Around and About Georgetown
08 June 2008 | Georgetown SC
Beth - 31 C, 90%Humidity
We had a sweltering hot and very interesting weekend in Georgetown, South Carolina.
Sue and Terry arrived late morning, and after a short visit out to Madcap, we trooped off to town. First stop was the Goat Island Grill where we all lunched on crunchy salads and swilled down glass after glass of iced tea. Next stop: the Rice Museum, part of which is housed in the former Kaminski Hardware Store. We hadn't seen it when we were here last fall and it was worth a stop. I learned that the land was all cleared and leveled in order to make it suitable for rice growing. Somehow, I had thought it was already in that state and that's why rice was selected as a crop. Not so. Cypress trees were felled, stumps removed, irrigation ditches dug, and the rice planted, tended and harvested - all by slaves. In the heyday of plantation days here, 90% of the population were slaves! One display board gave a first person description of daily life of a young slave boy - detailing all the jobs he and his family did, and, beside it, an account of the daily life of the gentleman/owner. The contrast was marked.
We viewed the remains of a ship, thought to be from the late 1700's - a low, open cargo ship that would have sailed up and down the rivers, collecting and delivering cargo from one town to another. It was loaded with bricks and a couple of millstones when it was found, and some of those bricks are on display as well.
Also in this museum is an exhibit about "Miss Ruby" - a teacher for over 50 years. She must have been quite a woman, and her views on discipline and values were interesting to listen to. She was a lot tougher that we were.
Despite the heat and humidity, we strolled along some of the streets and stopped by the Kaminski House to spend a fine half hour in the shade as we listened to a steel drum band made up of a group of 8-10 year olds from a nearby school. They could really play, and we enjoyed selections made popular by Harry Belefonte, Bob Marley and Bobby McFerrin. It's the first school based steel drum band I've heard of.
After a stop at Independent Seafoods where we picked up some nice fat local shrimp and a couple of triggerfish fillets, we headed off to do a little grocery shopping. We managed to fill Terry and Sue's trunk with "essentials" and then transported ourselves and all our purchases out to the boat for the evening.
We introduced them to "Dark'n Stormies" - that Goslings rum, ginger beer and lime drink, and then spent the next few hours enjoying a cooperative dinner. Jim grilled the triggerfish, Sue and Terry boiled up the shrimp and I made Bahamian Peas'n Rice and steamed some fresh green beans. We took turns in the galley, seeing as it holds one cook and about half a helper at a time. Because it was so hot - over 30 C - we were all glad to move out to the cockpit whenever our turns in the galley were finished. A nice white wine, accompanied the meal and we followed it with a Canadian treat - Ice wine.
They stayed on board and we all sweated and melted in our various berths, fortunately enjoying a bit of a cooling down over night. Sunday morning, fortified with coffee and fruit, we piled into their car once more and drove out to Brookgreen Gardens. We knew nothing about it at all although I looked it up in the cruising guides afterward and it sits about Mile 387.5 on the ICW. This was the highlight of the weekend.
Originally a rice plantation, it is now home to the Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington Sculpture Garden, as well as other sculpture collections, many walking trails, a little Low Country zoo and a cypress aviary. We loved every minute of the time we spent here. A wonderful tour guide, Alice, took us on an hour-long walk through several of the gardens, where we gazed at gorgeous statuary and colorful flowers. She knew both her botany and her history. The sculptures were gorgeous, fountains and pools set them off perfectly, and the garden walls had bits of poetry inscribed on them. It was a place we could have spent a whole day. We ate a fine lunch at the restaurant on site (big beautiful salads, chicken or tuna stuffed croissants, shrimp and grits) and then spent the afternoon wandering through the aviary and zoo.
This zoo housed birds and animals that, due to injuries or other histories, would be unable to survive in the wild. We were able to get up close and personal with a couple of bald eagles. The female is about 30 years old and suffered a wing injury about 15 years ago. Because of that, she could no longer fly and hunt so was brought here where she appeared to be flourishing.
A prehistoric looking alligator moved lazily through the swamp, and in the aviary, a blue heron did what I swear was a Michael Jackson Moon Walk. We found a night heron there too - the first I've ever been able to see.
We bade farewell to Sue and Terry back at the dinghy dock, and as they headed off on their 3 hour drive home, we settled into some planning for the next few days, ate leftovers for dinner and stretched out on our still hot berths for some sleep.