The Charleston area is a wonderful place to celebrate Christmas, and to host out of town family members. We may not have ice cycles and snowmen, but we are not lacking in Christmas spirit. One local tradition is the James Island County Park lights. We piled our family into one car, and drove all around the park, enjoying a lighted Santa, snowflakes, elves tossing snowballs, pirate ships, flags, and literally hundreds of lighted trees. The show starts at the lake with our famous Ravenel Bridge nicely reflected on the water. Midway through the drive we parked to walk through the rest of the attractions. Kids and parents roasted marshmallows over fire pits, children rode a merry go round, and we walked among the smells of the fires, kettle corn and funnel cakes. The best part was the enchanted forest full of butterflies, frogs and lights sprinkled all through the trees. Our entire family decided to make this a new tradition for the Christmas week. We enjoyed the light show a couple of days after Christmas, avoiding the long lines and crowds.
One warm sunny day before the holiday we drove to the beach on Sullivan’s Island, wearing shorts and sandals. As we crossed the bridge we left the sunny day behind, driving into a wall of ocean fog. We parked and walked along the boardwalk, the fog moving among the sea grasses. We could only hear the ocean, hidden by both fog and low tide. The lighthouse barely penetrated the mist, and it was eerily beautiful. The fog cleared as the sun slowly set, the colors made even more vivid as the fog burned off.
We took our family members to see the Charleston Tea Plantation on Wadmalaw Island. We all drink tea and yet we had never seen actual tea plants. We took a tour of the plantation, viewing the farm, the green house, and simply enjoying the beauty of the area. In the shop we sampled different hot and cold tea drinks. The plantation has 127 acres of Camellia Sinensis tea plants, grafted from original plants rescued from a Summerville farm that had been neglected. We also stopped at the Angel Oak Tree, an absolutely beautiful and amazing tree at least 500 years old. It is huge, rambling, and shades an area over 17,000 square feet. To stand under this tree is to be amazed at the beauty and depth of nature.
Charleston has so much to see with history, museums, architecture and home tours, but how wonderful it is to be able to enjoy the outdoors any time of the year.