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  • Writer's pictureKeef Hellinger

Blog 125 Cruise Continued, Miami to Home🌠Travel Blog

Updated: Jun 9

By keef and annie hellinger, Mar 14 2018 08:26AM

Not the Motorhome Trip No.9 5th Feb - 12 Mar 2018 continued

A KeefH Web Designs Travel Blog

As the 1st part of this blog which is almost like a whole website is too long I have split it in 2, it is 77 minutes worth of reading which when this continuation is added to it will probably make the write up of the cruise more like a book one would read on it in a sun lounger 😉

Schedule continued.

27 February Day 23 Port Everglades Dining:Freedom

Arrive early morning

Depart early evening

Snapshot of Miami Excursion 09:45

To see Miami's slideshows, click HERE

28 February Day 24 Port Canaveral Dining:Freedom

Arrive early morning

Depart afternoon

Free shuttle bus to Cocoa beach

To see Cocao beach slideshows, click HERE

01 March Day 25 Charleston Dining:Freedom

Arrive morning

Charming Charleston Panoramic Excursion 09:30 Overnight In Port

02 March Day 26 Charleston Dining:Freedom

Depart early afternoon

To see Cocao beach slideshows, click HERE

03 March Day 27 Sea Day Dining:Freedom

04 March Day 28 Sea Day Dining:Freedom

05 March Day 29 Sea Day Dining:Freedom

06 March Day 30 Sea Day Dining:Freedom

07 March Day 31 Sea Day Dining:Freedom

08 March Day 32 Sea Day (see below)

Praia DA Vitoria Dining:Freedom

Arrive morning

Depart afternoon

South Island Sights and Angra Excursion 09:45

Sadly NOT Possible due to Storm Riley so day at Sea

09 March Day 33 Sea Day Dining:Freedom

10 March Day 34 Sea Day Dining:Freedom

11 March Day 35 Sea Day Dining:Freedom

12 March Day 36 Southampton


Catch Up - Reunion of the Super Sleuths 8th June 2024, 6 years later

Such fun....

Miami Florida USA via Port Everglades

DAY23 - 27th Feb 2018 Landed Port Everglades, Florida, USA for Miami trip

Travel blog fun: It was our 40th Wedding Anniversary treat, what you might call our Ruby cruise! We have been to Florida before in August 1997 but never Miami. We did visit Fort Lauderdale but considered Miami at the time to be just too hectic. To see more visit the FAMILY Page or click HERE . So we did the Snapshot of Miami tour which passed by Fort Lauderdale having left from Port Everglades using the "fast" lane into downtown Miami. We firstly went to Ocean drive with its Art Deco architecture and went inside our first ever Walgreens Pharmacy. After a quick walk on Miami beach we visited Star Island , Coconut Grove, Coral Gables , Little Havana and ended up having lunch at the waterside alongside the Miami HRC, guess what Keef bought? Our trip was supposed to last 5.5 hours but only lasted about 4.5 hours with 1.5 hours in the shopping area, bit of a swizz and we didn't even see Millionaires Row - Esterfan, Beckhams etc etc.... probably Ed Sheeran by now *smile* This is the synopsis of our tour. "Your scenic drive will head south across the Biscayne Bay and onto Miami Beach, home of the Art Deco District and fashionable Miami Beach. Passing by the famous Versace Mansion, you’ll continue on to Millionaire’s Row, renowned for its opulent homes and high-end boutiques, as well as some of the world’s most highly rated beaches. You’ll then cross over the impressive MacArthur Causeway and pass nearby Star Island, home to many famous celebrities. Returning to the mainland, your drive continues through downtown Miami towards Little Havana, with its vibrant Cuban culture. The contrast is striking as you continue on to the charming Coconut Grove, one of the most beautiful residential areas of the city. Finally, you’ll pass by Coral Gables, an area rich in diverse architectural styles and lavish landscaping. Catch a glimpse of the impressive yachts and mansions, and view the towering skyscrapers of Miami's financial district as you drive along Brickell Avenue. To round off your tour a short stop will be made at Bayside Marketplace. Here, you can enjoy some free time for shopping or perhaps purchase a refreshment before the return drive to Port Everglades."

us on ocean beach, miami looking cool, well only in the trend setting sense 😉
us on ocean beach, miami looking cool, well only in the trend setting sense 😉
cruise ship meal with super sleuths team Ventura posted by KeefH Web Designs
Us (formally) with super sleuth pals Alan & Lorraine, Brian and Lorraine
Miami map,  from our trips and travel blogs

Miami was interesting, could have done with a more committed guide however!

Your Guide to Port Everglades

Lying in the south eastern part of Florida, Port Everglades is just a short journey from downtown Fort Lauderdale and its maze of waterways, bars, restaurants and trendy boutiques. The port is also your gateway to Everglades National Park and its unique eco-system and array of wildlife.

The city of Fort Lauderdale is situated in Broward County on southern Florida’s Atlantic coast, an area known as the Cold Coast. The city did not even exist one hundred years ago but today it is one of the most popular resorts in the state. Now known as the ‘Venice of the USA’ because of the great number of waterways, Fort Lauderdale has much more to offer than just miles of sandy beaches. Passengers will land at nearby Port Everglades, the second busiest cruise ship port in the world after Miami.

Seminole Indians moved into the area - under protest - around the New River and what is now Fort Lauderdale in the early 19th century. A few settlers were also living here when the Second Seminole War broke out in 1835 as a result of the massacre of a large army detail. A year later an Indian war party murdered a woman and her three children near the New River. As a direct result of these massacres, Major William Lauderdale, with a force of Tennessee Volunteers and army regulars, was sent to build a stockade on the river in March 1838. The fort (and the eventual town) was named after the major.

In 1891, there were sufficient settlers to justify the opening of a post office and two years later Frank Stranahan arrived to run the New River ferry. Stranahan is regarded as the first permanent white settler in Fort Lauderdale and his house is now open to the public. A further boost to the region came in 1895 when the Florida East Coast Railway reached the small settlement.

Workers began to drain the Everglades from 1905 onwards, and in 1911 Fort Lauderdale was incorporated, even though the town had only 175 residents. A building boom after World War I led to the influx of many newcomers along the Gold Coast. However, the bad publicity created by a severe hurricane in 1926, with the loss of 15 lives in Fort Lauderdale and many more in the neighboring cities, meant that the Depression arrived early in southern Florida.

By the 1950s, Fort Lauderdale was a yachting centre and the beach was a magnet for college students enjoying a short spring holiday before their examinations. The 1960 film Where the Boys Are, starring Connie Francis and George Hamilton, described the pleasures of a break at Fort Lauderdale and led to student numbers increasing dramatically to well over 300,000. Eventually the local authorities could no longer tolerate the mass invasion, with its associated high spirits, drunkenness, drugs and petty crime, and introduced measures - successfully - to encourage the students to go elsewhere.

