Magnolia Plantation & Gardens in South Carolina

Magnolia Plantation & Gardens in South Carolina

Magnolia Plantation in South Carolina boasts the last intact large-scale romantic gardens in the United States. This post contains affiliate links.  For more information, click here. But Magnolia’s history and her gardens go back a century before there was a United States, when Ann and Thomas Drayton established the rice plantation in 1676 along the Ashley…

Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon in Charleston

Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon in Charleston

The Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon is a quirky museum in Charleston, South Carolina, and a backdrop to some of the defining events in American history.  It ranks near Boston’s Faneuil Hall and Philadelphia’s Independence Hall among the most significant still-standing buildings from the Revolutionary era. Finished in 1771, the two-storey, Palladian-style, stone Exchange and…

Fort Sumter

Fort Sumter

Charleston’s Battery and Rainbow Row faded from view as my travel companion and I sailed aboard the ferry toward Fort Sumter, perched on a small island in Charleston Harbor, site of the first battle in America’s bloodiest war.  The five-sided Fort was planned during the 1820s, in the wake of the War of 1812, designed…

Wentworth Mansion in Charleston, South Carolina

Wentworth Mansion in Charleston, South Carolina

“8004”  The gentleman quietly ordered a bottle of Dom Perignon.  He then requested six glasses and two chairs for the corner half-booth behind him.  Nestled next to the floor-to-ceiling greige fireplace, the booth’s light beige banquettes blended into the slatted wainscoting.  The gentleman too fit the setting, his round creased face warm and smiling above…

Emblem Ceremony

Emblem Ceremony

With a CD of Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” playing, drill instructors award each recruit they’ve trained the Marine emblem of eagle, globe, and anchor. They may now call themselves United States Marines. This post contains affiliate links.  For more information, click here. Leslie CarboneLeslie Carbone is a former Cabinet speechwriter who’s having much more…

Crucible–Part One

Crucible–Part One

The recruits in this video, and the two to follow, have nearly reached the end of USMC boot camp’s Phase Three, which emphasizes teamwork. They are undergoing “the Crucible,” a sort of “final exam” in the form of a 54-hour combat simulation exercise. This post contains affiliate links.  For more information, click here. The sound effects…

Combat Water Survival Training at Boot Camp

Combat Water Survival Training at Boot Camp

Phase Two of boot camp features combat water survival. Many recruits arrive on Parris Island unable to swim; some actually fear the water, according to Captain Peter Marks. Instructors work one-on-one with the camouflage-clad, barefoot recruits at the shallow end of the pool until they’re ready for rigorous training in the deep end. In five…