Touring the Georgetown Coast

Sunday, April 22, 2018

On a previous trip to Georgetown, we picked up a brochure for a boat tour of the Georgetown coast by Rover Tours.  As with all brochures I pick up on our travels, as soon as I get back home I organize them, read about the place (brochure then online) and then decided what we can go see this year or what might need to wait.  This boat tour was a definite must (I mean a boat, naturalist tour guide, shelling, and a lighthouse...really, was there even a question that we would go?!)!  We purchased our tickets and then started the countdown on the calendar.  The day FINALLY arrived and we were both really excited, so off we went (along with my dinosaur bucket to collect shells)!

We arrived a little early so we stopped by the Georgetown Visitor Center to chat a few minutes with Susan.  (If you're in Georgetown, you should stop by the visitor center & talk with Susan, she's awesome!)  After leaving the visitor center, we checked it for our boat tour and then boarded the 40 ft. pontoon and were off to explore.  There were 23 people on our tour in addition to our tour guide and boat captain.  Everyone was extremely nice which always make the tour so much better.  We went about 12 miles before getting off the boat to go shelling on the island. 


 Bald eagle.
 The smoke stack of the Harvest Moon, a Union steamer that was hit (& went down) by Confederate torpedo in 1865.
 Georgetown Light (1811)  The top of the lighthouse was blown out by Confederate soldiers to keep Union soldiers from finding their way to the coast.  (The lighthouse was repaired in 1867.)


Come to find out North Island, where we 'docked' the boat and went shelling, is the same island where Lafayette, coming to America from France (1777), 'docked' his boat.  I've stood in the same place as several historical figures but every single time I get the chills and this one was no different...seriously made my entire trip!  We were on the island shelling for a little over an hour which I was amazed at how fast it went by (the saying is definitely true that time flies when you're having fun).  After our time on the island, we boarded the boat and head back.  Our tour guide was a great wealth of knowledge in the history of the area, nature, and the ecosystem.. 

I would recommend this boat tour to anyone!  Rover Tours offers two tours:  (1) Shelling and Lighthouse Cruise and (2) Historic Hobcaw House Boat Tour.  While I've been to Hobcaw (it's amazing!), I'm planning to go on their Historic Hobcaw House Boat Tour as soon as possible.

Happy Travels,

Tacos, Museum, and Outer Space

Sunday, April 8, 2018

With how busy life gets it's nice to take a break and just go on a date and it's even better when it's during the week!  I am the history person and my mister is the science person (and by science I mean outer space, UFOs & aliens).  SO when I saw that the SC State Museum had a new exhibit on Reconstruction and was also showing Black Holes at their planetarium, I was sold!  (I'm always looking for things to do that we'll both enjoy.)  So the date night itinerary began!  If you're familiar with downtown Columbia, I work a hop, skip, and a jump from the State House which means I am within walking distance to some really fantastic places to eat and one of those is Cantina 76.  Holy tacos is that place good!  We met at Cantina 76 for delicious tacos then made our way to the SC State Museum.

Did you know that the SC State Museum stays open late on Tuesdays????  Well they do which makes them awesome in my book because for us 9 to 5 people (are you hearing Dolly Parton yet) it's perfect when wanting to plan an outing during the week.  & did I mention the tickets are discounted.  Okay let me give you some GOOD NEWS!  The SC State Museum is open on Tuesdays (what they call their 'Second Shift Twosdays) until 10pm (the galleries are open until 8pm and the observatory is open until 10pm).  General admission is 2 for $10 (regularly $8.95 per person).  See, I told you it was good news!  We purchased our general admission tickets and 2 tickets for the Black Holes showing for a grand total of $20 (pretty awesome/inexpensive date night). 

Since the Black Holes show started at 7pm, we went to see the Reconstruction exhibit first.  This exhibit is informative and packed full of great exhibits.  Reconstruction is know as the time period after the Civil War (1865) until 1876/1877 (I've seen both dates so...).  Reconstruction was the attempt to bring the country back together after the Civil War.  While there were some good things that came from Reconstruction, like with everything else there were bad things and of course corruption.  Some of the good was the amendments to the constitution:  the 13th amendment:  abolishing slavery; the 14th amendment:  citizenship to all regardless of race/gender, and the 15th amendment:  the right to vote to all males regardless of race (Ladies, we don't get the right to vote until 1920).  Also, education, through public schools, was made available for all children regardless of race, gender and wealth status (schooling for the most part (in SC) was for elite white families).

