Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Monday, August 7, 2017

Beaufort (BEW-Fort), SC Not To Be Confused With Beaufort (BOH-Fort), NC

Day one of our Charleston, South Carolina trip (July 6-14, 2017) had us on the road heading north around 3 p.m. We had a late start because we had to help the county's historical center with a summer program for school kids. But when we finished with that we officially started our trip.

We stopped by Spud's apartment for a short visit (about an hour) and chatted with Spud and his girlfriend. We also dropped of some furniture that Spud wanted from home. Too bad we could not have stayed longer but we had to get to our hotel in Kingsland, Georgia.

We woke early the next morning and headed north again, as we had to make it to Beaufort, South Carolina in time to join the walking tour we signed up for earlier.

When we arrived in Beaufort we found the place we were to meet our tour guide. We waited under a shady tree for our guide to arrive. We did not have to wait long and as it turned out we were going to have a private tour. A woman was supposed to join us but she never showed up.

Our guide was a named Victoria. She was a college girl (we were expecting an old man because of the website). She was happy to have us along and was pleased that we could keep up with her (guess she is used to old farts who cannot keep up the pace during the two-hour tour).

Before the walking part of the tour began, Victoria gave us a brief history of Beaufort, South Carolina. It was chartered in 1711. It is the second-oldest city in South Carolina, second to Charleston. It is noted for its scenic location, maintaining its historic character by the preservation of its antebellum buildings and the military installations nearby.

Beaufort's scenic location was the backdrop for several movies such as: The Big Chill, The Prince of Tides, The Great Santini, Forrest Gump, Something to Talk About and G.I. Jane. The bridge in Beaufort was used in Forrest Gump and was supposed to be a bridge that goes over the Mississippi River.

Could this be Forrest Gump's shrimp boat?

There are still many antebellum buildings in Beaufort. Our guide told us the reason for this is something called the "Great Skedaddle".

On November 7, 1861, the Union Army occupied Beaufort. Two days prior, the wealthy citizens were in church and learned of the large Yankee fleet that was off Point Royal Sound and a mere 10 miles away. It was time to pack up and leave. They left in such a hurry that dinner plates, full of food were still on the tables. They packed whatever valuables they, jewelry, the family Bible...but they did not take their slaves (8-10 thousand were left behind). The Yankees did find one white man in Beaufort but he was dead drunk.

The Union Army used the antebellum houses in Beaufort as offices, quarters and hospitals.

This house belonged to Robert Barnwell Rhett. He is called the "Father of Secession". He held secessionist meetings in this house roughly a dozen years prior to South Carolina's secession.

Here are a few pictures of some of the other antebellum houses in Beaufort.

The house below is called the John Mark Verdier House (1804).  Verdier was a wealthy indigo and sea island cotton planter. On March 18, 1825, The Marquis de Lafayette was welcomed to Beaufort with a 13-gun salute and spoke to the star-struck crowd while standing on this house's upper balcony.

Image from the Internet

Lafayette toured the United States from July 1824 to September 1825. Everywhere he went he was welcomed like a rock star. Lafayette would next travel to Savannah, Georgia and speak from this balcony that was across from the house The Colonel and I stayed in while we visited Savannah in 2011.

While on our walking tour, we saw the grave, statue and house of Robert Smalls.

House of Robert Smalls

Robert Smalls was born in Beaufort as a slave of Henry McKee in 1839. He worked a many jobs but one job would allow him to escape slavery. Robert was a boat pilot and as a result he was very knowledgeable about Charleston Harbor. He was one of the crew of slaves on the Confederate's gunboat called the CSS Planter. 

At 3 a.m. on May 13, 1862, Robert and seven other slave crew members were left on the Planter as the white soldiers went ashore for the night as was the custom. Now was the time to execute their long-planned escape to the Union Blockade ships.

23-year-old Robert put on Captain Relay's uniform and a straw hat that was similar to the Captain's. He picked up his family and the families of the other crew members. He then guided the boat past the five Confederate forts without incident, as he gave the correct signals at all of the checkpoints. He had been studying Captain Relay and imitated his actions. Robert sailed past Fort Sumter and surrendered the boat to the surprised Union soldiers.

Image from the Internet

He and the other crew members were awarded prize money in the amount of $1,500 (equivalent to over $35,000 today).

Once free, Robert Smalls served with the Union Army and Navy. His actions helped President Lincoln to accept African-American soldiers into the Union Army. After the Civil War, Robert purchased his former master's house when it was sold for taxes by the Union. Legend has it that his former master's widow, Jane Bond McKee was wandering the streets and not lucid. She came back to what she thought was still her home and Robert Smalls took her in and allowed her to move into her former room and live in the house until her death.