Fort Lauderdale today is a dynamic and developing city. Vast amounts of money have been spent to improve the beachfront and make the downtown area more attractive. Tourists still flock to the city, especially in the winter season when temperatures and humidity are more bearable. The beach remains the major attraction for many, but the Everglades are nearby and the city itself has many places of interest and is one of the most important shopping centres in the state.


Fort Lauderdale may be mainly a very young city but there is much to see on the coast and beach, along the many waterways and canals, and in downtown Fort Lauderdale. Please be aware that the state of Florida has a 6% sales tax, which is added to the cost of many purchases and restaurant bills.

The Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

The coast and beach area has a number of places worth visiting. The Hugh Taylor Birch State Park is between the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean, with direct access to the beach. Nature lovers can follow two short trails to see perhaps raccoons, squirrels, egrets and herons, to name but a few. For more active exercise, canoes can be rented for a paddle along the freshwater lagoon.

Bonnet House

Further south is the outstanding Bonnet House, a 1920-built property in a 35-acre setting, which originally had direct access to the beach but is now surrounded by modern Fort Lauderdale. The sub-tropical gardens have lush vegetation, swans on the ponds, an orchid house and even resident monkeys. The house contains paintings by the former owners Frederick and Evelyn Bartlett. You will not be disappointed by a visit and opening hours for house tours are 9.00am-4.00pm Tuesday to Sunday; the last house tour takes place at 3.30pm. Closed Mondays. The gift shop - artwork, reproduction paintings, collectibles, antiques, jewellery and so on - is open during tour hours.

International Swimming Hall of Fame

Also in the same area is the International Swimming Hall of Fame, a museum containing memorabilia from 100 nations and information on over 600 world- famous stars. See, for example, the gold medals won in the 1924 and 1928 Olympic Games by the swimmer Johnny Weissmuller, who later played the role of Tarzan in films in the 1930s and 1940s. Who can forget those immortal words, “Me Tarzan, you Jane”? Also on display is the starting block used by Mark Spitz in winning five of his seven Olympic gold medals in 1972. This museum is just south of Las Olas Boulevard on A1 A, the coastal road. Opening hours are 9.00am-5.00pm Monday to Friday, and Saturday and Sunday 9.00am-2.00pm.

Stranahan House

On SE 6th Avenue at Las Olas Boulevard this house dates from 1901 when it was used as a trading post for the early settlers and the Seminole Indians. Five years later it became the Stranahan family’s personal residence and remained so until 1971.

Frank Stranahan ran the ferry across New River and unfortunately drowned in the same river. The house now looks as it would have done in about 1913 and guided tours are given at 1,00pm, 2.00pm and 3.00pm daily. The house can only be visited via a guided tours. The tours are approximately 45 minutes to an hour long.

Museum of Art

Fort Lauderdale has an outstanding Museum of Art at the corner of E Las Olas Boulevard and Andrews Avenue in the heart of the city. The museum concentrates mainly on modem art and has a large collection of works by the American impressionist William Glackens (1870-1938). Another section is devoted to the avant-garde CoBrA movement - the name is derived from the members’ home cities of Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam. This movement lasted just three years in the late 1940s, and their semi-abstract paintings are characterised by brilliant colours, violent brushwork and distorted human figures. The museum is open from 11.00am- 6.00pm Tuesday to Saturday, with extended hours on Thursdays until 8.00pm. Sundays open from Noon- 5.00pm. Closed on Mondays.


If in this part of the city, do have a look at the Riverwalk, an area of waterfront parks, restaurants,

bars, shops, cinemas and Las Olas Riverfront. River cruises start here and several Water Bus stops are along the river, including Stop 14 Carrie B and Stop 18 in front of Cafe Metro for Las Olas Riverfront.

Another reminder of the city’s past is the Old Fort Lauderdale Village and Museum on the site of the original settlement at 219 SW 2nd Avenue in the downtown area. Three historic buildings date from the early 20th century; New River Inn (1905), which now houses a museum of history and a gift shop, Philemon Bryan House (1905) and King-Cromartie House (1907), now a museum of pioneer lifestyles. There is also a replica of Broward County’s first schoolhouse of 1899. This historic district can be reached from Las Olas Riverfront by walking across the railway line near Cascades Restaurant. Opening hours are 10.00am-5.00pm Tuesday to Saturday and Noon-5.00pm on Sunday.

Museum of Discovery and Science

Directly west from the historic district Is the Museum of Discovery and Science on SW 2nd Street. Permanent exhibitions include Living in the Everglades and Florida Ecoscapes, as well as several hands-on activities to unravel the mysteries of space and much more. The five-storey IMAX 3D Theatre gives a virtual- reality experience when viewing films. The store has clothes, games, jewellery, posters, toys, science kits and gifts. Opening hours are 10.00am-5.00pm Monday to Saturday and Noon-6.00pm Sunday.

Fort Lauderdale Antique Car Museum

This museum on SW 1 st Avenue (Packard Avenue) south of the river is a ‘must visit’ for enthusiasts of American vintage cars, as 22 pre-war Packard automobiles are on display. There are roadsters with compartments for golf clubs - the Packard was the Rolls-Royce of the 1940s - a doctor’s coupe and even a 1930 fire engine. Memorabilia includes everything from road signs to parking meters and prewar chauffeur badges. Guided tours are held from 10.00am-3.00pm Monday to Friday.


Time Out in Miami

Florida’s second largest city (population 365,000), after Jacksonville, is situated on Biscayne Bay at the mouth of the Miami River and just a short distance from the Everglades. Sometimes called the ‘capital of Latin America’, as two-thirds of the population are of Hispanic origin, Miami is widely regarded as one of the country’s most exhilarating cities. The city became famous in the 1980s television series Miami Vice but is now more renowned for its beaches, world-class shopping, restaurants and legendary nightlife than as the former crime capital of the United States.

Miami can be reached from Fort Lauderdale by Tri-Rail, an hourly commuter service on weekdays and less frequently at weekends. The journey lasts a mere 42 minutes to the Metrorail Transfer. Metrorail, an elevated rail system serves downtown Miami and extends west to Hialeah and south to Kendall. The Metromover, an elevated monorail, also serves downtown Miami. Metrobus has an extensive network of routes and full details of these, Metrorail and Metromover can be found at the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, Suite 2700, 701 Brickell Avenue (Tel. 539 3000). There are also visitor centres at 1920 Meridian Avenue on Miami Beach, Aventura Mail and Bayside Marketplace.