 School Desk (1870)

 Stained glass window from Liberty Hill A.M.E. Church located in Summerton, SC (1867).

  Bethel A.M.E. Church located in McClellanville (1872)

 Handmade fan (York, SC) made of Confederate money (worthless after the Civil War).

 Ballot (1876)

 Voting Box (Orangeburg, 1876)

 Carpetbag Suitcase (1870)

 Discharge Papers (1865)

 Parole & Oath Papers (1865)

 Governor Wade Hampton III's pen.  He used this pen to sign oath of office. (1877)

 Railroad Tickets.
 An original handmade red shirt (1876).

 Sweetgrass Basket (1910)

 Photo of a group of women who were training to become school teachers.  This photo was taken on the campus of the University of South Carolina (1875).
 Thermometer (Columbia, 1860)

Wedgewood Pitcher (Washington Light Infantry, 1891)

After going through the Reconstruction exhibit, we walked around the museum for a little bit before making our way to the Planetarium and guess what I found????  Mourning items!!!!!
 A memory/spirit jug.
 Hair Jewelry.  I may be one of the few people that believes hair jewelry (& hair art) is beautiful and romantic (I completely romanticize the Victorian period).  People during this time period would take the hair of a loved one and intertwine it with other materials to make necklaces, watch bands, hair art.  They would also put hair in broaches.  How great is this...always having a piece of your loved one with you.  Wonder if I can convince my mister to give me some of his hair, I have a beautiful broach that I think would be perfect!

Beautiful mourning items.

After admiring the mourning items, we headed downstairs to the Planetarium to get ready for the show.
I knew very little about black holes going into the showing but came out with this vast knowledge (okay so maybe not vast but I know a lot more about black holes and it's fascinating!).  Did you know that black holes are formed from old stars?  Once a star begins producing iron that's basically a sign that the end is near (well that sounded terrifying!) at which time they blow up (collapse, fall apart...whatever wording you prefer).  Depending on there size (if they are massive like the Sun (also a star)) a black hole could potentially form.  Black holes have an extremely strong gravitational pull that once anything (like light) gets close, it will more than likely be pulled into the gravitational pull and that's where, if it's light, we get those amazing outer space photos.  Time is also slower with the black hole.  A test was done which showed that keeping the same time, once the object entered the black hole it's time count slowed while the time count outside of the hole continued to go at normal speed.  Also, the temperature drops the closer an object gets to the black hole.

There is a lot more information that is covered during this show, but you shouldn't hear it from me you should go see for won't be disappointed.  The graphics are amazing!  Watching this show was a great interesting/entertaining way to learn science.  If you decide to go...what am I'm saying of course you're going...this blog post hasn't even finished and you're already writing next Tuesday's date on your calendar, the showing for Black Holes is 7pm (this is show time for Second Shift Twosdays). 

Happy Travels,

Hollywood of the South

Monday, March 26, 2018

Did y'all know that Georgia is called the 'Hollywood of the South'?  There has been tons (& by tons I mean 80+in Covington, GA alone) television episodes/series and movies filmed in Georgia...who knew!!!

Has anyone watched The Vampire Diaries?  We recently finished watching all 8 seasons of The Vampire Diaries.  It was amazing!  It was life changing (too much?)!  However, when it ended (that was a super sad day), there were long, drawn out discussions about what we would watch next because nothing we were watching was living up to The Vampire Diaries (if you've watched it, then you get it).  When we thought all was lost and we would never be able to watch another series (dramatic, I'm aware), here came Netflix's Stranger Things (also filmed in GA)!  Have you seen it?  Don't you love Eleven???  (I haven't seen season 2 yet, so no spoilers, please).  Let's face it, if a tv series/movie has anything to do with anything supernatural, then we are all about it!  And when we found out about The Vampire Diaries/Mystic Falls tour in Covington, GA it wasn't a question of if we were going but when we were going.  We went this past Saturday and it was everything I thought it would be but so much more (seeing as this was my first television series filming tour).

Covington, GA is a great small town less then 40 miles from Atlanta, GA.  The town is filled with beautiful historic homes and like I said before has been the filming location of 80+TV series/movies (ex. In the Heat of the Night, Sleepy Hollow, and My Cousin Vinny).  Does anyone remember watching In the Heat of the Night?  More about that later on...  We arrived a little early for the tour so we decided to walk around the town square.  Around the square they have stars...


