May 24 – Thu
Thursday May 24th was a fairly long ride from Wrightsville Beach North Carolina to Swansboro North Carolina.
The ride was about 60 miles and included a very heavy rain storm about an hour after we departed. The rain storm lasted about 2 hours of the 7 hours we traveled.
The ride was fairly slow including 5 bridges & two pretty cool 12 foot clearance swing bridges.
Towards the end of the ride, before Swansboro, we passed a remote area where one of the armed forces apparently uses for training. We entered an area with signs that said “Stop Do Not Proceed – Live Firing When Lights Are Flashing”. The lights were not flashing, so we did proceed. But we did hear boom noises far off to the north.
Shortly after entering the intermittently restricted area, we also saw signs which read “Danger – Unexploded Ordnance, Do Not Enter”.
We did not go on the the island !
After we had passed thru the “restricted area”, we saw 3 boats racing towards us, I pulled slightly to the starboard side to give them room. 2 boats went to my port side & 1 boat went to the starboard side encircling our boat. They passed us at a very high rate of speed.
After we docked in Swansboro, I discovered that the area we went thru was a training area for the Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base.
We arrived at Caspers Marina in Swansboro about 2pm.
I had learned from other Loopers that there was not so much going on here, so we had planned only a 1 night stay, using Swansboro only as a stop-over into Beaufort NC.
Casper’s Marina was just so-so, not high on our list.
It included fixed docks (not floating docks), had only 1 shower, and was really more of a boat rack storage place than a marina.
Swansboro turned out to be a pretty nice small town with gift shops, chocolate shops, & Ice Cream !
There were also a few antique shops, we spent a little time in a place called “the poor mans hole”. The prices did not appear to fit the poor mans title, but it was a cool shop. They had a LOT of nautical based knick-knacks.
Many signs in The Poor Mans Hole and other establishments made me and Dave feel welcome. It was a town that we felt very comfortable in.
Swansboro also had about 5-6 restaurants within walking distance.
We had some “welcome to Swansboro drinks” at a place called The Icehouse.
After the Icehouse, we came back to the boat, chilled for a while, listened to some music, talked, and took the late afternoon 15 minute nap. I believe that even Dave was now into the program.
For dinner we went to an Italian place called The White Oak River Bistro. They had GREAT cheese bread, lasagna, & a really cool back deck with excellent views.
We ate our Itailian entrees, and listened to Luciano Pavarotti while eating.
After dinner, it was time to start prepping for travel tomorrow to Beaufort, so we said farewell to Swansboro !
BTW – I’m not sure why they call the town Swansboro, we did not see any Swans but did see a large gaggle of geese !
4 nights in Beaufort (Bo-Fert) North Carolina, the last port for The Hinmans (boo) !
May 22 – Tue After our short 1 night stay in Southport, we headed further north to the Seapath Yacht Club in Wrightsville BeachNorth Carolina. Wrightsville Beach is a suburb of Wilmington , and we had a fun-filled 2 days planned.
We started our stay with a stroll thru the Seapath Yacht Club & Clubhouse, a pretty nice place.
After gettin’ settled in, we took an Uber to the beach at Wrightsville Beach, about 2 miles away from the Yacht Club.
We had a late lunch at a place called The Oceanic, a beautiful modern looking restaurant right on the Atlantic Ocean. We had lunch on the 2nd floor balcony overlooking the ocean.
After lunch we went for a walk on the Oceanic Pier and watched many surfers. The water had changed complexion significantly from our previous stops of Myrtle Beach & Southport, becoming a beautiful blue/green. There were many surfers and some were pretty good. The town was named one of the “World’s 20 Best Surf Towns” by National Geographic Magazine, and was one of only seven towns in the USA to earn the distinction.
Like I said above, the water was really cool here in Wrightsville Beach, the photos don’t show it so well, but the blue/green water with white waves was very pretty.
We went for a pretty good walk on the beach, walking 1.8 miles from The Oceanic Pier to the Johnny Mercer Pier.
After walking to the Johnny Mercer Pier, we talked with some lifeguards and found out that most of the places to hang out at were inset from the beach, on the main drag and about a 1/2 mile back from where we came. So we walked up to Lumina street, and walked another 1/2 mile back to a set of pubs on the main drag in town. We ended up at a place called Loggerheads Tavern, which seemed to be the place with the most activity.
After a few beers, we went back to the marina and sat out on the Seapath Yacht Club watchtower for a while and watched the boats go by.
After watchin’ the boats go by for a while, we ended the day/night with another round of competitive Euchre in the Yacht Club complimentary captain’s quarters lounge. The lounge was in the center of the marina and had excellent views of the marina, and had nice card tables and cable TV inside. While playing Euchre, Nellie did some laundry and we watched/listened to Atlanta Braves baseball.
The night ended with the Hinman’s executing their revenge on the Murphree’s victory the night before in Southport, with a rousing 2-1 Euchre victory. The Euchre series is now tied at 1-1, with the rubber match coming in the next few days.
May 23 – Wed
Wednesday May 23rd, we started the day with a trip into Historic Downtown Wilmington, about 9 miles & 20 minutes away from the marina. We used the complimentary car from the marina, an old Honda minivan, and saved $20 Uber fares each way, there & back !
We walked the riverfront and had breakfast sandwiches at a hole-in-the-wall place called Captain Tony’s, which had an awesome view of the Battleship USS North Carolina across the Cape Fear River.
After breakfast, we walked the Wilmington downtown area for a while and waited for a 10am horse-drawn carriage ride.
Tour guide John arrived with horses Prince & Don just before 10am, we departed on the tour about 10:15am. John was a very entertaining ex-New Yorker tour guide.
Wilmington North Carolina is a fairly large city, with population just above 100,000.
It is most famous for its Historical District, being on the Cape Fear River, and being the host to many movies & TV shows.
Wilmington is the home of Screen Gems Studios, the largest domestic television and movie production facility outside California. “Dream Stage 10,” the facility’s newest sound stage, is the third-largest in the US. It houses the largest special-effects water tank in North America. Numerous movies and several television series have been produced here, including; Maximum Overdrive, Iron Man 3, Fox’s Sleepy Hollow, One Tree Hill, Dawson’s Creek, NBC’s Revolution, and the TV series Matlock.