The city’s leading attractions are widely scattered, although few visitors are likely to be disappointed by spending time on Miami Beach and in particular in the South Beach area. The visitor centre at the

northern end of South Beach is a useful first stop, and, if interested, do ask about hiring bicycles.

Across from this centre is the moving Holocaust Memorial. Nearby is the Bass Museum, with a permanent collection of European art, as well as temporary exhibitions.

Perhaps the most unexpected ‘must-see’ is the Art Deco Historic District, with over 800 restored buildings in a similar architectural style and painted in pastel colours. Watersports and sunbathing are popular pastimes on South Beach and a gentle stroll along the famous Ocean Drive is almost compulsory, as this is the ultimate see-and-be-seen place.

Away from Miami Beach, here are a few details of just three very contrasting attractions, each of which is well worth a visit. Miami Seaguarium, an important marine park on Virginia Key, is deservedly one of the most acclaimed in the world. Shows featuring dolphins, killer whales and sea lions have thrilled visitors for 50 years. It would be easily possible to spend many enjoyable hours here.

Coconut Grove is the location for one of the city’s most visited gardens and house: Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. The 70-room villa, completed in 1916 in neoclassical style, is filled with rich treasures, including paintings, sculptures and antique furniture.

Not much more than a stone’s throw from Villa Vizcaya is the Museum of Science and Space Transit Planetarium. The admission price includes entrance to all museum galleries (plenty of hands-on activities), regular planetarium shows and the wildlife centre at the rear, where injured and recuperating birds feature.



Taxis are available on the quayside and the journey from Port Everglades to downtown Fort Lauderdale should take about 15 minutes. They can often be found outside hotels, but it is not the norm to hail one in the street. Telephone 505-2800 or 565-5400 for a Yellow Cab.


Broward County Transit (BCT) runs services throughout the county. Timetables and details of routes are available from the bus terminal and government center in downtown Fort Lauderdale, and also from many stores. The No. 11 route from the bus terminal along Las Olas Boulevard to the beach is likely to be of particular interest to visitors. City Cruiser, a free community bus service, operates a service from Las Olas Riverfront to Beach Place.

Water Bus

A scheduled service operates between Oakland Park Boulevard and SE 17th Street along the Intracoastal Waterway, and westwards along New River into downtown Fort Lauderdale as far as River House. Tickets can be purchased on board and stops of particular interest to visitors are: 7 Bahia Mar (International Swimming Hall of Fame), 14 Carrie B (Stranahan House), 18 Café Metro (Las Olas Riverfront) and 20 River House (Museum of Discovery and Science). This is a most enjoyable way to see the city.


• Florida, admitted to the Union as the 27th state in 1845, is slightly larger than Nepal and Bangladesh.

• Florida’s state capital is Tallahassee and Port Everglades is 23 miles north of Miami and only 60 miles northwest of the Bahamas.

• An unofficial wind gust of 92 mph was recorded at Port Everglades when Hurricane Katrina passed over on 25 August 2005.

• As many as 15 cruise ships have departed from Port Everglades on a single day.

• Fort Lauderdale had a population of 151,939 in 2000 (US Census), of whom 15% were aged 65 years and over.

• Chris Evert, winner of the Wimbledon Ladies’ Singles Championship in 1974,1976 and 1981, was born in December 1954 at Fort Lauderdale.

• The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show claims to be the world’s largest.


Florida is famed for the opportunity to shop, shop and shop, and Fort Lauderdale is no exception. Visitors are spoilt for choice. Shops are generally open 9.00am-5.00pm Monday to Saturday and Noon-5.00pm Sunday, although department stores and malls keep longer hours.

Beach Place, just north of the International Swimming Hall of Fame and between the beach and the Intracoastal Waterway, has the usual mixture of shops and eating places. Galleria Mall, to the south, has over 120 shops, including Saks Fifth Avenue. In downtown Fort Lauderdale, Las Olas Boulevard and the Riverfront are certainly worth a visit. Swap Shop, on W Sunrise Boulevard, is anything but a normal flea market and food court complex, as free one- hour circus shows are held daily.

Florida’s second-biggest tourist attraction after Disney World is Sawgrass Mills Mall on the western outskirts of Greater Fort Lauderdale. Some 25 million visits are made annually to the more than 300 retailers, cinemas and the many eateries, which include the Hard Rock Café and the excellent Wolfgang Puck Café. The mall also has an indoor role-playing theme park (Wanadoo City) to amuse children.

Best Buys

T-shirts, Beachwear,Clothing, Cosmetics,Local history books, Sports equipment



Greater Fort Lauderdale is renowned for its 23 miles of golden sand beaches and Fort Lauderdale Beach, part of Florida’s first designated Blue Wave Beach, stretches for 3+ miles. Entrance is free and this beach can be reached by a 15-minute taxi ride from the cruise ship terminal at Port Everglades. Most facilities - showers, toilets, shops, restaurants and bars - are in the southern part from Las Olas Boulevard to Holiday Drive. Beach chairs and umbrellas can be hired. The northern section is quieter, although kayaks and catamarans can be hired. Lifeguards are normally on duty but do ensure this is so if intending to swim or snorkel.

Snorkeling and Scuba Diving

This is a very popular area for scuba diving as there are literally dozens of coral encrusted shipwrecks and artificial reefs. For details of reputable dive shops, please ask at the Visitors Bureau.


Rolling Hills Golf, 3501 West Rolling Hills Circle,

Davie, Greater Fort Lauderdale (Tel. 475-3010).

Clubs can be hired at this 18-hole, par 72 course (6,905 yds from the back tees and 5,630 yds from the front tees); cart hire is included in the green fee. Advance booking is required.


Miami is rightly famed for its cosmopolitan dining and some of America’s best restaurants are in the city. Ethnic cuisines are almost too many to mention, although several emphasize the culinary delights of the Caribbean (especially Cuba), and Latin America. South Beach has a wide choice of restaurants to suit most tastes and all pockets. Miami is also the city where ‘shop ‘til you drop’ could become a reality. There is everything from large shopping malls, such as the Ventura Mall on Biscayne Boulevard, to the exclusive designer shops of Bal Harbour on Miami Beach.

Fort Lauderdale has innumerable cafes, restaurants, coffee shops and fast-food outlets. Intimate waterside bistros, gourmet restaurants, steakhouses, expensive seafood restaurants, and a choice of ethnic restaurants are just some of the options.

It is possible to eat quite cheaply or the skies the limit if dining at a top class restaurant. Many ethnic cuisines, such as Cuban and Mexican, are often good value for money, whereas European restaurants (Italian and French) are usually more expensive than, for example, a typical Chinese restaurant. However, some of the most expensive restaurants may have a fixed-price menu. This is also junk food paradise.

