Review Archive/June 2013
Updated May 31, 2013
QCT A Day In Charleston, SC™; Part I
A Memorable Journey!
By Jay Whipple/Trend Magazine Online™
I have been to Charleston, SC, many times in my mind via accounts from guests on our tours @ Queen City Tours and Travel, movies, and various television shows. In real life, I had been there once to attend my family reunion in 1995. I can vividly remember the steamy humidity and historic ambience as I strolled into town early that Friday evening in July. The motel that we stayed was old and quaint and a bit musty from years and years of visitors from probably all over the world. I was paired in a room with my late Uncle Nay who no one else wanted to bunk with because he was very talkative and frugal (cheap). I did not mind the pairing because it gave me a chance to interact with him as an adult. He was quite an interesting guy in that he lived in his own world and did not allow anyone to sway him from what he felt was best for himself as a child of God. We talked about much about nothing that night until he disclosed that he had to arise early the next morning for a mandatory walk because of his heart surgery a few years in the past. Uncle Nay passed away a few years later after refusing to allow his foot to be amputated to save his life. May he rest in peace!
I decided to go at it on my own the next day and explore what Charleston, SC, was all about and to seek out my favorite boiled peanuts that were at the time hard to come by in Charlotte, NC. I remember coming upon this very tall rickety bridge to seemingly nowhere to continue my hunt for boiled peanuts. I had to really psyche myself up to prepare for the crossing which seemed to take forever and a day. I finally made it across, found my boiled peanuts, and made it back safely and excited that I had conquered that beast of a bridge to seemingly nowhere. Fast forward nearly two decades later in 2012 and I find myself heading back to Charleston, SC, during our A Day In Charleston, SC, trip in June. I could not help but to reflect on that reunion and my late Uncle Nay as we entered the city limits on Interstate 26 South on Saturday the 16th of June. I wondered if that old motel was still in existence and that old bridge that I hesitantly drove over in search of boiled peanuts; one of my favorite snacks. This time I was guided by the latest in navigational technology via my Garmin Nuvi GPS (Global Positioning System), the last time was via a good old fashioned Rand McNally Map that I had used to travel half way across the United States and back. I actually had more luck using the map as the GPS took us the wrong way a few times!
We arrived in Downtown Charleston about 10:30 A.M. that Saturday morning which gave us enough time to stop at the visitor center to browse for souvenirs and other information. The staff was very friendly and helpful as they assisted me with my purchase and questions regarding tourist traffic. They were gearing up for the annual July 4th rush when millions of people flock there for the many historic Independence Day celebrations. We headed out in the direction of our first stop which was the Charleston Harbor Cruise located not too far away from the visitor center and the Charleston Aquarium. Parking was a breeze and more importantly free. I found a spot just a few steps away from the ticket entrance which was starting to fill up with guests/passengers. I purchased our tickets online in advance but was quite disappointed that we had to wait in line with those that were there on a walk-up basis.
Once that little ordeal was taken care of, we anxiously headed toward the Harbor Cruise Ship which looked exactly like the promotional picture which was quite impressive in this day and age of bait and switch. I did not disclose this to our guest but my times on the water can be counted on one hand to include the ship at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, and a party ship in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. I am really not a water kind of guy as I prefer to have my feet on solid ground at all times. Our purview was great in that we could clearly see the new multi-million-dollar bridge over Highway 17 to the northeast. It was quite impressive! We had a full house and people just started showing up from seemingly everywhere coupled with those that had already boarded the ship.
Our captain was named Craig and was very friendly with a good sense of humor. We set sail about 11:40 A.M. EST just 10 minutes past the advertised departure time of 11:30 A.M. We had a choice of enjoying the sites inside with AC or on the upper deck in plain air. I chose the plain air to take in the entire ambience of the harbor breezes. There were restrooms and a snack bar conveniently located on the upper deck of the boat. Just after departure the captain announced the sightings of Bottle-Nose Dolphins off the bow (front) of the ship. That blew my mind as I was completely unaware that those mammals existed this far up the east coast and Atlantic Ocean. I was like a kid in a candy store while jockeying for position to see those fascinating animals especially since they are the mascot of my favorite pro team the Miami Dolphins. I watched in fascination as those beautiful and intelligent beasts moved from side to side taking advantage of the stream created by the ship. Wow!
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