Grand Vicotrian Inn

Grand Vicotrian Inn
The Grand Victorian Inn in Park City KY at Night.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

South Carolina Confederate Relic Room & Military Museum in Columbia SC

The South Carolina Confederate Relic Room & Military Museum in Columbia South Carolina has a ton of cool old Civil War items.  They are trying to make this a military museum in addition to the Confederate items but....  well, we were here to check out their old Civil War flags.

Here are a few photos we took.  The museum isn't huge, but it is packed with some quality items.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

South Carolina State House, Columbia South Carolina

The South Carolina State House in Columbia South Carolina is a must see.  I think it might be one of the more significant buildings linked to the Civil War.

We walked in to the massive government building and went through the usual very reasonable security to get in.  Right after that, another nice employee asked us if we were looking to do a tour and we confirmed that we were.  Almost instantly, we found ourselves, along with another couple, touring the huge building.

At first, we were shown a short film on the State House.  Then, we were taken around and told about the building itself, and all it had been through.

Construction started on the State House in the early 1850.  The project was slowed by the Civil War.  When Sherman invaded...  well, they did a number on Columbia.  The Old State House was burned, while it's nearby unfinished replacement (the current state house) took on a ton of damage too.  In fact, on the outside of the building, six stars mark where cannon balls hit and caused damage.

In the film we saw, they showed that a sword and a mace are displayed when certain government bodies are in session.  The original sword was stolen and never recovered.  The current one is still exceptionally significant and it is valued at a half million dollars.  The mace has been in use, I believe, since the 1700s.  According to the film it is estimated as having a value of PRICELESS!

President Trump in Richmond Kentucky

So, we made plans a while back to spend some time in Somerset this past weekend.  We then heard about President Trump's visit to Richmond.  We briefly thought about rescheduling our trip, and avoiding the Richmond area for the weekend.  Nothing against Trump, it's just that a presidential visit can really screw up traffic.  We were in Austin Texas a few years ago and actually totally changed our plans when we found out that President Obama would be coming through.  You just don't want to be on the roads when a president and their entourage are going to be around.

I had hear that doors would be opened for the Richmond event at 4, and Trump's appearance would be at 7.  So, we were in Somerset finishing things up maybe around 4.  We had planned to take 27 all the way back to Lexington, but then we thought that any traffic issues near Richmond should be cleared up by the time we drove through....  so we decided to drive back home on I-75.

So we drove north on 75.  We did start to notice that there was no traffic going south.  None.  AND, as we passed the Richmond exits, we saw where cops were holding up traffic there too.

There really wasn't a lot of traffic going north either...  and, other than a few other cars here and there, we felt like we had the road to ourselves.  We did notice a few clusters of people here and there standing in business parking lots watching the road.

We did see a couple of cop cars speeding south at one point...  and then maybe five minutes later we noticed a HUGE cluster of vehicles, moving fast and with emergency lights all around.  A cluster of motorcycles was followed closely by black SUVs, with an obvious PRESIDENTIAL LIMO in the mix, followed by a couple of ambulances!

The vehicles were moving fast, but there was no doubt about it!  We had just watched President Trump go by us!

We did exit in Lexington, and you could see where traffic had been held up for the President.  We very well could have been held up in traffic ourselves under different circumstances, but we ended up having a nice drive home...  and seeing the Presidential limo as we made our way north.

Also, I have added a couple of photos a friend took of President Trump actually at the Richmond event.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Heritage USA, Fort Mill South Carolina Postcard

I'm guessing this postcard is from the 80s.

"Heritage USA Victoria style enhances the beauty of the shops lining the Partner Center at Heritage USA."

We drove by here nearly a decade ago.  I have no idea what the status of the property is today.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Sam Kendall's Restaurant in Camden South Carolina.

At the recommendation of Bruce and Katherine at Bloomsbury Inn, we spent a very nice evening at Sam Kendall's Restaurant in Camden South Carolina.

My wife wanted a simple burger, but she said that this one was very good.  I ordered some fish tacos and they were really something special. 

