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America’s Only Tea Plantation

When we started this trip, our agenda was to have no agenda. It’s a good thing we set that precedent. We planned on leaving the Rockville Marina on Madmalaw Island today, but we woke up to rain and it has poured all day. So, we decided to stay here another night and go see the tea plantation today. We put on our rain gear, including jackets, bib pants and rubber boots; and, looking like the “old salts” that we are, we borrowed the marina’s pick-up truck and went to the tea plantation. The Charleston Tea Plantation is the only tea plantation in America. The original tea plants came from China about 100 years ago. They have survived throughout the years and make the plantation what it is today. We got to go into the factory where the tea is withered, dried , and sifted. The amount of time spent oxidizing, is what determines if the end result of the process makes black, green or oolong (served in oriental restaurants) tea.

After purchasing tea in the gift shop, we sat on the plantation’s veranda in rocking chairs and watched the rain fall through the Spanish moss laced trees that stood between the veranda and the acres and acres of tea bushes (that look like rows of nicely trimmed boxwood). Yeah, it was as “cool” as it sounds. Aren’t we lucky the motor broke down?

Upon leaving the tea plantation we tried to find a fresh seafood market at the edge of the island. The lady in the gift shop told us about it and gave us directions to get there. The directions said to go until the pavement turned to a gravel road and keep on going. We did so, only to end up in mud puddles that nearly came to the floor boards of the truck. Like I said, it’s rained here all day, and we didn’t think about what that would do to a non-paved road. (We don’t have any of those in Indianapolis.) When the land got high enough to get out of the mud puddles, we aborted the mission and turned around. As we turned around we noticed someone else was driving toward us, only they didn’t use the “road”, they were driving up on the higher ground near the road. “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”. So we took the same higher ground weaving in and out of trees and making it back to the main road.

We got back to the marina and the gates were locked, locking us out. Since it rained all day, the marina closed early. We ended up backing the pickup truck to the six foot tall gate, getting in the bed of the truck and climbing over the fence. Gary did it with ease. Me, not so graceful, but I managed it. After we got to the other side, we looked at where we left the truck, in the middle of the gate, and decided it should be more to the side, so the workers can get by it when they come to work. So…Gary climbed back over the gate, moved the truck to the side and climbed back over the gate for the third time. All with great ease and agility that 99.9 percent of the 70 year old population could not display. (He’s amazing.)

Well, that’s our adventure for today. Wish you were here to experience it with us….

One Comment

  1. Al Albrecht says:

    Love to follow your blogs. Thanks for keeping us informed. Gary sure is a “spry old dude” to be climbing fences at his age. Thanks to the Lord (and Jean) for taking such good care of him. Fair winds and a following sea…(That’s olde tyme sailor talk I am told.)

    Al Albrecht

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