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Light the Lake and Tree Lighting Time in Charleston

Well, now that Thanksgiving has passed, holiday festivities (think: tree lighting, lake lighting, parade) are in full swing near the Isle of Palms.

Get set for a trio tree lighting, one taking place each day of this first weekend of advent.  Sunday’s tree lighting is also coupled with one of the biggest local parades of the year.

So there’s a plethora of merriment sure to put you and your loved ones in the holiday spirit.


Light the Lake 


First up, tonight  –   Friday, November 30th  –   is a relatively new holiday tree lighting in Charleston.  It’s called “Light the Lake,” and it takes place at the newly renovated and quite lovely Colonial Lake downtown.

Sponsored by the Charleston Parks Conservancy, it will happen from 5:30 till 7:30 p.m.  They’ll light up the beautiful new Christmas tree in the middle of the lake, which was recently replanted with lush new landscaping.  In fact, it was part of a $5 million renovation/restoration project on this 150-year old beloved Charleston park.

Also on hand will be a DJ spinning favorite holiday tunes along with food trucks with plenty of eating and hot beverage options.  Be sure to wear something festive so you can take a photo on the picturesque open carriage for your Christmas card.

Here’s more from Count on 2 News.  And this is the official website.

Colonial Lake is located on Broad Street between Rutledge and Ashley Avenues downtown, an easy drive from our rental homes South Carolina.


Light up the Isle with an IOP Tree Lighting


Then on Saturday, it’s Christmas, “island style.”   You don’t even have to leave the IOP for holiday fun.

It’s the 7th annual Isle of Palms Holiday Street Festival and Tree Lighting, and it will happen this Saturday, December 1st from 2:00 p.m. till 7:00 p.m.

You really oughta check it out.  It’s about as local as you get.

The fun happens at Front Beach on the IOP.  There will be plenty of live music, craft vendors, food and beverage options from local restaurants and the like.  Kids will enjoy the free carnival rides, jump castles, mechanical bull, balloon artist, and face painting, as well as visits with Beach Santa, who’ll be there from 4:00-6:00.  Then to top it all off, they’ll light the 24-foot tall Christmas tree at 5:45.

Here’s the live music schedule:

It’s all free, and there’s also free parking at the corner of Ocean Boulevard and Pavilion Drive, in the Municipal Lot.  Here’s more from the Island Eye News.  And this is from the IOP’s website.

It’s centered around Ocean Boulevard.  If you’re staying on the Isle of Palms, you might just want to walk or head over on a golf cart and check it out.


Downtown Charleston gets its Christmas on


Then this Sunday, December 2nd, the downtown holiday season is officially launched with a combo of events.  First it’s the Charleston Holiday Parade, beginning at 3:00 p.m. near Colonial Lake.  The parade route will travel up Broad Street to King Street, then up towards Calhoun Street and Marion Square.  There will be plenty of marching bands, holiday music, floats and special appearances, culminating with the big guy himself, Santa, bringing up the tail end.

Then, at 4:30 at the parade’s endpoint in Marion Square, it’s the Holiday Tree of Lights jubilee, going on from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m.  There’ll be plenty of live music and performances, after which they’ll light up the 64-foot official City of Charleston Christmas tree (along with many others in Marion Square).  It’s always a lot of fun and great for all ages.

Here’s more on downtown’s holiday events.

You can get a voucher for two free hours of parking in several City lots.  Here’s a link to print out a voucher.  And here’s a link to the mobile voucher, so you don’t need to involve a printer.

So enjoy a weekend full of tree lightings lighting the Lowcountry for advent.  And when you are looking for a beach house Charleston, be sure to call EP for the best selection.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

It's Giving Tuesday after Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving week and the days after are full… of holiday happenings, festive food, likely some travel, shopping and family time.

Today, it’s all about giving.  But first, let’s look back on the last couple days.

Thursday: Giving Thanks at Thanksgiving


The days after Thanksgiving have come to have certain monikers.  Of course Thursday – Thanksgiving  –  is all about gratitude and coming together with family and friends if possible.  Of course one of our luxury beach house rentals SC is an ideal place to do that.

Friday: in the Black


Friday, aka the day after Thanksgiving, has been known as “Black Friday” for several decades now.  It was seen as the official start of the Christmas shopping season.  The name came from the idea that merchants counted on this time to have their sales numbers enter the black, although the stress of it soon suggested other dark connotations.  It became notorious for having super-early doorbusters that led to people greedily charging each other in Walmarts, etc. for cheap consumer goods –  not exactly the Christmas spirit.