Robert Smalls hired a teacher for himself and learned to read and write in nine months. With his new skills he later became a business man, a Republican, a State Representative, a State Senator, and a U.S. Representative. WOW! Robert Smalls died in 1915

The museum I volunteer for featured the story of Robert Smalls during our exhibit on Black Espionage during the Civil War. I was intrigued by his story and to see his grave and the house he lived in was stirring.

"My race needs no special defense for the past history of them in this country proves them to be the equal of any people anywhere all they need is an equal chance in the battle of life."

-Robert Smalls' statement to the South Carolina legislature, 1895

Our tour guide showed us a few more interesting stops along our tour's route.

An intricate and whimsical gate...

The hanging tree...

And a building with a small section of  exposed Colonial Tabby (a type of concrete made by burning oyster shells to create lime, then mixing it with water, sand, ash and broken oyster shells). No, I did not touch it...

All that walking made us hungry, so we parted ways with Victoria and had lunch at Hemingway's. I had the best Muffuletta sandwich ever there. We asked why the restaurant was called Hemingway's, knowing that said writer had never visited Beaufort and the waitress said the owner thinks that if he had visited this restaurant would be the kind of place he would frequent. The Colonel and I agreed. Hemingway's was a small, dark, basement restaurant with a small bar.

It was time to leave Beaufort behind us and make our way to Charleston. As soon as we got on the open road a terrible thunderstorm hit and stayed with us for the entire 1 1/2 hours it took to get to Charleston.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Monday, July 17, 2017

Pâté of the South: Pimento Cheese

The Colonel and I have just returned from a vacation to Charleston, South Carolina. I will tell you about it in upcoming posts once I go through my over 1,600 photos and get my thoughts together.

Remember this?

When I was a child I could not abide the stuff. I thought it tasted terrible. I remember my mother (and grandmother) having it in the house. There always seemed to be a jar of it in the refrigerator. In my estimation, the only redeeming quality it had was the jar it came in. My mother would keep and use the jars as juice glasses. The jar was the perfect size for that (and it was a bit stylish with its diamond-like pattern in the glass...see base of jar above).

So, when The Colonel and I were in Charleston, one of the places we stayed had cheese and wine each afternoon in its courtyard. There would be red and white wines available, a handful of different cheeses, crackers, olives, lemonade, ice cold water and chocolate chip cookies.

One of the cheeses was homemade pimento cheese. I was a bit wary about trying it when I learned it was pimento cheese. It looked delicious as it was nestled in a chilled glass bowl. What the heck...when in the South do as Southerns do. I took a small sampling of the pimento cheese and spread it over a fancy cracker. To say a shaft of Heavenly light shone down upon me once I tasted the cheese would be a slight exaggeration...Now this was what pimento cheese was supposed to taste like!  

Charleston is a great place to enjoy delicious foods. The Colonel and I ate lunch one day at Hominy Grill. I had the Shrimp and Grits and The Colonel had the Fried Green Tomato BLT. The Colonel bought the restaurant's cookbook (signed by the chef).

Inside the cookbook is a recipe for Pimento Cheese. The Colonel and I made some today to take to a meeting we have this week.

The recipe calls for grated cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese, jarred pimentos, mayonnaise, bourbon, ancho chili powder, cumin and black pepper.

The Colonel rinsed the pimento pepper and readied it for dicing.

As he was doing that I mixed together the mayonnaise, bourbon and spices.

Now for the diced pimento.

Time to add in the cheeses. First the Parmesan then the cheddar.

I stirred and stirred until everything was thoroughly combined.

Now for the taste test...crackers please...

Delicious! Only one thing wrong with this pimento new juice glasses.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Butterflies Flutter By

During our recent trip to Key West to inter and spread the ashes of my Darling-Sister-In-Law (June 1- June 7), The Colonel, Yam, Spud and I visited The Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory

I would highly recommend a visit there if you ever find yourself in Key West. When you enter the establishment you are immediately in a large room that houses the gift shop. To your left you will find an employee at a counter. Once you purchase your ticket, they will stamp your hand (which allows you to enter the butterfly room as often as you want that day. We went through twice) and point you to the double doors that will lead you to a room that has butterfly and moth displays and information. When you have learned all you wished about butterflies and moths there is another set of double doors for you to enter.

This second set of doors takes you into a small antechamber with another set of double doors opposite those you just came through. Before you open the second set of doors, make sure the ones behind you are closed (there is a sign that will remind you of this). Now you can open the second set of doors, but as you do, make sure you watch that no butterfly or moth enters the antechamber that you are exiting. 

You will find yourself in a beautiful, jungle-like room that is filled with butterflies, moths, birds (I saw one turtle) and it is all within a climate-controlled, glass-enclosed habitat.

I was snapping away like "Rain Man". Here are a few of my photographs. We liked watching the butterflies eat the fruit.