You can’t see it well in this photo, but here is the courthouse where many scenes from Matlock were filmed.
The carriage ride was filled with homes from the 1800’s (now boring for me & Jonell). But the oldest building was built in 1738. The building was almost lost due to structural degradation, but was propped up & reinforced with rods screwed into the building to straighten its structure. Look at all the decayed/repaired bricks. Also the rear yard wall was built with stones used as ballast on ships from England in the 1600’s.
There were many beautifully restored old homes and several restorations in process. Wilmington has about 900 historic homes and buildings.
After the carriage ride, we came back to the boat and chilled for a while. Then we took an uber over to the Wrightsville Beach and spent a few hours on the beach.
About 3pm the clouds started forming again, thunder was heard, and the lifeguards came out to warn everyone that lightning was within 5 miles. So we headed back to the boat after only a 2-3 hour stay. The photo does not show the nearby dark clouds coming.
We went back to the boat, took a siesta (at least I did, only 30 minutes), then headed back out for dinner in downtown Wilmington. We walked the Cape Fear riverfront boardwalk for a while. There were many fancy offerings for dinner places. We ended up at a pretty low-key place called Anne Bonny’s Bar & Grill. Anne Bonny’s is a floating barge along the Riverwalk in downtown Wilmington.
After dinner, Dave & I found enough room for one more drink at the Embassy Suites Rooftop Bar. The drinks were expensive but the riverfront views were great.
The rooftop bar also had about 10 fire pits lighting up the night time sky.
While we were at the rooftop bar, I was wearing the Carol Perotta – “Gettin’ Looped” Jacket, and some of the other rooftop visitors noticed the jacket and commented about The Loop.
A short while later we were exchanging stories about the Loop and our backgrounds.
The 2 couples were ; Bill & Stacey from Annapolis, who own a 42 Catamaran, and Dave & Cindy (currently Looper Dreamers) who were visiting from Houston.
It was a lovely night, and a fun-filled, exhausting 2 days in Wrightsville Beach !
Next Stop = only 1 night in Swansboro North Carolina, on our way to Beaufort North Carolina this weekend.
Well, we are definitely gettin’ more northbound now.
Monday May 21st, we crossed from South Carolina into North Carolina.
It was a special day on 2 accounts; we had crossed into North Carolina, and it was Ginger Hinman’s Birthday. While underway on the ICW, we played Happy Birthday music over the Gettin’ Looped Stereo – while Jonell, Dave, and I gave our best Happy Birthday sing along.
The trip from Myrtle Beach to Southport was a short 44 miles, and we arrived about 1:30pm.
Our plan was only a 1 night stay in Southport North Carolina.
Our decisions on South Carolina & North Carolina ports were assisted by our Looper pal from Mother Ocean, Dennis Taylor. Dennis & Jan live in North Carolina, so I picked his brain on which ports to visit in both SC & NC, and how many days we should give each city, combined with the fact that we have to be back in Michigan by Labor Day for Dan’s wedding on Sept 16th.
So Southport was one of a few small cities we will see on the way from Myrtle Beach to Beaufort (Bo-Fert) North Carolina.
Southport was a cool little quiet town.
It has a population of only 3500, but is best known for hosting many television shows & movies.
The town can be seen in the Television Series; Dawson’s Creek, Under the Dome, Revenge, and Matlock. Movies filmed in Southport include; I Know What You Did Last Summer, Summer Catch, Domestic Disturbance, Crimes of the Heart, Nights in Rodanthe, A Walk to Remember and Safe Haven.
After we arrived and got tied up, we went for a 4 hour walk around Southport.
We had heard about some fancy restaurants, so I put on some nice clothing for our “Taste of Southport”.
We inspected the local pubs & restaurants. We found about 5 places within walking distance and had lunch at a place called The Fishy Fish Café.
The Fishy Fish was a laid back key west type waterfront bar, with all the humorous signs.
After lunch, we walked the town and local shops.
After the post-lunch walk, we were ready for more refreshments.
I became a new member of the exclusive American Fish Company.
For $1, you can become a member and enjoy refreshments at the private waterfront club.
After hobnobbing with the elite at the fish company, we headed back to the boat.
Along the way we passed several historical information pedestals. One of the pedestals described a building called The River Pilots Tower, a watch tower built in the 1750s, used by Southport mariners to assist transient ships through the treacherous Cape Fear River entrance.
The arriving boat would signal a cannon fire when they were ready for a pilot. A person from the pilots tower association would row a boat out to the incoming ship and take over the captains duty to bring the ship safely to port. The Pilots Tower & Association is still in use today.
After touring the town from about 1:30pm to 5:30pm, we came back to the boat for siesta time for Mikie.
We walked to dinner about 7:30pm for a late Bday dinner for Ginger at a place called Oliver’s. Two of the locals had told us that Oliver’s was one of the two “fancy” places in town. I’m not sure that “fancy” was the correct description, but it was a pretty nice place for a small town, and they had a great Lobster Bisque.
Ginger also got a free Bday dessert !
That was about it for a long half day stay in Southport.
Next Stop = 2 nights in Wrightsville Beach North Carolina (just outside of Wilmington).
May 17 – Thu
On Thursday, we headed off from Georgetown to The Barefoot Marina in Myrtle Beach South Carolina.
It was the 1st leg of Looping voyages for Dave & Ginger Hinman, who had joined us in Georgetown.
The ride was about 50 miles, and about 5-1/2 hours.
We left Georgetown at 8:00am and arrived at Myrtle Beach about 1:30pm.
Historically poor weather has arrived on the entire east coast, and the ride to Myrtle Beach included about 1 hour of fairly heavy rain.
We got checked in & strolled the grounds at the marina.
Barefoot Marina is in North Myrtle Beach.
The marina is pretty nice – with cable TV, a very nice large pool & Jacuzzi, and great views across the ICW.