With the onset of online shopping, Black Friday has become much less of a big deal.  Most people would prefer just staying in their pajamas and ordering online, skipping the traffic, crowds and hassle.  Not only that, but it gets shipped straight to your house.  After all, it’s no fun schlepping a surplus of purchases home, especially if you’ve done it while on vacation.

Saturday’s all about small business


In more recent years, the following day  –  the Saturday after Thanksgiving  –  has become known as “Small Business Saturday.”  It’s an effort to encourage people to shop unique local merchants as opposed to giant national or global chains  –  thus keeping the economic impact in the community.  This is similar to the local movement in the food /restaurant realm.  Eating local is not only more interesting and unique, it’s also better for the environment.

After all, if you’re coming to visit, you might as well experience something that is unique to Charleston and the Lowcountry.  There are slews of local businesses around here, and checking out the Charleston Farmers Market is a great place to pick up a great souvenir of your stay here.

Here’s an interesting fact  –  90% of the businesses in the state of South Carolina are local.   They are a HUGE part of what gives the area its particular personality and charm.  So when you’re here, be sure to shop, eat or stay local whenever possible.

Monday is all about the internet


So yesterday  –  the Monday after Thanksgiving –  is known as “Cyber Monday,” since most people have returned to work and start shopping on their computers in earnest.  Sure enough, the emails rushed into my inbox touting all kinds of online sales and special deals.  In fact, most now trumpet “Cyber Week,” so no doubt they’ll be streaming in all week long.

And now, today, is Giving Tuesday


So finally, that brings us to today – the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.  This is perhaps the most recent of all the monikers.  Nonprofits and people doing good have embraced it, as a chance to help people give back.

This is how the good folks at the Lowcountry Food Bank put it:  Giving Tuesday is a global giving movement and the opening day of the giving season. Millions of people come together to support and champion causes they believe in and the communities in which they live. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are well known for getting great “deals.”  Make Giving Tuesday a day for giving back!

Greg Laurie had this to say:  I’m thinking today is going to be a good day. Why? Because it’s #GivingTuesday, and people all over the country and around the world will be giving toward charitable causes and organizations that they believe in.  And any day that we are thinking more of others than of ourselves is a good day, right?

I’ve also had a slew of worthy causes emailing requests this morning for help.  #GivingTuesday is the hashtag of the day.

Great options for Giving 


If you’d like to help needy local families have a holiday meal this season, the Lowcountry Food Bank can bring that about, with your donation.

The wonderful people of World Vision will also match donations with one of 31 great gifts.  They include chickens, goats, medicines, a goat and two chickens  –  simple gifts that can transform a needy person’s life.

Here’s a good tip.  If you donate via PayPal, they’ll match donations dollar-for-dollar, up to a total of $500,000.  After that amount, they’ll add 1% to all remaining donations. No deductions, no fees.  Charities include Unicef, Save the Children, charity: water, and Feeding America.

Some other ideas:  The Petco Foundation, which has helped 5.5 million homeless pets find loving homes.  You can support it by giving online, or by purchasing certain items like calendars and photos with Santa in stores.

Birdlife is a huge, beautiful part of the Lowcountry.  If you give today to Audubon soon, your gift will be matched by an anonymous donor.

So think about giving to a worthy cause today, or any day.  And be sure to call us at Exclusive Properties when you need a beach getaway.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

Gratitude - not just for Thanksgiving Day

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day, whether you were here in Charleston or elsewhere.

Some of you may have taken part in the Turkey Day Run and Gobble Wobble, which I covered in that last blog.  It took place yesterday morning downtown.  The winner finished the race in under 15 minutes.  Most other runners did it in under 40.  Here’s more about it from Live 5 News.


Grateful to be here


This is a wonderful time to be in a Charleston beach house.  Many of our homes are oceanfront or close to it.  That means you are just steps from a pleasant stroll on the beach to walk of some of that turkey.

This is also a wonderful time of year when giving thanks is at the forefront.  Gratitude is good for the body and soul and is known to reduce stress.  I heard a wonderful talk a couple weeks ago by an authoritative speaker.  She explained that the part of the brain that controls fear, also controls the expression or feeling of gratitude.

The interesting thing is, the two cannot coexist at the same time.  So in other words, if you want to get rid of those fearful feelings that seem to bombard us via the news, just count your blessings.  Reflect on the things for which you are grateful.  Like health, family, friends, together times.  A vacation with loved ones at the beach.


Black Friday after Thanksgiving Day


Well, today is officially Black Friday, when shoppers hit the stores en masse and often act like idiots.

