Tuesday, May 20, 2014

2014 Charleston Trip – Rally Days 4 & 5 - Angel Oak Tree & Tea Plantation

For day-four of our FMCA Rally, we headed south of Charleston for three stops on John’s and Wadmalaw Islands hoping we could accomplish a few things on a very rainy day.  The first stop was the Angel Oak Tree which is a huge Live Oak and believed to be more than 500 years old, some think maybe even 1500 years.  It shades an area of 17,000 square feet and measures 187 feet across - note the people on the right side.

From there we headed down to the Charleston Tea Company which is the only place in the USA growing and processing tea from their 127 acres of tea plants.  It rained hard while we were there and I got no usable shots but we enjoyed our tea tasting and the tour of the factory, where the pretty simple process was happening.  The tea plants look like nicely sheared shrubs because that is what they are - between May and October they are machine sheared 6-7 times, harvesting just the new top leaves each time.  Photo from the web.

They are then slowly processed to wilt, cut into small pieces, dry, and sieve to remove stems prior to packaging.

From the tea plantation, we headed over to the Irvin House Vineyards and Firefly Distillery, at the same location - part of the group passed on this stop.  We did a tasting of their muscadine wines and Louie tried their spirits and none of really cared for any of their offerings, so we headed for lunch.

After a brief discussion and a special request for raw oysters, we opted for the Charleston Crab House and this is a shot of anticipation – everyone was hungry.

I just had a dozen oysters on the half shell ($16) and shared Bev’s fish tacos – my dozen oysters went down real easy.  It was just an okay place but not a real good value compared to some of the places we’d eaten – sitting right on the water, it did have a nice view.  I consider this a tourist food restaurant serving mediocre food at inflated prices and would not recommend it.

The rally ended Friday and by noon everyone but us had hit the road, but we sent then on their way with a light breakfast of sausage egg McLarry's, tomato pie, and cantaloupe.  I didn’t get any shots but here is the recipe for the tomato pies.

Individual Tomato Pies

10 count inexpensive buttermilk biscuit (We used half an English muffin this time)
1 ½ cups of grated Monterey Jack/Colby grated cheese
1 cup Real Mayonnaise
Sliced tomatoes for 10 Biscuits
Grated Parmesan cheese (in shaker)
Salad Supreme by McCormick
Butter Pam
Dried Basil or Italian Seasoning

1. Spray foil lined cookie sheet with Butter Pam.  Space biscuits and flatten.  Spray biscuits with Pam and sprinkle with basil.  
2. Peel and slice tomatoes and place a slice on each biscuit.  Sprinkle tomatoes with Salad Supreme.  Do not be skimpy with spices.
3. Mix Monterey Jack/Colby cheese with mayonnaise.  Put 1 tsp. on top of tomato and sprinkle heavily with parmesan cheese.
3. Bake at 350 degrees until biscuits are done (about 12 minutes).  Do not let the biscuit get too brown.  (we just used one medium toast cycle in the toaster oven using the English muffins).

Other Variations:
1. Place 6 raw shrimp on top of tomato before baking
2. Place 2 precooked slices of bacon on top of tomato
3. Place 2 asparagus spears on top of tomato
4. all of the above can be combined for a special tomato pie

In spite of some pretty warm temperatures and the one rainy day our Low Country Food Rally ( as it turned out to be) seemed to be a success and Bev and I had a fun time hosting our first event for the group and getting to know the attendees better.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them. 

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


5/16/14 event date


  1. I really like Bev's blouse. Please tell her - it's great. And your tomato pies sound really good Larry.

  2. Another fun day, checking out the sights.
    We get really annoyed when you pay a lot of money for a so-so meal.
    Can make it better at home for a fraction of the cost. So rarely go out to eat anymore.
    Mind you like you I enjoy cooking.
    Keep having too much fun.

  3. If you go back to Charleston, go to Pearlz on Bay St. My husband had 2 dozen raw oysters for what you paid for one dozen. You sent your friends off in good style with the breakfast.

  4. The live oaks are huge aren't they and gorgeous too. I bet I know who requested the oysters. I would be a happy girl to be sent off on a trip with your tomato pie breakfast Larry. You and Bev must have been the most popular guys there.

  5. I dislike touristy places to eat, most of the time too much fat and not enough of fresh veggies and I adore Oysters! We live in the pacific northwest and buy where they gather them and shrimp and clams too, oh, my goodness sakes, they are reasonable on a windy cold beach but the restaurtant and hotel Tokeland Hotel & Restaurant, in Tokeland Washington is the best for the food! I enjoy your travels and your recipes always something to make that tastes great! If ever you travel to Washington state go to Tokeland Washington you will not be disappointed at all, and reasonably it is nicer in the cold cold winter...They have wines and beers made locally too, it is warm inside and no one is there in the winter which is fine with us, we live a little ways from the beach but never ever go in the summer with tourists..ciao have a wonderful trip when you go and your sweet wife anywhere!!!!!!!!1

    1. Thanks for the suggestion. Many years ago, we were in that area and had super good pan fried oysters at a place in South Bend, WA

  6. Larry, We love those live oaks! We never saw that one...spectacular! Was fishing today...and the county has done some repairs to the road to your house. Travel carefully! Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  7. That Live Oak is one spectacular tree!

  8. I am lovng that oak tree. You guys know how to have a good time.


  9. Hi Larry thanks for telling me about your comments not going through. They did go into spam for some reason, so I approved them. I am finally writing and reading blogs again after taking a break as we are going through some big life changes. I have some reading to do to catch up on your adventures!!

  10. Hi Larry, thanks for letting me know about your comments, I did find 2 in spam out of 2624 spam comments in 2 days. That is crazy to get that much and I don't know why it flagged yours. I am blogging again since I took a break from reading blogs and writing too since we were making a big life changing decisions. I have some catching up to do to see all of your great adventures!!


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