After gettin’ acquainted with the marina we went to lunch at a place called The Flying Fish. In spite of the rainy/dreary weather conditions, the lunch setting on the ICW immediately across from our marina, was very nice. We enjoyed a very nice ” welcome to Myrtle Beach” first meal.
After lunch, we walked around the shopping / entertainment complex.
This is Bike Week in Myrtle Beach, and we spent some time walking around a large parking lot with the many Harley Davidson tents. We saw some pretty cool bikes.
Next stop was The House of Blues, for some country music.
We had a few drinks at the House of Blues outdoor music venue called The Deck, and people-watched the bikers (maybe they were people-watching us too, we looked more out-of-place than they did).
After The House of Blues, we went walking around the outdoor shops at The Barefoot Landingand just horsed around a bit.
As we walked around the Barefoot Landing complex, we saw an advertisement for a new work-out program. With me and Dave being Mr. Muscles, we are always on the lookout for new ways to maintain our health and good looks with an Innovative Fitness Program.
This Fitness Program fit the bill.
Next stop was drinks & lunch at Bully’s Pub & Grub, where we had lunch and also watched the local carp fish & LARGE Gators eating French fires supplied by the restaurant patrons.
After lunch, we had a little more walking around, and ended up at a place called The Wild Wings Café, where we played bag toss well in to the night.
We also had dinner at the Wild Wings Café, the same place as the bag toss game. There was a one-man singer who was pretty good. It was a nice waterfront setting with good music & great company.
It was a long first full day for The Hinman’s !
I told them that this Looping stuff is hard work.
May 18 – Fri
Friday morning started out with more rain.
The plan for the day was to go to a place called The Broadway Beach.
The Broadway Beach is a very large entertainment complex with restaurants, bars, shopping, boat rides, zip lining, museums, and more.
We arrived about 10:30am, there were not many people, the place looked like a ghost-town. But by about noon the place started to hop.
We walked around the shops & bars, and had a little more horsing-around !
After all the exercise, it was time for lunch at Good Time Charley’s, where Dave had a very Big Burger.
After a full belly at lunch, we did what you always do with a full belly, we went on a helicopter ride.
Jonell & Ginger passed, me & Dave enjoyed a great ride with pilot Dan !
The ride was only about 8 miles down to the beach and back, but it was still really cool.
Captain Dan gave us some good fast turns & dips during the ride.
After the helicopter ride, we headed back to the boat and had, guess what – Some Sunshine !
We took advantage with a rapid change into our swim suits.
We started with the nice warm Jacuzzi, but as the sun came out stronger, we started to have some real fun tossing the football across the very large Barefoot Marina Pool.
Friday ended with a very nice dinner at the Greg Norman Australian Grille.
While walking home from dinner, we stumbled across an ice cream joint called Sweet Mollie’s Creamery. It was a very unique process. I ordered some kind of caramel ice cream with different kinds of candy chips. The server scooped out what looked like vanilla ice cream, added caramel sauce and the candy chips, then mixed it all together by hand. It was very good.
May 19 – Sat
Well Saturday was, guess what, ANOTHER RAINY DAY !
The weather has been unlike anything I recall from years past.
This has been the 5th day in a row with rain.
So we made the best of it again.
Todays plan was one of Jonell & Gingers favorite things to do – The dreaded Casino.
We departed the ss Gettin’ Looped about 10am, and headed for The Big – “M” Casino Boat(M, for money to be lost).
We arrived at the boat at 10:48am, with the scheduled take-off set for 11am, we just made it !
After departure, the ride out to the ocean was pretty cool, it was like being on a 43 ft Viking going down the ICW.
While traveling from the ICW to the Ocean, the ship had a pretty decent Buffet for $13.
We all took part in the buffet which included ; scrambled eggs, fresh danish, greasy sausage & bacon, some pretty good fruit salad, potatoes etc.
The ride out was pretty uneventful, and took about 45 minutes to an hour.
Once out past the 7 mile limit for gambling, the ocean waters picked up a lot of energy.
The captain had warned the passengers about a “rough ride” when we were boarding the boat. About 2 hours into the ride, the waves picked up to about 6-8 footers.
The boat then became the ss Sea Sickness, with as many as 30 people in my sight sitting at the breakfast room tables & bar seats with their heads on the table. The group of people with their heads on the table included most of our Hinman/Murphree group (we won’t mention names to protect the identities of the ill).
To make matters a little worse, guess what – nobody won, we all lost money !
Oh well, it seemed like a good rainy day plan, and was actually an ok thing to do, minus the sea sickness.
After the Casino Boat, it was about 4:30pm.
We took the uber back near the boat to the Barefoot restaurant/bar complex, and had dinner at a BBQ place called – The Stillhouse BBQ.
It was STILL RAINING !
The food was just OK, and we decided to follow up the sea sickness feeling with some Moonshine. Dave & I shared a flight of 3 different flavors of Moonshine ; Raspberry, Apple, & Caramel.
They were all pretty ghastly !
Along with the moonshine, they also served some moonshine impregnated cherries. Dave had one and told me how good they were, that I really need to try one.
As usual, his advice was a little mis-guided, the cherry was awful – I spit it out !
Dave was quite proud of himself !
After the BBQ/Moonshine dinner, we went to The Alabama Theatre, where we enjoyed a Variety show called The One Show. The show was pretty good with great music, dancing, and acrobatics.
The best part of the show was a comedian named – Grant Turner, he was the funniest comedian we had all seen in a long time, and guess what – he did the entire act without one swear word !
If you ever have the opportunity, go see Grant Turner doing his Ricky Mokel Comedy Show.
The Theater did not allow photos, the photos below are Google Photos
It was a fun day, in spite of the rain !
May 20 – Sun
Ok, Sunday was finally a day with sun, or at least a day with NO RAIN !
We took advantage of the mostly overcast but warm day, with a trip about 10 miles south to Myrtle Beach City, where we enjoyed a full day at the beach.
We started “Beach Day” by renting our chairs from lifeguard Dominic.
Dominic is from Poland, and he has only been here in the USA for a few weeks, but his English was pretty good.
It seemed strange that the lifeguards would rent the chairs, but as Walter Cronkite said – “That’s the way it is” here on Myrtle Beach.