Apparently the day has lost a lot of its luster and punch, as more and more people shop online.  I mean, why not just stay in your PJs, crack open your laptop, and order that way, instead of fighting traffic and crowds?

Also, the sales start even sooner, long before the superfat Thanksgiving Day newspaper arrives.  I was getting Black Friday sales alerts in my email last week, with early purchases possible.  No longer is this day such a big deal, shopping-wise.

If you are interested in shopping, here’s an overview of the best deals out there for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  It’s put together by the Asheville Citizen-Times.   Many of the deals are online, so you can stay put in one of our beach house rentals Charleston SC and still make a dent in your Christmas list.


Healthy alternatives to Black Friday


If you’d like to do other things today instead of the purchase of material goods, there are several enticing options.  Here’s a handy list to help give you some ideas.

Options include volunteering, donating to a worthy cause, walking around the city, writing letters to family and friends, or reading a good book.


After Black Friday… try Small Business Saturday 


There’s a growing movement afoot to shop local on Saturday.  It’s been officially dubbed, “Small Business Saturday.”  The trend of all things LOCAL that’s so popular in restaurant circles (think: farm-to-table) has expanded to merchants as well.

So if you’re on the Isle of Palms this weekend, consider hitting the local stores on Saturday.  The Charleston area has some truly great and unique local merchants.

And when you’re in the market for the perfect Charleston beach house, be sure to call EP.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger


Turkey Day Run Time in Charleston

This week is Thanksgiving, which in these parts means its fine time for a turkey day run.  More about that in a minute.

If you’re in Charleston for the holiday, there are plenty of options for your dining pleasure, as I covered in a couple of those more recent blogs.  Our vacation homes have terrific gourmet kitchens and spacious dining rooms where family and friends can cook, eat and gather together.

Alas, we tend to eat a lot on this particular holiday.  According to USA Today, the average American consumes 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving Day.  Another way to look at it  –  that’s the same as downing 15 Dairy Queen small hot fudge sundaes in one day.

That being said, it makes perfect sense that Thanksgiving Day is now the number one day in America for running and/or walking events.  You can find a “turkey trot” or turkey day run all over the country, and their numbers increase each year.

It’s a great way to kick off the day right and preempt some of that holiday food guilt waiting you later in the day.  USA Today covered the turkey trot/turkey day run phenomenon here.

The second most popular holiday for running?  Fourth of July.  The third is New Year’s Eve/Day.


Turkey Day Run and Gobble Wobble 


Not only is one of our vacation rentals the perfect setting for a holiday meal, it’s also the perfect launching pad for a morning run or fun walk.  Most are oceanfront, so you can just step outside and do that on the beach.

But there’s something festive and fun about venturing downtown for a group effort.

This leads me to a beloved local event that draws thousands of folks to the historic city, many in costume.  And it’s happening this Thursday, November 22nd – also known as Thanksgiving.

It’s the Turkey Day Run and Gobble Wobble 5K For clarification, the Gobble Wobble is for those who’d prefer a walk to a run.

The race is sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, with a history that dates back about a century.  It’s been run in various venues and formats, including relay and high school track team competitions.  At one point it even ran from Charleston to Summerville.  Now it is a true 3.1 mile/5K run and walk, and this is officially the 41st one in a row.

The TDR/GB attracts over 7,500 registrants from all over North America.  It’s second in size only to the Cooper River Bridge Run in these parts.  At last check, it was the 28th largest 5K in the United States.  It also happens to be a U. S. Track & Field certified event.

The course itself is ideal for seeing the sights since it travels down and back up the historic spine of the peninsula.  It starts at Marion Square, travels down Meeting Street to the Battery, past White Point Gardens, down Murray Boulevard, then back up King Street to Marion Square.


Specs on the TDR/Gobble Wobble 


Online registration is no longer available.  Don’t fret – you can register tomorrow (Wednesday, Nov. 21st) in person and pick up race packets from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m.  You can also do so the morning of the race from 7:00 a.m. till 8:30.  Registration and packet pickup are in their Expo tent near the Embassy Suites at Marion Square downtown.

The run kicks off promptly at 9:00 Thursday morning.  There are also shorter length runs for the kids starting at 10:00 a.m.  So it leaves plenty of time to get in some good exercise/sightseeing before you head back home for the big meal.

Before you do cross back over the bridge, check out the post-race party with free food and beverages (beer for those 21 and over), live music and the awards ceremony.

There is a bit of a tweak from years past.  They are no longer allowing strollers.  They are, however, allowing little ones to ride in a pull behind wagon at the back of the pack after the last corral.  And here’s more from Channel 2 News.


