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The Lowcountry has the lowest gas prices in the country

There are so many reasons to visit Charleston, and here’s yet another one: the lowest gas prices in the country.

We’re fast approaching the peakest of the peak weeks of summer.  Fourth of July is prime time to be in one of our Isle of Palms luxury rentals.  There will be plenty of fireworks displays and patriotic fun on the day itself, Wednesday.  I’ll cover that in the next blog.

But the weekend before has a lot going on as well.  More about that in a minute.

First up, there is a bit of good news on the gas front.

Gas prices are often in the news.  And the reason is a good one.  South Carolina regularly has among the lowest gas prices in the country.

 

Lowest gas prices in the United States

 

Gas prices have been on quite a ride these past few years.  Check out the average prices per gallon of regular unleaded in South Carolina for the week of June 25th of the last five years:

So far this year, prices at the pump have taken a rise again.  However, nationally the average price dropped six cents during the last two weeks, landing at $2.95.  That’s the first price drop in four months.

Here in South Carolina, the price per gallon fell four cents from just last week.

Where are the lowest gas prices in the contiguous 48 states?  Charleston, SC.  The average here is $2.44 a gallon.

The highest is in the Bay Area around San Francisco, coming in at a whopping $3.79 per gallon.

Even if you fly here, chances are you’ll still be driving around the Lowcountry in a rental or maybe a friend’s or family member’s car.  Lowest gas prices in the country – yet another great reason to choose Charleston for your summer vacay.

To track down the lowest price near here, check out the handy app by Live 5 News.  It shows the latest local news and weather as well as the lowest gas prices in the Lowcountry, available for iPhone and Android.  They also have a gas price feature on their website.

And here’s more on the story from Live 5 News.

 

Pre Fourth events near Charleston

 

There are a couple fun things going on this weekend, to get you in the July 4th party mood.

Friday (tonight):  Party at the Point –  the official season finale featuring live music by Sol Driven Train and Fusion Jonez (jazz/funk fusion).

 

Sunday:  Fourth Annual Stars & Guitars concert  –  Boone Hall Plantation

Read more in the Post & Courier about these two events and others going on this weekend.

So remember, when you are looking for a beach house stay near Charleston, contact EP.  We have the best ones around.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

 

 

 

 

IOP Clean Up Crew: one way to keep a clean beach

Of course when you and your loved ones come to stay in a Charleston beach house, one of the main draws is a clean beach.

Most of our vacation homes are either oceanfront or right close to it.  You can enjoy the beach just by sitting on your porch or looking out the window, or by heading out the door and sticking your toes in the sand.

Having a clean beach is vital to both visitors and locals alike, not to mention perhaps most of all, the many species of wildlife that call it home.  Our beaches are one of the most valuable resources in these parts.

Unfortunately it’s usually we two-legged critters who are the ones who mess it up with litter and ocean pollution of all sorts.  Paper, plastic bags, glass bottles, beach furniture, beach toys, tires, cigarette butts, food wrappers, cans, pieces of Styrofoam coolers can all wreak havoc on wildlife and detract from the natural beauty of our beaches and waterways.

IOP takes a bold step to help keep a clean beach

 

In an effort to combat that, the Isle of Palms took a major step forward when it became the first municipality in the state to carry out a plastic bag ban in local businesses.  They vote was unanimous (8-0) a couple years back.  So when you go into Harris-Teeter for groceries to stock your beach house, you won’t be asked the question, “Paper or plastic?”  You’ll be taking the groceries out in a paper bag  –  unless you did one step better for the planet, and brought your own reusable shopping bag.

Other cities have followed suit, including Folly Beach and most recently Mount Pleasant.  The state legislature is trying to ban such bans, but IOP, Folly, Hilton Head and Surfside Beach are all grandfathered in.

 

Sweep the Beach 

 

In an effort to combat the problem of litter on the beaches and waterways, the Sea Grant Consortium created a statewide event in 1988 called the Beach Sweep River Sweep South Carolina.  It’s taken place every year since, on the third Saturday of September, and is coming up again this fall.

But the problem of litter on the beach is an ongoing one, especially during peak summer season.  One beach clean up a year is just not enough.