A walk along Las Olas Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale Beach, the Riverwalk and around the downtown area will soon reveal all kinds of eateries. The malls have food courts, with a choice of cafes and often good- class restaurants.

American food is still well represented in the diners by steaks, fried chicken and burgers, although many now also offer a wider menu than previously. Helpings can be mountainous. The city has plenty of excellent seafood and fish restaurants - shellfish, Florida lobster and oysters are particularly sought- after by the locals.

American beers and Mexican brands, such as Corona, can be found throughout Florida. Most restaurants will have a selection of wines from Florida, California, Chile and the Argentine. Sitting in the sun watching the world go by with a cocktail is always a popular pastime. Soft drinks, including the ubiquitous Coca-Cola, are everywhere.


Post Office

The nearest post office is on SE 17th Street.

Other post offices are at Alridge, 400 NW 7th Avenue and Colee, 1404 E Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale. Post offices are normally open 9.00am-4.00pm Monday to Friday and 9.00am- Noon Saturday.

Money Matters

Most banks are open 9.00am-4.00pm Monday to Friday, although times may vary slightly from bank to bank; some will open on Saturday morning. Banks are located on SE 17th Street and in downtown Fort Lauderdale, including the Washington Mutual at 200 E Las Olas Boulevard and the Wachovia Bank on E Broward Boulevard. ATMs can be found in banks, convenience stores and shopping malls.


The unit of currency is the US dollar ($), divided into 100 cents.

Notes: $1,5,10, 20, 50 and 100.

Coins: 1c (penny), 5c (nickel), 10c (dime) and 25c (quarter).

Notes can be confusing, as all are mostly green in colour and the same size. Major credit cards are widely accepted in Florida. Travellers cheques in US dollars are often easier to change at banks than foreign currency.

Emergency Contacts

All-purpose emergency telephone number: 911

Cocao Beach via Port Canaveral, Florida, USA

DAY 24 - 28th Feb 2018, Landed Port Canaveral, Florida, USA for Cocoa Beach

It was our 40th Wedding Anniversary treat, what you might call our Ruby cruise! We have been to Cocoa Beach & the Kennedy space centre with the boys in August 1997 so we decided to take the ships free shuttle bus to Cocoa Beach to have a paddle and a bit of a look around. The weather was good To see more of our previous trip click HERE or look at the FAMILY page. We walked on the beach and the board walk and had a nice relaxing view of the sea and beach from the boardwalk seats. Met a few nice people off the ship and a few Americans. We had a long look around the famous Ron Jon's surf shop and saw the Fawlty Towers Motel before catching the shuttle back to the ship. Sadly as a port there is not much on offer at Port Canaveral.

cycling on cocoa beach,  from our trips and travel blogs

cocoa beach map,  from our trips and travel blogs

Revisited Cocoa beach and Ron Jon's Surf Shop that we had last been to in 1997

Your guide to Port Canaveral

Located along North America’s ‘Space Coast’, Port Canaveral is surrounded by long golden beaches and areas with names such as ‘Satellite Beach’ and ‘Apollo Beach’. Many visitors flock here to see the spectacle of a shuttle launch and also to visit the famed Kennedy Space Centre.

Situated midway on the east coast of Florida,

60 miles south of Daytona, Port Canaveral is sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean and the Banana River on a spit of land comprising Cape Canaveral and Cocoa Beach.

Cape Canaveral, in what is now Brevard County, was quite a small community, the earliest record being in 1856 when 30 to 40 families formed the community of “Canaveral” near the present city. In 1890 the area north of the city was known as “Artesia” but all the area was incorporated as “Cape Canaveral” on 4 June 1962, at a meeting of 200 freeholders. Cape Canaveral is, of course, now known world wide for its Space Centre, just north of Port Canaveral.



Jetty Park Beach (one mile) offering restrooms, showers, picnic pavilions, a fishing pier with rod rentals and a snack bar serving food, soft drinks and draft beer. Cocoa Beach Pier (four miles), and Cocoa Beach (six miles), have refreshment stalls, showers and changing facilities. There are 57 miles of public beach stretching south of Port Canaveral to Sebastain Inlet.


An 27 hole municipal golf course is situated in Cocoa Beach Country Club, ten miles away at the end of IV linuteman Causeway, where is it is possible to hire clubs and carts Tel. 321 868 3351.

The Savannah’s Country Club is thirteen miles away Tel. 321-455-1375 where clubs are also available for hire. There are 929 other golf courses in Florida.

Other Sports

Jet-ski and powerboat rentals are available at Cocoa Beach. Fishing is available on the inshore rivers, Banana and Indian Rivers, with Charter Guides who provide everything needed to fish for trout, redfish, snook and tarpon. Also deep-sea fishing is available out of the Port.


Taxis are widely available everywhere. Some shuttle services operate between the port and the airport.


Kennedy Space Centre

Occupying some 140,000 acres of land on North Merritt Island this ‘spaceport’ saw the launch in July 1969 of the vehicle Apollo/Saturn V which achieved Man’s dreams landing on the moon, a considerable achievement when one realises that the first rocket was fired on the range on July 24 1950. The displays in the Visitors’ Centre change frequently, and among the many interesting exhibits in the Hall of History are: the Apollo space ship used in the US/USSR rendezvous in space, a Mercury and Gemini space craft, a Lunar Rover, the Skylab multiple docking adaptor and a small piece of moon rock. The value of the rock is considered to be higher than that of any mineral or precious metal found on earth owing to its scarcity value.

Attractions at the centre include the Complex 39 Observatory Gantry where visitors can get a bird’s eye view of the shuttle launch pads; the International Space Station Centre, a triumph of technology where visitors can experience how to sleep, exercise and function as an astronaut; A new 3-D IMAX movie theatre; a ‘Heroes and Legends’ attraction encompassing the US Astronaut Hall of Fame; and an extensive tribute to the now retired shuttle programme, including the legendary Atlantis, now proudly on display. The Visitors’ Centre opens at 8.00am every day.

The Kennedy Space Centre Visitor Complex offers a variety of ticket options, available for purchase online and at the visitor complex when you arrive. Advance purchase for add-on enhancements, including special interest tours, is recommended. Purchasing tickets online and printing them out before arrival allows visitors to enter the visitor complex directly, www. kennedyspacecenter.com/info/tickets

Brevard Zoo, Melbourne

This zoo features native Florida animals, Latin American species and Australian species. It also features a “Paws-On Interactive Zone” where children (and adults) can race against an alligator, climb through a giant honeycomb, arm wrestle a gorilla, and venture inside a blue whale.

Tel. 321 254 9453.

