Our next stop was Orlando to meet up with some friends of JoDee's and the plan was to watch the shuttle launch from their house. BUT, we didn't get our acts together and time got away from us and we ended up watching the launch from the Chik Fil-A parking lot. Not exactly what I had hoped for, but still a much better view than if we had stayed home. The clouds were so low that we only saw it for a few seconds and nearly missed it because I was watching the countdown online with my phone and didn't think of the few seconds it would take to reach my phone. Luckily, Gabe looked up and saw it in time for the rest of us to look up at the sky and catch it for a few seconds before it disappeared into the clouds. I was glad we chose to sleep in our beds rather than try to sleep in the van in Titusville to get front row seats to a launch that we could have only seen a few seconds of. We enjoyed time with Jamie and Anita and their family. We shared our costumes so they could get a free meal too.
We stopped for lunch in Georgia:
And dinner in South Carolina
It was fun to see lots of others dressed up too. Some of our stops we would see almost everyone dressed up and at one stop we were the only ones! All worth it though!
For our first outing, we went to an old fort that was right near the May's house. Fort Dorchester was colonized by a group in 1697 who were having a hard time with the weather and land in the northeast. Their lives centered around community effort and the church which was built in 1719. Behind us you see the walls of the fort where the ammunition was stored. This fort was never attacked and that is why so much of it is intact.
The opening where a heavy door used to be:
The walls were made partly off oyster shells and mortar. Very sharp and would discourage a lot of climbing!
It was also a pretty place to take some pictures. The kids are in front of the bell tower which is all that is left of the church. While we were there, there was a couple there having their pictures taken professionally at the bell tower. It was melting hot, but a beautiful spot.
The bell tower and in the background another photographer:
Sunday, we went to Fort Sumter. This was the place made famous for being the place where the Civil War began. The Confederate Army fired upon the fort until they were able to take control of it. The Union Army was short on supplies and didn't have very many men there either because the war was not anticipated. I was very pleased with the history the kids picked up and that they were able to appreciate standing in the place where history was made and touching the walls where soldiers also likely touched as they defended the fort.
And they have a bridge similar to our Skyway bridge in St Pete...though that is difficult to appreciate from this distance:
The opening for the cannon:
There were many different size cannons and each had a different purpose:
Fortunately, there was a museum inside with lots of relics and historical explanations (and air conditioning!) This is the flag that was flying at the time of the attack that started the Civil War:
Some of the artillery shot through the cannons:
Holden had my little camera and was taking pictures also. I told him I didn't need 700 pictures of "things", and that he should try to include someone from our family in the pictures. He took the above and below pictures. Jo with a musket and Alayna with a model of the fort as it was at the start of the Civil War.
He listens very well sometimes:
Next we grabbed some lunch and headed to the Hunley Museum. This was a submarine that was used in the Civil War to try to break the Union's blockade which prevented the South from exporting their goods and shut off their supplies as well. It was the first ever successful submarine attack that sunk a ship. The submarine was lost shortly after her successful mission and all the crew (8 men) perished. It was found in the early 90s and raised and is now being restored. We couldn't photograph it, but this is a replica of what the inside was like. There were seats for the 7 men who turned the pipe that moved the propeller that moved the sub through the water. The kids thought it was quite hard work!
Jo, Kate and I with a replica of the Hunley. It was amazing to see the technology they already had figured out with the sub. It was only 48 inches tall inside (random fact inserted here!)
Monday was even hotter and we got up early and found a farm to pick our own blueberries. They were $10/gallon and all you could eat was free...not sure they profited from us or not! They were so good right off the tree! And they were very easy to pick.
Gabe swears he ate a gallon himself:
Kate and Alayna worked together:
Riley ate his share as well:
But I filled my basket before I ate very many. I liked to see progress!
We ended up with 2 full gallons and it didn't take very long to do that at all. It was very fun and I wish a bit closer to home. I would do that on a regular basis!
We did finally find success here at the church! It wasn't easy and we probably looked for an hour before we found the landmark mentioned in the clue. I guess its supposed to be that hard, we were really glad to find one at last! We dug out the box from the underbrush and this is what we found:
For our last day, we headed back toward Charleston and stopped first at Folley Beach to see a lighthouse. It was a long walk in the heat but so worth it. So beautiful! And the humidity this time made for beautiful pictures I think:
One of my very favorite pictures of the trip:
Next, we went to lunch in Charleston and caught the trolley to the Waterfront Park. Waaaay too hot to walk that far!
The kids had a blast playing in the water at the park. Wading was encouraged in the fountains.
Finally, we headed to Market Street to see the open air market where jewelry, baskets and about anything you could imagine was sold. We saw this pretty building on the way. It looked like a nice place for a family photo
Now, we are already looking forward to our next vacation. I have a hard time believing that I will only have a few more years to take these kinds of vacations with the kids. Its so amazing how fast they grow up. Trying to enjoy every minute!