 

July 5th Morning Beach Clean Up

 

As a result, two different summertime sweeps are happening.  One is a one-time event sponsored by the IOP Police Department.  It’s set to happen on July 5th, the day after the biggest single day on the beach, people-wise.

There will be free parking at the IOP County Park, as well as supplies and water.  You’re encouraged to bring a reusable water bottle.  It’ll happen from 6:00 a.m. till 10:00 a.m.  You can stay as long as you like, or drop by as time permits to lend a hand.

Find out more at the IOPPD Facebook page.

 

Weekly Monday Evening Beach Clean Ups

 

A group of local citizens has banded together to form a weekly beach clean up during the prime summer months, when the beaches are the most visited.

It’s called the Isle of Palms Cleanup Crew.  They just had their first clean up yesterday  –  Monday, June 25th.

Here are the details:

Here’s a report from Live 5 News, with a video of some of the participants and what trash they found.

Here’s more on the story, “A Twist on Trash Pickup,”  from the Island Eye News.

So consider taking part in a beach cleanup, either with one of those groups or on your own.  And when you are looking for the best beach rentals near Charleston, call EP.  We’ll find you the perfect one.  On a clean beach.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

 

 

 

 

Stock up on summer reading material at a giant book sale

That Summer Book Sale is an ideal way to stock up on great summer reading for all ages.  It kicked off this morning and goes through the weekend.  More about that in a minute.

This is a great weekend to be in a beach house Charleston.  There’s a lot going on, including a relatively new event happening tomorrow.  It’s proven to be so popular that tickets sell out fast.  VIP tickets are already gone.  So if you’re interested, you’d better act fast, as with many ticketed events around the Lowcountry.

It’s called RumFest, and is quite the celebration of all things rum.  Shiver me timbers!  Get set for:

It’ll happen tomorrow  –  Saturday, June 23rd – from 7:00 till 11:00 p.m. at Memminger Auditorium, 56 Beaufain Street in downtown Charleston.

Read all about it and get tickets at the official website.

 

Fill your satchel with a slew of summer reading material

 

One of the most popular things to do while staying in a beach house is to a read a book.  Sure, there are more high-tech ways to enjoy a novel  –  kindle, smartphone, iPad, tablets of all sorts  –  but sand and electronics don’t usually mix very well.

When it comes right down to it, it’s hard to beat flipping the paper pages of a really engrossing story while taking in the sunshine and all its good vitamin D… either on the beach or while lounging on the deck.

If you’re here this weekend, there’s a great opportunity to stock up your summer reading material  –  at a great price, and for a great cause.  It’s the Charleston County Library’s annual summer book sale.

“That Summer Book Sale,” as it’s known, boasts a huge assortment of summer reading and entertainment options   –  as in, 20,000 titles.  Included are fiction and nonfiction, paper and hardback, children’s books, CDs, DVDs and audio books, with prices starting at just $1.00 (and only 50 cents for children’s books).  They accept cash, checks or credit cards, and proceeds go toward helping the public library do its good work for the community.

The sale takes place at the main, massive library branch downtown.  It’s located at 68 Calhoun Street.

It’s going on today until 5:30 p.m., tomorrow (Saturday, June 23rd) from 9:00 a.m. till 5:30 p.m., then again on Sunday afternoon from 2:00 till 4:00.  There will be special pricing on Sunday, when you can really score some deals.   Admission is free.

Here’s a link with more info.

 

Celebrate Carolina Day 

 

June 28th is a big day in South Carolina history… actually, in “American” history, even though the source of the celebration pre-dates the Declaration of Independence by several days.

On June 28, 1776, patriots from the Carolinas and Virginia  —  even though they were outmanned 10 to one — turned back the British forces (the Royal Navy and the British Army under Cornwallis) who were trying to take the Fort Sullivan on Sullivan’s Island, and thus Charleston.   It was the first time that American colonists decisively defeated the British in their fight for independence.   It gave a gigantic boost to the whole push for independence and ended up keeping Britain from gaining a stronghold in South Carolina for another four years.

This victory is officially celebrated as CAROLINA DAY.  Thursday will mark the 242nd year since this incredibly important battle in our nation’s past.  Official commemorations of the holiday began all the way back in 1777.  So Carolina Day was one of America’s original holidays, even though many folks (visitors and locals alike) still don’t know all that much about it.