We actually had a couple of nice waitresses taking care of us, and our cups were never empty.  The place is kind of dark and relaxed.  They were playing some really mellow rock while we were there.  I heard Don Henley's "Last Worthless Evening" as I walked in.  There was a very relaxed and nice vibe going on.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Historic Camden Revolutionary War Site, Camden, South Carolina

Historic Camden Revolutionary War Site was the second Revolutionary War site we visited in this nice small town.  They have some open cabins with exhibits in them, and a driving tour.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Mary Boykin Chesnut: A Biography by Elisabeth Muhlenfeld

While on our recent trip through South Carolina, I knew we would be travelling though areas where Civil War diarist Mary Boykin Chesnut lived.  In fact, as we planned, we were able to book a room at a GREAT B&B where she lived at one time!

If you are not familiar with Mary, she is quoted all over the place when it comes to the Civil War.  She was married to Confederate officer James Chesnut Jr., and she was very good friends with President Davis and his wife Varina.  Obviously, she is writing from a significant Southern perspective.

Mary wrote about her experiences during the Civil War, and later rewrote them.  They were not published during her lifetime, but different edited versions have been released since.  You can find her actual rewritten work in an 800+ page volume, and her original diary are available.  Introductions and annotations, I have heard, are very helpful.

Anyway, during our stay at Mary's former home, Bloomsbury, I acquired a copy of a very nice biography from inn keepers Bruce and Katherine Brown.  The book is by Elizabeth Muhlenfeld and I think this is probably the best starting point when delving into the world of Mary Boykin Chesnut.

Mary had a very interesting life, and, with her ties to the very upper levels of the Confederacy, she had a lot of access to a lot of information.  In fact, her perspective is really unique with her status and her friends.

During her lifetime, she also translated books, and tried her hand at writing fiction.  Muhlenfeld covers the topics of the fiction Mary tried to write.  Those works are available if one wants to read them, but I am pretty sure that this biography's descriptions of them will satisfy most reader's curiosity.

The biography also talks about changes made by Mary when she rewrote her diaries later in life.  AND, since the volumes of hand written records by Mary Chesnut were not published until some time after her death, the biography talks about the journals themselves, and how they do eventually get published.

Mary has a very fascinating life in general too.  It is very interesting to see how her life changes going into the Civil War.  Obviously there are big changes during the war, and very dramatic ones afterwards.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Random Thoughts on Friday: Northern Exposure

There are a fist full of TV shows we have gotten on DVD and watched...  sometimes even re-watching.  Well, for some time we have slowly been working our way through every episode of Northern Exposure.

I can't remember if I have ever mentioned it here before or not, but this is one of those shows that is just really special to me.  It was strange, weird, entertaining, and sweet.  If you weren't around in the 90s to appreciate this one, let me recommend that you look it up.

Well, back in the 90s, I remember that reruns came on pretty late.  I am thinking around 9 or 10pm.  I had a fast food job where I would be getting home around that time.  We had a small black and white TV in our kitchen.  I would watch Northern Exposure on that little TV in the kitchen (it was pretty far away from the bedrooms and I wouldn't wake my family up by watching it in the distant kitchen).  I might eat a sandwich I made at work as I watched Joel and Maggie on that little black & white screen.

Oh, and I mentioned that I was able to see John Collum in "Waitress" a year or so ago.  That was a huge thrill for me.

Northern Exposure isn't on Netflix or Amazon, so we bought the DVDs.  We have kind of slowly worked our way through watching them.  I don't think of it as a binge watchable show.  Its nice to watch one in the evening before bed as a treat every now and then.

So, we watched the very last episode last night.  Luckily, I missed a lot of episodes back when I would watched them at my parents home on the small TV, so there was a lot of freshness here.  Still, the last season was the worse one.  It was still good, just not as good as the earlier ones.  Rob Morrow left the show midway through the last season.  A new town doctor and his wife were brought in. 

The new doctor is a bit of a clone of Morrow...  and I did read that he was originally going to take over Morrow's role on the show, but they decided against that.  He is a fine actor, but bringing in the new doctor and his wife to the show at this point had a very "Coy and Vance" feel to it.  I got the feeling that several of the scripts at this point had to be retooled to fit the new additions to the cast.