Once we had the beach chairs, we settled in and then we went for a long walk from Pier 14 to Pier 2, where we had brunch on the upper deck of The 2nd Avenue Pier Restaurant.
The view of the beach & pier was very nice from the upper deck restaurant.
After brunch Dave & Ginger took the beach path back to the chairs, Nellie & I took the boardwalk path. Jonell was looking for some new beach shoes at the boardwalk shops.
We met the Hinmans back at the beach chairs about 2pm.
The sun was now out and it was time for some sports.
The 2 athletes spent most of the next 2 hours tossing the Nerf football.
Dave also made some new friends, playing catch with some young football fans.
After the football toss, it was time to get the girls involved.
About 6pm, we had a very competitive bag toss game.
Team Murphree won round-1 a few days ago, at the Wild Wings Cafe.
Team Hinman bounced back with a 2-1 victory today.
After the highly competitive bag toss game, we had dinner at the same restaurant/bar that we had played the game, a place called Rip Tydz. It was a 3 story place, with the restaurant on the 2nd floor. The views of the ocean were very nice.
While we waited for dinner, I commented on how darkly tanned Ginger was after all the rain, and only 1-2 days in partial sun.
I also complimented Mrs Murphree’s tan, and thanked her for a valiant attempt during the bag toss game.
So after 4 rainy days, the Myrtle Beach visit was over.
A nice stop, but it could have been so much more fun with some dry weather & sunshine.
Oh well, maybe the next stop.
Next Stop = 1 night in Southport North Carolina
Yes North Carolina !
We are gettin’ northbound quicker than Mrs Murph is liking, but required to make a certain wedding in September (our son Dan & fiancée Megan).
May 14 – Mon
After the 1 night stay at the Leland Oil Company, we had a short 27 mile ride into the Harborwalk Marina in Georgetown SC.
The ride was peaceful, plenty of deep water, low winds, etc.
We passed several small fishermen, the one below seemed almost like a family event with Dad, Mom, and son pulling up crab nets.
It was a great way to start the day.
We left Leland at 8:30am and arrived at Georgetown at 11:30am.
It is supposed to rain for about 10 days in a row, so we topped off the fuel (108 gallons), while the sunshine was still showing its face.
After gettin’ fueled & set up in our slip, we went into work mode – prepping for the arrival of the Hinman’s tomorrow.
Nellie did 4 loads of laundry, and I washed the boat and went grocery shopping (had to buy extra beer for Dave).
We showered up about 6pm, and went out for dinner & a quick look-see of Georgetown.
We strolled down the Georgetown Harborwalk.
We stopped and ate at a place called Buzz’s Roost, a nautical sports bar place on the waterfront. The ambiance & service were good, the food was “ok” bar food.
After dinner we walked back to the boat on the main street in town called Front Street.
Not a whole lot happening today (Monday), it was pretty quiet, but it was about 8pm.
The Chamber of Commerce is right behind the marina, so when the Hinman’s arrive tomorrow, we will start there, and determine the Things-to-Do in Georgetown.
May – 15 – Tue Hurrah, it was the Hinman arrival day, visitors again !
We had not had overnight visitors since our neighbors Al & Roberta, way back in early April.
Dave & Ginger Hinman arrived about noon on Tuesday.
Dave is one of my life-long pals going back to about 1976.
I was best man for Ginger & Dave in 1981.
They will be with us for the next 11 days as we travel from Georgetown – Myrtle Beach – Southport – Wrightsville – Swainsboro – and Beaufort NC.
After arrival, we did the normal mandatory welcome aboard drinks & photos on the aft deck of Gettin’ Looped.
After gettin’ Dave & Ginger settled in, we went exploring.
We started at the local Chamber of Commerce, where we met city hostess “Susan”.
Susan gave us some maps and explained where to find the local museums & restaurants.
She was a darling woman with a great sense of humor, and lovely southern accent.
Our next stop was, guess what – a pub !
I didn’t want to start drinking so early, by now it was about 2pm, but Dave twisted my little arm.
So we started the adventure at The Big Tuna, with waitress Jodi.
We shared sandwiches with our 1st mates and had a beer.
Next stop on the Hinman Welcome Train was The Wharf, with waiter Patrick.
Somehow, the photographer was on vacation, no photos at The Wharf.
Stop #3 – The Castaway Bar, with waitress Della.
Stop #4 – Buzz’s Roost
So now after 2 drinks on the boat (3 for Dave), and 1 drink at each of ; Big Tuna, The Wharf, Castaway, and Buzz’s Roost, I was beginning to feel a little buzz’s roost myself.
So we went for some walking and exercise around town. They did not have a workout center at the marina, so we had to improvise.
After all that exercise, we were bushed and had to stop for another round at a place called The Seven Hundred Grill & Bar on Front Street, the main drag in town.
After refreshing ourselves at The Seven Hundred Bar, it was again time for some exploring. We were in search of The Oldest House in Georgetown. Built in 1734, the guide-book says that the Thomas Bolem House was a pre-revolutionary tavern and place of entertainment. Thomas Bolem was the tavern keeper.
The #40 in the photo below is a reference to the map of historic homes, it helps tourist find the various houses using the map.
Continued exploring found another cool looking house. The Crafton Kerwon House, built in 1737 !
Next on the discovery parade was The Town Clocktower, built in 1842-1945.
After all that history, it was time for dinner.
We went to dinner at a place called The Harborside Seafood & Italian Restaurant. We were entertained by very friendly waitress Jodi & met owner/Chef Chris Mitchel when we were leaving.
Oh, I almost forgot.
Within all the pubs, and site-seeing, we also got some exercise “Rooster Chasing”.
Dave lost, the Rooster won !
He’s not as quick as he used to be.
Rooster Chasing Video =https://youtu.be/wHrvkTJhZOI
May 16 – Wed On Wednesday, we started the day with some breakfast at The Thomas Café. It was a quaint little café which felt like you were back in the 1950’s
After breakfast we went walking to burn off the food. We walked the old neighborhoods, the new neighborhoods, looked at trees, and ended up at a local artisans place checking out knick-knacks made by local artists. We met wood worker and shop operator Tom.
