It is a brisk day in Uptown Charlotte, North Carolina, as Robert Ryals adds the finishing touches to his Revolutionary War Continental Soldier ensemble. He slings his Continental Soldier cartridge box over his shoulder, adjusts his microphone, and he is ready to begin. Robert Ryals is the tour guide and co-owner of Walkin' Talkin' Tours, which he owns with his wife, Sharon Ryals.
South Carolina ETV's interview with Robert Ryals begins, and he talks about his passion for living-history and the work he has done, professionally and volunteer-based, to help preserve Southern American history. When he is not giving tours, Ryals is traveling to a multitude of historic sites throughout the South and volunteering at war reenactments. In fact, this is not the first time South Carolina ETV has worked with Robert Ryals. He actively volunteers for The Southern Campaign of The American Revolution, which is a project South Carolina ETV is producing in cooperation with the National Park Service and The Sons of The American Revolution.
He says the reason he drives long distances to volunteer is that he loves “telling the story.” He continues, explaining that he considers himself “a story teller of facts.” He says his volunteer work “helps bring about awareness to the importance of these sites.”
Eventually, his desire to share history evolved into Walkin' Talkin' Tours. It took Ryals and his wife three years to save the funds to have both an emergency reserve and to start Walkin' Talkin' Tours. In the end, it paid off and now, every so often, you can find Ryals walking around Uptown Charlotte dressed from head-to-toe in Revolutionary War clothing, followed by tour groups hoping to learn more about the city they live in.
To hear more, be sure to watch Palmetto Scene on February 16 at 7:30 p.m.