Charities that benefit from all that running, wobbling and gobbling 


As is the case with just about every turkey day run, proceeds go to charity.  Last year’s benefited these great local charities:

They’ve set this year’s goal to raise $10,000 more, so come on out and support these great causes while having some holiday fun.  Here’s the official site with all the details: http://turkeydayrun.com/

And as always, remember to call EP for the best in SC vacation rentals.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger


Thanksgiving dinner ideas near the beach

Holiday happenings are already coming quickly down the pike, and it’s not too early to be thinking about Thanksgiving dinner.   Speaking of food, there are a couple high profile events this weekend that promise to be family friendly, fun and delicious.

As I mentioned in that last blog, food really does play an important part in any family getaway.

Thanksgiving dinner help if you’re staying in one of our Isle of Palms vacation rentals


If you don’t feel like cooking Thanksgiving dinner yourself and you want to experience a true holiday feast, Middleton Place Plantation may be just the ticket.  They’ll be hosting a Thanksgiving buffet from 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 22nd in the newly renovated Pavilion.  Here’s what’s on the menu: Smoked Turkey, Carved Prime Rib, Honey Baked Ham, Sweet Potato Casserole, Green Bean Casserole, Collard Greens, Macaroni and Cheese, Cornbread Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes, Carolina Gold Rice Pilaf, Gravy, Seasonal Salad, Cranberry Sauce and Assorted Rolls.

Admission to Middleton is included in your reservation, and you can stroll through the gorgeous gardens before and/or after dinner.   For reservations, call (843) 266-7477.

You can also get their Thanksgiving dinner to go.  Get all the details here.

Middleton Place is located at 4300 Ashley River Road, a scenic drive from our beach rentals Charleston.  Note: they’ll also be hosting a holiday market on Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving, with a couple dozen local artisans and vendors.  Admission is not required to shop the market.

Then there’s Home Team


If you’d like a takeout option on the islands, you’re in luck.  Home Team BBQ is offering holiday catering items to help round out your Thanksgiving dinner table.  In addition to their great regular menu, they now have special holiday items: smoked ham & turkey (by the pound), potato gratin, rolls, gravy, mashed sweet potatoes, Hoppin’ John, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, and cornbread stuffing.  They will even deliver to your place.  Just call them at (843) 225-7427 to order.  They ask you do so 72 hours in advance.

You can also pick up your food at their Sullivan’s Island location, across Breach Inlet from the Isle of Palms.  It’s located at 2209 Middle Street.

Eat Chili, Help Animals 


The weather has turned a little toward the cool side (finally), perfect for eating chili.   Tomorrow (Saturday, November 17th)  is the Charleston Animal Society’s biggest single fundraiser of the year.  In fact, it’s the largest nonprofit animal welfare event in the entire state of South Carolina.

It’s the Charleston Animal Society’s 19th annual Chili Cook-Off and Oyster Roast Over 100(!) teams will compete for the coveted best chili award.  Many include mayors and other local celebrities.

This event has grown over the years and now is located at Riverfront Park in North Charleston.  They’ll be judging in different categories like Traditional, Unique, and Best in Show.

There will also be fresh steamed oysters (a Lowcountry staple), live music, a beer garden, cornhole, kids’ zone, and pets available for adoption.  All proceeds go toward Toby’s Fund – the shelter’s medical fund to treat injured or sick animals.

Tickets are $30 in advance, $35 at the gate, free for kids under 10, and for dogs.   VIP tickets are $75 and include a lot of perks.  The fun takes place from noon – 4:00 p.m. tomorrow

Here’s a link to the official website, where you can also buy tickets online, or donate toward a certain team.

Grab Some ‘cue at Smoke on the Harbor 


Don’t worry if you see or smell smoke on Charleston Harbor this weekend.  It’s not a fire… it’s the Smoke on the Harbor Barbecue Throwdown, now in its seventh year.

SOTH a fully sanctioned national event, under the auspices of the KCBS (Kansas City Barbecue Society). These pit masters are serious, hard-core men and women who have their eyes on the BBQ prize… and you get to be the lucky beneficiary.

The competition cranks up tonight with the chicken wing competition, skeet shooting and live music from Tyler Boone going on from 5:00-9:00 p.m. The fun happens at the Lookout Pavilion at the Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina  –  20 Patriot’s Point Road in Mount Pleasant.