Next stop was an attempted walk in the local waterfront park to burn off some breakfast, but the bugs were so bad , we had to abandon the park. The weather was starting to change a little so we went indoors to the Georgetown Maritime Museum. It was a 2 story building that had a lot of marine artifacts including; models of hand-made old ships, old lightower light lenses powered by whale oil, and poster boards of a lot of history we had seen back in Beaufort like the Hunley Submarine & Robert Smalls. It also had an interesting map showing the location of a whopping 37 shipwrecks on the South Carolina Coast over the years.
After the Maritime Museum, when we came outside the weather had improved. We watched a long string of bikers in town, who had come down for the day from Myrtle Beach Bike Week. We will see more of these fellows tomorrow when we move to Myrtle Beach. Really cool video attached below.
Dinner on Wednesday was at a relatively fancy place called the River Room Restaurant.
After dinner we went for a little walk back to the boat and noticed that the large prop that Dave had climbed on the night before was now fenced off to the public, thank’s Dave !
The night ended with a lovely socialization event with Captain Rod & wife Fran Singleton. Captain Rod runs the local tour boat, has helped the chamber of commerce make all the tourist maps, and is actively involved with the church. He & his church group, do 1 mission every year to Chernobyl Russia.
Rod was a wealth of history on things that had happened in and near Georgetown over the years. His charming southern drawl was just a delight to listen to all night.
Remember the last long post from Charleston ?
This will make up, and be a very short one.
After a wonderful 4 days in Charleston, we continued to head north.
Next stop was a very small fishing town of 1000 people, called McClellanville South Carolina.
The 40 mile trip north was not w/o excitement.
We departed Charleston about 8:30am.
I had known before we left, that there was going to be some skinny water as we approached McClellanville. As we got within 10 miles of McClellanville, the radio chatter picked up dramatically about how low the water was at marker #37, one mile south of our marina.
Some radio callers said “it’s completely shoaled over” !
It was about 12 noon, the tide was still going out until 1:00pm (I knew this well in advance of the radio chatter), so we decided to anchor for about 3 hours. We dropped anchor in 6 feet of water at 12:30pm and picked the anchor up in 7.5 feet of water about 3:30pm (+1.5ft).
When we passed thru the infamous marker #37 @ 4pm, we saw 6 feet of water.
We draft only 3’/9″, but if we would have continued thru at noon, we would have been in about 4.5 feet of water (6ft – 1.5ft) and grounding would have been close, and it was not worth the risk of damaged props.
While we were anchored, we got some work done while waiting for the tide to come back in.
We cleaned all the Isinglass, checked the oil, the bilge, & the stuffing boxes.
And we plotted out our courses for the next 2 stops ;
> McClellanville to Georgetown
> Georgetown to Myrtle Beach
We are staying only 1 night at a place called the Leland Oil Company, the place is really a fuel stop that has power, water, and showers. The primary purpose of Leland Oil is to supply fuel for the large fleet of Shrimping Boats in the same harbor.
Tomorrow we will head to Georgetown South Carolina for 3 days.
We will meet Dave & Ginger Hinman on Tuesday afternoon.
They will spend 11 days with us (yea) !
The extended forecast looks like a bunch of indoor activities (humm, what will we do ?)
May 9 – Wed
We departed Edisto Island after only 1 night on Wednesday and headed for an exciting stop in Charleston South Carolina. Along with St Augustine, Savannah, & Beaufort, this is one of the highly anticipated cities on the southeast coast.
We arrived at the Charleston City Marina about 1pm at the peak of tide current. So we had current pushing us one way, wind pushing us one way, boats in front / behind our dock space, and we were in a somewhat narrow fairway on the inside of the Charleston Harbor Mega-Dock. With no bow/stern thrusters, we were a little nervous, but the docking experience gained through the Loop paid off and the event turned out to be an easy docking after doing a 180 turn & heading into the current (as we always do). The Mega-Dock is 1530ft long, and Charleston City Marina has over 19,000 feet of linear dock space. Here is a photo of the long Mega-Dock.
The marina is very nice for a City Marina, they have Cable TV, 7 private shower rooms, and a shit-load of young dock hands who are all very good and very nice.
They also have a couple interesting pump-out boats named ; The Grateful Head & The Bow Movement.
After gettin’ tied up & cleaned up, we headed into downtown Charleston and walked around the City Market area, got some tickets for a carriage ride the next morning, and then went to dinner.
While purchasing the carriage tour tickets, I picked the local’s brains about restaurants. They recommended several places , one of them being Poogan’s Porch.
Poogan’s Porch on Queen street, is one of Charleston’s oldest establishments, & recognized by Martha Stewart Living, Wine Spectator and The Travel Channel.
The building was built in 1888, but not allowed to be converted to a restaurant until 1976. The previous owners of the house sold their home and moved away. A little, down-home southern dog named Poogan stayed behind. Poogan had been a neighborhood fixture for years, wandering from porch to porch, in search of back scratches and table scraps, endearing himself to all. From his proud porch perch, he served as the official greeter. It seemed only right to the name the restaurant after him. Poogan died a natural death in 1979. His porch and restaurant live on in his honor.
The place looks pretty small from the front, but I walked through the place and it was huge on the inside with many rooms downstairs, upstairs, & in a rear courtyard. Jonell & I ate at 1 of 4 tables in what appeared to be the small living room on the 1st floor in the front of the building.
The food was again awesome.
> I had the Roasted Duck Pirloo (Seared Duck Breast, Andouille Sausage, Wild Mushrooms, Anson Mills Middlins Rice, Merlot Gastrique)
> Nellie had the Cornmeal Fried Catfish (Local Étouffée, Collard Greens, Red Rice Hoppin’ John).
The place had MANY photos on the wall of famous people who had eaten there, here is one from the god-father of soul.
After dinner we walked around a place called the Vendue Park. The park is on the waterfront. Charleston is essentially on a peninsula , surrounded by water on 3 sides. The park had several fountains.
