look and take pictures. Of course since I did not have the new camera yet, I had to take movies instead -- these are stills from the videotape.

Along with the usual senseless banter, the driver also passed on a wealth of information about Charleston's past. It's quite a place and now that I have had a nibble on this smorgasbord of a road trip, I would like to come back for a longer time and get a whole meal of Charleston.

Check out the beautiful iron gate. The householders usually incorporated a design element in the gate that reflected their identity -- kind of like a coat of arms might do. Beautiful old house

Plantation drive After acquiring the new camera, I headed up the river road to look at the old plantations that were the source of Charleston's wealth. I didn't get much of a look because it was already afternoon and I had the Sea Islands ahead of me, but here's what I saw. Plantation house

Halloween tree
I would not want to walk under this tree on Halloween night

Dogwoods The woods near Charleston are dense and almost jungly and I can't say I favor them. I did see dogwood again and grabbed a shot -- but dogwood is so hard to capture in a tiny photograph.

I had hoped that I would be in the South while the azaleas were in bloom. I was very disappointed to find that in the Blue Ridge neighborhood, the azaleas and rhododendrons don't bloom until May. Once down in the Low Country however Spring is much further advanced -- temps are at least 10 degrees higher -- and am I ever seeing azaleas! Not the little 2-foot puffs that we have in our gardens in California, but huge monster azaleas, some as much as 8 feet wide and 6 feet high, all a solid mass of color. Azaleas are everywhere and obviously need not the least pampering to thrive. Azaleas

more azaleas And, wisteria has gone feral in the woods in South Carolina and is also in bloom now. Lavender wisteria tangled up with Spanish moss -- what a sight. Wow.

Road to Edisto Island After the River Road, I headed for Edisto Island. That has a lot of salty charm -- it's less jungly also than the mainland and more to my liking.

the Atlantic I had my lunch on the beach today, enjoying the cool salt breeze and the smoosh of the waves.

An inlet between Edisto Island

A couple of thoughts about my experiences with the B&B's in Asheville and Charleston. Not only was it an incredible treat to live overnight as if one were a guest in a wealthy home of a bygone era, but the sociability amongst guests and hostess is pleasant when one is travelling solo. I have a strong streak of the hermit in my nature and I am usually quite content with my own company, but after so many days of solitude I find I enjoy chatting with the other guests over the excellent breakfasts. In the evening, when I typically do not feel social, I just smile and say hello and go shut myself in my room. With my travelogue to do, and computer games to play, and my book to read, and a DVD to watch, evenings are best by oneself. How wonderful it is travelling with a computer! Even the episode of the broken camera -- without a computer, how could I have instantly researched cameras, made my choice, and located stores that sell that camera? We may suffer terrorists and congestion in this modern world, but we have portable computers and the Web everywhere (provided one has a GSM cell phone of course.) :-)

The other island I wanted to see was Hilton Head. near Hilton Head That was a disappointment. Imagine Beverly Hills on an island, and you have Hilton Head. Local charm has it none. The vistas across the waterly inlets are very beautiful, though. near Hilton Head near Hilton Head

I'm staying in Savannah in the old historic district tonight, since that was such a winner in Charleston. Well, Savannah is no Charleston. There are lovely old houses, but they are buried in a dirty old city. My motel is grossly overpriced and only 2-star quality. I can't get out of this town fast enough come morning.