Leave it to Carolinians to make United States history even before we were officially a country!

How Carolina Day became a thing

 

It was June 28th, 1776.  Nine British warships were swarming in off the coastline, trying to gain a foothold in the American colonies.

But the 2nd South Carolina Regiment under command of Colonel William Moultrie had other ideas.  They positioned themselves at Fort Sullivan on Sullivan’s Island, and they didn’t want to give up their precious turf.  Though ridiculously outnumbered and outgunned, they battled the Royal Navy and British Army and heroically turned back the assault from ocean, mainland and the Isle of Palms.

Moultrie’s victory was the first in the patriots’ fight for independence, and it gave a major boost the idea that these little upstart colonists had a chance against the mighty land of England and their powerful military forces.

No wonder Carolina Day became a holiday.  Colonel Moultrie became the namesake for the fort on Sullivan’s Island, which is now well known as Fort Moultrie, and later went on to become a two-time governor of South Carolina.  Fort Moultrie is now part of the National Park Service, as a unit of Fort Sumter National Monument.

This weekend’s commemorations

 

So this weekend  –  both Saturday, June 23rd and Sunday the 24th  –  is the official local celebration, based at Fort Moultrie (1214 Middle Street on Sullivan’s Island).   Admission will be free to Fort Moultrie, along with programs of events and activities from 10:00 a.m. till 4:00 p.m. Saturday and 10:00 a.m. till 1:00 p.m. Sunday.  Events include reenactments by the 2nd South Carolina regiment, medical demonstrations, demos on weapons, every day camp life and living conditions of the patriot soldiers, and musket drills.  Activities are kid friendly and appropriate for all ages.

So grab some summer reading material, some rum and celebrate Carolina Day just over Breach Inlet from the Isle of Palms.  And begin and end your search for beach homes by calling EP.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

Charleston's City Market and Night Market downtown

The Charleston City Market “Night Market” is in full swing, and this week’s is a special one.  More about that in a minute.

First up, a quick reminder that tonight is yet another installment of the popular Party in the Park free concert.  This is the 8th annual series, of really terrific live music every Tuesday in June.

The venue is awesome  –  Memorial Waterfront Park in Mount Pleasant, located under the Ravenel Bridge.  It’s an easy drive from the Isle of Palms.  It’s also family friendly fun for all ages.

Each concert features three different musical acts.  Tonight’s lineup:

It’s sponsored by 103.5 WEZL Radio, a great station to listen to while in one of our beach rentals Charleston.

Read more here, or in this blog.

 

Special Night Market back again at City Market

 

Also going on this Thursday, June 21st is a special evening installment of a Charleston icon, the historic City Market.

Located between East Bay and Meeting Street, it’s a great place to find the perfect souvenir from your stay in Charleston.  There’s a plethora of unusual local products, handmade Lowcountry items (including the ever-popular sweetgrass basket), lovely jewelry, you name it.  It really is one of the Charleston must-dos for folks who come to visit from “off.”

City Market underwent a major renovation a while back, and now it’s better than ever.  The lower two buildings are still open-air.  They completely enclosed and climate-controlled the building closest to Meeting Street and upped the quality of the permanent vendors there.

Well, now that warm weather is here, the Night Market is officially back in season, on Friday and Saturday nights from 6:30 till 10:30 p.m. every weekend.  It’s a festive atmosphere with live music and an evening vibe, in the buildings between Church Street and East Bay.  It’s a pleasant drive from the Isle of Palms and a great place to visit before or after dinner out at one of downtown’s many terrific restaurants.

An extra long weekend market this weekend…

 

This weekend, though, they’re adding a couple extra nights of the City Market’s Night Market fun.  They’re calling it June 21st – June 24th (Thursday through Sunday): A Four Night Weekend Celebrating Local Artisans.  There will be live music and plenty of entertainment sprinkled throughout.

It kicks off at 7:00 p.m. this Thursday evening with a special ceremony hosted by Mayor John Tecklenburg.  There will be an awards presentation at 8:30.  He’ll be handing out special tiles with the City Market seal, to recognize honorees, artisans and merchants selling certified local products that are 100% made in the Lowcountry.  When you’re shopping the market, be sure to look for these Certified Authentic tiles to make sure you are purchasing authentic Lowcountry items.

