Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Return to Botany Bay. Part I

Back again this week at South Carolina’s Edisto Island Beach State Park for five days. Right on the shore of the Atlantic. Literally! Site # 19.

Aliner I’ve written about this Park before. Have a look by clicking here. So I won’t go on and on today.

Front Row But the campsites facing the ocean really are remarkable. As close to the incoming waves and tides as one would want to be. Close enough so no lights are allowed at night when the turtles come in to lay their eggs.

These sites are well known, and must be reserved months in advance. I made this reservation in late October or early September, and was lucky then to find it open.

Weather this week hasn’t been to everyone’s taste. Rainy, chilly, and quite windy. In fact, Park Rangers toured the area this morning warning campers to roll up their awnings, and to tie down anything that might blow away. This little Aliner, with its external wind straps and internal bracing pole in place, is comfortable in winds strong enough to drive larger motor homes out of the Park.

Bookstore After quick, darting trips to the beach yesterday, as much as possible in between impressive blasts of wind and rain, I ventured out this morning to the WiFi link at the Edisto Bookstore on Route 174. I’ve also written about that remarkable bookstore in past posts.

Emily Grace In attendance today were Ms. Dixie, and, of course, Ms. Emily Grace, thought by some who haven’t been formally introduced to be just a cat. Ms. Emily Grace simply ignores such people, and denies them her invaluable advice on book selection. She’s never wrong when it comes to books about Edisto Island.

Ms. Dixie arrived at the Bookstore early this year. She too is a delight, and provides great information and advice on books. She also volunteers out at Botany Bay, and advised me to visit there today, since the Plantation would be closed for deer hunting throughout the rest of the week.

Mains MarketGeorge Pink So off I went. Driving out Route 174 past Main’s Market and that colorful sign for George and Pink’s Vegetable emporium, to the Botany Bay Road turnoff.

BB Sign The Botany Bay Road sign is small and easy to miss for those without benefit of GPS.

Maybe one of these days DNR will find the resources to erect larger signs along Route 174.

Tree The celebrated Edisto Tree simply is not reference enough.

Speaking of volunteers, Botany Bay Plantation has a terrific Volunteer Program. All I have met have been well informed about the Plantation itself. And about Edisto Island overall. They’re a dedicated group of folks who care about and for this remarkable place. Providing much of the labor required to keep it running.

Such effective programs don’t just happen. This trip I had the opportunity to meet the Coordinator of Botany Bay’s Volunteer Program, Ms. Bess Kellett. She’s one of those unusual people who somehow persuade others to offer to help out without even being asked.

During our conversation I heard a great deal about what the Botany Bay Volunteers have accomplished, and next to nothing about what she herself has done. She also emphasized the importance of training, and of having a good time while volunteering. DNR’s lucky to have her in that position.

Shed Just before meeting Ms. Kellett, I took another look at the gardener’s shed built for Mr. Oqui, and the presumed site of the formal Japanese garden he created there in the mid-1850s for John F. Townsend, owner of Botany Bay Plantation. More on that in the next post.

Click here for the next Botany Bay Visit Post.

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