Then tomorrow (Saturday, November 17th), from 1:00-4:00 p.m., it’s the BBQ competition.  Get set for world-class pork, ribs, brisket and chicken, all to sample, along with:

There’ll be all sorts of samples as well as:

Tickets are $10 general admission, although if you bring five non-perishable food items to be donated, you’ll get $5 off at the gate.  Sampling tickets are two for $1.  Kids 12 and under are admitted free.

These folks didn’t come to play.  Here’s the official website, which includes the final points results from previous years.  Teams get pretty creative with their names, like Pig on Fire, Blowin’ Smoke, 99 Problems But a Brisket Ain’t One, Bunch of Dumbies, Cackalacky Que, Tom Tom Bob A Que.  Here’s their website with a full schedule of events.

You can also check out their Facebook page.

Towne Centre’s Lighting Up 


Tomorrow night, November 17th, be sure to check out Towne Centre in Mount Pleasant.  It’s just over the IOP Connector from your luxury house on Isle of Palms.

They’ll be officially launching the holiday season with their Lights Up event, from 6:00 p.m. till 8:00 p.m.  Get set for a holiday laser light show, live performances, special giveways, the lighting of the 40-foot Christmas tree, and an appearance by Santa himself.

The festivities are based in front of Belk’s, located at 1218 Belk Drive in Mount Pleasant.  Here’s more.

Whew, that’s a lot going on this weekend.  So check some of them out.  And remember to call EP when you are searching for the best vacation rental in these parts.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

Holiday recipes from Middleton Place

If you’re planning on cooking this season, following are some handy holiday recipes to help.

It will soon be upon us, the week when loved ones gather together to offer thanks.  It’s no secret that food often takes center stage – during the holidays in general, and next week in particular.

In America we have this tendency to overdo things  –  case in point: the food at state fairs.  Hot Beef Sundae.  Fried Beer.  Mealworm-covered Caramel Apples.  Fried Butter.  (Yes, that was actually served at the Montana State Fair).


Tis the Season for Decadent Delights


Chances are you’ve heard of Turducken  –  a chicken, encased inside a duck, encased within a turkey.  Then the whole thing is cooked up as the ultimate poultry feast.

Well, creative and possibly slightly crazy baking minds have come up with the dessert equivalent.  It’s a mega-pie/cake extravaganza, billed as the “Turducken of Desserts.”

Actually, the official name is the Pumpecapple Piecake, and it comes from Three Brothers Bakery in Houston.  It weighs a whopping 23.5 pounds and fetches $250.  It’s big enough to feed an army or a neighborhood.  You’ll be a very popular person on the block.

It’s actually three pies within three cakes, all stacked on top of each other.  So in other words, it’s:

This isn’t one of those holiday recipes to try.  You’d just better go ahead and order one from them.  Here’s a link to do just that.  And don’t forget some Pepcid AC to go with it.


Pick up a Pecan Pie


If you’re looking to pick up a classic southern dessert in person, there’s a great gourmet option near the Isle of Palms.  Young Plantations has set up shop for the holidays.  From now through November 21st, they are having a pecan pie sale.  You can purchase a classic pecan pie for $11.95, or a chocolate version for $12.95.  That’s a bit more reasonable than the Pumpecapple Piecake.  And again, you don’t need to follow holiday recipes to get one; just take a quick drive instead.

They also sell all kinds of classic southern treats like cheese straws, fresh pecans, candies, gift boxes, tins and baskets that make a great souvenir from your stay in Charleston.

Their shop is located in Towne Centre, on the roundabout near Lowe’s.  The address is 1117 Market Center Blvd., Suite 100 in Mount Pleasant.  That’s just over the Connector from the Isle of Palms.


Cook up the big dinner yourself… with a couple holiday recipes from the chefs at Middleton Place Plantation:

Brined Turkey


Brandon Buck, Middleton Place Executive Chef

Pecan Bourbon & Apple Cider Turkey Brine 

For the roasting of the turkey

Begin by simmering your bourbon in a 6 qt or larger stockpot until the alcohol has burned out of the base liquor. Next add your apple cider, and bay leaves bringing that to a simmer. Next add your ¾ cup of kosher salt and ½ cup of light brown sugar then stir until dissolved. Finish by adding your thyme, sage, and black peppercorns. Allow the mixture to cool by placing in an ice water bath, and then pour the brine completely over the turkey in large bags or a plastic container.

