We stayed in an RV park a few miles south of Charleston and drove into the city for the afternoon. Someone had suggested we see the Old Slave Market Museum, so that’s where we went.
Inside are two floors filled with big placards with facts about slavery. There is no dispute that slavery was horrible, but the display has no real relationship to the building. I thought this would be a more personal exhibit, telling stories that happened here. There has to be records about this place, and history is always more impactful when it is about specific people.
Well, they didn't ask my opinion. Next we walked around the neighborhood a bit. Beautiful fences protected massive houses, with exotic fence-line greenery, like these bananas at a house gate.
And I loved this pink church with black lace ironwork.
The cobbled roads are picturesque, although they are alway tough to drive on. We walked through a small marketplace where we learned that hand-made baskets are really expensive - around $50 for a very small one. I am not disputing the quality but I did not feel the need get a hand-made basket for the RV.
We left Charleston the next morning but not before visiting one more local landmark. In the nearby town of Johns Island is the Angel Oak Tree. To get there we drove out to Johns Island, the last few miles on a gravel road, to a very rustic gift shop/tourist center.
Behind this humble building is an amazing tree. In the picture below two people are standing to the left of the trunk, giving an indication of how big the tree really is, and the picture edges are blurred to highlight the shape of the tree.
This beautiful tree is a Live Oak and is named after the previous land-owners, Justin and Martha Angel. It's a sweet-sounding name, and it fits just right. They say the tree is about 400 years old and 25.5 feet around; I think 25.5 feet is an underestimation.
There is no Spanish Mass on this tree; apparently while the Angel Oak was growing wide, nearby trees were growing high and eventually blocked the sunlight that Spanish Moss needs. It's true that the Angel Oak is not leaf-heavy, but this tree is so large that it creates its own space.
And in that space it feels sort of other-worldly, where a tree can twist itself along and into the ground.