We fall in love with Charleston

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Charleston is so beautiful. The historic area at the confluence of its two rivers, the Ashley and the Cooper, has house after house that made our jaws drop. Maybe a Harry Potter fan lives in this one below?

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This fountain is down by the harbour. The pineapple is significant as a symbol of Southern hospitality and you often see them carved both inside and outside of many historic houses. Apparently, a pineapple was placed on the mantelpiece to welcome guests, who would know they had outstayed their welcome on the day it disappeared. As they were expensive, some people could only afford to rent a pineapple as a centrepiece for their dinner party, then it would go on to the next house.

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It was my birthday while we were here, so we booked a special meal at a restaurant called 82 Queen. It was fabulous. Three 18th and 19th century houses with courtyards behind give 11 different spaces to eat in. We ate under a tree lit by fairy lights, which almost made the food superfluous, but it was lovely too. A romantic end to the first stage of our holiday. Tomorrow, we’ll be in the mountains.

We saw alligators!

Yesterday, on our visit to Magnolia Plantation we also visited the swamp garden – it’s named after Audubon who visited the house where they have some of his prints. We had already noticed an alligator in one of the ponds at the main garden, but it was swimming too far out to get a good look. In the swamp garden, we suddenly heard a lot of splashing and noticed a bird struggling then disappear beneath the water. The people in front called out that they had seen an alligator take it and that we could see one up closer where they were standing. We then saw this guy:

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He was almost camouflaged by duckweed but his eye was clearly visible as he watched us. Eventually, he decided we were of no interest, turned and swam languidly away.

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I have a video of him swimming but I can’t seem to attach it with the WordPress app, so that will have to wait till we get home.

6/8/11 If I’m lucky, and after many attempts, this should be the video. Click on it to take you to Twitpic and ignore the swearing:

Still trying to upload this damn alligator on Twitpic

Magnolia Plantation and Audubon Swamp Gardens

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There are several plantations around Charleston and we picked this one to visit on our way over from Savannah. We were so glad we did. You can make up a combination ticket from various options and we chose to visit the house and gardens and the swamp garden. It was all so beautiful – see a selection of images below, and I’m keeping the best bit for a post all of its own!

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