From Charleston to North Carolina and Virginia

In this post I wanted to update our travels in the past several weeks.   We left Charleston on March 30 after a 17 night stay, our longest since our month stay in the Cajun Country of Louisiana last November/December.   It was a great stay in South Carolina and we could have stayed longer since there was so much to see and do, but we needed to push on.  I had to say goodbye to the huge oaks and Spanish moss, how I will miss them!  It is a sight I have grown accustomed to in the almost five months we had been traveling in the South.   So, I took a little souvenir with us.  Although most of it blew off our spare tire within a short period of time, there is still a few strands dangling.

Our stay in Eastern North Carolina was brief but sweet at only four nights and I felt we were “shortchanging” the state.  But I was anxious to get to Virginia and the sights there.  North Carolina has much to see and I am hoping we will get back to the mountainous western part of the state during the fall season.  We weren’t crazy about the RV park we stayed in, although it was out in the country and fairly quiet.  But the best thing was stepping outside from our trailer the first evening and seeing the sunset so bright it was like the sky was on fire!

One day we visited Raleigh, the capital city and spent several hours at the State History Museum.  I really enjoy seeing the state museums when we have visited the different capitols as we learn a great deal about each state’s important events.  This museum was well done along with the museums in Baton Rouge and Topeka.  When we walked in we saw a replica of the Wright Brothers Flyer, built in 1903 and the first aircraft to take flight, although only for 12 seconds.   It is positioned 12 feet above the floor, the same height as it was flown.   A few years ago I read a novel about the Wright brothers and have wanted to visit Kitty Hawk where they first took to the skies.  I was researching traveling there and possible RV parks but my hopes were “grounded” when we realized that traveling there did not fit in well with our plans and staying on our chosen route.  Perhaps we will make it to Kitty Hawk at another time.

I try to make a plan to visit each state capitol if possible and it worked out well as the historic North Carolina capitol is right across the street from the state history museum.  This capitol is now used for the governor’s office only and is very visitor friendly for exploring inside.   In the picture above, a statue is located in front of the building with the three native North Carolinians who served as U.S. presidents.  This is the second building on site as the first one burned to the ground in 1831.  The cause of the fire is ironic.  While the roof was being fireproofed the workers were careless and boiling lead solder spilled setting it on fire.  It burned to the ground in several hours.

A wheelbarrow filled with wood is a strange sight in a capitol building.   It was placed here to show why the stair steps are worn and chipped.  In the early days of the capitol slaves had to lug iron rimmed wheelbarrows loaded with firewood up several flights of stairs for the fireplaces.  As I walked up I did notice the wear on the steps and thought how awful to lug that load over and over while the legislators were in session.

We visited the Bentonville Battlefield, site of the largest Civil War battle in North Carolina.   There was a driving tour which was okay, but the highlight was visiting the Harper house located next to the Visitor Center.  It was taken over by Union soldiers in March of 1865 as a hospital.  The Harper family of eleven members was allowed to remain in the rooms upstairs while 500 Union and 45 Confederate soldiers were treated downstairs during the three days of battle.   The house has been set up to look like a hospital with operating and recovery rooms.  The most unusual “discovery” in the house was the round dark outline on the floor in one of the operating rooms.  It was analyzed and found to be blood.  Popular thought is that the stain is from the Civil War although there is no way to determine the stain’s age.

Leaving North Carolina we arrived to the Virginia border and another welcome center.   I discovered that Virginia’s motto is “Virginia is for Lovers.”  A lady at the center recommended we stop at a peanut shop five miles down the road.  Southeastern Virginia is known for growing large sized peanuts that are often roasted in the shell.  There were no peanut samples at this welcome center.   Florida has the only state welcome centers we have visited with free samples of the state specialty – as can be expected it was orange or grapefruit juice.

The Good Earth peanut shop was in a ramshackle but cute building out in the country.  There were lots of samples here and of course we came away with some peanuts.  Mark wanted to get an even bigger bag than the one he is holding but I disagreed as we are in a small RV!

Have you ever heard of peanut soup?   After getting to the Williamsburg Virginia area I saw it on a couple restaurant menus and one day decided to try it.  It was pretty good but not something I would eat on a regular basis.

We arrived at our RV park outside of Williamsburg.   The park was in a really nice country setting with trees at the sites and surrounded by forest with nature trails.  I was surprised that the hardwood trees were not leafed out even though it was April.  This winter and spring have been colder for Virginia and the South so the leaves are slower to come.  But we did have a spring surprise at the park – gorgeous cherry trees in full bloom greeted us.

As I write this we have moved on after a few weeks at Williamsburg to our next camp further west near Charlottesville Virginia.  In my next blogs I will be writing about our stay in Williamsburg and all the history we saw there.

Thanks for reading and hope you all are enjoying lovely spring weather!

2 thoughts on “From Charleston to North Carolina and Virginia”

  1. Was the peanut soup creamy or watery? Peanut sauces are common in African foods I wonder if it was similar? The dark ring/stain of likely blood caught my attention, probably from the amputations? You can always count on the Civil War to sound nightmarish. Can only imagine the stench of that house with all those people when it was operating as a hospital!

    1. Nice to read your response Matt! The peanut soup was creamy and fairly thick. It was a little like the peanut sauces in Asian food. Yes, they believe the blood stain is from the amputations done during the Civil War. I didn’t want to go into too much detail about it in the blog article in order to not offend people. The room where the blood stain is located was a surgical room because it was at the front of the house and they could put the limbs out the windows. Looking at the floor, it did look like an old blood stain, so does seem quite likely, but who knows. I agree, the smell must have been outrageous. To live upstairs with so many people downstairs hurt, sick and dying. The smell, the noise, how awful war is!

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