Wednesday, February 29, 2012
What better way to re-kindle childish glee than with a kite - even better is a fancy twelve-stack stunt kite.
Each panel is roughly three feet long on each side with a 100-foot long tail.
Here kiteman flies two twelve-stacks at the same time. It looks like a challenge to keep both kite stacks separate while crossing lines and performing stunts - not to mention it requires four hands - for that reason he wears a harness to hold two of the lines and his hands hold the other two.
He even receives a bit of an upper body workout when the wind is strong.
You can get an idea of the force the wind is exerting by the angle of his body.
If ever there was call for a video clip, this is the time. Still photos just don't do justice to showing the graceful movement of kites slicing through the breeze.
But they sure are pretty, and they make a great swooshing sound as they dance in the wind!
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
I have driven past Mike's Bikes more than fifty times in the past two months, each time observing the vivid colors and linear arrangement but - I was not able to stop for one reason or another. I finally stopped with just a few days remaining before I left South Carolina.
Nice place, cool bikes, friendly people.
Monday, February 27, 2012
Audubon Swamp Garden is a 60-acre cypress and tupelo swamp adjacent to Magnolia Plantation near Charleston, South Carolina. At one time, the swamp served as a reservoir for the plantation's rice cultivation. Today, the swamp garden includes native flora but also non-native, exotic plantings and is home to herons, ibis, turtles, otters, alligators, and other wildlife. It is a beauthiful, preserved, wetland park.
Tupelo trees and duckweed.
An alligator sunning on a platform.
A pair of Red-shouldered Hawks.
This tree is the most popular roost around - for many current and past Great Blue Herons.
Sunday, February 26, 2012
The Wentworth Mansion is a unique and extraordinarily beautiful and elegant Inn in downtown Charleston. The feeling of old world class and luxury is palpable just by walking in the door.
The Grand Mansion Suite living room.
And if you climb this stairway to the fourth floor (or take the elevator).....
.......and continue up the spiral staircase to the cupola..........
Saturday, February 25, 2012
In September 1989, Hurricane Hugo passed directly over Isle of Palms wreaking havoc and leaving a trail of broken homes and dreams. Today, damage has been repaired/replaced and almost all of the oceanfront land is already built-out but, occasionally a new house can be seen under construction. On the house pictured below, the first floor starts about ten feet off the ground - both to provide better views over the barrier dune but more importantly to provide protection from severe storm/hurricane tides. It is a testament to the indomitable spirit of humans to rebuild after disaster.
I don't know the history of this new house and what stood before it but, it certainly looks promising for the future owners. A wall of glass is pretty spectacular and special anywhere - especially so when facing directly on the ocean.
Friday, February 24, 2012
The College of Charleston is located in downtown. Many of the college buildings are beautiful old houses converted to college use. A plaque near the main quad says it is the oldest municipal college in America founded in 1770. It has an extraordinary location downtown just off the shopping/restaurant areas of King Street. What a great location for young minds to get a sample of an elegant, clean, sophisticated city as part of their education - probably pretty good for partying, too.
Bike racks are common around campus and I observed most bicycles to be single speed with fat tires - unlike the multi-speed trail and/or street bikes typical at less urban and hilly campuses up north. Guess that's an advantage of an almost table-flat city topography.
In addition to it's academic program, the college offers excellent sailing options at the Charleston Harbor Marina.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
A self-portrait on the entrance stairs to the Calhoun Mansion. This private residence built in 1876 is the largest single family home in Charleston with more than 24,000 square feet of living space. It is open to the public daily for tours.
I was able to get past the tough looking "Security Cat" and into the gardens.........
Side garden and koi ponds.
Chandeliers inside and reflection outside from across the street.
If the doorway looks sloped to you, that's because it is. This doorway, and many others in Charleston, opens onto the first floor piazza and the open air piazzas are sloped to allow rain water to run off. That requires the bottom of the door be cut on a matching slope in order to swing properly.
Who knows what stories lie hidden beneath layers of history?
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Another classic example of Southern gentility. This is the genteel way to tell people to stay out of your garden. In the Northeast, it would likely say "NO TRESPASSING" in six inch high letters and vicious barking dogs would patrol and snarl at passersby. Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration but you get the idea.
There is a lot of work for house painters in this town.
And probably lots of work for ornamental iron workers also.
A domestic cat patrols the interior perimeter of this garden, offering friendly "meows" at passersby.
Lastly, a dog in a bridal shop hops up into the window display to look out at passersby on the sidewalk who are looking in at the gowns. It seemed more like some kind of high level avant garde performance art - but it was probably just a dog in a window.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
In just a two-hour walk around the streets "South of Broad," the following window boxes were observed in all their blazing glory. These boxes all hang right over the sidewalk, no shrubs, yards or other obstacles between you and enjoyment. I don't know what any of them are called except pretty. Flowers in February - still a disorienting sight when I expect winter, cold, and snow this time of year. Charleston is one fine city.