We met at the Visitor Center to begin our tour.  Right outside of the visitor center is the 'Welcome to Mystic Falls' sign.
Inside the visitor center is memorabilia from The Vampire Diaries, In the Heat of the Night, and Dukes of Hazzard
 Bubba (In the Heat of the Night)

 Wedding Flowers (The Vampire Diaries)

 Dukes of Hazzard
 In the Heat of the Night
 One of the wedding dresses used for Caroline's wedding (they ended up using a dress similar to this one and adding sleeves for filming)
 Jacket worn by Stephan (Paul Wesley)
 Jacket worn by Damon (Ian Somerhalder) in Season 3
 In the Heat of the Night filming photos
In the Heat of the Night and Dukes of Hazzard memorabilia

Our tour started in the historic town square.
 Court House.  In the Heat of the Night it was the Sparta Courthouse.  In The Vampire Diaries it was where Chief Forbes office was located, where Damon would hang out (on the ledge), where Damon threw Vicki out of the window,and where the bell (that rang while we were walking around) is located...needless to say many scenes were shot on/in/around the court house.
 Bench used during the filming of Vampire Diaries
 The beautiful town square.  Many scenes were filmed here!
 When filming of The Vampire Diaries this location was an accounting firm.  So the outside was changed to be the Mystic Grill but the inside remained an office until about 3 years into filming.  There was a fire in the building and the accounting firm relocated at which time it was turned into a restaurant.  However no scenes were shot on the inside, only the outside of the Mystic Grill.

We then drove to the cemetery for a walk through...
The scene from Aunt Jenna's funeral was filmed in this location.

After the cemetery, we were off for a neighborhood walking tour.
 Gram's House in the Vampire Diaries (The house was brown during filming...the current owner recently painted.)
 Isobel's foreclosure home she took over when she came into town (The Vampire Diaries)
 Caroline's House
 Elena Gilbert's House
The Lockwood Mansion.

The Lockwood Mansion is a gated property.  We were very excited to be able to go behind the gates and tour the exterior of the property and meet the owner.
Many scenes were filmed behind Lockwood Mansion including Caroline and Stephan's wedding.
 A masquerade mask signed by the cast of The Vampire Diaries along with other photos from filming

The above three items were located in a room off the back porch where the cast would hang out in between takes.  The Lockwood Mansion was the last stop on our 3 hour tour.  I highly recommend taking this tour (they also offer other tours as well like The Originals (a spin off of The Vampire Diaries) tour).  The tours are through Vampire Stalkers.

After a quick stop for lunch at Your Pie (so good!), we visited Wild Art and purchased this print by the owner (& local artist), Ann Wildmon.
Can't wait to frame it!!

We walked back over to the Vampire Stalkers Gift Shop for some exploring and to purchase a souvenir or two.  There are tons of Vampire Diaries, The Originals, The Walking Dead, Stranger Things, Dukes of Hazzard, and In the Heat of the Night souvenirs and filming's fantastic and overwhelming all at the same time.  I probably went through the gift shop 4-5 times because I kept seeing something new that I hadn't see my previous time.
 Angel from the Cemetery
 Damon's Jacket (Signed by Ian Somerhalder)
 Elena's Gradation clothes

 Shoes & bag from the Vampire Diaries
Alaric Saltzman

While we were at the Visitor Center, I picked up the In the Heat of the Night self-guided tour brochure.  To give a little back story about my love for In the Heat of the Night, this is the show that I remember watching episode after episode with my Granpa.  I have probably seen every episode of In the Heat of the Night at least 5 times (if not more) was such an amazing show!  If you haven't seen it, rerun episodes are on daily.

 Bill Gillespie's House (it's currently for sale if you're interested!)

Virgil Tibbs House

In addition to the few Vampire Diaries souvenirs I purchased, I also purchased a In the Heat of the Night t-shirt.  If my Granpa were still here, I'm sure he would think it's pretty cool.

I learned so much from this trip to Covington, GA.  Georgia has so much to offer and the people that we encountered were so friendly and knowledgeable about the area that we are already planning more trips to Georgia.  Any recommendations of places to visit in Georgia? 

Happy Travels,