Monday, January 1, 2018

Charleston, SC: Ansonborough Inn

A former warehouse, now a wonderful 
Boutique Inn:  Ansonborough Inn

Located in the historic area of Charleston, SC
  21 Hasell Street, Charleston, SC 29401


When possible and affordable, I search for unusual places to stay:   a university room, an AirStream                       trailor at the beach, a lodge in Yellowstone or Shenandoah National Park.   

The four star Ansonborough Inn is a lovely surprise.    Dark wood interior leads you to the soaring atrium with glass ceiling.    Today, the hotel is decorated for Christmas and the lights are a lvoely addition to the lobby. 

The Anson Pub is a warm and friendly spot to relax and enjoy a beverage.

The roof top deck has a great view of the city and the waterfront.
In better weather this is a great place to enjoy the sunset.

                    The rooms are extra large with '25 foot ceilings' from 450 to 750 square feet'.   

The room has a Keurig coffe maker, a microwave and refrigerator.   Across the street is a 24hr Harris Teeters grocery store if you wish to supplement the complementary beverages and cookies.

The Inn offers all the amenties:  business center, wifi, fitness center, on-site parking, afternoon wine and cheese reception and an extensive contenental breakfast.

Contact Information
tel:  843 723 1655
21 Hasell Street
Charleston, SC 29401

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Walk into a base camp in Viet Nam.................

I hear a helicopter landing and an announcement from the watch tower

Visitors to Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum outside of Charleston, South Carolina, come to explore the battleships, aircraft on site and interactive displays that can keep you busy for hours.

The USS Yorktown is a massive aircraft carrier that draws large crowds but my visit was to experience the recently opened Viet Nam exhibit.

As most of the crowd rushed across the bridge to see a war ship, I took the small path to the left towards a blue wall.     As you get closer you recognize the display.   There are dog tags representing all the men from South Carolina who gave everything during the war.

As visitors arrived at the display some sorted through the tags to find a friend, relative or fellow soldier

The exhibit is an up close opportunity to see and often touch the aircraft and equipment as well as the sounds that soldiers in the field experienced every day.

           A large quonset hut houses displays, a time line of the war and a theater showing video                                                          interviews from  men and women who served.

   Once you exit the 'hut' you are in a recreation of the "US Navy Advanced Tactical Support Base and a US Marine Corps Artillery Firebase during the Tet Offensive, 1968".1

A patrol boat that patrolled the rivers in Viet Nam

A look into a PX

The medical tent was a sober view of the immediate care prior to a patient evacuated to a hospital 

The exhibit is not a Disney production but the audio as you walk through the tunnel or listen to the sounds of a huey landing in the camp, projects you into the real life experience.

The watch towner announce 'incoming'
You can climb aboard a med-evac helicopter 

                     The interior was a somber reminder of the pain and death that was part of every day.

The mess tent

Volunteer tour guides and docents are available at scheuduled times.    In addition to the Yorktown the USS Laffey, Submarien USS Clamagore are docked here.  Visitors can visit the Medal of Honor Museum, Apollo 8 mission exhibit and the Cold War submarine memorial.

Contact Information:
40 Patriots Point Road
Mt Pleasant, SC 29464
843 884 2727

1.  Park brochure

Monday, July 24, 2017

HF Holidays walking tour to visit the Isle of Wight, for a solo traveler

Freshwater Bay house, photo from HF Holidays web site

View from the Freshwater Bay country house with HF Holidays

Isle of Wight, UK
On my third attempt to visit this island, only a 40 minute ferry ride from Lymington or a faster hydrofoil from Southampton, I was determined to spend a few days here with the HF Holidays group at one of their country houses.  A secondary benefit was visiting Lymington and attending the weekly market.

I would be staying at Freshwater Bay house as an 'independent walker', not part of the organized walks offered daily.  Although I thought I was a walker, I quickly found out that I would be outpaced by 80+ year old's who could go 6hr on a daily hike!  Later in this post you will see the 'simple walk to Yarmouth" that proved that daily walks around a city was not sufficient training for this adventure.

I had several goals for my visit to the Isle of Wight:
1.   to finally visit Osbourn House see photos of exterior here
2.   to visit the town of Yarmouth and villages that are linked by a handy 'island bus system'
3.   to experience a full board stay in a hotel.

With so many topics I have divided this post into segments so you can skip topics of no interest to you.

The Freshwater Bay House:

HF Holiday arranged a taxi/van service to pick up the ferry passengers joining the week long walks.   There was also a weekend festival in Yarmouth and made the transfer a little hectic!

After a quick check in at FBH we were served  afternoon tea.    This was my first opportunity to see who might be traveling solo on this 'vacation'.    There seemed to be a large number of couples and some groups all traveling together.   Many of the guests had stayed with HFH before and knew the routine.

The views from the hotel are wonderful.  There is a path along the caulk cliffs that are only a few feet from a bone shattering fall to the beach so we were told to pay attention on an 'introductory' walk before dinner.   Only 4 attendees so I was not hopeful to find many solo travelers. 

The house has several large lounges and sitting areas for any guests to use:   cards, board games, reading or chatting with other guests.  There is also a full bar

The dining room:   Large round tables are more inviting for guest to meet other travelers.
There was a couple traveling on a bed and breakfast plan and had their own table.

As a solo traveler eating with strangers is not easy for me but if you sit next to someone and say hello you just hope they don't tell you "You cant sit here, I am saving it'.     HFH  had a great policy that as you enter there is an employee who will happily seat you at a table. 

The bedrooms have been updated and feature new baths.   There is excellent wifi service in the rooms and I read that some rooms have ocean view.   Above if a double room and very spacious.

There are other activities for guests when you are not out on a hike.  The property has a large heated pool, some lawn games and extensive gardens.

The property is also a short walk to what I was told the only or last thatched roof church.  The next morning after breakfast, I set off to explore.   I would have enjoyed visiting during the wedding they had earlier in the day.
How lucky that the church was open and visitors were welcome to look around

Add caption

I have seen individual seat cushions in many churches in the UK.
Do the church members each needle point a cushion based on a specific pattern?

         From here I proceeded to the smallest book store and best cake/tea cafĂ© on the same road.

It was very fortunate that there was ONE map of the Freshwater Bay area to purchase here or I would have wasted all day looking for the foot path!

Next my short hike to Yarmouth that took me ALL day and visiting Osbourn house!

Please return next week for the rest of the story.