At the end of the ceremony, Mayor Tecklenburg will tickle the ivories along with The TenCap Jazz Band.  David Calhoun will also provide live entertainment.

By the way, you can feel especially good about the things you purchase there.  In a past survey, almost 94% of night vendors and 72% of day vendors make goods with material that is either natural (for example: sweetgrass, shells or wood), reclaimed or recycled.  They really make a unique gift option that is unique to the region and a wonderful reminder of your stay here.

Read all about it at their official site.

So check out some great live music and shop for local items at City Market downtown Charleston.  And when you are in the market for luxury beach house rentals SC, be sure to call EP.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

 

Photo credit: Charleston City Market

 

 

 

Charleston: One of the most breathtaking destinations in the world

The accolades keep pouring in for Charleston, and the latest considers it one of the most breathtaking destinations there is.

Word to the wise: you’re well advised to book one of our beach homes as far in advance as possible.

First off, we’re in the prime time of the year, when the area is bustling with folks flocking to the coast.

Hopefully you reserved your Charleston beach house well in advance.  As word spreads about how fantastic Charleston and the beaches of the Lowcountry are, our beach rentals book up sooner and sooner.

If you’re looking to stay in a luxury house at the beach near Charleston, you’ve really got to act fast.

Second, you can add this to the mix.  Charleston just landed atop another “best of” list.

The travel gurus at Expedia made a list of “The 55 Most Breathtaking Destinations in the World.”  It was part of their via their Viewfinder travel blog.

Although they claim the destinations are in no particular order, guess who is listed first?

You got it.  Charleston.

Charleston, one of the most breathtaking destinations on Earth

 

This is what they had to say about the Holy City:

From its peaceful waterfront parks and pineapple-shaped fountains to jaw-dropping manor houses, Charleston has charm to spare. Built in 1676, Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is just one of Charleston’s enchanting estates, where the white columns of the plantation house offer elegant contrast to Spanish moss growing wild in the trees. When the ocean calls your name, walk to the waterfront at Battery Park, named for the cannons lined up at attention looking out to sea.

You can see the whole list here.

The Holy City of Hospitality

Book a beach house ASAP.  It’ll take your breath away!

 

Due to all the positive press lately, beach rentals near Charleston are more popular than ever.  If you are interested in one, there are a lot of companies out there.  It pays to look around and do your homework about the right one.  Exclusive Properties has been in the biz a good while, and we have the best ones in our portfolio.

So check out one of the most breathtaking destinations on earth.  And there’s nowhere better to stay than the beach.  Just call EP and we’ll put you in a perfect one  – as long as you call early enough ahead of time.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

 

 

 

If you come to Charleston, be sure to take part in a classic activity: eating shrimp

What visit to Charleston beach house is complete without taking part in a quintessential Lowcountry activity  –  eating shrimp?

A hearty meal of eating shrimp is one of those things that makes people happy and really rounds out the beach experience.  When you come to the coast to stay at the coast, you can’t help but crave seafood in general and those cute curled crustaceans in particular.

Options for eating shrimp near the beach

 

Seems like you can’t throw a rock nowadays without hitting a restaurant that sells great seafood.  Countless options exist near Charleston.  If you’re on the Isle of Palms, you don’t even have to leave the island for a top-notch eating shrimp experience.  Long Island Café, next to Harris-Teeter, has been around for decades and has some really delicious shrimp and other fruits of the sea.  Other good choices are The Boathouse at Breach Inlet (great views), Acme Lowcountry Kitchen, Coda del Pesce, and Morgan Creek Grill (more great views at the marina).

This year’s shrimp season has been delayed this year due to the cold winter.  Normally it would have begun about a month ago, around the time of the Blessing of the Fleet.  Recreational shrimpers eagerly await the go-ahead to fill their coolers with some of the most delicious crustaceans known to man (or woman).  Local catch is prized by restaurant chefs and Lowcountry home cooks alike.

According to this article in the Post & Courier, they are hoping to get the green light as soon as tomorrow.   Let’s hope so, so we can get about eating shrimp soon.  Read more about it here.

