Monday, February 25, 2008

Doin' the Charleston, Part One

We had been talking about it and talking about it, and we finally decided to do it. We planned a weekend for Richie, Cathryn and myself to stay in Charleston and do lots of touristy things. We sat down at work one day, made a hotel reservation, and planned out our fun family weekend.


Yep, we stayed at the round Holiday Inn on Savannah Highway, even though Richie told me we could stay anywhere. I'm not ashamed of this, because that place intrigued me.

The hotel was actually really nice, but I wasn't 100% satisfied with our stay. For starters, there was no microwave or minifridge. Second, the service at the Harborview Restaurant left much to be desired. Richie didn't get his baked potato until the end of our dinner, and then when he and Cathryn went to breakfast the next morning, he said that he had eaten much, much better for the $17 he paid for breakfast. While they were at breakfast, I had my special oatmeal and took a few pictures of the view:





I wish I had taken some pictures of the view at night, because all the lights were really beautiful.

After breakfast, we drove around downtown Charleston while we waited for the museum to open, and made plans to go to Battery Park on Sunday before the Aquarium opened. Pulling into the parking lot of The Charleston Musuem, I felt my heart begin to pound. I hadn't been there since the 3rd grade (and neither had Richie), so we were really looking forward to seeing it again, and introducing it to Cathryn for the first time.


Richie and Cathryn in front of the replica of the Hunley. Warning: Most pictures featuring Cathryn will show her apparent deep-seeded need to be a catalog model.

Walking into the museum, the first sign I saw was "No Flash Photography". I was very disappointed, because, man, I wanted to take a picture of that big whale skeleton hanging from the ceiling. When I got over that, we walked upstairs and went into the "History of the Low Country" exhibit, which was exactly how I remembered it. That exhibit became the "Becoming Americans" exhibit, which led into the "Civil War" exhibit. Richie especially enjoyed these exhibits, because he loves antique weaponry. It was so interesting to hear him talk about the different guns, especially. Each time we turned a corner, my eyes welled up, because not only was I reliving a favorite childhood memory, but I was literally walking through the history of the place I love so much.

The Natural History exhibit was creepy, and I couldn't wait to get out of there. Not that I'd tell Cathryn, because I want her to be educated. But geez--all those skeletons and that big stuffed polar bear? My size ten feet were trotting hastily. Once we were out of that creepfest, we wandered into "The Early Days" exhibit, which Cathryn found quite creepy herself. I tried to get Cathryn to pose with one of the Ancient Egyptian statues, but she shook her head vehemently and said, "NO WAY!" On our way out, we saw a case containing Gershwin's piano, and they were playing his music. What intrigued me and Cathryn both, though, were these:

A Victorian Dollhouse! Complete with all the dolls and furniture! But the one that made me want to rip open the glass case was...

An exact replica of Hopsewee Plantation. Cathryn and I had a hard time tearing ourselves away from this one.

"Kidstory", though, did a good job of doing just that. This was the exhibit Cathryn had been waiting on, because it means she gets to touch stuff and not get in trouble. She was the only kid in there, which suited her just fine because it meant that she could run around uninhibited. She pressed buttons, turned on the light at a lighthouse, colored, and raised the flag on a pirate ship.



Her favorite part, by far, though, was this:


This is a replica of the Heyward-Washington house in Charleston, where George Washington stayed when he visited Charleston shortly after being named President. Inside was a closet with clothes to try on, music to listen to, games to play, and stories to read. It was Cathryn heaven. It was hard for us to convince her to leave this area to go to the next exhibit.

The next exhibit completely took my breath away. It was titled "Clothes to Dye For" and reflected South Carolina's textiles industry, and the power of color. What immediately struck me was that the clothes were in order according to the ROY G. BIV system, which we learned in elementary school. First, RED:


A hoop skirt and corset. The sign said that the corset was 21 inches at the waist. I hurt thinking about it.

ORANGE:

This picture doesn't show it, but this dress was the most beautiful shade of peachy-orange. I wanted to take it off the mannequin and shove it in my purse. You can't convince me that you couldn't wear that dress this spring.

YELLOW:
Another 1950s dress I fell in love with.

GREEN:

This entire room taunted me with it's retro goodness. I could feel them laughing at me, saying, "Ha, ha...there's not even a glass to separate us! You could reach right over that rope, but we know you won't!" The dress that really broke my heart, though, was:

BLUE:
Richie saw it before I did. I was actually snapping a picture of the green dress above, when I heard him say, "Josie, this one is you up and down." It was on the other side of the room, so I couldn't really see it until I was upon it. Once I saw it, though, it took my breath away. I need to find a dress similar to this, like immediately.

I didn't like any of the the dresses put on display for the remaining colors, so I don't have any pictures of those. However, we did take one last picture at the museum, a nice bookend to our visit:

This was taken in front of a huge antique teller window. I can only imagine the bank that originally housed it.

After leaving the museum, we did a very non-touristy thing and had lunch at North Towne Grill, which is a Greek Restaurant across from Northwoods Mall. After lunch? We killed some time at the mall, wherein I discovered the BEST STORE EVER--Palmetto Moon.

Part Two: Battery Park and the SC Aquarium.

Toodles!

2 comments:

The DAVIS Kids said...

This is such a GREAT post. Making memories for the memory bank. I love it.

Josie Thames said...

Thank you! I'll do another post about our Sunday adventures later in the week.