Cocoa Beach

Situated south of Port Canaveral and Cape Canaveral, Coca Beach became self governing in 1925, a month after it was sold for $1,300,000 by Gus Edwards to a New York syndicate. The population was then 250. Today the population is about 12,000 and now boasts a 218 acre recreation complex which includes ten floodlit tennis courts, handball courts, an Olympic swimming pool and an 27 hole Golf Course.

Many of the houses are situated on the winding streams and creeks that lead into the Banana River, and many residents are able to fish direct from their front lawns. The Banana and Indian Rivers are noted for their salt water trout, and the waterways in this area boast native wildlife ranging from wading birds to dolphins.

Merritt Island

Lying between the quaintly named Banana River and Indian River, Merritt Island is approximately 40 miles long, and at the northern end seven miles wide, tapering to a point in the south.

In 1828 a Colonel Thomas Dummitt came to the area known as North Merritt Island, to be followed eleven years later by a General Merritt, who received the Island under a grant from Spain.

Permanent settlements were made after the Armed Occupation Act of 1842, many descendants of the original settlers are still residing in the area.

By 1843 hostilities with the Indians had lessened, but due to a resurgence six years later, the Merritt Island settlers were evacuated to the St Augustine - Jacksonville area.

The primary economy of the island was based on cattle, pineapples, sugar cane and, at a later date, citrus fruits. The settlers traded with Indians who visited the island by boat and with other settlements up and down the river, such as City Point, Sharpes and Williams Point, only accessible by riverboats.

Before the establishment of Cocoa, the nearest market centre was Titusville, then known as Sand Point, and from here products from the island were sent by rail to northern cities or by ship to Savannah and Charleston. The island is now a National Wildlife Refuge.


South of Cocoa, on the mainland, Rockledge is the oldest winter resort on the east coast of Florida.

First established in 1837, the area was named after the ledge of coquna rock outcropping along the Indian River.

The first post office was established in a log cabin in 1876 and owing to the rapidly expanding tourist business two hotels were built, the Indian River Hotel with rooms for 400 guests, and the Plaza Hotel accommodating 300 guests. In 1886 Rockledge had three stores, two hotels, two sawmills and one church. Cocoa

To the west of Merritt Island, on the mainland on the other bank of the Indian River lies the town of Cocoa. The first settlers arrived in the area around 1860, and according to records the first commercial building, a general store, was erected around 1881 by BC Willard. Portions of this building originally faced the Indian River. The settlement was originally called Indian River City but this was considered unacceptable by the US Postal Authorities who claimed that it was too long for use on a postmark.

The decision by the US Postal Authority was first heard in the Willard Store and naturally caused much discussion in an endeavour to find a new name. Eventually, it is said the name “Cocoa” was selected from a box of Baker’s Cocoa that had only recently been delivered to the store. In downtown Cocoa is a restoration of the old village with cobblestone streets, antique street lamps and many interesting shops. Cocoa is approximately half an hours drive from Port Canaveral. x

Walt Disney World

Some twenty miles south west of Orlando and approximately 60 miles west of Port Canaveral, this 27,400 acre development area is visited by millions of people a year and is regarded as the world’s single most popular tourist attraction. Many visitors come to see the heart of Walt Disney World the Magic

Kingdom, but there are many other attractions like the Epcot Centre and the Disney - MCM Studios Theme Park.

Many visitors come to see the heart of Walt Disney World - The Magic Kingdom, dominated by Cinderella’s story-book castle, but there are three more theme parks within Disney World: Epcot, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, as well as two water parks; Disney’s Blizzard Beach and Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon.

Main Street, USA

An authentic replica of a “Main Street”, railway station and turn of the century buildings, gabled and turreted, lining both sides of Main Street and surrounding the Town Square.


Exotic tropical flora and fauna fill the cool glades and sun baked trails of Adventureland. Here you may see the Swiss Family Robinson tree-house, waterfalls and trailing vines on a Jungle Cruise, or you may take a voyage with the Pirates of the Caribbean to their secret treasure trove.


Here you will see scenes from America’s frontier history. Big Thunder Mountain is an unmissable roller­coaster.

Liberty Square

Liberty Square depicts the colonial atmosphere in the New England Style. The Haunted Mansion has fearfully realistic ghosts and goblins, calculated to give nightmares to the fainthearted. Grown-ups will

be fascinated by the auto-animatronics in the Hall of Presidents, bringing the past to life.


This is the most fantastic fantasy in all the Magic Kingdom, from a trip in a gigantic spinning teacup at the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party to the Fairytale Garden, or a ride on Cinderella’s Golden Carousel.

Also to be seen are such memorable Disney characters as Peter Pan, Dumbo the flying elephant and of course, Mickey Mouse and his girlfriend Minnie.


This is dominated by the Space Mountain, with displays of space age technology inside and a fantastic coaster ride simulating race through space, not for those of a nervous or delicate disposition. However, this land is a glance at things to come, with a chance to see what it would be like to take place in a mission to Mars or pilot a Star Jet into space.

The Epcot Centre

The Epcot Centre - conceived by Walt Disney as the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow - has two main attractions. Future World and World Showcase.

Future World

Here you come face to face with the wonders of tomorrow. You can discover the Wonders of Life, and be miniaturized by Disney’s high tech theatre technology or propelled through the human body during Body Wars, a high space race against bacterial invasion.

World Showcase

Eleven nations around World Showcase Lagoon offer you cultural cavalcades of food, music merchandise and interesting people.

The myths and legends of the Vikings come to life at Maelstrom in the Norway Section. You’ll get an incredible view of the French countryside. Discover the magic of the casbah in Morocco, enter the Temple of Heaven in China and see the Forbidden City and the Great Wall then await to be surprised with lots more to see in the many other highlighted countries.

The centerpiece of The American Adventure is an inspirational multimedia, multi-dimensional tribute to the American dream.

Disney - MGM Studio Theme Park

As an alternative main attraction at Walt Disney World Vacation Resort, the Disney - MGM Studios Theme Park will take you back to the world of Hollywood in the 1940’s and bring you right up to date with the latest film and TV productions.

Meet the talent scouts, budding starlets and gossip columnists, cop and cabbies of Hollywood Tinsel Town in its heyday. Travel down Hollywood Boulevard to the famous Chinese Theatre where the great stars of the past are immortalised with footprints and handprints in cement.


The best shopping centre is the Merritt Square Shopping Mall, approximately 20 minutes drive from Port Canaveral and located on Merritt Island. There are over on hundred shops catering, 13 restaurants in a food court and a movie theatre in an area of about 600,000 square feet. Opening times are 10.00am- 9.00pm Monday to Saturday, Noon-6.00pm Sunday.