Near the Vendue Waterfront Park, we went to the Vendue Hotel & Roof Top Bar. There was a nice 3 piece Jazz band on the lower level bar of the hotel, but we took the elevator up to the roof top for the great views. When we got to the roof top, it was somewhat disappointing, with the roof being at the same level as surrounding buildings – we saw only the top of buildings & AC units (Bla). As we were about to leave, Jonell spotted another stairway going up another level. We took the stairway and found the real roof top bar. It was better, but still not as great as the roof top we had experienced at the Madison Hotel in Memphis. We had one drink and booked
Overall, it was a great 1st half-day & night in Charleston.
May 10 – Thu
On Thursday, we had an early rise at about 7am in order to arrive at our 9am Carriage Ride Tour time. We like to use the carriage rides to get the initial feel for what to do & seen in a new city. Today we had tour guide Aaron & horse Abba. Abba is a very large Belgian Draft Horse, known as a work-horse.
As with previous carriage rides, we learned a lot about the city’s history & the main attractions to see.
The Charleston History – Quick Version (sorry, the history lessons will soon be over).
> Founded by British colonists in 1670.
> Charleston grew from a colonial seaport to a wealthy city by the mid 1700’s.
> Through the mid 1800’s, Charleston’s economy grew due to its busy seaport and the cultivation of rice, cotton, and indigo.
> In April of 1861, Confederate soldiers fired on Union-occupied Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, historically known as the 1st shot of the Civil War.
> Charleston was slow to recover from the devastation of the war. But its pace of recovery became the foundation of the city’s greatest asset – its vast inventory of historically significant architecture.
> Short on capital after the war, Charleston was forced to repair its existing damaged buildings instead of replacing them.
> After the war, the City gradually lessened its dependence on agriculture and rebuilt its economy through trade and industry. Construction of the Navy Yard in 1904 financially boosted Charleston into the 1900’s.
> During the first few decades of the 1900’s, industrial and port activities increased dramatically. Later, major sources of money came from the Charleston Naval Base, the area’s medical industry, and the tourism industry.
> Today, approximately 4.51 million people visit the city annually, generating an estimated economic impact of $3.22 billion.
During the tour, Aaron discussed several tidbits about the city
> Charleston was initially built as the only Walled Colonial City, with a 17 foot tall wall.
> It is known as The Holy City, with over 90 churches.
> They claim to be 2nd to only Rome, in historic buildings.
> Lots of the current city of Charleston, is built on landfill.
> Charleston is in the shape of a peninsula, and is only 1 mile wide x 3 miles long.
> Charleston was heavily involved in slavery, processing over 40% of 600,000 slaves.
> It is one of the best culinary cities in the country.
There are MANY things to see & do in Charleston.
I had a very long desired “To-Do” itinerary, and have listed below in Green, which of the attractions we were successful in visiting. In only 3.5 days of time, we had a large task list and did not make all the attractions.
> Carriage Rides
> The City Market – a 4 block long, enclosed set of vendors selling everything !
> Historic Churches – called the Holy City, over 90 churches.
> The Old Exchange – 1 of 4 places left in the USA, where the Constitution was ratified.
> The Old Slave Museum – a place where slaves were bought & sold.
> Rainbow Row – a row of brightly colored houses dating back to the 1700’s.
> The Battery & Whitepoint Gardens – Historic Mansions & a large park on the waterfront, over-looking Charleston Harbor and Fort Sumter.
> Fort Sumter – site of the 1st Shots of the Civil War.
> The Hunley – 1st submarine ever, to achieve a successful battleship sinking (Civil War)
> The Aquarium – possessing 1 of only 13 Albino Alligators in the USA
> The Angel Oak – 1400 years old, 65 ft tall, and has a 65ft circumference.
> Plantations – Boone-Hall, Magnolia, Draton-Hall, & Middleton
> Ravenel Bridge – The third longest cable-stayed bridge in the Western Hemisphere.
> King Street Shops – high-end stores like Louis Vuitton.
Most of the above was done on Friday, it was a very long day, I walked Nellie’s legs off, I think we covered about 7-8 miles of walking between 10am-6pm.
Here ya go, I’ll try to keep it short.
> We started the day with the Carriage Ride – Tour Guide Aaron & Horse Abba
After the Carriage Ride, at 10am, we walked thru the City Market. > The City Market is a 4 block long brick enclosed structure originated in 1796. Throughout the 1800’s, the market provided a convenient place for area farms and plantations to sell beef and produce, and also acted as a place for locals to gather and socialize. Today, the City Market’s vendors sell souvenirs and other items ranging from jewelry to Gullah sweetgrass baskets. Charleston is known for the basket weaving.
After the City Market, we took a short walk down King Street.
King street is listed by the U.S. News and World Report as one of the “Top 10 Shopping Streets in the USA.”
After The City Market & the King street Shops, we took a Breakfast Break at the Café Framboise, and shared a croissant.
After breakfast, we went to see a few of the 90 Historic Churches An interesting story from the tour guide was that during the civil war, most of the steeples were bell-less, with the copper bells removed, melted, and used for war supplies.
After seeing some of the many churches, we went to a place called The Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon. The docent Susan led us on a wonderful tour and history lesson.
> Built in 1771, a Charleston landmark and the site of some of the most important events in South Carolina history. The building has been a commercial exchange, custom house, post office, city hall, military headquarters, and museum.
> During the American Revolution (1775-1783), British forces converted the bottom floor of the Exchange into a military prison known as the Provost or “dungeon.” American prisoners of war, private citizens, and enslaved people all endured its harsh confines.
> In 1788 the Exchange upper floors hosted South Carolina leaders as they debated and approved the U. S. Constitution. Today, the Old Exchange Building is one of only four structures remaining where the Constitution was originally ratified.
> In 1791, city leaders entertained President George Washington at the Exchange with a series of lavish dinners, concerts, and dances, attended by hundreds of members of Charleston’s elite.
> Between the American Revolution and the Civil War, the Exchange was Charleston’s most common destination for public slave auctions, making the site one of the most important in the history of the domestic slave trade.
> Today, it is a non-profit historic site that focuses on the American Revolution and Colonial Charleston.
After the Old Exchange, we went to lunch at the Brown Dog Deli.
