Saturday, April 19, 2008

Columbia S.C.

What we thought was going to be a nice quiet week of relaxing in Columbia turned out to be a week of almost non-stop running around. We got here Sunday and camped within walking distance of a giant flea market, so we spent the afternoon walking around that, they have a sign as you enter that informs you that “No Snakes are Allowed” only in the south.

We spent one day at the South Carolina Confederate Military Museum, this is a pretty good museum that covers all of the military history of S.C. , the museum is in the same building as the main State Historical Museum and I think everybody was there because we were the only ones in this museum. Since we were the only ones there the curator came out to talk with use and we ended up getting a 2-hour personal tour.

The day we picked to tour the Capitol Building turned out to be a bad choice they had some special event going on and were only doing special group tours that day so we just toured the capitol grounds. When I say just toured the capitol grounds I should point out that that is about a 2-hour event, the Capitol is located on a town square similar to Savannah’s squares, the entire area is a garden with 27 different monuments. There is enough there that once we got home we realized that we missed seeing about 5 monuments, always save something for next time.

Wade Hampton Hero of the War of Northern Aggression.

Strom Thurmond a Hero of the State

George Washington, notice the broken sword, that was done by Sherman's troops in their march through S.C.

The Thin Blue Line, Law Enforcement Monument

The Zoo and Botanical Gardens are located next to each other but are divided by the Saluda River, there is a nice foot bridge that connects the two. We started at the zoo since our membership gets us in there free, it was a beautiful day and I think everybody within 100 miles that had kids decided to go to the zoo today, it was just about shoulder to shoulder kids running and screaming everywhere. Since it was so crowded we decided to just walk over to the gardens, guess what, it’s all up hill. During the War of Northern Aggression, (there was no Civil War down here) the north end of the bridge was a prisoner of war camp named Camp Surgham and this is where one of Cathy’s ancestors was held during the war. If you walk up stream for a few hundred yards you will find the ruins of an old mill, which was of course burnt by Sherman during the War of Northern Aggression. The gardens are on the small side, very nicely done and very few people were there.

A few pictures of the Gardens

The arch on the right we found on a trail near the mill, no mortar and over 150 years old.

We went wandering around looking at the different neighborhoods and looking for the USC stadium, they call it the cockroach because it looks like one on its back kicking its legs, after finding that we saw a small sign at the National Guard Base which said “South Carolina Military Museum”, you know us we can’t pass some thing like this up. As always we were the only ones there and I think the only people to stop in the last week or so because once again we got a personalized tour by one of the volunteers who was a retired Major and military historian. Well 3-hours later and an hour after the museum was suppose to close we finished our tour, and we’re going to have to go back some time in the future since we missed so much. They have the absolute best gun collection I’ve ever seen, everything is donated and they had a very rich collector donate his entire collection which included many one of a kind or one of two or three known to exists.

They have an early air rifle that was with Lewis and Clark, a Winchester that was used by one of the soldiers with Custer at the Little Big Horn, Melvin Purvis’s Colt 45 and some many other thing I can’t list them. They have a great website: be sure to visit the video section for a tour of the museum.

We did a lot more things I just can’t think of them right now, there is enough to see and do here that we are already planning on returning for another week in the future. Another thing about Columbia is that they have there own restaurant chains, they have the regulars like McDonalds, Wendy’s and Burger King, but not many people go to them, instead they go to Rush’s for a really good burger and shake, Sandy’s for hot dogs and chili and Zesto’s for the best chicken you will ever eat in your life, we may be spoiled and not be able to eat any other chicken ever again.

Well that’s about it for our slow boring week in Columbia, South Carolina.

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