In today’s ever expanding world being a fifth generation anything feels remarkable. Knowing that your name, and your ancestors’ name, and theirs before them, all belong to a well-respected family institution, causes one to swell with pride. In my case this pride is compounded with the recent Christening of my namesake tug boat, and thus having an even more direct connection to this mighty fleet that has endured all the trials of the last 150 years. Being a 5th generation McAllister never felt so wonderful as when I broke a bottle across the stern of the Moira McAllister!
Nothing worth having is ever had easily, right? Well my travel from Burlington, Vermont, to Charleston, South Carolina, via LaGuardia, for the Christening, was one of those stories that is only bearable because it has a happy end. Delay after delay after delay was the start of a long stormy night. My mother’s travel from Newark, New Jersey, started with a morning cancellation, followed by an evening standby she didn’t get aboard, to ultimately a wild drive across New York City to switch airports and airlines, and yes, miraculously, 12 hours after her scheduled arrive, she and I traveling via the same plane. No, not easy, but very joyously we landed safely!
By the next day we were all in love, for most certainly Charleston is a gem of a city. Old properties carefully restored to original splendor, restaurants serving farm to table southern delicacies, and a cool ocean breeze cutting the afternoon heat. Along with my mother, my sister and niece came for the Christening, as well as local family and the crew, captains, and many staff members. The celebration began with my mother’s speech, a potentially fictional account of the start of McAllister tugs, and then blessings and prayer.
After the holy water, came the champagne, and success with my first whack!! A big cheer erupted from all the onlookers.
Once the important tasks were done we were treated to a tour of my shiny tug!
The next day we were eager to explore Charleston further, and thanks to our friendly driver, we heard plenty of anecdotes as we meandered along the narrow streets and were thoroughly engaged by all the architectural designs from the pre-Civil War era.
Coming from our bustling busy lives, Charleston just echoed STOP! We all took a deep breathe and a long look around us on our Palmetto Carriage ride.
Charleston knows how to treat its visitors well. We were guests at the over 150 year old Mills House. This historic hotel boasts southern flair and truly lives up to its claims. The palmetto palm is the state tree and graces just about every view, along with a host of topical flowers and stately oaks.
Close to everything, we shopped in the open market place, ate divinely on Queen Street (our first night at 82 Queen and the next at Poogan’s Porch; both were spectacular!) and we strolled. Yes, Northerner’s really need to learn how to stroll, and Rainbow Row down to Broad Street provides plenty of practice.
What can you say about a city that prohibits any building to rise higher than its church spires. From my hotel room I could see over the tree tops clear to the water front. Despite this photo, we caught plenty of postcard-blue sky while we were there.
On my last morning I rose with the glorious sunshine, and stood under its rays, forever thankful to have had this honor. Rebounding in my heart was the notion that despite time or distance, through rough patches or smooth sailing, all that truly matters is family.
May all those who command, work, labor and toil on the Moira McAllister enjoy calm seas and safe returns from their many fruitful voyages!