Christmas (almost) in Savannah – Airstream Rally

My next stop was Savannah.

I had two reasons for my visit.

The first reason was…well, Savannah!

The second reason was an Airstream rally – my FIRST Airstream rally. It was sponsored by Southeastern Camping Unit of WBCCI. It was called “Christmas (almost) in Savannah.

This was kind of a free-form event. Some activities were planned, but we were free to take part or to go our own ways.

We got to know each other over meals. Nice folks and good food!

I got to meet one of my Facebook friends, Kathy, who is also from Buffalo. Us Buffalo gals have got to stick together!

One of the activities we could choose to take part in was the Savannah Slow Ride, which is essentially a bicycle built for twelve. They had two tours going on. The first one was a history tour. That one was sold out, so I had to join the Pub Crawl.

The guide told us when to stop and when to start. Her battle cry was, “Pedal, bitches!”

Our first stop was at the top of a long flight of stairs.

Unfortunately, the first pub was at the bottom of said stairs.

We went down, quaffed a brew and then headed back up.

The next stop was at 17hundred90.

And if you zoom in on the sign, you can see a small problem.

We arrived around 2:00. On to the next pub.

That pub was so crowded and the service was so slow that I decided to check out the comic book store next door. Not being of the nerd persuasion, this was a foray into a new world for me.

En route to the next pub, I ran into Ellen and Will, the Airstreamers I met on the trolley in Charleston! What a small world!

The last stop had the most appropriate restroom sign I’ve ever seen – especially for a party bar.

This was another sign that I thought was a good one for a bar zone.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if people needed a Certificate of Appropriateness?

And with that, our Slow Ride Pub Crawl came to a close. We pedaled back to the garage and I caught ride back with some of the other ‘Streamers. The night before, people had recommended taking an Uber into town from the campground because of the tight parking. I was happy to be able to get a ride back.

But first we strolled about the shopping district.

It was nicely decorated for Christmas.

They had merchandise from all over. India…

Uh, no…China.

These seemed a little more locally sourced.

And they gave out free samples!

Back at the campground, we did some more eating and then played a special Airstream version of Jenga.

The pieces were made of 2 x 4’s and painted silver – Airstream silver.

I tried to pull out a piece myself, but I was intimidated by how heavy they were.

I was afraid it would hurt if the tower fell on me.

The menfolk seemed to take it as a challenge.

Of course, it did eventually fall.

After several days of eating, playing and enjoying each other’s company, it was time to part ways – but first, it was time to pose for the group photo.

In my next post, I’ll share more about the exploration of Savannah I did on my own.






Okay, My Absolutely LAST Post about Charleston

I had one more day in Charleston. I was meeting up with Ginny. We got to know each other through Facebook. I saw her name on a mutual friend’s post, and I asked her if she was in my class. It turns out that her daughter was in my class! So, while we probably did meet back in the ’90s, we got to know each other through Facebook.

I love Facebook!

We met up at the The Charleston Visitor Center. This time I parked in the lot in front of the Center instead of in the parking structure. That was a little easier!

Our first stop was the Charleston Museum, which is one of the oldest museums in the United States. It was founded in 1773 and opened to the public in 1824.

It kind of reminds me of the Cabinets of Curiosities that became popular in Europe during the 17th century.  The items on display in the museum seemed to focus largely on the history of Charleston.

There were pottery fragments. I did rather like this inscription, “With all my love fill up the bowl.”

I found this grave marker to be quite odd. It looks to me like it was a headboard for a bed. I guess it was a common way to mark graves. I wonder if it meant that the person died in bed?

More dishes that George Washington used.

This much-repaired basket caught my eye. There is a certain grace to items that have been well cared for and repaired. According to the label, this was in use before the Civil War.

These fragments of baskets were not as lucky, but they sure are old.

They had a rather sizable collection of slave badges for those who were working away from the plantation or the home.

I was quite fascinated by this toilet chair. It kind of reminds me of something I saw in a tiny camper. They put their toilet in an ottoman.

I have to say that I prefer my flushing toilet.

They kind of had odds and ends. I rather liked the roof tile with the cat paw print in it.

Here’s a brick machine. I kind of thought that the clay was formed in molds by hand, but I guess people are always looking for better ways to do things.

They had a variety of bricks on display.

I thought this printing plate for “Bonnie Blue Flag” was interesting. Really, they kind of had a hodgepodge of things. Of course, I was chatting with Ginny while I was looking at the displays, so maybe it had a stronger through-thread than I detected.

Speaking of random, there was a whale skeleton hanging in the lobby.

This was a forty-foot male Atlantic Right Whale that swam into the Charleston Harbor on January 7, 1880. It was pursued by an “armada” composed of four steam tugs, fifty to sixty rowboats and several other watercraft. It was killed and exhibited in Charleston for several days. Gabriel Manigault, who was the curator of the museum, collected and reassembled the whale’s skeleton and it has been on permanent exhibition ever since.

The whale’s baleen served to strain out the krill it lived on. It was also used to make the stays that were used in whalebone corsets. On the left side of the picture, you see the stays.

