Road Trip! (Part I)

Every summer, one of the first things that I do when school ends is go on an adventure. For the past six years, it’s meant a cruise with family (either his or mine). And while I love the ocean and the time with family, I was ready for a change of pace, so we packed up the car, grabbed a list of restaurants from the Travel Channel, and headed off on a road trip by ourselves.

First stop: Charleston, South Carolina.

Talk about a beautiful city. It’s exactly my sort of vacation spot: history-rich city to explore, beautiful nature nearby, and delightful local restaurants.

Here’s a glimpse into part I of what we saw and did there.

Since we didn’t arrive in North Charleston (our hotel location) until late afternoon, our first evening in Charleston consisted of dinner at Bessinger’s barbeque.

Bessinger's

Unlike most barbeque places, the sauce is actually mustard-based. My husband said it wasn’t quite as good as our local barbecue place, but it was definitely worth visiting.

If nothing else, it’s worth it for the Golden Onion Rings.

The Golden Onion Ring

This is the Lord of the Onion Rings

Only one or two is in each meal, but it’s more than enough. When a slice of onion is fried into a funnel-cake, “donut” ring, it’s too rich to have more than a couple.

The Roaming Gnome (who follows me on most adventures) and his buddy, the Turret, enjoying a Coke at Bessinger's

The Roaming Gnome (who follows me on most adventures) and his buddy, the Turret, enjoying a Coke at Bessinger’s

The next morning, we woke early for what turned into military history day at Patriot’s Point.

The first order of business was Fort Sumter.

The Civil War has always had a special place in my heart. Perhaps it’s because so many members of my extended family fought and died on battlefields from Bull Run to Fredericksburg, and the photographs of two of them have been heirlooms in the family for years. The complexities of the political and social situations surrounding the war fascinate me, especially since some of those conflicts remain even today.

Fort Sumter was still in use until the World Wars. To defend from naval attacks, this structure was added and two huge guns (which have been removed) were mounted to the top.

Fort Sumter was still in use until the World Wars. To defend from naval attacks, this structure was added and two huge guns (which have been removed) were mounted to the top.

Looking out over the rows of cannons that guard the lower levels of the fort.

Looking out over the rows of cannons that guard the lower levels of the fort.

The group of flags that stand over Fort Sumter today.

The group of flags that stand over Fort Sumter today.

The flag that was there during the first battle of the Civil War. Intriguingly, no one died during the first assault. However, when the Confederates allowed the Union soldiers to honorably lower the flag with a 100 gun salute, one of the cannons misfired, instantly killing the man who had loaded it.

The flag that was there during the first battle of the Civil War. Intriguingly, no one died during that first assault. However, when the Confederates allowed the Federal soldiers to honorably lower the flag with a 100 gun salute, one of the cannons misfired, instantly killing the man who had loaded it.

The Palmetto Guard Flag, belonging to a Charleston militia unit, replaced the US Flag immediately after the surrender of Fort Sumter and was later exchanged for the Confederate flag.

The Palmetto Guard Flag, belonging to a Charleston militia unit, replaced the US Flag immediately after the surrender of Fort Sumter and was later exchanged for the Confederate flag.

Next, we went to what’s known as Patriot’s Point, where the USS Yorktown (an aircraft carrier), the USS Laffey (a battleship), and a submarine (whose name I didn’t catch) are docked and on display.

The front of the Yorktown as seen from the boat that goes out to Fort Sumter.

The front of the Yorktown as seen from the boat that goes out to Fort Sumter.

Scoreboards for different groups kept count of how many enemy vessels/vehicles were taken down.

Scoreboards for different groups kept count of how many enemy vessels/vehicles were taken down.

And here's the legend, in case you were wondering what each symbol means.

And here’s the legend, in case you were wondering what each symbol means.

I always thought it would be cool to be a pilot (though my height and proneness to motion sickness definitely shot that idea down a long time ago).

I always thought it would be cool to be a pilot (though my height and proneness to motion sickness definitely shot that idea down a long time ago).

The front of the USS Laffey bearing the South Carolina flag.

The front of the USS Laffey bearing the South Carolina flag.

There is so much to see on each of the ships, especially the Yorktown, where you can walk through every major part of the ship. (Just be warned, not all of the parts have great ventilation, especially in the sub, so it can be very hot!)

One of the best parts is the Medal of Honor museum on the Yorktown. If ever you visit, be sure to check it out. It’s well worth the price of admission.

By this point, we were hungry, so we went to Hyman’s Seafood for dinner. It’s a multistory maze of a restaurant spread between two old buildings, and each table has the names of celebrities who’ve shared the same table.

We "sat" with Matthew Brodrick on our day off

We “sat” with Matthew Broderick on our day off

Everything on the menu is great, but here are some musts (from the multiple visits we made there):

The Wadamalaw Delight: fried green tomatoes on cheese grits with Carolina cream sauce

The Wadamalaw Delight: fried green tomatoes on cheese grits with Carolina cream sauce

She-crab Soup: no longer made only from female crabs, this soup still maintains a unique sweet flavor that's absolutely delightful

She-crab Soup: no longer made only from female crabs, this soup still maintains a unique sweet flavor that’s absolutely delightful

Po-Boys are stuffed hoagies filled with some seafood delight. It's great with anything from shrimp to clam strips to Mahi

Po-Boys are stuffed hoagies filled with some seafood delight. It’s great with anything from shrimp to clam strips to Mahi (and the hushpuppies are delicious!)

Fried Flounder, specially scored so that it's easy to enjoy the fish with minimal interference from the bones

Fried Flounder, specially scored so that it’s easy to enjoy the fish with minimal interference from the bones

For next post’s adventure, expect a trip through history in downtown Charleston and a one-of-a-kind plantation!

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