Allow the turkey at least 6 hours, up to 12 hours, to be immersed in this brine. At the end of your time with the turkey in brine remove and pat dry with a clean paper towel. Finally rub with olive oil, season lightly with herbs, salt, and ground pepper and bake at 325 F in a roasting pan with 4 cups turkey or chicken stock , ¼ lb. unsalted butter, and your mirepoix. Baste every 15 minutes with this liquid until you reach an internal temperature of 165F. For a nice addition to your turkey if baking, brush with the Bourbon Sorghum glaze for the last 30 minutes of cooking once every 10 minutes

Bourbon Sorghum Glaze


Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan and bring and heat until dissolved. Brush on your turkey towards the end of cooking to form a nice golden brown skin doing so in 10 minute intervals.


Holiday recipes: A Classic Homemade Dessert…

Apple Pie


Courtney Simpson, Middleton Place Restaurant Pastry Chef

Pie Dough


Mix flour and salt in bowl of mixer. Slowly add butter to flour while mixer is on slow/medium speed. Mix until butter cubes are about pea sized. Slowly add water a little at a time until a dough ball forms. You may not use all the water. You are looking for a drier dough. Divide dough in half and wrap each half. Allow dough to chill and rest at least 20 minutes. Roll out each dough half to a circular shape. Line pie pan with one of the halves and allow dough to hang over the pans edge about an inch. Trim if needed. Save the other rolled out half for the top. Place dough in the refrigerator while you are preparing the filling to allow dough to firm up.

Apple Filling



It’s a lovely time of the year to be in Charleston.  Just call us at Exclusive Properties and we’ll put you and your loved ones in the perfect beach house Charleston.

And remember to count your blessings, count them one by one.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger


Celebrate Veterans Day near Charleston

This coming Monday is a federal holiday in honor of Veterans Day.  Banks and post offices will be closed for the day.

So will the City of IOP, although that should have minimal effect if you’re here staying in one of our Isle of Palms luxury rentals.  There will be no garbage pickup, and the Rec Center will be closed.

Veterans Day itself actually falls on this Sunday, November 11th.  There are some interesting events taking place to commemorate this, most of which are quite convenient to the islands near Charleston.  More about that in a bit.


Don’t forget: Festival of Lights lights up tonight


First, a quick reminder that tonight is the official kickoff of the Holiday Festival of Lights out on James Island, as I covered in that last blog.  At 5:30 this evening, they’ll flip the switch on 2018’s installment of this very popular holiday event.

Here are some quick stats.  The Holiday Festival of Lights has:

It really is a perfect activity to help put everyone in your Charleston beach house in a festive mood.  Plus, it’s a pleasant drive from all our rental homes South Carolina.

Here’s more from Live 5 News.


Honoring veterans, living and dead


Veterans Day and Memorial Day seem rather similar to each other.  They are set aside to honor those who have sacrificed their time and possibly their lives to help ensure our freedom.  As Patriot’s Point recently printed in the paper:

For Your Service,

Your Sacrifice,

Our Freedom,


The difference is that Memorial Day is to honor those who lost their lives.  Veterans Day honors them as well as living veterans of the armed forces.

Veterans Day was originally created as “Armistice Day,” first celebrated in 1919 at the end of World War I – the so-called, “War to End all Wars.”  (If only that were the case.)

Here, from the Post & Courier, is a very comprehensive listing of 29 different events related to Veterans Day.  Here’s a link to the primary ones.



Fort Moultrie’s Veterans Day events 


Just across Breach Inlet from our Isle of Palms luxury rentals is Sullivan’s Island.  Sullivan’s is home to historic Fort Moultrie.  The fort played a big role in wars from the Revolutionary War all the way through WWII.  Basically, Fort Moultrie provided official seacoast defense for the U.S. for 171 years (1776-1947).

Fort Moultrie is located at 1214 Middle Street on Sullivan’s Island, just across Breach Inlet from the Isle of Palms.   This is the last “fee free” day of the year for the fort.  It, along with Fort Sumter and run by the National Park Service.

Following is a press release outlining some of the Veterans Day events happening this weekend:


SULLIVAN’S ISLAND, SC – On Sunday, November 11, 2018 activities will be held on Sullivan’s Island to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the end of World War I. At the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month of 1918, an armistice was signed in Compiegne, France to bring an end to World War I. The annual remembrance of this day was once called Armistice Day and is what we now know as Veterans Day. In 2013, an act of Congress created The United States World War I Centennial Commission to ensure that appropriate commemorations would be held throughout the centennial.

Commemoration activities on Sullivan’s Island will include:

All events are free and open to the public.

Fort Moultrie is located at 1214 Middle Street, Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina. The site is administered by the National Park Service as a unit of Fort Sumter National Monument. Fort Moultrie represents the entire history of static seacoast defense in the United States, from the American Revolution to the end of World War II. The site is open daily from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm.  It includes a visitor center with museum exhibits and orientation film.

