June 16th: Heading to Charleston, SC! Before leaving Asheville, we enjoyed a hearty breakfast at Hot Shot Cafe, a local favorite. The drive to Charleston only took 4 hours and immediately, we knew we were going to like this city. We were able to catch the last 30 minutes of the weekly Charleston Farmers Market at Marion Square. Strolling down King Street, Charleston's famous road lined with high-end boutiques stores and eateries, we enjoyed perusing, window shopping, and tasting the free samples of Italian ice. We stayed at the Andrew Pinckney Inn, an elegant yet casual inn with West Indies decor, right in the historic district of the city.Waterfront Park where there were children were running through the fountains and a pier overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
June 17th: We started the day off bright and early, catching a 9:30 a.m. ferry to Ft. Sumter, the place the Civil War began on April 12, 1861. We saw original cannons and the 32 star American flag that the Union army raised upon landing at the island. The flag was only to be taken down by the Confederate Army once the war started. However, the Union finally won it back, and we learned that instead of choosing to attend a special victory ceremony at Ft. Sumter on Good Friday, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln decided to go to the Ford Theatre where he was assassinated. Middleton Place, a plantation dating back to 1741. It was a sobering reminder of a painful part of U.S. history, of slavery. You could also understand that after over a hundred years of building an economy on slave labor, why the South deemed it detrimental to the economy if slavery was abolished: everything about the plantation and its self sufficiency was dependent upon the slaves. The plantation had stable yards that had rooms for a weaver, cooper, blacksmith, carpenter and potter. Rice fields and ponds were all along the back of the property, along with a huge garden. This garden had the largest oak tree, now a Constitution tree.
Arthur Middleton, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, is buried on the property. We had a lovely dinner at Hank's, voted the best seafood restaurant in Charleston for the last several years. I had the curried shrimp and asked for the recipe, as well as for the recipe for the peanut butter pie with chocolate gnache and the bourbon pecan pie. I'm still hopefully awaiting a reply from the chef!