While on the way to the Brown Dog, we passed a place called The Tavern, claiming to be the Oldest Liquor Store in the country ??
After lunch we continued Jonell Buehler’s Day-Off, and headed to a place called The Old Slave Mart Museum.
The Old Slave Mart visit was an eerie/riveting experience, feeling like I would imagine a holocaust museum feels. The story goes as follows ;
> Originally, the slaves were bought & sold on the open streets and city sponsored places like the Old Exchange building we discussed earlier in the blog.
> As pressure grew from the north & the abolitionists, open slave trading was outlawed, but the process was not yet made illegal.
> Entrepreneurs began building enclosed structures in which to continue the slave trading. The Old Slave Mart was 1 of about 40 enclosed slave auctions galleries in Charleston.
> Constructed in 1859, the building is believed to be the last existing slave auction facility in South Carolina.In 1975, the Old Slave Mart was added to the National Register of Historic Places for its role in Charleston’s African-American history.
> The museum did not allow photographs, but had many old photos, audio recordings of auctions (spooky), audio recordings of ex-slaves and their experiences, discussions on how the slaves bartered with potential new owners attempting to keep their families together (saying ” I will work hard for you if you take my family too”).
> One of the most riveting things for me was some photos & recordings showing how the sellers would prep the slaves for auction ; feeding/fattening, dying gray hair of older slaves, using lotions on the skin to heal or hide shackle wounds and whipping marks. Finally dressing the slaves in brand new clothing.
It seemed like prepping a car for resale, it gave us a sick feeling.
> Another memorable experience was looking at the auction brochures advertising the upcoming auction. The flyers listed the date/time of the auction & each slave on the upcoming auction block – their size, weight, age, their skills (general laborer, skilled worker, cooks, nannys), any “defects” like a previously broken leg. Prices ranged from $1000-2500. The slaves were frequently passed down in wills between family members, or used to pay debts.
> Charleston was evidently at the epicenter of the slave trading, reportedly processing 35-40% of 600,000 slaves.
> The Old Slave Mart Museum is the only site of its kind in South Carolina.
After the eerie experience and history lesson, we walked to Rainbow Row– the name for a series of thirteen colorful historic houses from the 1700’s. It represents the longest cluster of “georgian row houses” in the United States. The name Rainbow Row was coined after the pastel colors they were painted, as they were restored in the 1930’s and 1940’s. It is a popular tourist attraction and is one of the most photographed parts of Charleston.
After Rainbow Row, we headed on to The Battery & nearby Whitepoint Gardens.
As a tourist destination, The Battery is famous for its stately antebellum mansions. But earlier in history it was a landmark defensive seawall where the army generals & rich socialites could overlook the Charleston Harbor & Fort Sumter. The nearby Whitepoint gardens still show the cannons which helped create the name The Battery.
We concluded the late afternoon, now about 4pm, at the Nathaniel Russell House.
Built by a wealthy shipping merchant Nathaniel Russell in 1808, it is recognized as one of America’s most important Neoclassical houses. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1973.
The draw to the house was that the interior was supposed to be exactly as it was originally built, paint colors verified by forensics, and a crazy 3 story spiral staircase. After some of the attractions above, this one seemed ho-hum to us (5 rating on the Murphree tourist scale).
It was now about 5pm, closing time for most attractions, and team Murphree was whipped. It was time to head back to the SS Gettin’ Looped, and take a well deserved pre-dinner siesta !
Dinner was very low-key on Friday night, with a 2 mile bike ride to the local community college area, and burgers & beer at the Big Gun Burger & Bar.
After dinner, we noticed across the street, something that looked like an artistic structure. It turned out to be a memorial for all the Holocaust survivors who ultimately ended up living in South Carolina.
Here is what google says about the monument – the monument features a concrete and bronze inscription wall, that details the history of the Holocaust and lists names of survivors living in South Carolina. The center or heart of the memorial is a four-sided iron screen measuring 25 feet wide, 60 feet long, and 17 feet high. The screen is intended to create a space that is sacred. Within the iron screen walls rests a 12 foot bronzed tallit, a Jewish prayer shawl.
I’m not sure the artist really pulled this off, when I first saw the object inside the walls, I thought someone had left an old tarp laying in the middle of the monument. Maybe it’s just my ignorance regarding the Jewish faith.
May 11 – Fri
Friday was friends & family day.
I started the day with a call to my pal from 1971, Dave Noffert.
This is the special year in which me & all my pals turn the big “60”.
March was the big “60” for Eric Deloney & Dave Vrabel.
Friday was Dave Noffert’s 60th birthday.
My time is coming in August.
Dave & Debbie Noffert will soon join us on The Loop in June.
The next call was to our Looper Pals Tyre-Less, Jim & Leslie.
They have been in Charleston for a few weeks & we had not seen them since Key West.
So we planned a dinner for Friday night.
The next phone call, was a call that I received from my pal since 1975, Dave Hinman. He is the youngster of the crowd at only 58 years old this October. Dave & Ginger will join us next week in Georgetown SC.
Then after all the phone calls, we had actual visitors. Randy Eschels& family arrived about 11am.
Randy has been my financial advisor/planner since age 35 (1993).
I met Randy at age 35 and at the time had not been a very serious “saver/investor”.
Jonell and I had a house with a mortgage, but had savings of about only $25,000-30,000.
I had a plan & vision of where I wanted to be in 20 years, but needed some help.
Since I retired at age 57, and able to do The Loop – I believe that Randy’s influence/experience/coaching has worked out pretty darn well !
I am very grateful.
And for you young adults in your early 30’s with low bank accounts – It’s not too late , start saving & investing. Use the slow/steady approach, not the magic bullet. Advertisement
Eschel’s Financial Group
555 S Old Woodward Ave
Birmingham, Mi, 48009
Randy & family arrived about 11am.
They had spent the week up in Myrtle Beach, and wanted to stop by and say hi before they headed back home.
Randy is an avid Gettin’ Looped blog reader, and we had 2 near misses of hooking up while we were Looping and Randy was vacationing in Bay Harbor & Fort Myers Beach.