AND, the last episode really didn't tie everything together.  It felt like just another episode.  I felt like (and assume) the episode was made thinking that there would be a season seven of Northern Exposure.  BUT, there was a very sweet and sad last five minutes or so of the last episode, played out to Iris Dement's "Our Town" (and, as a side note, I love Iris Dement and this song).  It was an absolute tear jerker, and one of the saddest (yet, most appropriate) ways to end this series.

I think a couple of years ago there was talk of a reboot.  I can think of no other show more deserving of one.

Bloomsbury Inn, Camden South Carolina

I may have mentioned this here before, but my wife and I will often have a little debate about where to stay when we travel.  I want to stay somewhere with some serious history to it.  She wants to stay somewhere that is just fabulous.  Well, we found a B&B on this trip that really made us both happy.

AND, to be honest, we had already found a good deal on a standard hotel room in the area.  But, after we read up on Bloomsbury Inn, we knew we wanted to splurge a bit and enjoy a couple of nights here.

We noticed that the Inn has over 350 reviews on tripadvisor, and ALL of them are 5 stars!  Think about that.  My wife saw the photos online and simply loved the look of the place.

I saw that Civil War diarist Mary Boykin Chesnut had actually lived at the home at one time.  That was enough to get me to want to stay here!  I always love reading an author's work at their former home.  It's a rare and magic opportunity!

Our room was so nice and comfortable.  This is a great home that is nearing its second century mark but it is in amazing, well kept shape.  It is old and charming, and all areas of the home are spotless.

There is a very nice main living room that is perfect for the evening socials that owners Katherine and Bruce Brown host.  Each evening you can sip tea and talk to other guests and the Brown's about where they are from, or what they are doing in the Camden area.  It is a very nice time.

We also enjoyed spending time on their very roomy porch in the evenings.  There are plenty of chairs for just hanging out and reading.

We had unforgettable breakfasts while we were here.  They really do an amazing job each day at 9am.

All guests are seated at a nice large table, and the great foods start to come out.  Bruce and Katherine are justifiably proud of what they do here, and they told us all about the items as they brought them out.  A local coffee roaster (Little River Roasting Co. in Spartanburg) actually makes a special blend for the B&B that they serve each morning.

The meals were great- I am still thinking about a strawberry soup that was served before the big meal one morning.

I really enjoyed the "everyone at a table for breakfast" experience here too.  Like us, we found that the others who visited Bloomsbury enjoy travelling and history.  It was nice chatting at breakfast before our day started.

Each morning after breakfast, Bruce gives a talk on the history of the home.  It is very interesting, and I was eager to hear all about Mary Chesnuts time at the home.  Bruce also talked briefly about his great grandfather who fought in the Civil War, and actually died in Kentucky at Perryville!

This was definitely a B&B that we didn't want to leave.  Its a great old house, and the Brown's really take things to the next level as they take such good care of Bloomsbury and its guests.  These are sweet people.

Let me also add that Camden is simply a great bed and breakfast town.  Its not known for it's nightlife, but there are pleasant restaurants in town.  There is great history, and just a nice, relaxed vibe.  This is a great town to spend a couple of days at Bloomsbury, and then slowly explore their historic parks, and main street area leisurely.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Battle of Camden, Camden South Carolina

During the Revolutionary War, the British scored a big victory over US forces in Camden, South Carolina.  The site of the battle is preserved with some markers.

We stopped by when we got to town.  They are doing a lot of work in this area though...  there was some construction equipment and tape blocking paths, etc.  We were still able to step out and see a couple of markers.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Maurice's Piggie Park BBQ in Columbia South Carolina

While we were in South Carolina, I really wanted to hit some barbeque places, and I especially wanted to visit the ones associated with the Bessinger family.

Like the other barbeque spots we visited in South Carolina, this one also gave us a HUGE pile of food!  Again, for all we got, we thought Maurice's was a good value too.

This was a very friendly spot too (we visited the Piggie Park at 800 Elmwood Ave.).  There was a very sweet lady who took our order and talked to us here and there as we visited.

The Bessinger family has been around doing BBQ in South Carolina for a long time, and have developed a quality reputation.