. The Washington one had a funny story about it that Mike told us, which explains the rather big horses' bottom standing behind Washington in the painting. We also visited a very imposing church, St Michaels, the oldest church in Charleston. It dates back to the 1750's and was a prime target for the British cannons in the Revolutionary war. Amazingly it was never hit. Mike led us past many beautiful old mansions - some of them worth about 7 million dollars and upwards. They had columned porches and huge gardens, most with swimming pools - but you could only see this from peeping through their fences! We ended the tour pretty much where we wanted to visit next - The Old Exchange building www.oldexchange.com on East Bay Street by the Harbour. We found a Subway for lunch, as the other nearby restaurants were on the pricier side. Then we went back to the Old Exchange building, to be greeted by staff dressed in period costume. A reasonable price to go in and quite a few displays too see - just the history of the place was worth it. Upstairs was a ballroom where George Washington had danced in 1791. Kate and Josh Alvrez then danced on the same floor two hundred and sixteen years later. Mind boggling stuff. I just LOVE history and actually being in the places where amazing people and events once took place.
We went downstairs to the Provost dungeon, where we had a nice chat with our tour guide (Colleen from Pittsburgh, PA) about our trip etc
. The she took us through the dungeon/storeroom which still had some of the original seawall from the mid 1600's! The brick wall was all original and done in the architectural Roman 'Groin' style - very cool! They had a couple of Disney-like animatronics figures narrating some of the building's story - I think Kate was a freaked out at first but she warmed up when the parrot started to talk. After we had finished at the museum we stopped at an icecream place called 'Maggie Moos' where we each had some icecream - Kate had chocolate, Josh had this bright blue one called 'Cotton Candy' (and it really did taste like candy floss) Fred had one called Baker's Batter (which tasted like raw cake batter, yum for those who like licking the bowl/spoon when baking) and I had butter pecan with real pecan nuts mixed in - delicious, but pricy! For dinner the kids cooked hot dogs over a pine cone fire - the store didn't sell firewood, but finding & collecting the pine cones was half the fun.
Into Charleston this morning, and what a pretty town it is - at least the Historic area, that we saw. We parked near the historic Market, where they sell expensive arts & crafts. We saw quite a few of the famous Sweetgrass woven baskets (that were originally woven by Gullah woman (woman of African slave descent). Sadly the practise is dying out, as the young woman are not interested in learning this time consuming art. We arrived for our tour with the Original Charleston Tour on time, with only a tourist map & memory to guide us! The tour started off from Washington Square with our local guide Mike, he was born and raised in Charleston, and yet he was very easy to understand (unlike some of the other guides we heard while walking around!). We won the competition of our group of about 10 to find out who had come the longest distance...we beat two ladies from Seattle! We went inside the City Hall building, which was lovely; polished wood everywhere, chandeliers and portraits of presidents and famous people like Andrew Jackson & George Washington