Home » 2000 Spring Break on Hunting Island

Charles Towne Landing State Park, SC

Saturday, April 22, 2000 - 3:15am by Lolo
130 miles and 2.5 hours from our last stop

Travelogue

Herb and boys on rest from bike rideHerb and boys on rest from bike rideBiking is our absolute favorite method of travel, so I tend to look for stops that have good biking potential. I found out about Charles Towne Landing and our next stop, Magnolia Plantation, from the book Mountain Bike! The Southeast . Neither of these rides was going to be very aerobically challenging, but rather they were enjoyable family rides through some very pretty places.

Charles Towne Landing is the site of the first permanent English settlement in South Carolina. Today it is a 663-acre State Park that tries to give visitors a feel for what life was like for these first settlers. There is a recreation of a 17th century village, complete with shops displaying the various trades of the time, such as a print shop, smithery, candlemaker, etc. You can even get a little taste of 17th century justice by putting your head and arms in the old stockade they have in the village. There's also an Experimental Crop Garden with rice and cotton, the types of crops that settlers would have grown here back in 1670, and a natural habitat zoo featuring animals indigenous to this area at that time. I expected to see alligators and black bears, but was surprised to find bobcats, elk, and bison as well. I always thought bison only lived out west. We also got to go aboard the "Adventure", a full-scale reproduction of a 17th century trading vessel.

Andrew pinching Tommys nippleAndrew pinching Tommys nippleThe nicest thing about the park was that everything was accessible by bike, and the trails were beautiful. Most of them were dirt paths along swamps and lagoons and through forests of palmettos and oak trees draped in Spanish moss. We have much of it on film, because this was where Herb first attempted his bike riding while video taping technique. A bit risky, but if successful, the results are great. Watching it makes you feel like your still on the ride.

Along the ride, we kept our eyes peeled for alligators. Andrew won for the most false sightings. Every time he stopped us, sure that he was viewing an alligator, it surfaced and turned into a turtle. We did find a really cool lizard on a branch though that put on quite a show for us, puffing out a big red bearded gizzard under his neck whenever we came near.

Herb filmed so much wildlife this ride that we started calling him Nigel Thornberry, from the cartoon about the family that travels around in their RV doing wildlife documentaries. Come to think of it, we were a bit like the Thornberrys."

Description

Just across the Ashley River from Charleston is Charles Towne Landing State Park, the site of the first permanent English settlement (1670) in South Carolina. The park, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, tries to give visitors an idea of what life was like for those first settlers.

Attractions in this 663-acre park include:

  • A recreation of a 17th century village, complete with smithery, print shop, and woodworker's shop
  • 80 acres of English Park Gardens
  • A 1670 Experimental Crop Garden of the types of crops the settlers tried to grow here - rice, indigo, and cotton
  • The Animal Forest - a 20-acre natural habitat zoo featuring animals that were indigenous to coastal South Carolina in 1670 (pumas, elk., wolves, bobcat, bison, black bear, and alligators)
  • A full-scale reproduction of a 17th century 53-foot trading vessel, the "Adventure"
  • 7 miles of hiking/biking trails along marshes, lagoons, and forests of oak trees draped in Spanish moss"

Charles Towne Landing State Park location map

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