The stays were part of an exhibit on fashion. We had been in the museum for quite a while, so we kind of skimmed through. Lunch was beckoning.

These red silk breeches, from about 1750, were thought to have been worn by Charles Pinckney. Yes, the same Charles Pinckney I’ve been writing about in the last few posts. The vibrant red color was most likely achieved with cochineal dye.

They also had a small display about pearl buttons that were made in Muscatine, Iowa around 1915. During the early 20th century, Muscatine was considered the pearl button capital of the world. Interesting.

Our last stop before leaving the museum was the restroom. Even the restroom had a display.

Chamber pots. How appropriate!

Our next stop was lunch. Luckily, my former student, Kira, was able to join us!

Lunch was tasty. In fact, everything I ate in Charleston was delicious!

I had the chicken fried steak – or was that the chicken fried chicken? Whichever it was, it was good!

Thus restored, we had one more stop to make – the Joseph Manigault house, which was built in 1803.

I assume this is the front door. We went around to the back.

I have always been partial to porches.

Gracious touches like these also catch my eye.

We met out guide inside and she showed us the rooms that were restored to their former glory

This is the drawing room. It’s on the second floor to take advantage of the breezes. Also, the mosquitoes were less likely to fly that high.

I like that the windows have a portion on the bottom that opens up to permit people to walk out on the porch.

We were moving pretty quickly though the house, so I didn’t take a photo of every item of interest. I thought that the rice motif on this bedpost was appropriate, as rice was a major source of wealth.

We passed beneath the chandelier and headed out. Ginny and I parted ways. It’s always so good to meet up with friends!

I got back to the campground and got packed up. On my way out, it’s time to hit the trash dumpster and then empty the tanks.

Next stop, Savannah!



A Little More from My Charleston Visit

Well, my time in Charleston is starting to be a very distant memory, but I’ll share a few more things and then move along.

On a dreary day, I set out for Angel Oak.

Angel Oak is a live oak estimated to be over 500 years old. It’s about 70 feet at all and the trunk measures 28 feet in circumference.

The branches extend so far that it produces 17,200 square feet of shade. It’s longest branch is about 190 feet long.

I really wanted to visit Angel Oak because they were having a fund raiser to buy more of the land around the small park and I made a donation in my father’s honor after his passing in 2013.

I wore his hat to the tree.

I was curious about the name, “Angel Oak.” I wondered if there was something supernatural that happened here, or if people thought the branches looked like angel’s wings.

Actually, the oak’s name comes from the estate of Justus and Martha Angel, which is where the tree is located. Local folklore tells stories of the ghosts of former slaves appearing as angels around the tree.

They are very protective of the tree, and there are signs all around telling you what not to do. There was a sign I saw that said that we could gently touch the tree, so I did.

My next stop was downtown Charleston. Time once again to park in the ramp.

Man, as I look forward to one day finishing my “Lower 48” and abandoning the rolling lifestyle, one of the things I look forward to most is driving a smaller vehicle.

BART lives up to its name – BIG ass red truck.

I jumped on the trolley and went down toward the cool part of town. I just decided to wander around and see what I could see. I got off the trolley at Broad Street.

This building caught my eye. There is a plaque on it that says it’s the Confederate Home. According to Wikipedia, it is now a retirement home. It was built in 1800 and started its life as a double tenement, which was built for master builder Gilbert Chalmers.

From 1834 to 1867, it was the Carolina Hotel. In 1867, sisters Amarinthia Snowden and Isabell Snowden establish the Home of the Mothers, Widows and Daughters of Confederate Soldiers, otherwise known as the Confederate Home. The building was damaged by the big 1886 Charleston earthquake and then it was restored with fashionable Victorian details, including a mansard roof and dormers.

I love these houses with the side porches and how they have elaborate doors to the ground floor porches. Or are these called verandahs? I mean, we are down south.

I wandered on and my next stop was St. Michael’s Church. I entered through the graveyard.

I came across Charles Pinckney’s grave. Yes, that Charles Pinckney. He was very prominent.

John Rutledge is also buried here. He lived 1739 – 1800 and was another over-achiever.

First President and First Governor of South Carolina.
Chief Justice of South Carolina
Chief Justice of the United States
A Principal Architect and Signer of the United States Constitution.

Alexis de Tocqueville declared, “There is no mystery about it – the authorship of the Constitution is quite clear – a man named John Rutledge wrote it.”

The altar has a beautiful stained glass window of St. Michael behind it.

I listened in on part of a tour and heard that this ambo is original to the church, which was built between 1751 and 1761. The guide said that the curve of the little roof-like structure helped to project the speaker’s voices.

I looked around a bit and enjoyed the boxed pews that must have belonged to prominent families. I should have thought to ask where visitors would sit.

On the way out, I passed by what I assumed was the baptismal font and into the vestibule.

Do you see that short step up? The guide said that the earthquake in 1886 caused the steeple that is over the vestibule to drop six inches, and it created a step where none had been before.