More on the NPS:


Now entering its second century, the National Park Service continues to explore new ways to help visitors connect and find their parks. For more information on park news, events and programs, follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FtSumterNPS andwww.facebook.com/FtMoultrieNPS.

Visit the park website at www.nps.gov/fosu or call 843-883-3123. You can also share your park experience with others by posting on social media with the hashtag #FindYourPark. Come find yours today!

Patriots Point takes part, too


Also at 11:00 a.m. Sunday, the museum at Patriots Point will take part in the “Bells of Peace” commemoration.  This from the Post & Courier:   “On Sunday, the museum will present Bells of Peace to acknowledge 100 years to the minute that the armistice between the Allies and Germany was signed. They will ring a bell 21 times to honor and remember the more than 116,000 Americans who died in World War I, as well as the more than 200,000 wounded. The 21 tolls of the bell symbolize a high honor, based on the 21-gun salute.”

So take a moment to thank a veteran for their service.  Remember all the brave men and women who have passed before us and helped make our nation free.

And remember, when you are looking for a great beach house near Charleston, be sure to call Exclusive Properties.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger




Holiday Festival of Lights starting this week in Charleston

One of my favorite Lowcountry holiday traditions is here, a sure sign that Christmas is coming down the pike  –  the Holiday Festival of Lights.

Its official tagline is: Merry. Magical. Memories.  Sign me up!

It’s a perfect activity for all ages.  Young and old alike will be able to enjoy it together and make merry magical memories together.  After all, isn’t that a big reason for spending vacation and holiday time together?

This week marks the start of the 29th annual Holiday Festival of Lights.  It will be happening every evening starting this Friday, November 9th through January 1st, 2019. (That’s one more day than last year.)  Yay for holiday lights!

Plus, if you’re here right now, you can have a special sneak peek this week with a fun run/walk going on tomorrow and Thursday nights.

The Holiday Festival of Lights started out in 1990 with 18 light displays.  It grows every year and now boasts over 700.  That’s over two million lights set in very colorful, imaginative displays, many of them animated.

Basically, it’s a magical wonderland of holiday spirit.  It’s a must-do holiday experience for both locals and visitors to Charleston.

Over the years, the festival has gotten onto many top/”best of” lists.  They include:

One of the reasons it’s so fun is you can go with a whole bunch of family and friends.  Admission is by the carload.  You first drive through and can take in most of the lights from your vehicle.

Then, you’re encouraged to park and walk around, since there’s a whole lot more to see and experience.

Be Sure to Look for These at the Holiday Festival of Lights:


This is a massive endeavor that organizers work on all year long.  The actual stringing of the 2,000,000 lights started about 45 days ago.

The Holiday Festival of Lights takes place at James Island County Park.  Figure about 40 minutes from the Isle of Palms.

Here’s the official website for the Holiday Festival of Lights, with all the details.


1 – 15 guests: $20 per vehicle

16 – 30 guests: $40 per vehicle Mon-Thurs

                             or $50 Fri-Sun

31+ guests: $100 per vehicle Mon-Thurs

                     or $150 Fri-Sun


Sunday – Thursday evenings:  5:30 – 10:00 p.m.; Friday & Saturday evenings:  5:30 – 11:00 p.m.


Plus, here’s a cool tip.  If you go sometime Monday through Thursday, you can get a break on admission while helping the community.   Just bring a non-perishable food item or dog or cat food for the Lowcountry Food Bank.  You’ll get a $5 break off the $20 admission.


A Special Sneak Peek this Week 


The Festival officially opens this Friday, November 9th.  But tomorrow and Thursday nights are a superfun sneak peek event.  It’s the Holiday Festival of Lights Fun Run and Walk This is a non-competitive two-mile evening run or walk through the beautiful light displays.

The run/walk is going on November 7th and 8th.  It starts promptly at 6:30.  They’ll close the front entrance gate from 6:30 till 8:30.  You’re encouraged to get there early, park then take your place before they shut the gate for the run/walk.  Afterwards, you’re welcome to stay and enjoy the lights and many other activities.The address of James Island County Park is at 871 Riverland Drive in Charleston, SC.

So enjoy the holiday lights.  You have through the first of next year to check them out.  Just call EP and we’ll pick out the perfect home base for you from our portfolio of  luxury beach house rentals SC.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger


Fall festival fun this weekend

Although this is not considered peak season, you’d never know it by looking at the events calendar and all the fall festival fun happening this weekend alone.

