Moss And Mosquitoes
When looking at a map of South Carolina and noting its size in relation to its surrounding states, North Carolina and Georgia, it doesn’t seem that it would be only half the size of Georgia and in fact much smaller than North Carolina. When estimating our time in each state before departing on this adventure, we thought a month in all of these states in the south would have been appropriate time. We spent a month in Florida, slightly less than a month in Alabama, around a month in Tennessee, a bit shy of a month in Georgia, but only two weeks in South Carolina.
One immediate relief upon entering the state were the gas prices. The prices have seemed to drop in each state, but we spent less than $3.00/gallon many times in South Carolina. This is a great improvement than the normal price in Florida when we began, nearing $4.00/gallon. One not so great introduction to the state were the explosive population of mosquitoes, particularly on the coast.
Cruising up the coast was quite an experience. Starting down in Hilton Head and working our way north through Beaufort, Edisto, and eventually into Charleston opened my eyes to the vast history of the South Carolina coast. I knew that shoreline has been settled upon for a long time, but it was refreshing and wholesome to see buildings, plantations, and trees well over two hundred years old, perhaps closer to three-hundred years old. My jaw still drops when thinking about standing in the Avenue of Oaks in the Boone Hall Plantation, with the spanish moss slowly dancing overhead, and remembering that those trees were planted 1743. Often, I wish that I had the superpower to open my eyes and see my current surroundings in the past. Say, stand on the Avenue of Oaks in 1750 when the trees are very small, or stand in the middle of Charleston before its fall during the Revolutionary War. I was constantly intrigued by the history of the South Carolina coastline. I am happy knowing the southern part of the coastline has many towns and communities still practicing many traditions, be it cooking, living, or working, that were present many decades, perhaps centuries ago.
Sadly, just slightly north, in areas like Myrtle Beach, present day society has cluttered the coast with more nonsense than any of us care to keep up with. I found it interesting that such different cultures could be so close to one another.
As we traversed our way inland, the population began to dwindle and the landscape opened into broad fields of corn, other sorts of vegetables, occasionally tobacco, and as we approached the northern bit of the state, peaches. We were generously spoiled by a few sources that made our South Carolina lodging situation much more appealing and more awesome than our normal hotel rooms. Carolyn’s friends, the Stewarts, near Columbia, our friend Rachel’s parents in Greenville, and my aunt Dixie in Fort Mill all helped so much and also, it was nice to hear folks speak proudly of where they live and get an insider’s feel to the location.
All in all, the state of South Carolina has been a financial relief, and a state to turn on the cruise and absorb. I fear that when folks think of the state, the very interesting parts such as the dense history and beautiful areas like the southern coastline may be in the shadows of Myrtle Beach or the hype of college sports. Be those bits of the culture important in establishing South Carolina as its own state, I think it’d be great if we all were equally as interested in the rich culture and history of a state that was extremely important and pivotal in shaping the southeast over two hundred years ago. I think, perhaps, when this adventure comes to an end, I’d might like to learn more about the area and visit again with a much deeper knowledge and appreciation. I think it’d be quite fascinating to walk the streets of Charleston or the plantation fields with a broader perspective.