Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Vacation Update, Cont.

Monday was Fort Sumter day. The weather was mild and sunny, unlike on Sunday, where high humidity had ruined most of our plans. We drove out to Patriot's Point to catch the ferry out to Fort Sumter. Since the US Navy destroyer Laffey (DD-724) wasn't at Patriot's Point (she's upriver undergoing an overhaul/painting), we didn't bother with tickets to Patriot's Point itself, but simply visited the gift shop, where Sara found a few items to purchase.

At 10:30 the ferry began embarking the passengers (painful process, having glue and then tree bark blown onto you with industrial sprayers), and after having been embarked we got underway for Fort Sumter. It's out at the entrance of the Charleston harbor, and is quite small when seen on a map. It's not too much bigger when you actually arrive. Along the way we saw the usual dolphins (harbor porpoises, in this case), which were really too far away for good photography. The ferry had a snack bar active, but the young attendant had his nose in a textbook and didn't seem particularly interested in serving anyone; he looked fabulous in his sunglasses, though.

The fort is dominated by Battery Huger, an addition from the Spanish-American War, and it is in this area that most of the tourist areas exist; you can climb to the top, where a display of flags can be found, and where wide views of the harbor can be seen; it's breezy and cool up there. The National Park Service really needs to place a few benches up there so people can enjoy the breeze.

There are modern restrooms, a museum, and a gift shop within Battery Huger, and there are even lifts for wheelchair-bound visitors so that they can visit the upper areas of the battery.

You are given an hour to explore Fort Sumter, but since the ferry crew doesn't seem to count heads going back on to the ferry for the return trip, I suppose that it is possible to remain out there longer, if you so desire. I don't know if Park Service staff stay at the fort at night, so the feasibility of overnighting on the fort I can't speak for. I'd actually prefer to explore Castle Pinckney, which is a similar sort of fortification, but has been abandoned.

I took lots of pictures, and will post them on my return to Charlotte on Wednesday.

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