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Old May 22nd, 2010, 11:17 AM
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Default Charleston SC

I thought some of you might enjoy hearing about my experiences while here in Charleston. Now that Carnival has started cruising from the port here, it also might come in handy for those who might one day come here to cruise. Please remember this is my opinion.

Why I Am Here...

My hubby, Jim works with the Army. He served for more than 24 years as active duty, but found after retirement, he could not get the service out of his system, so he went back to work as an engineer. His job is pretty much secure as far as talking about what he does, but I can say that he teaches others to to their best job, and to keep themselves and others safe on the battlefield. Jim loves us, his family, but he loves his troops as well, and especially his country. He would give his life for all of us.

For year the boys and I watched as Jim went out the door on yet another mission. There was many tears, and heartache, but we knew this was what he needed to do.

After Jim retired, and took this new job, again we watched him leave. Going not only overseas, but to many of the places in the states that I had always wanted to visit.

Not long after the boys graduated from high school, I realized that I could indeed go with him, with a little extra planning.

Jim already received housing, rental car, air travel, and food, so we figured I could pay my own air and the rest I could share, without causing the goverment any extra. We were lucky that the air travel was contracted out to a travel agency that I also used for our cruises, so now when she is notified to book Jim, she has my info and books us together on a flight, with me paying my share.

More to come..........
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Old May 22nd, 2010, 01:45 PM
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Normally we fly American, because Dallas happens to be their hub, but for some reason Robin booked us on Continental airlines. This time instead of going to Dallas, we were on our way to Houston, to the George Bush airport. I had never been there, so I had no idea what we were about to get into.

Leaving was painless. Josh drove us to the airport, and you cannot get lost in our airport. It has two gates.

The plane was a little late, but we were soon on our way on board. The first thing I noticed was the plane looked old. Like it was straight out of the 70's. I also noticed it was not going to be fun, because our seats were in the very back, on a long bench style seat, like you would see on a city bus. I remember as I kid, I loved sitting back there, but I am older, and bigger, and we were not crazy about it. The good news is it only lasted a little more than an hour.


We get to Houston, and I am wondering why we drove to Galveston, instead of flying for our cruises. That was a quick flight, but I was soon to change my mind.

This airport goes with the old plane. It is also old. We got off the plane, and walked and walked and walked. The sign told us where to go, but it didn't say we had to walk so far. Once we were at the gate, or what we thought was the gate, we found out that we were at the line to catch a tram to our real gate. The tram turned out to be a bus, that wound around and around until it finally came to a stop. We then started out to find the gate. We walked and walked, and finally found the gate, only to find out that this airline is also stuck in the 70's as far as booking. Yes it was over booked. It wasn't just us, but other counters who were also over booked for their flights. It seems I had a seat, but Jim didn't. We thought about me going ahead and him catching the next flight, two hours later, or him going on, and me catching the next flight, but in the end, someone gave up a seat, after getting a nice thank you from the airline.

When we touched down, I instantly felt at home. It was so nice to hear everyone talking the way I do. It was great to see the moss hanging from the trees, and the nice, polite people were even better.

The Charleston airport is older, but much easier to get around. We quickly found our luggage, and the rental car. As we were walking to the lot to pick up the car, I saw some of our fellow passengers get into their sports car, with the top down, and thought "O cool " but it was not to be for us. We got a little red car, that I labeled the egg. It's a round, red egg.

We didn't have far to go to get to the hotel, so we were here in no time. The army tells us how much we can spend on a room, and I am the one who books for us. We always try to get into a Holiday Inn, because we get points, and they allow us to keep those, because it goes on our cc, and we are reembursed later.

This is not where I wanted to stay orginally. I wanted to stay in the round Holiday Inn, (Holiday Inn River view) but the location of Jim's work changed, and it would have been to far for him to travel back and forth each day, so we moved the location.

As it turned out, this was a better place for what we needed anyway. It was cheaper, so I was able to get a mini suite, with a little kitchen. Micro, sink, frig, so I am able to warm up things here, and we don't have to spend as much money on food, which is only about 40 dollars a day, so it is what we spend the most money on, except my airline ticket.

They also have a free breakfast, so that helps us too.

More later......
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Old May 22nd, 2010, 02:51 PM
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Ahh, like Rollerdonna, Luanne, you're going to keep us on the string for the next installment. Very interesting story you have going and I for one, am eagerly anticipating part III.

Todd
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Old May 22nd, 2010, 04:08 PM
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Luanne.if you are still there between May 28th and June 13th, there is an annual Jazz and Blues Festival (Piccola Spoleto Festival) held in the city .. ...which is suppose to be really cool..you and Jim might check it out and of course if you happento see an official Festival poster that someone dropped on the ground you can send it to me and I will reimburse you for shipping and handling and a small donation to your favorite charity...now that I took a class in custom framing, I can frame my own..problem is I have no more wall space in my home..

enjoy yourself in a great city
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Old May 22nd, 2010, 04:56 PM
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Luanne, I'm glad you are writing this as we will indeed be on the Fantasy next year going to Bermuda. We ill be driving to Charleston the day before and will be needing a hotel for the night and want one where we can leave the car. So am much interested in what all you are able to do while there etc.
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Old May 23rd, 2010, 05:50 PM
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Sounds great Luanne, can't wait to hear more...

donna
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Old May 23rd, 2010, 08:17 PM
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Luanne,
My hubby is also an ex-active duty/ now contractor! I've travelled with him a couple of times as our kids are still young (16 - 10). We also have been able to travel with him as a family. The best was the two times we went to CA (Oxnard) with him - for two weeks each time. When he is out there they usually book him into a Residence Inn, so it was easy to fit all of us in the room. We also love those hotel points, and it helps make-up for all the time he spends away from the fam. Enjoy Charleston!
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Old May 23rd, 2010, 10:33 PM
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Hi, Luanne! Really looking forward to hearing more about Charleston. It is one of the cities on my list to visit.