Most recreational shrimping is done from an open flat boat at night, since that’s when shrimp move in to feed in shallow, murky water.  The most common technique involves setting poles to mark a spot, throwing bait balls made of fish meal mixed with mud or clay, waiting a short while for the word to get out, then casting nets into the area to catch the shrimp as they feed.

About a half million pounds of shrimp are caught each year by this baiting technique.

Other options to get seafood near your beach house

 

If catching them yourself is not your cup of tea, you can still experience shrimp season.  Head to Shem Creek in Mount Pleasant (on Coleman Boulevard, along the way from Isle of Palms to Charleston).   There you can see commercial shrimp trawlers and the dolphins that often follow them.  Several seafood restaurants line the creek, including Red’s Ice House, where you can even dine al fresco on the deck with your canine friend.

Buy fresh caught shrimp at Wando Shrimp Company, a tucked-away favorite of locals, at 102 Haddrell Street.  The shrimp is excellent, as are the prices.

While there, be sure to cross the creek to experience one of the best new parks in the area, the incredibly beautiful Shem Creek Park.  Piers, boardwalks and docks stretch across the marsh and extend all the way towards Charleston harbor, offering great views previously only seen by boaters or birds.  The park cost almost $9 million to develop and opened a few years back to rave reviews.

Again, you don’t even have to leave the IOP to purchase fresh seafood.  Simmons Seafood is located just down the street from our beach homes, at 1400 Palm Boulevard.  They are family owned and have been around since 1947.  Harris-Teeter also has a perfectly respectable seafood market.

Why not prepare your fresh shrimp by trying out one of the Lowcountry’s classic signature dishes  –  Shrimp & Grits.

Here is chef Robert Stehling’s recipe from Hominy Grill, the popular restaurant on Rutledge Avenue in downtown Charleston.  FYI, if you are heading downtown, Hominy Grill is a great breakfast/lunch/brunch option.  They even serve breakfast all day.  Portions are large and luscious.  Think sweet potato waffles, pimento cheese biscuits, and pork belly grit bowls.

Shrimp & Grits recipe to make at home

 

Prepare the creamy grits “base” first.  While they are simmering, you can prepare the shrimp topping.

4 c water

¾ t salt

1 T butter  –  Mix together and bring to boil in a heavy saucepan.  Stir in:

1 c coarse white stone-ground grits

Reduce heat and simmer, covered, stirring frequently till thick, about 15 minutes.

½ c whole milk  –  Stir into the above.  Simmer on low, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes.

½ c whole milk  –  Stir in and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, about 35 minutes till thick.

¼ t pepper

1 T butter  –  stir in and keep on the stove, warm, till ready to serve.

The Shrimp Part:

3 slices bacon – Fry till crisp.  Remove from pan; pour off all but 1 T of fat.

1 lb. fresh shrimp  –  peeled & deveined.

2 T flour  –  Toss raw shrimp in flour till lightly coated.

2 T peanut oil – Add to bacon pan & heat to medium-high.  Add shrimp and sauté till half-cooked.

1 ¼ cups sliced mushrooms  –  Add & toss into the above.  When they begin to cook, add in:

1 large garlic clove, chopped  –  add, but don’t let it brown.  Stir in crumbled bacon.  Then quickly add in:

Tabasco to taste

2 t fresh lemon juice  –  Stir in quickly.  Cook till shrimp are pink on both sides and mushrooms are golden brown.  Add water to make a light gravy.  Season with salt, then add:

½ c sliced green onions

Remove from heat.  Spoon shrimp mixture over prepared grits.  Serve immediately.

So enjoy eating shrimp in your Charleston beach house  –  local shrimp if possible.  And remember, when you are looking for the best place to stay at the beach near Charleston, be sure to call EP.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

 

 

sand sculpting near our Isle of Palms vacation rentals

Well, we’re coming up on the final weekend of Spoleto and Piccolo Spoleto, and there’s a ton of fun going on, including sand sculpting on the Isle of Palms.  Each year this festival seems to fly by with its whirlwind of cultural events.  Most take place on and around the downtown peninsula.

But if you’re staying here on the Isle of Palms, the festival is coming to you.  This weekend is the official Piccolo Spoleto Sand Sculpting Contest on the IOP, and it kicks off at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow morning – Saturday, June 9th.  Just walk, bike or golf cart over to Front Beach to check out the fun.

