We didn't fill the afternoon just with the letterbox trip. It wasn't that far and while the scene was lovely we didn't spend all that long walking around.
Fortunately coastal South Carolina is lousy with historic sites, many of them federal sites that don't charge much or any admission fee. We went to the Charles Pinckney National Historic Site. Pinckney, you'll remember if you're from the Eastern Seaboard, is one of those names that sounds kind of familiar from sometime around the Revolutionary War for something or other. And if you grew up past the Proclamation Line of 1763 he isn't quite that familiar. You remember correctly. (He was big in the Constitutional Convention, and was an early Governor of South Carolina and Ambassador to Spain.)
The site has a pleasant-looking house on it, which was built in the 1820s, long after any Pinckney lived at the area, and no buildings from when his family owned the property survive. The tricky thing about historic preservation is that you only get to preserve what's left over after everyone was busy living. There's no letterboxes there; national historical sites are extremely anti-letterbox. But there are rooms full of historical artefacts and descriptions of how the farms were worked and different ways that slaveowners would force the people they owned to labor for them. There was also a video explaining who the heck Charles Pinckney was, but we didn't quite have time for that.
We spent more time walking out onto the grounds. Besides the fields there was also a boardwalk out into the marshy lands that reminded me of the Sungei Bulow Nature Reserve back in Singapore. My father meanwhile sat in the car and fretted about how close we were getting to 5:00 when the park closed. He got to calling my phone, over and over, warning me that it was only twenty minutes until the park closed and only ten minutes until the park closed and so on. Mind, it's not a big park; it's about the size of a highway rest area. And while the drive into it has a gate I couldn't imagine they would lock us inside. But he worried, and I was oblivious since I didn't have my phone on me. I imagine it was back in my (broken) messenger bag, at my parents' apartment. I did get the messages later on.
So we left without having any incidents of being locked into a minor historic site. We spent the evening at my parents' apartment, checking up on my mother and having dinner there and wondering at game shows like this one where you answer questions and drop balls into a very large plinko board, only vey slowly. Didn't really understand that, but these things happen.
Trivia: Thomas Sumter died in South Carolina at the age of 97 in 1832. He was the last surviving general officer of the War for Independence. Source: Redcoats and Rebels: The American Revolution Through British Eyes, Christopher Hibbert.
Currently Reading: A Horrible Experience of Unbearable Length: More Movies That Suck, Roger Ebert.