I thought about you yesterday! We are in the RV, and I pulled out a Soduko puzzle book, and your cell phone number was on a post-it, on the inside cover. I was remembering the time we cruised together on the Conquest (I believe).

Bush Intercontinental Airport is a bit confusing. It is such a large airport, with (I believe) 5 terminals, that are only connected by tram or bus. I remember when the airport was built, with originally 2 terminals.

Have fun in Charleston, and post some pictures, if possible!
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Old May 24th, 2010, 10:38 AM
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Friday after we had settled in our room, and I had done the necessary "nesting" it was time to eat.

I had done so much research on Charleston. I find it to be as much fun as going there.

This night we went to a local place called Ryans. It is a chain, so you might have one in your neighborhood.

During dinner, Jim had a surprise for me. He had arranged the next day off from work. Usually it is getting right to work as soon as we get to a place, but not this time.

My head was spinning. I wanted to do, and see so much, but had no idea it would be so soon.

Once back in the room, we realized that it had been a long day. Our room had become home, and that is the way we have referred to it.
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Old May 24th, 2010, 11:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by venice View Post
Luanne.if you are still there between May 28th and June 13th, there is an annual Jazz and Blues Festival (Piccola Spoleto Festival) held in the city .. ...which is suppose to be really cool..you and Jim might check it out and of course if you happento see an official Festival poster that someone dropped on the ground you can send it to me and I will reimburse you for shipping and handling and a small donation to your favorite charity...now that I took a class in custom framing, I can frame my own..problem is I have no more wall space in my home..

enjoy yourself in a great city
Venice, We will still be here the first two days of the festival, but already have plans. I will be on the look out for posters.
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Old May 24th, 2010, 12:02 PM
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Saturday morning dawned sunny, and a little cool. It was nice to get out and not have a wet shirt in doing so. (Those who live in the south know what I mean.)

We had breakfast here at the hotel, and was soon on our way. But which way? Jim looked to me for directions, and my mind went blank, We both laughed at the fact that I could not think of a thing to do.

I remembered a place to eat that I had read so much about in my research. It was in one of the burbs, and I knew which one, so that turned out to be our direction of travel.

Before I go on, let me explain Charleston. Charleston itself is small, compared to other cities. The downtown area is small and very packed. Most of the things you will most want to see are not downtown, but are in the burbs, or in this case, islands that surround Charleston.

If you love bridges, this will be the place for you, because there are bridges everywhere. If you have a thing against bridges... your in trouble

The first thing we noticed is the hwys are clearly marked for the attractions you might want to see. Right on red is allowed unless marked, and they have turn arounds for those like us, who are clueless.

The place we were looking for is called Locklears. On the internet, people from as far away as Savannah come up here just to eat.

The outside looks like a regular place to eat that you would see in a strip mall. The inside is not much better, but we came for the food, and were not disappointed. The menu depends on what is pulled from the ocean that morning. You cannot get anymore fresh than that.

Jim had what is called She Crab soup. I had never heard of it, but Jim was in love. He didn't make those sounds even on our honeymoon.;-)

I had a flounder lightly fried, and homemade potato chips. It was veryyyy good.

After we left the parking lot, we just simply went left. Going right, would have taken us back off the island, so left seemed to be the right way. By the way this island was Mt Pleasent.

I love traveling through neighborhoods. You can learn so much about people when you see their neighborhood.

We were looking for Fort Sumter, but found Fort Moutrie by mistake. I was told later that most have no trouble finding Sumter, but get lost trying to find the other one. That's us... Get lost everytime.....

Now I have to tell you that as a child I was forced to visit almost every port in Ga and Florida, because my dad was a history buff, so if I have seen one fort, I have seen them all, but I did want to see them, so that I could say I have.

We didn't spend much time at Moutrie, so we went down the end of the road, because I sensed we were close to the end of the island.
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Old May 24th, 2010, 01:16 PM
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At the end of the road we found a bluff with lots of people in bathing suites. I got out to see what was going on and found out this is a drop off point for boats, like sail boats. Not a ramp, but those that you can carry to the water. I also found out that you can be ticketed if you go in the water, so these people were just there to sun bath.

I spoke with a policeman in his offical golf cart, and asked where Fort Sumter was. He was able to show me the island where Sumter was located. Next was to find out where to get the ferry. I knew that the same company ran two different ferries out to the island, one was located downtown, and the other was somewhere in this area. As it was, we had passed by the road we were looking for on our way on the island.

It took us only a few minutes to get where we needed to go.
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