St Michael’s is located at the intersection of Meeting and Broad Streets. They call this area the Four Corners of Law. St. Michael’s represents ecclesiastic law. The other corners are occupied by Charleston City Hall, The Federal Courthouse and the Country Courthouse.

Actually, the name “Four Corners of Law” was coined in the 1930s by Robert Ripley, of Ripley’s Believe it or Not fame.

When I visited, the streets around the church were lined with various law enforcement vehicles. They were in the middle of two big cases: Michael Slager was on trial for shooting Walter Scott and Dylann Roof was on trial for the Emanuel AME Church murders.

I was quite surprised to see Homeland Security represented among all the other police vehicles. I have to admit, I found the presence of so much law enforcement a bit unsettling.

However, they proved to be pleasant and helpful. I chatted with one of the Homeland Security officers for a few minutes and he reminded me of the trials that were taking place. I have to admit that I never drew the connection between the news that I had heard with the city I was in.

The officer accompanied me into the street to watch for traffic when I took a photo of St. Michael’s steeple. I was told that they painted the steeple black during the Civil War to prevent the enemy from using it as a target. It also had a clock and change ringing bells that date from the colonial era.

This is the country courthouse, where I believe the Dylann Roof trial was taking place.

This plaque was in front of the Federal Courthouse. The case of Briggs v. Elliott was an important trial in striking down segregation in South Carolina, which was mandated by state law.

MANDATED by law. That’s what really blew me away. It wasn’t that the law permitted segregation – segregation was mandated by law.

Article 11, Section 7 of the 1895 Constitution of South Carolina read as follows: “Separate schools shall be provided for children of the white and colored races, and no child of either race shall ever be permitted to attend a school provided for children of the other race.” Section 5377 of the Code of Laws of South Carolina of 1942 read: “It shall be unlawful for pupils of one race to attend the schools provided by boards of trustees for persons of another race.”

Just because something is legal doesn’t make it right. Thanks to the hard work and perseverance of many people, the law was finally changed.

Just across the street, behind the courthouse, was an area set up for the press. The were expecting a decision in the Michael Slager in the next day or so, so they were ready for announcements.

“ON AIR – ONLINE  – ON MOBILE”  On fleek?

I continued along and enjoyed spotting things here and there.

I thought this Charleston “snowman” was a fun touch.

I liked this fan window from the South Carolina Society Hall that was erected in 1804.

I wandered past the Hibernian Hall. The sign said that it was a private club, but the gate was open. I wanted to see what was under the portico.

Hmm…what could that be?

A souvenir from the Old Sod.

I wandered on. I was eager to see the Circular Church.

This particular building dates from 1890 but uses bricks from the earlier structures. A large domed church to replace earlier wooden structures was built in the early 1800s. It was designed by Robert Mills, who also designed the Washington Monument.

This illustration was from a June 1857 Harper’s Magazine.

Unfortunately, the church that Mills designed burned down in a catastrophic fire in 1861 that destroyed much of the city.

By Unknown – Library of Congress, Public Domain,

You can see the circular outline of the church in the ruins.

The turrets and towers kind of make me think of H.H. Richardson’s buildings. He is one of the few architects to have a style named after him; Richardsonian Romanesque. (Once again, thank you Sister Jeanne!)  He was active during the time this church was rebuilt, but the church’s plans were drawn up by Stephenson & Greene of New York City.

It looked like a welcoming place. I wish it had been open to visitors on the day I walked by. 

I liked their attitude, too.

I passed by The Powder Magazine, South Carolina’s oldest public building. It was built around 1713. I stepped inside, but it seemed like they didn’t have much on display that I hadn’t seen before, so I decided to stroll on.

Someone must have had a little coffee break and decided to just leave the cup.

Speaking of things left behind, I saw a little stuffed animal on a window sill.

I found a little lighthouse statue on another windowsill.

One sad place I toured was the Old Slave Mart Museum. This is a fraction of the place where a robust slave market. At one point, as many as 35-40% of slaves entered the United States through Charleston. Not much of the original structure remains, but it still invokes an eerie feeling the shame of that era.

Across the street, though, was a house that cheered me up. I’ll bet you can figure out what it’s named.

Yep, it’s “The Pink House.”

It was built around 1688, and it is FOR SALE! One bedroom, two bathrooms and it’s only about $900,000!

It has been lovingly restored, as attested to by this medallion.

By this time, I was getting tired and felt that I had seen enough sights and I set out to catch the trolley back to the parking structure.

While I was waiting at the stop, I struck up a conversation  with some fellow tourists. It turns out that they were also Airstreamers! Once on the trolley, some women who were on the earlier bus got on and we caught up on how our days went. It’s nice to make new friends!

I got off the bus near Marion Square and decided to have dinner while I waited for the rush hour traffic to clear. I walked over to the Francis Marion Hotel and got a table at the Swamp Fox Restaurant and Bar.

I ordered a platter of southern-style treats. It felt good to rest and nibble on the snacks. When I finished, my meal, I had one more stop to make.

The Emanuel A.M.E. Church.