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Places we've been in 2013

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Places we’ve been in 2013

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As is our year end custom, we take a look back at some of the places we’ve been in the past year. Some are new and some are not. Our top entry to the list is unusual in that it took several articles to do it proper justice.

I’m speaking of Patriots Point Naval and Military Museum in Mount Pleasant, the home of the USS Yorktown, when I first went there last January; I figured it would be a nice travel piece that could be covered in one article. I was hugely mistaken. Not only is the Point the home of the Yorktown, it is also the home of a destroyer, the USS Laffey, where I had the privilege of a shipboard tour by Sonny Walker, the president of the USS Laffey Association.The Laffey also had a new interactive exhibit installed this year. Patriots Point also is home to a Cold War era submarine, the USS Clamagore. There is also a Vietnam era Navy Support Base. The Yorktown also serves as the home to the Congressional Medal of Honor Museum. Each of these had its own article. My sincere thanks to those at Patriots Point who made it all possible. Patriots Point is a fitting tribute to our Veterans and gives an excellent insight to some of the conditions under which they operated. Without question, this was the highlight of our travel year.

But, this was not the only place. For those headed to the mountains, you are not forgotten, for we highly recommend visiting the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, the home of the largest private home in this country, Biltmore House. While a tour of the house can take up to 2 hours or more, there is an exhibit in the Antler Hill Village, The Biltmore Legacy which offers the essence of Biltmore in about 30 minutes. It is ideal for those who want to learn something about the Biltmore lifestyle and history, but without the major time commitment that a tour of the house would involve. The Biltmore Legacy is covered by the regular estate admission.

Closer to home, we suggest for the Revolutionary War buff, a visit to the Cowpens National Battlefield near Gaffney, S.C. Cowpens was the site of a brief, but pivotal Patriot victory which saw the defeat of the notorious British commander, Banastre “Bloody Ban” Tarleton.

Our final entry for 2013 is the Redcliiffe Plantation State Historic Site in Beech Island, near Aiken, S.C. The home of Civil War era politician James Henry Hammond (1797-1864), who popularized the phrase, “Cotton is King.” It was also the home of his descendants, the last of which was John Shaw Billings (1898-1975) who was the managing editor of Time and Life Magazines. Billings used Redcliffe as a vacation and retirement home and left it to the State of South Carolina. It is an excellent example of the plantation lifestyle.

Let us know if we missed anything. We are always looking for places to visit. Happy New Year!