Charleston, SC: A Journey Back In Time - My Family Travels

When my mom announced travel plans to Charleston, mounds of negative things ran through my head.  I contemplated “Why are we going to Charleston? South Carolina has the exact same thing as North Carolina.  I think I would rather go to New York or Disney World.  I was apprehensive as I envisioned that South Carolina has NOTHING to do and they are not that interesting.”   “Are we there yet?  Where are we?  How much longer do we have until we are there?”   Those were the repetitive questions I kept asking my parents along the five hour car ride to Charleston, South Carolina.  It seemed as if the trip was taking days.  After a few hours, we stopped along the way to take a stretch break and eat lunch.  As soon as I got back in the car, I was sound asleep as I anticipated our arrival to this boring, dreadful town.

Finally, I woke up and peered outside the window as I spotted the “Welcome to South Carolina” sign.  My eyes opened in amazement at the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge.  That was the longest bridge I had ever seen in my life!  Later, I discovered that the bridge was two and a half miles long and 187 feet high. The bridge is connected by cables and extends from Charleston to Mt. Pleasant. 

After we checked into the hotel, I was not impressed with our destination.  We went to the waterfront and glanced over the shimmery water. The water was as calm as a sleeping baby and it barely moved.  We walked about two blocks when we realized that the city had a very distinctive aroma. One minute it smelled like something, then the next, something else; usually a horrendous odor.  On the other side in the far distance, we detected a little island. Across the street was a park, called The Battery, which displayed cannons and cannon balls.  As we  explored the town, we noticed the buildings were exquisite and filled with elaborative details, swirls, columns, and iron gates were intricate. It was astonishing to learn that the architecture structures were made without blue prints.

Additionally, the museums were truly an eye opener.  It helped me realize a different perspective of what life of a slave was really like. The museums were somewhat interactive and I was able to hear the voices and perceptions of some of the actual slaves.  Once we finished touring the Old Mart Slave Museum and Aiken- Rhett House, we headed towards The City Market. It was breathtaking watching the merchants make the sweet grass baskets and seeing how much time and effort they utilized.  The products varied from jewelry to dresses, coins, and numerous other items.

At the end of each day, I was so tired and amazed with how much my views of Charleston changed.  I discovered new information and integrated information regarding the Civil and Revolutionary Wars that we discussed in history class.  I appreciated the minibus tour that enhanced my understanding of the history of Charleston.  I came to realize that “We must go beyond textbooks, go out into the bypaths and untrodden depths of the wilderness and travel and explore and tell the world the glories of our journey” John Hope Franklin.  I found myself engaged and researching information about the main attractions in Charleston and considered myself the family’s concierge.  Despite my initial reluctance of traveling to South Carolina, I departed feeling that my school should have scheduled a trip to Charleston to relate to the seventh grade history lessons.  The entire adventure was captivating and intriguing.

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