Post Office

The nearest is Cape Canaveral Post Office, 8700 Astronaut Blvd about half a mile south of the port entrance, Tel .7833163. Hours are Monday to Friday 9.00am to 5.00pm and Saturday 9.00am to 12.00pm.

Money Matters

The unit of currency is the US dollar ($), divided into 100 cents.

Notes: $1,5,10,20, 50 and 100.

Coins: 1c (penny), 5c (nickel), 10c (dime) and 25c (quarter).

Calling the UK

Most pay phones can be used for international calls using coins, credit cards or phonecards (available from post offices and kiosks). To telephone the UK, dial 011 then 44, followed by the area code (omitting the first 0) and the subscriber’s number.

Emergency Contacts

All-purpose emergency telephone number: 911

With the Boys in 1997

Charleston, South Carolina, USA

DAY 25 & 26 - 1st - 2nd March 2018 , Landed Charleston, South Carolina, USA

It was our 40th Wedding Anniversary treat, what you might call our Ruby cruise! We absolutely loved Charleston, mostly for its lovely architecture and Spanish moss and abundance of churches. We took the supposedly Charleston panoramic tour organised by the ship first, although since out guide was a 'Nam Vet, Bigot, Sexist, racist and denialist this didn't prove to be a great "Panoramic" view, we saw mostly weapons and Army training grounds. In the end Annie & I stopped listening to him. We did the horse drawn carriage trip after that which was whole lot better on the sight seeing front and Jacob and his driver took us through some lovely areas. After that we did lunch and called Alan & Lorraine into Henrys as they past after their horse trip. Nice local ale and fish & chips . We went through the market and the next day we visited the Old Slave Mart (Market) museum, which was Ryan's Mart. Over 9m slaves passed through Charleston. It was the capital of trade in the southern states. Sad reading but I guess part of the towns legacy. The Exchange in East Bay Street was also a slave mart. These words are from the Heritage plaque outside " SLAVE AUCTIONS - Charleston was one of the largest slave trading cities in the U.S. In the 1800s, the area around the Old Exchange Building was one at the most common sites of downtown slave auctions. Along with real estate and other personal property, thousands of enslaved people were sold here as early as the 1770s. Most auctions occurred just north of the Exchange, though some also took place inside. Merchants also sold slaves at nearby stores on Broad, Chalmers, State, and East Bay street. Enslaved Africans were usually sold at wharves along the city harbor. Some Africans were sold at the Exchange , but most people sold here were born in the US, making this a key site in the domestic slave trade. In 1856 the city banned auctions of slaves and other goods from the Exchange. Indoor sales grew elsewhere, and Ryan’s mart, a complex of buildings between Queens and Chalmers Streets became the main downtown auction site." At the end of our day and a half we saw bottleneck dolphins in the harbour and met Clive & Lauren , our cetacean experts for the 1st time. Fort Sumter is an island fortification located in Charleston Harbor that we saw from various vantage points. Originally constructed in 1829 as a coastal garrison, Fort Sumter is most famous for being the site of the first shots of the Civil War (1861-65).

Charleston church, USA,  from our trips and travel blogs

map of Charleston,  from our trips and travel blogs

Apart from our denialist, bigoted, sexist, racist guide Charleston was an absolute gem, we loved it

Your Guide to Charleston

To many, the city of Charleston conjures up images of the Civil War and Scarlet O’Hara, but this city is also rich in history dating back to 1670 when the first settlers landed. Along with its intriguing past, Charleston has much to offer visitors, with beautiful tree-lined streets, immaculately preserved plantations and gardens and an abundance of shops and restaurants.

The historic city of Charleston is situated on the Atlantic coast in southeastern South Carolina. The city (population approximately 124,000) is on a peninsula between the estuaries of the Ashley and Cooper Rivers, and has a fine, almost landlocked harbour. It is unquestionably one of the most attractive and fascinating cities in the southern United States.

In April 1670 the first English settlers landed on the west bank of the Ashley River and founded Charles Town, named in honour of Charles II. Ten years later the small settlement moved to its present site and, despite the attempts of the unfriendly Spanish, Charles Town soon became an important commercial and shipping centre. This prosperity was partly based on the rice and cotton plantations but the port had the less meritous ‘distinction’ of being a centre of the slave trade.

The rise in the city’s fortunes somehow survived a disastrous 1699. Charles Town was hit by outbreaks of yellow fever and smallpox, then a major fire destroyed a large area, and finally an earthquake and a hurricane wreaked more havoc. However, not even the threatening presence of the infamous pirate Blackbeard in 1718 could stem the city’s growing reputation as a centre of culture and the good life.

The British captured Charles Town in 1780 - three years later its name was shortened to Charleston - and held it for the next four years. These were difficult times and in 1790 the city ceased to be the state capital, an honour now held by Columbia.

On 12 April 1861 a Confederate force fired on the Union-held Fort Sumter at the entrance to Charleston Harbor. This event started the Civil War, during which South Carolina suffered very heavily. Charleston endured a blockade by Union land and

sea forces from July 1863 to February 865,

during which the city was shelled almost every day. Finally, on 18 February 1865, General Sherman’s army entered what was left of the once proud Charleston. The abolition of slavery then had a devastating effect on the plantation system and on the port of Charleston.

The city is now a very different place from that which would have greeted a visitor in early 1865. Universities have been established, the container port is one of the largest in the United States, and tourists are attracted in great numbers by the stunning architecture, the superb shopping, dining and recreational opportunities, and the city’s renewed reputation as a place of culture. A visit here is most unlikely to be a disappointment.


The Charleston Visitor Center at 375 Meeting Street has leaflets on places of interest, tickets for many of the main attractions, a useful map and schedule of the Downtown Area Shuttle (DASH) and many publications, including a Visitor Guide Map, the Charleston Walking Tour, and the Civil War.

The best way to really appreciate Charleston’s Historic District, if possible, is on foot. This lovely area at the foot of the Peninsula is full of beautifully preserved and majestic houses, many churches and museums, and there are outstanding views across the harbour. And all of this is in a comparatively small area. Further afield, although still within no more than 15 miles of downtown Charleston, many former plantations can be visited.

Here is a selection of some of the city’s outstanding places to visit. It is, of course, not a comprehensive list, and personal choice will decide which particular attractions are of the greatest interest.

Unless otherwise stated, all attractions in summer are open from 9.00/10.00am - 4.00/5.00pm Monday to Saturday and on Sunday afternoon. These times, however, may change and should be taken as general guidelines only. Please be aware that a sales tax of 7.5% will be added to the cost of any purchases.