Believe it or not, this marks the 30th annual installment of the competition.  They award a lot of great prizes, not to mention the much-coveted bragging rights.   It’s a very family-friendly event, and if you’re here in a Charleston beach house with a group of friends and loved ones, you just might want to enter a team of up to four people and give it a whirl.     Prizes will be awarded to 1st, 2nd and 3rd in each category:

Entries do get pretty creative, and it’s always a lot of fun to watch the designs develop and unfold from the sands of the island.

You can register online at the IOP’s website (see below for link), or in person starting at 8:30 tomorrow morning at the event.  It will last till about noon.

Here’s a list of last year’s Sand Sculpting Contest winners:

2017 Winners

BEST OF CHILDREN’S
1ST – SITE Q – FISHING FLY
2ND – SITE V – MOANA
3RD – SITE R – SAVE THE SEA TURTLES
BEST OF YOUNG ADULTS
1ST – SITE M – RAINBOW ROW
2ND – SITE H – ALABASTER ALLIGATOR
3RD – SITE K – SAND-WITCH
BEST OF FAMILY
1ST – SITE 35 – KAYAK ATTACK
2ND – SITE 27 – GOD BLESS AMERICA
3RD – SITE 33 – LUCY
MOST CREATIVE
1ST – SITE 24 – BEE KIND
2ND – SITE 29 – PICKLE-O SPOLETO
3RD – SITE 16 – CAPTAIN SPOLETOPANTS
BEST ARCHITECTURAL
1ST – SITE 8 – ANGORA WHAT? (DRIP CASTLE)
2ND – SITE 9 – LIGHTHOUSE
3RD – SITE 34 – OLD FORT
BEST OF ADULTS
1ST – SITE 21 – BEACH BUGGY
2ND – SITE 23 – BUBBLE TROUBLE
3RD – SITE 10 – BONE FISH
BEST OF SHOW – OVERALL
SITE 19 – R.I.P. TONY

 

It’s always a hoot to see what people come up with.  Here’s the official website with more info and online registration.  Here’s a link to the registration form.   And here’s a list of the official rules.

So why not gather everybody up and give it a go.

 

Festival finales this weekend 

 

Both Spoleto and Piccolo Spoleto have their finale celebrations this weekend.  First up is Piccolo.

The Piccolo Finale is happening tomorrow night (Saturday June 9th).  This is a great free event downtown that’ll have excellent music in a family-friendly setting.  There will be plenty of food and drinks available for purchase, plus lots of fun booths to check out.  It’ll go on from 5:00 p.m. till 10:00 p.m. Like the sand sculpting competition, it would be perfect for all ages.

Music will be provided by:

Food trucks on site will include:

There will also be an Italian market complete with wine and beer, gelato, cheese, bread and chocolate.

Kids’ activities include Field Day Games, giant inflatables, Bubble Zone and steampunk interactive station.

It’ll take place near the lake in the beautiful Hampton Park downtown, north of the Crosstown and near the Citadel.  If you’re using a GPS, it’s 30 Mary Murray Boulevard in Charleston.

You’re encouraged to bring chairs or blankets, and leashed dogs are welcome.  There will be a designated section for coolers.

Here’s a video of what to expect.

 

Spoleto Finale in a new venue

 

The mainline Spoleto festival finale will take place Sunday evening.  In the past, it’s always been located at Middleton Place, west of the Ashley.   But this year they are switching it up.  It’ll be happening at The Joe, home of the Charleston Riverdogs, with less emphasis on tailgating/picnicking and more on entertainment.

Tickets are required, and the finale is always a popular event.

Here are the specs:

Joseph P. Riley Park (aka The Joe) is located at 360 Fishburne Street in Charleston.  There is ample parking in adjacent lots.

So enjoy the last weekend of Spoleto, and try your hand at sand sculpting.  And remember, when you are in the market for finale-worthy Isle of Palms vacation rentals, call Exclusive Properties.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

Summer series of music and movies

A couple super summer series are cranking up again for the season near Charleston’s beaches.

They’re family fun for all ages.  They also take place in the middle of the week (Tuesdays and Wednesdays), smack dab in the middle of your vacation week.

