#17 Charleston, South Carolina April 25-29, 2001

Wednesday, April 25: Encoring as co-hosts for a mini in Charleston (they arranged #2), John Colwell and Julian Buxton rolled out the orange-and-black carpet for 80 classmates and guests. In the heart of Old Charleston, the Doubletree, which features guest suites and was the venue for several gatherings, served as headquarters. "A Basket of Carolina" treats awaited the attendees in the Hospitality Room. All were on their own for dinner.

Thursday, April 26: Jim Simpson of Charleston Area Convention & Tourist Bureau coordinated the agenda for this 17th mini. Many attendees spent the day on a walking tour about this city noted for its beautifully preserved architectural and historic buildings from the colonial and ante-bellum periods. The guides led us along Meeting Street in the French Quarter, acquainting us with the city's historical surroundings. The tour included Dock Street Theatre, Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon, Rainbow Row and Waterfront Park. Also many churches ergo "The Holy City" nickname. Jane and John Colwell's home and garden were the site for a catered cocktail party. A musical group entertained, as did five Tigresses attired in "bathing suit" T-shirts. A tempting array of fine restaurants was suggested for dining out.

Friday, April 27: Visits to two famous plantations was on the day's agenda. Drayton Hall, the oldest and finest surviving example of Georgian Palladian architecture in the South, is noted for its exceptionally rich hand-crafted detail. This pre-Revolutionary (circa 1738) mansion, which overlooks the Ashley River, is a National Historic Landmark. A short distance ride is Middleton Place Plantation. Although the main house has lain in ruins since the Civil War, the gardens, laid out by Henry Middleton in 1741, created quite a vista. They reflected the symmetry and elegance of 17th-century France and 18th-century England. A tour of the gentlemen's guest wing offered a fascinating glimpse into plantation life. The guide pointed out that some scenes from "The Patriot" were shot at this location. The South Carolina Aquarium provided a spectacular backdrop for a cocktail party and buffet dinner. Diners viewed thousands of the state's most amazing and magical aquatic creatures in multi­level environments. Classmates sang "Old Nassau" at the foot of the escalator.

Saturday, April 28: A lowcountry breakfast shrimp and grits served in the hotel's Stono Ballroom preceded an address by Mayor Joe Riley, who also spoke at the Charleston mini in 1983. He presented an extremely interesting overview of his city. Pete Buchanan introduced the mini's six first timers. At the City Marina, many attendees boarded the Spirit of Charleston for a visit to Fort Sumter, which was still under construction when the Civil War started on April 12, 1861. It was reduced to rubble by war's end. A National Park Service historian gave a most informative talk. Many other points of interest were seen, including Patriots Point where the aircraft carrier Yorktown is a museum and the city's historic battery homes. Cocktails and hors d'oeuvres were enjoyed at Anne and Julian Buxton's lovely home on James Island.

Sunday, April 29: The mini's farewell reception, with Bloody Marys and a continental breakfast, was held in the hotel's Palmetto Courtyard.

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