Friday, February 20, 2009

Edisto Beach State Park, South Carolina Interpretive Center

Click here for the first post in this series.

Well! Even Edisto Beach, South Carolina, was chilly this morning. Outside temperature dropped to the mid-30s by 4:00 a.m. or so. Though, fortunately, without yesterday's strong wind. This cooler weather sure inspires gratitude for the strong electric heaters in the Park's bath houses. And for the generous hot water in the showers!

It soon warmed up enough for a walk on the beach. Sun shining, porpoises fishing near the shore, and this pile of rocks that caught the eye.

[Click each photo for a larger view]

The first Mobile Studio Travels blog entries are up and running today. As you can see, it's definitely a work in progress. I've been posting blog entries now for a while. For the weekly Japan Considered Podcast. But I hope to make the Mobile Studio Travels blog somewhat different. More frequent entries that include photos, and maybe even links to short audio files. Though the photos alone provide enough of a challenge now. Google's "Blogger" makes it simple, they tell me. But "simple" for the modal computer user, and "simple" for the aspiring ElderGeek, are two quite different degrees of complexity.

Ms. Karen Carter, proprietor of The Edisto Bookstore, kindly provides a reliable WiFi cloud that's accessible from the parking lot in front of her store. Drop in the store and have a look around if you connect here, though. You'll be amazed by the layout, and by the skill with which the books she offers for sale have been selected. The store is right on Route 174, just a mile-and-a-half from the State Park's main gate. Can't miss it. A few purchases here are sure to enrich your Edisto experience.

After a couple hours of learning, and another ten minutes or so of actual posting, I finally got the first three or four MST blog entries up and running. Is really is simple, once you get the hang of it, as we'd say OverHome. Getting said "hang of it," however, takes time.

The Edisto Bookstore, now, is right down Route 174 from Main's Market. You remember Main's Market. With Larry Main's daily grilled and barbequed meats, and Ms. Etta's everything else you could imagine. Well, considering how long it would take to drive from Columbia -- let alone Atlanta or Washington, D.C.! -- to have lunch at Main's Market, it made excellent sense today to drive the short distance necessary to enjoy lunch there. Even economical sense. Considering the price of gasoline these days!

Anyway, that's where I ended up for lunch. And what a lunch it was. Perfectly prepared Boston butt, with sides of tomato pie, collards, and red rice. Washed down with iced tea, of course. I won't try to describe any of it. How Ms. Etta manages to prepare dishes that at once are so tasty and so healthy is beyond comprehension. But she does. Ms. Etta is as serious about healthy eating as she is about flavor. Just ask her! And she manages to combine both in the dishes she offers at Main's.

Now, lunch at Main's Market is no "fast-food" experience. It takes a while. Not to get served. But to eat! Food this good simply mustn't be gulped down. Also, any visiting outsider interested in Edisto Island can learn a lot just listening to the animated conversations of the locals sitting at other tables. It's quite a place. But be sure to arrive hungry!

Back out on Route 174, today's destination was the Edisto Interpretive Center. Driving toward the beach, turn right on Palmetto Road. Then, after a mile or so, bear left onto Oyster Row Lane. It's a hard-packed dirt road but well maintained. You're sure to see the Interpretive Center signs on the right. As noted there, the Center's open Tuesday through Saturday, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., year-round.

This Center is one of several within the ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge. Situated on State Park land, it opened in 2004 with the support of South Carolina's Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism, and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

Center programs rely heavily on a small paid staff, and a team of dedicated volunteers. They do everything, from answering telephones, to maintaining walking trails, to guiding evening turtle walks on the beach. They're personable. They're dedicated. They know their stuff. And they're eager to help visitors learn about the natural environment of Edisto.

Speaking of visitors, the Interpretive Center's program is designed to inform all ages of visitor. It's neither a children's museum nor an adults' museum. Its exhibits explain the environment of the Edisto area in ways that appeal to learners young and old. Now, that's not easy! But somehow they manage.

Every Saturday, even during the off-season, Interpretive Center Manager, Andrea Grabman, and other members of the staff, offer hour-long programs that introduce visitors of all ages to the wildlife of the region. Programs such as shark dissection, and opportunities to handle -- under strict supervision intended as much to protect the creatures as the human handlers -- fierce-looking crabs and other creatures in the Center's "touch-tanks." The Center also sponsors an evening lecture series designed for adults.

Click on this link to view some more photos of the Edisto Interpretive Center and its surrounding grounds. Better yet, come by and see the place for yourself!