Around the Visitor Center

The Charleston Museum

Across the road from the Visitor Center in Meeting Street is America’s first museum, founded in 1773. There is much to see and enjoy in the collections of cultural and natural history, of particular note are the 18th century Charleston silver.

Aiken-Rhett House

In the same part of the city is this palatial residence in Elizabeth Street. The house, now preserved as it was in about 1850, was built by a wealthy merchant in 1818 and then turned into an even more splendid place by William Aiken Jr 15 years later. The Aikens brought many of the chandeliers, classical sculptures and paintings from Europe. The original outbuildings include the slaves’ quarters.

Joseph Manigault Museum

Just a short distance from the Visitor Center and in the same street is a graceful Adam-style house built in 1803. This distinguished house is renowned for its cunning central staircase, the Gate Temple in the garden and especially for its collection of American, French and English furniture.

South Carolina Aquarium

Charleston’s most visited attraction overlooks the harbour and children, especially, will enjoy a visit here. River otters, sharks, alligators, jellyfish can all be seen as well insects and snakes.

Historic Southern Charleston

The Battery and White Point Gardens Here is a pleasant place for a relaxing stroll. Apart from the views over the harbour, many impressive houses are nearby, including Calhoun Mansion and Edmonston-Alston House.

Calhoun Mansion

The largest single residence in the city was built in the late 19th century by a wealthy merchant and banker. The highlights are the ornate ceilings, splendid chandeliers, detailed woodwork and the ballroom, which rises 45 feet to a glass skylight. Not surprisingly, the house has featured in several films. Guided tours of this Victorian mansion in Meeting Street last for about 45 minutes.

Edmonston-Alston House

Facing the harbour at the tip of the peninsula is this lovely stylish early 19th century dwelling. It contains a veritable treasure trove of family furniture, documents, silver, china, porcelain, books and paintings. The house was built by a Scottish cotton trader and then sold to Charles Alston, a Charleston rice planter, in 1838, who redecorated it in Creek Revival style.

Nathaniel Russell House

Here is yet another splendid dwelling on Meeting Street and was the townhouse of a wealthy merchant in the early 19th century. Considered to be one of America’s most important neo-classical buildings, the outstanding feature is a freestanding spiral staircase leading from the hall to the third floor. The house has antiques, works of art, and ornamental garden. Heyward-Washington House

Dating from 1772, this brick-built double house in Church Street was the home of the lawyer and patriot Thomas Heyward, one of the many signatories of the Declaration of Independence. George Washington actually did sleep here, as he was so taken by the house on a visit in 1791 that he rented it for his stay. The house has a remarkable collection of furniture by Charleston craftsmen, most notably a valuable Holmes bookcase. The exquisite garden is full of plants that were available locally in the late 18th century.

St Michael’s Episcopal Church

Near Heyward-Washington House is the oldest church (1751) in the city. George Washington worshipped here in 1791. The impressive steeple rises to 186 feet above street level.

St Philip’s Episcopal Church

Charleston has a number of lovely churches and St Philip’s is certainly one of them. The present church dates from 1838 and was known as the lighthouse church as a light was put in the steeple to guide ships into port. Dubose Heyward, the author of Porgy and Bess, is buried in the churchyard.

Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon Historically one of the most important buildings in Charleston, the British-built (1771) Exchange and Customs House later served as a prison for American patriots in the Revolutionary War.

The Powder Magazine

Now restored to its mid-19th century appearance, the former munition store was built in 1703 and is the oldest public building in Charleston. It subsequently served as a printing house, general store and even as a livery stable.

Gibbes Museum of Art

This museum in Meeting Street has one of the finest collections of American art in the South, with particularly notable views of Charleston, portraits of leading South Carolinians. The gift shop has excellent art prints, posters, cards, jewellery and books. The museum is closed on Mondays.

Citadel Museum

The Citadel is one of the last two military state colleges in the United States. The museum in Moultrie Street details the history of the college from 1842 to the present day. The Citadel achieved wide publicity - and some notoriety - when it finally admitted a female cadet in 1995, albeit under protest and a court order. This particular cadet only lasted a week, but other female cadets have passed out with considerable success at the previously all-male establishment.



The nearest (and the best) beach is at Kiawah Island, some 21 miles from Charleston. Kiawah is widely regarded as one of the top 10 beaches in the United States. A small fee is charged to enter the white- sand beach, which has showers and refreshments. Local Walks

Some of the most interesting walks are in the grounds of the plantations along Ashley River Road. The Battery and White Point Gardens at the tip of Charleston Peninsula are also a pleasant spot for a leisurely stroll. The gardens are a peaceful place now but 18th century pirates were hanged at this spot.


Charleston is a very popular shopping destination for South Carolinians, and deservedly so. The main shopping streets are Market, Meeting and King Streets. The city has long been renowned for its antiques and the ‘Antiques District’ is between Beaufain and Queen Streets. Also worth a visit is the King Street Antique Mall, where 75 dealers offer a wide selection of fine antiques and collectibles.

Art galleries can be found throughout the city and more especially along Queen and Broad Streets.

Charleston Place (and the Riviera across the street) is located on the ground floor of the Charleston Place Hotel in Market Street between King and Meeting Streets. Here are 30 good quality shops, including boutiques and jewellers, and the Palmetto Café.

Best Buys: T-shirts and other clothing, Antiques, Handmade jewellery, Sweetgrass baskets, Lowcountry cookbook


Fort Sumter

The first shots of the Civil war were fired at Fort Sumter on 12 April 1861 by Confederate forces. After a 34- hour bombardment the Union forces surrendered and the Confederacy held this fort on a man-made island at the entrance to Charleston Harbor for the next four years. A call at the Fort Sumter Interpretive Center on Concord Street is a useful introduction before setting off to the actual fort. The fort can be reached by boat trips from Charleston (Aquarium Wharf) and Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum.

Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum

Three miles north of Charleston, at Mount Pleasant on the other side of the harbour, is a chance to visit the USS Yorktown (aircraft carrier), USS Laffey (destroyer) and USS Clamagore (submarine), all of which saw service in World War II. Other attractions include vintage military aircraft, a United States coastguard cutter, a reconstruction of a Vietnam Advance Tactical Support Base, the Congressional Medal of Honor Museum, and many other exhibits and displays. On 16 February the H.L. Hunley, a Confederate submarine, achieved fame in Charleston Harbor as the first submarine to sink a warship.

Unfortunately, the exploding torpedo also sank the Hunley. Raised from the seabed in August 2000, the Hunley is now on display at 1250 Supply ST Warren Lasch Conservation Center, North Charleston, SC 29405.

Charles Town Landing

Here over 300 years ago, colonists established the first permanent European settlement in the Carolinas. Today, the park -10 miles west of Charleston - has a re-creation of a small village, a replica of a 17th century trading ship, tram tours and plenty of opportunities for walking.

