To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Palmetto State. We barnstormed south with no expectations except for warmer weather. We got warmer weather for sure, but so much more.
Our first stop was also the first time we’ve used Harvest Hosts—an app that lets you find “free” stays at vineyards, farms, or such places in your RV or van. (Note: you have to be completely self contained, which for us means using our portable toilet. You also have to purchase the equivalent of what you might spend on a campsite. So, a bottle of wine.) Since we purchase wine regularly, it feels like saving money. Plus, you don’t have to worry about drinking and driving. Our Harvest Host, Richard at Enoree River Winery in Newberry, was so kind and thoughtful. If you’re passing through, it’s worth stopping. The space itself is so inviting and it was nice to sit down and relax after a cold, rainy drive.
But it didn’t stay cold for long. By the time we reached Columbia the next day, we were amazed at how warm it got. Since leaving Ohio after the engine rebuild in mid-November, we have been in the cold constantly. (We’ve also been fortunate to have friends and family who’ve allowed us to stay inside or run space heaters to the bus.) We bedded down for the night at Sesquicentennial Park in Columbia. The staff there were amazing—so friendly and professional. We’ve been to 22 states and 2 provinces so far and this park ranks as the most accommodating.
We also knocked out our fourth National Park on this trip—Congaree—a giant swamp with a 2 mile boardwalk. Granted, it is not the most ostentatious of parks, but it is unique (much like the Indiana Dunes and Assateague).
From there we kept heading south, where we had a driveway stay (okay—so more of a backyard by the saltwater creek stay) near Charleston. Our hosts, Carla and Bucky were so generous and kind. And, friends, the Carolinas both know how to feed a person. We have been absolutely stuffed with the best foods since entering into the south. I had a chance to eat some grits and bacon. We had chili and burgers and wine on the dock.
Oh, yeah, the dock. It’s decorated with Christmas cheer and looks over the saltwater creek where crab boats come and go, pelicans following along. Porpoises surface to blow out their gigantic breaths and the tide slides in and out.
Another cool thing: the houses in downtown Charleston (many of which Bucky has had a hand in preserving and reinforcing through his company) are beautiful. Truly astounding. And right now they are decorated with wreaths of magnolia leaves and garlands with oranges and berries.