Saturday, August 27, 2016

Prince Frederick's Chapel, Plantersville

A long way from anywhere, along narrow deserted roads through miles of nothing but wilderness, lie the abandoned rice fields and plantations of the wealthiest Americans of their day, plantations that each produced up to 1.5 million pounds of rice a year.

Out of nowhere we came upon these ruins of Prince Frederick's Chapel, what is left of a large and ornate church fitting for worship by the planters, men of wealth and power, and their families.

Prince Frederick of Wales was the son of King George II.


The first small wooden chapel on the site was built in 1848 and construction of a grand replacement in the Gothic Revival style was begun in 1859. Work soon came to a halt, interrupted by the Civil War.

After the war it was impossible to imagine that a way of life, one based on the cultivation of rice and the exploitation of slaves for labor, that had prospered for over a hundred years could end. Planters regained their land, fought to bring back the rice crops, and work resumed on the church. The contractors were two brothers, Philip and Edward Gunn. One of them fell to his death during construction.


The new church was finished in 1879 but it was too late. With the loss of slave labor the rice economy rapidly declined, planters fled to the cities, and in a few years the church was abandoned, began to crumble, and eventually was removed except for the front wall.



When the church was demolished in 1966 the front wall and bell tower, guarded by a tall fence topped with strands of barbed wire and a plethora of No Trespassing signs, was left standing, a testament to a time when what has returned to wilderness was the center of American commerce.



Monday, August 22, 2016

Sink or Swim

You would think that swimming lessons would be essential for South Carolina Lowcountry children who live surrounded by water of every kind. But sadly, that's not the case for the area's poor.

In the first half of this year there have been 13 lives lost already in the lakes, rivers, and ocean in the Georgetown area. The most recent victim was a 12-year-old boy.

It's hot in the summer in South Carolina and all that beautiful water tempts with free fun and an opportunity to cool off.

There is no public pool in Georgetown with inexpensive swimming lessons like I had growing up. It costs $85 joining fee plus $69 a month for a family to use the YMCA and swimming lessons cost extra on top of that.

The schools are poor; no pools there, but second graders are given four free swim lessons during the school year at the YMCA pool.

It's a start, but anyone who has raised a child knows that four swim lessons at age 7 aren't enough.

It's not only the children who can't swim. In McClellanville, population 499, a fishing village just down the road, there is a monument erected in memory of those who have lost their lives by drowning. The names on the memorial are those of 58 of the town's commercial fishermen, men who made their living on the water and the water took their lives.



The Lowcountry Seaman's Memorial is dedicated to Chet Anderson, 34, a shrimper who died in 1999.

He drowned while saving a crew member who fell overboard.

Anderson could swim, but his crew member could not.


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Moon Over Winyah Bay


Slowly but surely things are getting accomplished and put away in our house. Earlier this week the new couch arrived, and as you can see --




Rosie approves.







The 1990s floral wallpaper border has been painstakingly removed from the kitchen.






Ahhhh, that's better!







Beneath the house a vapor barrier has been added for protection from moisture and tomorrow afternoon the new carpet and kitchen tile will be installed.

There are plenty more little projects, but that will be the last of the big, expensive ones.

The heat in July and August here have broken all records and it's been hot and sweaty working. Last night after dinner the humidity was down and we were motivated to get out of the house and "stretch our eyes."

The highway into Georgetown crosses a bridge high over the Sampit River about a mile from our house. The paper mill that provides many jobs for the town is upstream, and a huge county marina and park lie beneath the bridge.

From a trail and observation deck you can view the remnants of old bridges replaced over the years by bigger and better ones.







We walked the trail with Bob the Border Collie enjoying all the enticing smells apparent only to a dog's nose and then we headed toward home. The sun had set and the beautiful full moon was rising over Winyah Bay near our house.


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Toby Tyler, the Circus, and Me

I was reading Connie's interesting post ( you can read it here: this morning about her husband's childhood traveling the carnival circuit and was reminded of a book I hadn't thought about for many years. It was one of my dad's books I found on my grandma's bookshelf, Toby Tyler, or Ten Weeks With the Circus.

My dad's copy looked like this. It was written in 1881 and his copy was probably from the 1930s.

I loved this book! I must have read it when I was about seven and in my memory it was a great adventure about a boy who left his adopted family to run away from home and take off with the circus when it came to his town.

It, along with National Geographic Magazine my parents subscribed to, sparked my first memory of longing for travel, to see what was out there in the world. The train to Chicago used to go by my house in the night and as I was falling asleep I would create dreamy fantasies of myself on the train and all the places in the world I wanted to see.

And here was Toby Tyler, a mere kid, doing it!