I’ll cover just a couple… two going on tomorrow (Saturday, Nov. 3rd) and two going on Sunday (November 4th).

Saturday fun 

Fall Festival No. 1: Scottish Games 


Scottish pride and traditions will be on full display this weekend.

It’s the 47th Annual Scottish Games.  They’re taking place tomorrow at Boone Hall Plantation.  Cross over the IOP Connector from the Isle of Palms, head north up Highway 17 a little ways and look for the giant sign on your left.

The fun begins at 9:00 a.m. with the presentation of the clans  –  so prepare to see lots of plaid.  Throughout the day, there’ll be lively competition of pipes and drums, Scottish dancing, and well as “heavy athletics.”   This ominous-sounding category includes such events as the Hammer Throw, Sheaf Toss, the Stone of Strength, and the Caber Toss  –  you know, when they heave the thing that looks like a telephone pole.  It’s almost 20 feet tall, weighs 175 pounds, and they throw it end over end while trying not to knock out themselves or any innocent bystanders.

Keep an eye peeled for the ever-popular border collie demonstrations.  Check out the beer garden with craft beers from Highland Brewing and Commonhouse Aleworks, and Scottish edible delicacies and merchandise.  For the younger ones in your Charleston beach house, there will be a special kids’ area with games (like the Scotch Egg Relay), storytelling and crafts.  Celtic rock band Cleghorn will be performing, complete with bagpipe, fiddle and didgeridoo.



Adults are $20 – $30, children $5, free for kids 5 and under.  Tickets include admission to Boone Hall Plantation.  The games last till 5:00.

It’s sponsored by the Scottish Society of Charleston.  Here’s the official website with all the details and ticket info.

Boots, Bottles and Blessings Fall Festival


This Saturday is also a fun sounding mashup of an event – complete with blessing of the vines, lots of music and libations.  It’s described as “music-rich” and “foodie-focused.”  You can celebrate the harvest and witness a priest blessing the muscadine grape vines.

Get set for:

It’s going on from 10:00 – 5:00 at Deep Water Vineyard & Firefly Distillery, which used to be known as Irvin-House Vineyards.

Deep Water is located at 6775 Bears Bluff Road in Wadmalaw Island, a scenic drive from our luxury beach house rentals SC.  The cost is $5 – $10 per car, with $6-$7 tastings.  More info is on their official website.


Sunday Funday 

Sunday has a couple cool fall festival events.

Charleston Battery Food Truck Festival


First up  –  food trucks are hot, especially in a cuisine-centric culture like Charleston.  Some of the most creative chefs are working on wheels.

You can check out a slew of them on Sunday.  It’s the first ever Charleston Battery Food Truck Festival, which will bring together 35 (!) area food trucks for your dining pleasure.

Some perks:

It takes place at MUSC Health Stadium on Daniel Island, home of the Charleston Battery soccer team.  The stadium is located at 1990 Daniel Island Drive.

Here’s the event’s Facebook page.  And here’s more on the Daniel Island website.


Marina Festival right here on the Isle of Palms 


Also going on Sunday is a super sounding island event sponsored by the IOP Exchange Club.  They are good folks who are always doing good things for the community.  This event supports our veterans.  They are also raising money for a very cool project to improve the island.  They’re planning to add public water access near their building on Palm Boulevard near Breach Inlet.  Included will be:

To help toward this goal, they are sponsoring a wingding at the IOP Marina this Sunday from 1:00-6:00.  Tickets are just $20, free for veterans and kids under 10. Included are all kinds of watersports (like intro to kayaking course) and activities from marina businesses.

Raffle Time


They’ll have great door prizes and one of the most interesting raffles I’ve seen lately.  You could win a golf cart, flat boat, time in a mountain vacation home, and one supercool guitar signed by some very big names in country music.  They include Darius Rucker, Trace Adkins, Dierks Bentley, Kane Brown, Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Emmylou Harris, Dustin Lynch, Irlene Mandrell, Jake Owen, Thomas Rhett, Dan and Shea, Blake Shelton, Granger Smith, Little Big Town, Carrie Underwood,    Keith Urban, and Bret Young.

Wow – that’s some talent, right there on that guitar!  All signatures are authenticated.

Get the whole scoop on their website.  The site of the event, the IOP Marina, is located at the end of 41st Avenue, on the Intracoastal Waterway (inland) side of the island.

So take your pick of four fun fall festival events happening this weekend, plus the last weekend of the Coastal Carolina Fair.  And when you are looking for the best in rental homes South Carolina, be sure to give EP a call.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger