Sunday, August 2, 2015
Road trips are fun! For 2 weeks we drove the back roads, making our way to Charleston, SC from Connecticut and then making our way to other parts of the Carolina's and finally back to Connecticut. Charleston was beautiful! Heaped in history, beauty and culture, my reading changed from fiction to history. Plantations and beautiful gardens abound, but reminders of the War Between the States, or the Civil War as us Northerners refer to it, also dominate the culture of the city. In Charleston Harbor is Fort Sumter, site of the first shots fired in the war between the states, a war not over slavery, but of the South's independence and freedom from the high tariffs imposed by the federal government. Beautiful HUGE homes still line the streets of the historic section of Charleston, a reminder of the wealth generated by the cotton trade, as well as a section of homes painted in pastel colors referred to as Rainbow Row, that is rumored to have been painted that way so that drunken sailors could distinguish their home from others. Downtown, you can also find the Gullah making their beautiful
Sweetgrass baskets! Sweetgrass baskets are a traditional West African art form passed down from generation to generation for over 300 years. I was fortunate to be able to take one home with me, the sweet smell subtly filling my livingroom and reminding me of our trip.
Charleston is also the place of a horrible tragedy that happened June 17th when a 21 year old man, opened fired in Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, after attending a bible study, and killed 9 people. He admittedly was trying to ignite a race war, but instead launched a modern day debate on the flying of the confederate flag, which has been associated with certain hate groups, but is also a symbol of heritage for the descendents of the men and women who gave their lives during a war against tyranny.
My trip also included food! Southern fried chicken, grits and deep fried pickles! Our travels landed us at Mary Lou's Kitchen for some authentic lowcountry food, which consisted of the most delicious fried chicken I've ever eaten, gumbo, and cornbread. And I also found some absolutely to die for Shrimp & Grits at Tommy Condon's Irish Bar. Although I've always liked Southern made grits, I think Shrimp & grits is the new "it" food, because every restauraunt has a version. Tommy Condon's consisted of Shrimp & grits with a creamy tomato parmesan sauce.
So, my Road Trip Reading consisted of reading about the War Between the States, Antebellum homes and architecture, the history behind Sweetgrass baskets, the history of Fort Sumter, lowcountry cooking and Magnolia Cemetery (yes, we made a special trip to this historic cemetery, filled with incredible headstones, beautiful landscaping and wonderful genealogy!)! Oops, I forgot to mention I also was reading road maps because you need to if you want to travel "unconventional" roads.
What do you do on vacation? Do you have time to open a book? Do you immerse yourself in the history of the places you'll be visiting? What was your favorite vacation spot this year? I'd love to hear all about it!
On to more "conventional" reading next week! And of course some hot reading recommendations!
Happy reading... Suzanne