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December 15th, 2009:

Shrimp and Grits

A walking tour of Charleston, South Carolina, provided insight we would not have experienced had we been in a car. Sometimes, “hoofing it” has great dividends. We saw lovely private gardens with fountains and lush landscape. A lot of the homes have “piazzas“, usually on two floors. Gary and I always called them “balconies”, but when we toured the Aiken-Rhett House today, the docent called them “piazzas”. I looked the word up in the dictionary and it read, ”a large porch on a house; veranda”, chiefly New England and Inland South. See the picture in the Photo Gallery of the Aiken-Rhett House, and you will see it’s stunning piazzas. This house was larger than the historic home we toured yesterday. The exterior was gorgeous; however, the interior has not been refurbished; nor are there any intentions to restore the inside. It is to be “maintained”.
Rida Scott, a friend from Indy, has visited Charleston and she suggested we try a local dish of shrimp and grits. I’ve never been fond of grits, but she said it was really good, so we found a restaurant who served it and we ordered it. It is fabulous. The Charleston Crab House on S. Market Street makes their grits with heavy whipping cream and there is shrimp, sausage, mushrooms, scallions and brown gravy in their recipe. We definitely would order this entrée again.


Shrimp & Grits at the Charleston Crab House on S. Market St.

Shrimp & Grits at the Charleston Crab House on S. Market St.

Something else we ate today that we’d never tasted before was Kobe beef burgers. Kobe beef is raised in Japan and it has an extraordinary flavor. If you ever have the opportunity to eat Kobe beef, we think you would be pleased.

The museum we went to today is The Old Exchange and Dungeon. A lot of Charleston history is displayed in this museum. The brickwork of the dungeon was beautiful, with cascading arches throughout. A lot of pirates were held in the dungeons, and eventually hung on a point of land where other pirates could view the bodies hanging from the gallows, thereby keeping other pirates at bay and ending the piracy in Charles Town. Blackbeard was not one of them hung on the gallows, but he terrorized Charles Town (as it was called in those days.) Blackbeard was killed in North Carolina and beheaded. It’s reported after he was beheaded, his body swam around the ship three times before it sank.

The Grand Hall on the upper floor of The Old Exchange was exquisite. President George Washington visited Charles Town in 1791 and was entertained in this grand hall. He also went to the St. Michael’s Church and history states he “sat in pew #43”. You know you’re an important person when history states what church pew you sat on.

Tomorrow we are leaving this great area of our nation and heading further south. We’ve enjoyed Charleston so much, we want to spend more time here when we make the trip north.