Four Magnificent Plantations

Drayton Hall

The large brick-built house was completed in 1742 and, unlike many other houses in the region, survived both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. It is a fine example of early Georgian architecture and is one of the oldest plantation houses in America open to the public. The unfurnished house can be visited on a guided tour, and self guided walks will introduce visitors to the marsh and garden. The museum shop has a wide choice of gifts. Drayton Hall is the first of three great plantations on Ashley River Road and is nine miles northwest of Charleston on Highway 61.

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

Next to Drayton Hall is a world-famous 300-year-old plantation, with the country’s oldest garden. There is much to see and enjoy here: nature train and boat tours, petting zoo, wildlife observation tower, maze, restored slave cabins, herb garden, art gallery, gift shop, rental bikes and canoes and the Audubon Swamp Garden.

The main attractions, however, are undoubtedly the colourful gardens, with their splendid collection of azaleas and camellias, and the guided tour of the house.

Middleton Place

A few miles up Ashley River Road is a carefully preserved 18th century rice plantation, with colourful gardens, terraced lawns and ornamental lakes.

Against a wider background of forests and the Ashley River, it is quite understandable that scenes from The Patriot (2000), starring Mel Gibson as a South Carolina planter, were shot here. The restored south wing - much of the original mansion was destroyed in the Civil War - can be

visited on a guided tour. Visitors are free to wander at leisure around the formal 18th century gardens and can watch demonstrations by weavers, carpenters and blacksmiths in the stableyard. Other attractions include kayaking on the Ashley River, guided tours on horseback, and exploring on a rented bicycle. The museum shop sells plantation-made craft items and lunch is served in the Middleton Place Restaurant. This plantation has something for everyone and can be visited on an excursion organised by P&O Cruises. Boone Hall Plantation

Nine miles north of Charleston on Long Point Road is a plantation that still produces commercial crops and has served as the backdrop for several major films. The famous avenue of majestic oak trees leading up to the house was planted in 1743. The house, with classic columns, was only built in 1935, and the nine original slave cabins form the only slave street still intact in the south eastern United States. The splendid grounds were the inspiration for Scarlett O’Hara’s beloved Tara in Gone with the Wind. An original cotton gin now serves as a gift shop and snack bar.


Post Office

The city’s main office is at 83 Broad Street, at the corner of Meeting and Broad Streets. Opening times are 8.00am - 5.00pm.

Money Matters

Several banks can be found in Meeting Street (BB&T at No. 151 and the Bank of America at No. 200) and on Broad Street (First Federal Bank at No. 34). ATMs are scattered around the city.


The unit of currency is the US dollar ($), divided into 100 cents.

Notes: $1, 5,10, 20, 50 and 100.

Coins: c (penny), 5c (nickel), 10c (dime) and 25c (quarter).

Major credit cards are accepted in most shops and restaurants.

Calling the UK and Locally

International calls can be made from most pay phones, using coins, credit cards or phonecards (available from post offices and kiosks). To telephone the UK, dial 011 then 44, followed by the area code (omitting the first 0) and the subscriber’s number. South Carolina time is 5 hours behind that of the UK.

Emergency Contacts

All-purpose emergency telephone number: 911

Tourist-Information----- *---- —

The Charleston Visitor Center, 375 Meeting Street (Tel. 853-8000), is open daily from 8.30pm to 5.30pm.



Metered taxis are available at the pier. Drivers expect a 15% tip.

Local Buses

Downtown Area Shuttle (DASH) operates several routes around downtown Charleston. The trolleys are free. DASH buses carry a small charge.

DASH - or a taxi - is the easiest way to get around the Historic District. The visitor centers have details of current fares, services and a route map.


Charleston has a great choice of eating places, from fast-food pizzerias to some of the best restaurants in South Carolina. Many different cuisines - Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Italian, Mexican, Greek, Vietnamese and, of course, the specialties of the local Lowcountry cuisine - are represented in the downtown area.

Unquestionably, Charleston deserves its reputation as one of the great restaurant cities in the South.

Seafood is one of the state’s specialties, in particular such delights as roasted oysters, she-crab soup, shrimp and grits, and grilled grouper. Rice and seafood, often accompanied by tasty sauces, are the staples of Lowcountry food, a cuisine which reflects British, Caribbean, African and European influences. Great use is made of fresh, locally grown vegetables.

Two popular dishes are gumbo (a spicy chicken or seafood soup thickened with okra or rice) and jambalaya (a spicy dish of rice with shrimps, chicken and vegetables).

The huge portions in many of the steak houses will satisfy the hungriest visitor.

Local Dishes and Drinks

She-crab soup

Grilled chicken with Carolina rice and vegetables Oyster sausages

Caesar salad with spicy fried oysters

Fried green tomatoes

Pecan pie

Peach praline cobbler (fruit pie)

Two quite different but popular drinks are the local Palmetto beer and tea from the Charleston tea plantation. Bars and restaurants usually have a good selection of wines and fruit juices. The minimum age for buying and drinking alcohol in South Carolina is 21. Inevitably, Coca-Cola is found everywhere.

Storm Riley, Atlantic Crossing, 10 days at sea, rough and sometimes scary

DAYS 26-36 March 2nd - 12th 2018 Across the Atlantic under the eye of Storm Riley

It was our 40th Wedding Anniversary treat, what you might call our Ruby cruise! The captain got us back on board 3 hours early in Charleston and set our expectations that we would have to try and skirt around the bottom of storm riley be going 200+ miles south of Bermuda (and the triangle *smile*) , and as we would have to do many more miles it was unlikely we would land in the Azores, so 10 days at sea. The reality was that the Azores were out of the question, if we had gone thru the eye of the storm there would have been 11 meter high waves and we would not survive, so well done Capt. Howard a good call. As it was the banging and cracking of the ship in 8m high waves was enough, many many passengers were sea sick, we even had to medivac an ill patient by helicopter in 60+ mile winds. The video will enable you to hear what felt like a sledgehammer cracking against metal nearly every 10 minutes 24*7. We had various different answers for this 1) twisting deck metal 2) Issue with the bulkhead 3) Damaged stabaliser 4) The captain told us one of the stabalisers was sticking and making the noise. Whatever the cause, and we have written to P&O, there is currently no answer but it did put a dampener on the end of the cruise. Ventura was going into dry dock in Brest to "be sorted". Anyhow we were just happy to get back to Southampton, but it didn't curtain our fun and with caste iron stomachs we kept all the luxury food down *smile* If you would like to read the detailed BLOG of the trip just go to the associated BLOG 125 part1.

keef in storm riley, from our trips and travel blogs

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