Well this week saw us explore Charleston and Savannah, when I think of these towns’ visions of large plantations with great houses and swamp land with great oak trees covered in Spanish moss (not Spanish and not a moss) come to mind.

There are plantations to visit but they are not the large cotton, sugar, rice or tobacco farms that I envisioned; most have been turned into gardens.  One such plantation was the Magnolia Plantation as it is Winter not everything was in bloom and green, however the grounds were planted in the romantic style which I think means natural. 

As with most gardens they generate money during the Winter months with light shows and this garden was no different with a Chinese Lantern light display which was a little different from the other gardens we visited.

You cannot visit Charleston without visiting the historic downtown area and hopping on a traditional horse & carriage ride, this activity is so popular that the routes which each carriage takes is controlled by the city and is presented to each driver before they head off, so they don’t even know which route they will be taking.  Besides the beautiful houses and historic churches and graveyards one modern aspect of these carriage rides was the horses having to wear a sling under their tails to capture the horse manure, however they cannot stop them from weeing everywhere.  New technology now means that when your horse wees the driver sends a GPS signal and drops a weighted red flag, then a clean-up crew comes along and washes the roadway – amazing!

The South Carolina flag has a picture of a white palmetto tree and crescent moon, the reason for the palmetto tree is that – so the story goes – that the fort was constructed from the palmetto tree trunks and during the American Revolutionary War the cannon balls hit the fort and just bounced off, the soldiers then went and collected the cannon balls and fired them back at the English.

Savanah still holds a special place in my heart and I think the history and the fact that it is the most haunted city in the US adds to it’s magic.  One aspect I like about the town is how it was originally set out in squares, with each square containing a park.  They started to lose the park squares to parking lots until the towns people requested the historical value be maintained, they have been able to recover 22 out of the 24 original parks.  The area surrounding these parks have been marked so that if any new building is requested it has to be built in the original designed houses to keep the authentic feel of the location.

One of the most photographed treelined roads is the entrance to the Wormsloe Historic Site, however the history involving the original owners of this plantation is so different from the other history in this area.  The arrival of Noble Jones to Georgia was an experiment for English subjects who had been “imprisoned for debt” or “the worthy poor”, and were to colonise – sound familiar.

The other aspect of this area that I like is the swamp area and we visited one of the largest swamps in this area called the Okefenokee Swamp with its wildlife but again it is Winter so most wildlife is snuggled up, we did however get a couple of photographs of the birds.

From here we are heading down the coastline starting at St Augustine, definetly warmer weather – yeah!