I had a surprise when I looked the book up. The book that first fueled my wanderlust obsession was described like this:

"Toby Tyler is a "bad boy" novel, meant to teach a lesson, what happens to boys who do bad things."

What? It did pretty much just the opposite for 7-year old me!

Apparently I'm in good company. Carl Sandburg, one of my favorite American poets, claimed it as his favorite adventure book as a boy, "even better than The Adventures of Tom Sawyer or Huckleberry Finn." And so did some other American authors.

And it just goes to show you, children's authors write a book for one reason but that's not necessarily the message young readers remember for the next 60 years!

Anyone else have fond memories of Toby Tyler and his monkey, Mr Stubbs?




Sunday, August 7, 2016

Saturday is Market Day

I wondered what it would be like shopping for food when we moved to Georgetown after our experience in Ridgeland, but I needn't have worried. There are wonderful options.


The farmer's market is small but the farms are local. And in addition to organic veggies and fruit, they sell homemade cheese, organic milk with the cream on top, honey, brooms, and wonderful bread from an Eastern European baker.

We bought peaches, melon, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, corn, tomato basil cheddar cheese, and a loaf of crusty bread.


A couple blocks away, the fishing boats and shrimpers come in daily to Independent Seafood.


Although the fishing boats stay at sea about a week at a time, there is always someone pulling up to unload their catch.


The business was begun in 1937 by Herbert Tarbox to serve the local fisherman in getting a fair price for their catch. His son Glennie is in charge now.






It's a very busy place when a boat comes in with workers appearing to unload the catch, sort it, box it, load it on pallets, and get it into refrigerated trucks ASAP.

Most of the seafood goes to restaurants in the New England states but it's also available to us Georgetonians.

The red-lined buckets contain shrimp in different sizes.



Today's catch was flounder, grouper, shad, and tuna.


We bought some flounder.




And here is someone else who works at the fish market. I imagine he takes his pay in delicious seafood dinners.


Thursday, August 4, 2016

Early Morning Walk on the Harbor

First, a cup of iced americano from the Coffee Break Cafe ...

then cross the street to see what's happening in the harbor --

a nice way to start our second summer day in Georgetown.



Cut through the little park beside

the Rice Museum

in the old town hall and slave market ...








past the bust of the Marquis de Lafayette,

the young Frenchman who landed in America in Georgetown

at age 19 to become

General George Washington's second in






Take the Harbor Walk, a series of docks that runs several blocks along the waterfront ...









past the yachts and fishing boats and

tour boats that take people on shelling trips

and out to see the old lighthouse.






In the three-block historic district every space not occupied by a building has become a green space, a park. Francis Marion Park is named for the general also known as The Swamp Fox, quite a legend around here. (I'll save that story for another day.)

The person sitting on the bench is a disabled man who makes roses from palmetto fronds to sell to visitors.

The huge red flowers

blooming in the center of the garden are hibiscus.

South Carolina's state tree is the Sabal palmetto and this tiny park was built in its honor. It was chosen as the state tree because it assisted in the defeat of the British during the American Revolution.

Fort Moultrie on Sullivan's Island survived the attack of the British because it was constructed of palmetto logs which absorbed the impact of cannon balls.

In other words, the cannon balls bounced off!

Also called the Cabbage Palm, it graces the flag

of the Palmetto State

along with the pretty Carolina moon.


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Post Time

When I was in Minnesota last week my daughter invited Mason, my sister, and me to go to the horse races. She had free tickets to get in plus a reserved table inside where it was air-conditioned at Canterbury Park. Since I had never been to the track and she was sure Mason was going to love the "horseys," -- well, why not?!!


Fortunately the programs had lots of information and explanations and we could study up before things got started.



When it was time for the horses to run, we went outside to stand along the fence to watch, hear, and feel the thundering hooves pounding by at 35 mph. Mason loved it!


As the horses came back from finishing each race, their jockeys dismounted and weighed in. It was amazing to see how small they were. Some of their waists were no bigger around than thighs of the man weighing them. Seriously!

It doesn't sound like a very fun life. Jockeys average 110 lbs and to reach that weight before each race ... well, it's not pretty.

"They do so (vomit, purge, use saunas excessively, take drugs) risking an assortment of health problems, to weigh in the range of 110 pounds. Then they drag their weakened bodies onto 1,200-pound animals going 35 mph and hope they don't get trampled." (From an article in the Cinncinnati Enquirer)






EnterIng the winner's circle is one of Mason's favorite horses, Squirt Gun.

Big spenders, we each placed one $2 bet.

My sister was the only winner. She took home 80 cents!





The weekend before we went, Canterbury Downs had ostrich, camel and zebra races, and the next weekend, Corgi dog races.

Now that would be something to see!