The drive from Mammoth Cave National Park to Charleston was very, very long, so Candy planned for to interesting stops along the way to break up the drive. The first was in Corbin, KY, where Colonel Sanders started his motor park. Eventually it became both Kentucky Fried Chicken and Days Inn.
They had some very interesting displays to enjoy while we waited for our food. One idea that was interesting was that Colonel Sanders felt that women made the decision on whether to stay at which motor lodge, so he placed the ladies restroom so that you had to pass through a model of his motel room to get to it. In this way, he thought the women would see how neat and clean his rooms were and be amenable to staying at his motor lodge.
Our next stop was at the Museum of Appalachia. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was actually quite nice.
There were a large number of buildings from all over Appalachia that had been moved board by board and stone by stone from their original locations to the museum to form a sort of farming community. These included stores, barns, cabins, churches, and schools. There were also two larger buildings containing professionally presented displays of rural life and some famous people from Appalachia, including Sergeant York and Cordell Hull.
The people running the museum were very friendly. We bought a couple of AMAZING cookies that were made there. It was a worthwhile short stop to break up the long drive. We arrived in Charleston late that night and just had time to unpack the car and hit the sack. The next day we got up early for a two-hour walking tour of the historic part of the city.
Our guide, 7th generation Charlstonian, provided a very interesting and informative walking tour of the historic part of the city.
The city is quite picturesque. It had fallen into disrepair after the Civil War. In fact, the city was in such bad shape that there wasn’t even enough money to tear down the old buildings. In the end, this turned out to be good. Where in other historic cities, like Boston and New York much of the historical areas had been the target of urban renewal, in Charleston, the historical buildings hadn’t been torn down when money was finally found to rebuild.
This church was an Anglican (Church of England) before the American Revolution and was the official church in Charleston (and all the British colonies). When the Revolution ended, the Anglican churches became Episcopal churches. The Episcopal church reunited, North and South, after the Civil War, unlike many other churches. In the 1960’s this church left the Episcopal church and became Anglican again during the flap over the revision of the Book of Common Prayer. Lots of history there, but not worth describing in the posting. Many other churches have left Episcopal church in recent years for a variety of reasons, including heretical statements about the Bible by Episcopal bishops.
The old theater in town is still active, hosting theatrical shows, musical shows, and a popular chamber music series each season. It has been beautifully restored.
After our walking tour we walked around some of the shopping areas and had lunch, followed by a couple of hours in the hotel pool. Our hotel also has an interesting story. It was demolished in 1968 and was rebuilt in the early 1970’s to look on the outside like the original. It was a VERY nice hotel within walking distance of everything we wanted to see in the historical area.
That evening we walked around a few more shops and had pizza in a local establishment, Di Giovani. Trip Advisor said that the food was very good, but everything else “sucked.” They were right. The food was very good, but the service, ambiance, etc. were poor. It was one of those places where you felt they were doing you a favor to take your money.
We got up early the next morning for a boat ride out to Morris Island in the bay. The tour guide and his two assistants were excellent. Morris Island, site of Ft. Wagner (as seen in the movie Glory) during the Civil War, is largely barren today. Sharks teeth, shells, and occasionally bricks from Ft. Sumpter wash ashore.
Sam and Tom found part of the tooth of a Maglodon, a prehistoric shark-like creature. The sharks in the area are small, so the teeth were tiny.
We elected to skip Ft. Sumpter. Others who have visited said it is disappointing. The top 2/3 of the fort from the Civil War were rubbled and are gone. Much of what is there is from the Spanish American War rather than the Civil War.
After returning from the boat ride we cleaned up and checked out of our hotel, had lunch, and headed up to North Carolina with a quick stop at South of the Border. After checking into the Ft. Bragg guest house we had dinner and played miniature golf in Fayetteville.
The course was quite nice and had 36 holes. On the final 18 holes Sam won, which she says is the first time she’s ever won at miniature golf.
The next morning we slept in a little and then visited the 82nd Airborne Division Museum. Located along Ardennes Street in the middle of the division area, while small, it is quite nice.
Candy and the kids were pretty “museumed out” by this point, so we only stayed two hours.
Every time I come to Ft. Bragg I remember how much I liked being in airborne units.
Upon leaving Ft. Bragg we headed home to unpack the car, unpack our bags, return the rental car, and hit the sack early. It was a long vacation, but a good one. We completed all 50 states just three days before Tom heads to college. This is our last family vacation while we’re all living together, which for me is a sad thing.