I have known Randy since 1993, but it was the first time that me & Jonell had met his wonderful family; wife Sherie, Son Garett, and Daughter Erin.
The family had come together for a week’s vacation in Myrtle Beach, with Garett coming in from Nashville, Erin coming in from Baltimore, and Randy/Sherie coming in from Michigan.
Garett works in Nashville as a financial guy, my recollection is that he is promoting insurance packages to financial planners like Randy. Garett could easily come into the Eschel’s Financial umbrella, but prefers to establish himself on his own for now.
Garett brought me a very special present, a bottle of Maker’s 46.
Maker’s 46 was the special project of the previous president , Bill Samuels, whose parents started Makers Mark. Maker’s 46 was Bill Samuel’s crowning achievement in his 46 years as president. Garett met Bill at the Kentucky Derby a few weeks ago, and was treated to a private tour of the distillery.
Erin lives in Baltimore, and works as a video production technician for the marketing side of the Baltimore Ravens. She interned out of Michigan State with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and got a full-time position with the Ravens a few years ago.
We had a wonderful discussion on the aft deck of Gettin’ Looped about; The Loop, family, work, sports, education, our children, politics, etc.
Then we went to lunch at a place across the Ashley River called California Dreaming. It was a beautiful venue on the Ashley River on a beautiful day.
And the best part – Randy Paid the bill !
After the Eschels’ left, I took a 30 minute siesta (mid-day naps are great), Nellie read her new book, then we cleaned up for dinner with Jim & Leslie from Tyre-Less.
As I mentioned above, we had not seen Tyre-Less since Key West. We originally met them on the Ohio River, just north of Paducah Kentucky, in September of last year. It was about the same time we had met mutual friends Mother Ocean & Thistle.
Leslie & Jim had heard from 3 different sources, about a place 20 minutes away called Edmund’s Oast.
Edmund’s Oast is listed as a Brewpub/Gastropub, but as The Charleston magazine says in their review “one needn’t love beer to fall in love with Edmund’s Oast”. They called it the most important culinary establishment to open in Charleston in the last year.
They do have 48 different kinds of beer on tap, Jim & I tested 6 different offerings just between the two of us. One beer having a strong hickory smoked flavor, one had a jalapeno pepper flavor, several had chocolate flavors, and most were 6-10% alcohol.
Nellie had a light beer, Leslie drank wine & beer !
The food was excellent, with everything having a light Indian theme with curry in many of the offerings.
I had the Buttered Lamb with Carolina Gold Rice, tomato, & Fava shoots.
Nellie had the Salt Chicken with green curry, rice, lime, & schmaltz (whatever that is).
After dinner we came back & had some libations on Gettin’ Looped, then went over for a couple nite-caps on Tyre-Less, then finally called it a night.
May 12 – Sun
Sunday was prep day to travel to McKlellanville tomorrow, and Georgetown on Monday.
But prior to leaving Charleston, we wanted to squeeze in 1 more attraction, The Hunley Submarine Tour.
The Hunley Submarine Tour turned out to be one of the best attractions we have been to on The Loop.
The Hunley Facts & Timeline
> The first shots of the Civil War were fired on Fort Sumter on April 12,1861, right here in Charleston.
> 4 days after the start of the Civil War, President Lincoln imposed a blockade on all southern harbors.
> The blockades worked very well to cut off supplies to the Confederate Troops.
> The Confederate Army and General Beauregard became desperate, and by 1863 were offering $50,000 rewards for the sinking of any Union Blockade Ships.
> Confederate businessman & entrepreneur H.L. Hunley began the dream of building a submarine to bust the blockades.
> Two failed test runs of the sub occurred in 1863, killing 2 crews of 8 men each.
> Feb 17, 1864 the Hunley became the first submarine ever to record a successful battleship sinking, by sinking the Union Ship, the USS Housatonic, in Charleston Harbor.
> After completing her mission sinking the Housatonic in 1864, The Hunley mysteriously vanished and remained lost at sea for over a century.
> On May 3rd, 1995 The Hunley was found off the coast of Sullivan Island, just northeast of Charleston Harbor, by The NUMA Organization (National Underwater Marine Organization) being sponsored by NY Times award-winning author Clive Cussler.
> By August 8th, 2000, the Hunley was finally safely recovered and was delivered to the Warren Lasch Conservation Center in Charleston, a high-tech lab run by Clemson University specifically designed to conserve the vessel and unlock the mystery of her disappearance.
> Restoration of the Hunley has occurred since 1995, and is still in process.
> The docent guided tour was one of the best tours that I have ever been on.
> The Hunley is viewed by some, as the most significant artifact of The Civil War. If it would have returned safely, it may have altered the course of the Civil War.
I know the story is already long, but here is a snapshot of what is believed to have happened on the night of attack, Feb 17,1864. > The Hunley was not a true submarine, in that it operated just below the surface of the water with about 1 foot of structure above the water.
> The Hunley was man-powered, with 8 men moving a rotating bar to propel the sub at only 5-6mph. Tides in the Charleston Harbor played a key role, because the man-power could not overcome the current rush during tidal changes.
> The sub had to open the 2 hatches to replenish air supply.
> The Confederate army had to wait weeks for the Night-Time attack, until the waves were low enough, the moon lighting was minimal, and the tide was going out.
> The Hunley did not have missiles, it had a gun powder bomb on the end of a 17ft rod attached to the front of the sub. The Hunley rammed the bomb into the side of the Housatonic, blowing a 10foot hole and sinking her in 5 minutes.
> After the successful sinking of the Housatonic, it is theorized that the sub purposely filled its ballast tanks to lay 30ft below the surface, on the bottom of Charleston Bay waiting for the tide & current to reverse back while reinforcement Union Boats circled the area. It is believed that the crew members slowly fell asleep and passed. Their remains were found in the exact positions that each man should have been at during the attack.
After the tour we came back to the Gettin’ Looped, wrote the blog, & prepped the ICW route for tomorrow.
> Sun = Leland Oil Company in McKlellanville South Carolina – 1 night
> Mon, Tue, Wed = The Harborwalk Marina in Georgetown South Carolina, where we will be joined by Dave & Ginger Hinman.