Monday, November 30, 2015

Yankees Go South

I feel like we've spent the last week traveling back in time.  Charleston and Savannah couldn't possibly be any more different from New York City.  We visited many Civil War sites, toured a dozen historic homes, explored plantations.  We took walking tours, audio tours, horse-drawn carriage tours, and even a ghost tour in the back of a hearse.  We had pool time, beach time, city time, and hiked though two nature preserves.  We walked through at least three cemeteries, climbed to the top of a lighthouse, were led though a dungeon, somberly toured an old slave mart, and averaged about seven miles walking each day.  No one's ever accused us of being lazy.

Ready for travel

First we spent three days exploring Charleston, a city that's a mix of old and new.  There are many historical sites and homes there but just as many Banana Republics and trendy new restaurants.  The highlight was probably a tour out to Fort Sumter, where the Civil War began.

Emanual AME Church where the shooting occurred this year.

Holden adding his name to the Declaration of Independence

Fort Sumter

Drayton Hall

Old Slave Mart Museum

Journal writing

I was surprised to learn that much of the South Carolina and Georgia coastlines are made up of beautiful, tropical islands.  There is a rich African-American history there as many of the slaves, once freed after the Civil War, settled there.

After three nights in Charleston we traveled south to Beaufort for a night.  It's a small town halfway between Savannah and Charleston, filled with history and gorgeous old mansions.  We stayed in an amazing B&B right on the beach.

And then we drove down the coast, stopping again at the beach, to Savannah.  Savannah felt like a step back in time.  The local preservation society has been very active in saving and restoring old homes and buildings.  The city centers around 22 town squares (we hit all of them), many with park benches, a fountain or statue, and all dripping with Spanish moss.

Ella took the lead as our tour guide for an entire day.

Ghost tour

Ella was mesmerized by this diptych and sat there for quite a while taking it in.

Telfair Art Museum

Bonaventure Cemetary

We had a delicious Thanksgiving dinner in the Olde Pink House, another 18th century mansion, which was beautiful.  Savannah was our first home exchange as well.  We signed up online a few months ago on a home exchange website where people can swap homes while traveling and save money.  We stayed in Laura and Michael's HUGE condo right in the middle of the historic district while they were away celebrating Thanksgiving in Texas.  They will stay in our place in New York over New Years Eve while we're away.  It worked out perfectly and we were much more comfortable than we would have been in a hotel and saved hundreds of dollars.

Holden HATED the sweater I made him wear.

It was such an educational trip for all of us.  I'd say that between all of the books the kids read leading up to the trip, the classes they've taken at the New York Historical Society on slavery and the Civil War, and the sites we visited and tours we took, the kids are now experts on 18th and 19th century America.  I know I certainly learned more than I ever cared to know about the Civil War.

After we got home and spent all of Sunday doing load after load of laundry and catching up on homework, we decided we all needed to get out for some fresh air.  A walk through Central Park brought us right to a Revolutionary War cannon that had been found right over in the East River just a couple years ago, still filled with gun powder!  We can't escape the historical landmarks and artifacts.

I hope you people all had wonderful Thanksgivings and were surrounded by family and friends.

1 comment:

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