Quick Trip around Jasper and Beaufort Counties

As quickly as spring burst upon the scene a week ago, so we watch it fade again. A few days ago, my calendar was clear for the afternoon, so I decided to take one more foray into the country for the season until next time. A friend and I drove from Charleston to visit the Cypress Wetlands in Port Royal, but were unimpressed. We were looking for spring landscapes and although there were many birds and alligators to admire, it was otherwise ho-hum. With a little help from Google, we found the Old House Plantation near Ridgeland (also known as the Daniel Heyward Plantation), birthplace and burial site of Thomas Heyward, Jr., one of SC’s four signatories of the Declaration of Independence. Nothing much is left of the original buildings except the family cemetery and surrounding brick wall. The house was destroyed by fire in 1865. The driveway and Avenue of Oaks are really beautiful although the azaleas had peaked already.

After we had wandered around for awhile, we headed for home via Tomotley Plantation and the Old Sheldon Ruins. The Sheldon Ruins have been further “ruined” (at least for photographers) by the addition of an ugly black fence that surrounds the remaining structure. One can understand why however, since some people just can’t seem to resist defacing these historic relics that we should be actively protecting.

Gifts from Charleston

So many people love Charleston for so many reasons. I could try to enumerate, but I would be digressing from the point of this post, which is to announce a new little “crafty” business that a friend and I are busy with. Folks who visit Charleston (and locals) are always looking for gifts that depict the charm of Charleston, whether it’s for friends and family far away, or for someone who has everything they need already and has a birthday looming. These whimsical items are so southern, so charming in their design, so easily light and “packable”, and best of all, so unique. Do you have an attractive bowl cover for the salad you are bringing over to your neighbor’s house for dinner? Do you have an good looking Charleston themed bread sack for that fresh baked loaf that you plan to bring to the family lunch on Sunday? Well Ta Da!!! Problem solved. Here they are.

Winter Evening in Downtown Charleston

Winter can look bleak sometimes. Not much color anywhere. Seems almost as though everything and everyone is resting, waiting for Spring. So it seemed on my walk around the historic downtown residential part of Charleston the other evening. My images definitely needed a little editing help, so I played a bit with software and came up with these whimsical renditions of classic Charleston cameos.

Foggy February in Charleston, SC

We don’t get fog that often down here, so it’s always tempting to re-arrange my schedule to accommodate fog when it happens. This morning I hurriedly threw some equipment in the car and headed out to Wadmalaw Island, where it was still drifting thickly over the marshes and creeks. Here are a couple of the images I took on Bohicket Creek.

Middleton Meander

It was a beautiful day and I didn’t have much that I had to do so I decided to do it at Middleton Place, one of my favorite low country plantation properties. I bought a very expensive lens (Sigma 135mm F1.8) that I was not sure that I wanted to keep. Running out of my return window time, I ran it through its paces in an effort to make a decision. I think I am going to keep it.

Wintery day in Bryson City, NC

We chose this week to spend some time in the Smoky Mountains, and so far we haven’t seen much of the mountains. I chose to explore the “Road to No-Where” (see sign in last image)! In the 30’s and 40’s Swain County gave up the majority of its private land to the US government for the creation of Fontana Lake and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Hundreds of families were forced to leave those small mountain communities. Not only were their homes gone, but also the roads leading to those communities. The US government promised to create a new road. Lakeview Drive was to have stretched 30 miles along the north shore of Fontana Lake, from Bryson City to Fontana; providing access to the old family cemeteries. But Lakeview Drive fell victim to an environmental issue and construction was stopped at the tunnel about six miles into the Park. Swain County citizens gave the unfinished Lakeview Drive its popular, but unofficial name, “The Road to Nowhere”. Here are a couple of photos taken along the way.

Battle of Aiken Reenactment

While cleaning up my hard drives recently, I came across a folder containing photos taken in February of 2016 at Powell Pond Road in Aiken, SC. Quoting from the www.battleofaiken.com website:

Since 1995, thousands of spectators travel to Aiken each year to see hundreds of soldiers, and living historians recreate one of the last Confederate victories of the war: The Battle of Aiken. The event commemorates battles that were typical of the engagements during Sherman’s march through Georgia and the Carolinas. The rare Confederate victory in Aiken saved the town from being burned in 1865.

This annual weekend event has been awarded the SC Parks, Recreation, and Tourism’s Governor’s award for Best South Carolina Event. In addition, The Battle was also awarded the Dr. James Butler National Award for being the nation’s Best Living History Program. In addition, Reenactment Guide selected the Battle of Aiken as one of the top 10 Reenactments in America!”

The next one will be held on February 24th – 26th, 2023

Nights of a Thousand Candles

I have wanted to visit Brookgreen Gardens during the Christmas season to view these lights for many years, and I finally made it last evening. Magical doesn’t even adequately describe the experience. Of course I took my camera, but tripods were not allowed, so it wasn’t possible to use it. Sometimes, you are better off taking in the experience with your senses fully engaged, instead of fussing with the technical aspects of photography, so I switched to my trusty Samsung S10 and documented some of the displays. This event sells out well ahead of time, and by now it is pretty much over. Put it on your holiday list of things to do for 2023!