The South Rises

Trip Start Feb 12, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , South Carolina
Monday, February 16, 2009

From the moment you step foot into Charleston, the history of this incredible city engulfs you.  Billie and I stood at the Fort Sumpter National Monument looking out over that tiny island where the first shots of the American Civil War were fired.  We explored the historic downtown district walking amongst 250-300 year old homes, businesses and churches.  We visited the Charleston Tea Plantation, which is America's only tea garden, and learned all about growing and processing tea leaves into a marketable product.  We also enjoyed a quick side trip from the tea plantation to Angel Oak - which is a 1400 year old tree.  Very cool indeed.   

My favorite event was visiting Boone Hall Plantation, which is one of America's oldest working plantations.  It encompassed more than 1,000 acres of land at its height, but currently covers an area of about 730 acres.  (Which is still A LOT of land!)  Brick yards and cotton were the major sources of income while slavery was still legal and it took more than 200 slaves to keep the plantation productive.  In the early 20th century, brickyards and cotton took the backseat to pecans.  Boone Hall had over 20,000 pecan trees!!  Some fun trivia - at that point in time, if you ate a pecan anywhere in the world, there was a 90% chance that it originated from Boone Hall.  But then a hurricane came along and swept up all but a couple hundred trees, so now Boone Hall is mostly a fruit and veggie farm.  They grow strawberries, blueberries, pumpkins, grapes (for wine) and other such yummy produce.  :-)  It's most famous for its canopied entrance - the Avenue of Oaks - which consists of several 250+ year old oak trees covered with Spanish moss.  Another fun fact is that many TV shows and movies have been filmed there including North and South and The Notebook.   
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