If you’ll be staying here during the month of June, there’s a fun concert series kicking off tonight, in one of the Lowcountry’s best parks.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll likely say it again.  To me, one of the signs of a great place to live – or visit – is the quality of local parks.  There is no doubt that Charleston, and the Lowcountry in general, is blessed with some of the nicest ones anywhere.

The Charleston County Parks system is thriving and operates terrific ones around the area.  These include beach parks on the IOP, super close to all our Isle of Palms luxury rentals, as well as on Kiawah (Beachwalker) and Folly.  Palmetto Island County Park in Mount Pleasant is a great place to take your kids (cool playground and water park) or dog (terrific off-leash dog agility park), or to rent a bike or a paddleboat.  Just head over the IOP Connector, pass Boone Hall Plantation, cross the creek and turn right.

Well, one of the most popular relatively new area parks is the Memorial Waterfront Park in Mount Pleasant.  It’s located under the Ravenel Bridge and includes a 1,250-foot pier that offers great views and fishing, to boot.

It’s also become a popular venue for special events.  Cases in point: the very popular Shaggin’ on the Cooper dance parties I covered in this previous blog, or the Sweetgrass Festival I covered last time.

Summer Series #1  –  Party in the Park 

 

This month marks the 8th Annual Party in the Park, a summer series of free concerts plus vendors that takes place every Tuesday evening in June.  It was designed to follow and dovetail with the weekly Mount Pleasant Farmers Market.

Party in the Park is sponsored by radio station WEZL 103.5 FM, and it goes on from 6:00 p.m. till 9:00 p.m., rain or shine, every Tuesday of the month.  Here’s their official page.

Following is the lineup for this summer’s concerts:

JUNE 6th (TONIGHT!) – Headliner Chase Rice, who’s been nominated for Academy of Country Music and CMT Music Awards, as well as country star Jimmy Allen and alt country Southern rock singer/songwriter Eddie Bush;
2) JUNE 12th  — High Valley, Travis Denning, and Mitchell Lee;
3) JUNE 19th  — Maddie & Tae, Mitchell Tenpenny and Lauren Hall;
4) JUNE 26th  — Carly Pearce, Trent Harmon and Haley Mae Campbell.

Admission and parking are free, although onsite parking is fairly limited, so get there early.  You can also check out shuttle service on their website.  You may bring lawn chairs and blankets, but they request that you leave coolers, dogs, umbrellas and tents at home.  Food and beverage vendors and an ATM will be available on site.

As usual, the official after party will be at Red’s Ice House on Shem Creek.  Remember to use a designated driver to get back to your beach house Charleston if you enjoy adult beverages.

Memorial Waterfront Park is a convenient drive from all our vacation homes.  Here’s more on the event itself as well as other goings-on at the park, which they refer to as “Mount Pleasant’s Crown Jewel.”

 

Summer Series #2  –  Films on Folly

 

Another thing that says SUMMER is seeing a movie.  Well, thanks to the folks at the Tides on Folly Beach, you can do both things at once.

They’ve put together a fun summer series of movies where they’ll be showing free films ON THE BEACH ITSELF.  It takes place Wednesday nights starting tomorrow, June 7th through the summer.

See the graphic above for the Beach Movie Night 2018 Schedule.  Showtimes begin at sundown behind the Tides Folly Beach and are wind & weather permitting.  “Finding Dory” was put off last week due to weather, so the series will kick off tonight with the true classic, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”

Here’s a link to their Facebook page.

And remember  –  when you’re looking for SC vacation rentals, namely luxury beach house rentals SC, contact us.  We’ll put you in the perfect luxury house on Isle of Palms.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

 

 

 

 

Free doughnuts and a sweetgrass festival

There’s a trio of fun things going on today and tomorrow, including a celebration of sweetgrass, reggae music, and free doughnuts.

Today is in fact a holiday.  Although it may seem a bit more frivolous than, say, Memorial Day, it actually also has roots with soldiers during wartime.

Happy National Doughnut Day!  

 

Believe it or not, it was established by the Salvation Army to honor their volunteers, affectionately called “Doughnut Lassies,” who fed them to soldiers in France during World War I.

And in celebration of this very important American holiday, several establishments are offering free treats or excellent discounts.

Here are some of the good deals going on Friday:

Here’s more on the story, including other places across the land where you can score a doughnut deal on Doughnut Day.  Several of the named chains look unfamiliar.  Have a hunch many of them are in New England.  The northeast loves its doughnuts!

And here’s another comprehensive list from USA Today.

 

Reggae all summer long 

 

Many folks come to Charleston to hear great music at Spoleto.  Staying on the Isle of Palms is a great way to experience both the festival and the beach at the same time.

But the 17 days of the festival are by no means the only time when cool music serenades the Lowcountry.  Charleston is a city of culture, and music of many genres contributes to that culture.  No matter what time of year you are here, you’re bound to hear good live music.

Summer is no exception.  And one type of music that goes especially well with a beach house during the balmy months is reggae.

Knowing this, the good folks at the Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission began a summer series of Reggae Nights concerts several years ago, and it has grown in size and quality each year since.  Concerts take place on four different Saturday nights during the summer, starting tonight.

The venue is the expansive James Island County Park, located at 871 Riverland Drive, west of the Ashley River.

It’s a great chance to experience roots music of the fun kind, where people of all ages can chill and dance, grab a cool beverage and a bite to eat under the stars.  Food vendors include Braised in the South, ChuckTown Mobile Seafood, and Alicia’s Northside.  There will also be crafts and other booths.

The popularity of the concert series has precipitated its move to the big meadow in the park, and you’re encouraged to bring chairs or blankets to enjoy the show.   Please leave coolers at home, though.

The dates and performers for this summer are:

June 1st  –  Ras Bonghi Reggae All Stars (who’ve been playing together since 1987)

June 22nd  –  NDKA

July 20th  –  Amani Smith & The Give Thanks Band

August 3rd  –  Mystic Vibrations

Each concert lasts from 8:30 p.m. till 11 p.m.  Admission is $10, or free for Gold Pass members and kids 12 and under.

 

Tomorrow is all about celebrating sweetgrass

 

One of the most iconic symbols of the Lowcountry is the sweetgrass basket  –  a centuries-long artisan tradition that endures to this day.

The artistry involved in their creation has captured the imagination of locals and visitors alike.

If you’re visiting Charleston, a sweetgrass basket is perhaps the ultimate souvenir to bring back from your stay.  Folks who came here decades ago still cherish these baskets and pass them down as heirlooms.

It’s classic Lowcountry with roots deep in the history of the area and the Gullah-Geechee heritage of the Sea Islands.  Gullah-Geechee is the rich culture of the descendants of enslaved Africans in the Lowcountry, especially the Sea Islands of the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida.  It’s characterized by a distinctive language (an English-based creole with much African influence), rice-based cuisine, music and traditions such as the weaving of baskets from native sweetgrass.

Generally speaking, Gullah refers to the culture in the Carolinas, while Geechee is in Georgia and Florida.

Certain places are best to find a basket.  If you’re on the Isle of Palms, just head over the IOP Connector to Highway 17, then turn right and head north toward Awendaw.  You’ll pass several roadside stands all along Highway 17.

You can also head downtown to the Historic Charleston City Market.   There you’ll find some of the very best basket makers and their wares.

Also, at Mount Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park, there’s a sweetgrass pavilion where you can learn more about the baskets and purchase one.

Sweetgrass Festival Time

 

And coming up this weekend is a very special sweetgrass event.  It’s the 13th annual Sweetgrass Cultural Arts Festival, taking place this Saturday, June 2nd (9:00 am till 4:00 p.m.).  The venue is Memorial  Waterfront Park, under the Mount Pleasant side of the Ravenel Bridge.

The Southeastern Tourism Society has named it a top-20 event.  There you will find “the most extensive showcase of sweetgrass baskets in the Lowcountry area” by over 20 different basket weavers.  There will be lots of music, gospel songs and praise dance, skits, storytelling, performances by the Adande African Drummers and Dancers, arts and crafts, documentary films, Gullah food available for purchase… all things Gullah.

The festival itself and parking are free, and it’s family-friendly.

Here’s the festival website with all the details.

As always, when you are looking for a beach house Charleston, remember to call EP.  We have the very best.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger