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The Cooper River Bridge Run, the state's top tourism event

The top tourism event in the state of South Carolina is right in our backyard.

As I blogged about recently, our SC vacation rentals are part of a huge $22.6 billion industry in the state.   The powers-that-be announced the news at a recent statewide tourism conference in Columbia.

The numbers show tourism is big business, indeed.  By staying in here, you and a large group of your friends and family can experience one of the best destinations anywhere  –  Charleston.  Our vacation homes are oceanfront or close to it, so you can also have the experience of a proper beach vacation while you’re at it.

Also coming out of that same conference: the top tourism event/initiative in the entire state of South Carolina is also located right here.

They tapped the Cooper River Bridge Run as big winner of the conference, taking home the Governor’s Cup for the top tourism event of the year.  You can read more from the Post & Courier.


CRBR: the state’s top tourist event 


The Cooper River Bridge Run has been a favorite for decades.  It draws people from across the planet to run across one of Charleston’s great rivers.  It has become the third-largest 10K in the United States.

It’s seen a lot of growth in its lifespan.  The first year saw 7,400 finishers.  2006 saw a whopping 33,700 folks finishing the run/walk.

This year marks the 42nd running of the race, which will take place Saturday, April 6th.  It’s traditionally one of the most popular weekends for tourists in the Charleston and Isle of Palms area.  One of our homes makes a great home base for race weekend, with gourmet kitchens in which to carb up, stretches of beach to warm up on, and expansive decks and pools to relax after the race.

If you are interested in a that weekend, do call us at EP as soon as possible.  That weekend has several other events going on as well.  Summerville’s three-day Flowertown Festival will draw a lot of folks.


Most folks come “from off” to this gigantic top tourism event


The Cooper River Bridge Run is popular with locals.  But get this: 60% of participants come from out of town for the event.  The CRBR and all its ancillary events have an annual economic impact of around $30 million.

You still have time to register online, although you have missed the early registration discounts.  The official CRBR website has all the details.

This year, there are medals for all finishers.  There’s also a nifty Active Experience app which allows you to track race participants, among several other nifty features.

So get those running shoes and muscles ready for the top tourism event in South Carolina.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger


Check out Folly Gras, one of many SC festivals near Charleston

Well, SEWE and Valentine’s are in the rear view mirror, Wine + Food and Fashion Week are still ahead, but that doesn’t mean there’s not festive fun happening this weekend with plenty more SC festivals near our vacation rentals.

First, a quick look at the calendar.  Easter is relatively late this year (April 21st).  That’s usually a popular time for visitors, since schools often take an extended break around then.  Also, the weather near the Isle of Palms will likely be downright lovely.  If you are interested in coming around Easter, do call us at EP as soon as you can, to ensure the best selection from our portfolio of luxury beach house rentals SC.

Since Easter is late, so is Mardi Gras.  Many years it falls in February.  This year it’s not until March 5th.  Of course, that doesn’t stop the party from cranking up around these parts early.  Witness last weekend’s Mardi Crawl, which I covered in this blog.


It’s time for Folly Gras, yet another one of the many popular SC Festivals around here


Well, there’s another major Mardi Gras event happening in the Lowcountry tomorrow  –  Saturday, February 23rd.

Laissez le bon temps rouler, Folly style!

It’s the 11th annual Folly Gras Parade & Block Party, taking place on  –  you guessed it  –  Folly Beach.  The fun centers around aptly named Center Street, which will be closed off for the revelry beginning at 10:00 a.m.

The official party kicks off at 11:00 a.m. with a Mardi Gras parade.  The route enters at West Ashley Avenue and exits at E. Hudson.

Get set for:

They’ve tweaked it from past experiences to be better than ever.  Here’s the scoop from Live 5 News.

It’s billed as family friendly, so it’s appropriate for all ages. The event is free for full-time Folly residents and kids 12 and under.  Otherwise it’s $10.  No pets, bikes or coolers.  Here’s the website, where you can buy advance tickets for express entry.

All this Mardi Gras fun is not that far from the Isle of Palms.  There’s one of the many nice things about the Lowcountry  –  nothing is too far from anything else.


Or, you can Rock the Block near our rental homes South Carolina


Speaking of block parties  –  if you’re not in a Mardi Gras mood, no worries.  You have block party options.

Also going on tomorrow is another fun one   –  it’s the 2nd annual Home Team BBQ/Hogs for a Cause Rock the Block.  This benefits a great cause – helping support families, both financially and emotionally, as they battle pediatric cancer.

Get ready for a bunch of terrific food (including some serious BBQ), live music, emcee, raffle and kids’ zone.

Here are the specs:

It looks to be a lot of fun benefiting a worthy cause, indeed.

So take your pick of block parties or SC festivals this weekend.  By all means do have fun, and please stay safe.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger




SC tourism part of $22.6 billion business

The latest numbers have been crunched, and SC tourism is a huge, and rapidly growing, industry.

Judging by the popularity of our Isle of Palms luxury rentals, we figured things were looking pretty good.  After all, they are in high demand.  The fact that the Holy City has found itself atop so many “best of” lists has made them a hot commodity.

But honestly, we had no idea it was THIS popular.

Tourism in the state of South Carolina is big business, indeed.

The economic impact of tourism in the state: a whopping $22.6 billion What’s more, that’s a major increase over the previous year.  A $1.4 billion increase, to be exact.

It’s the sixth year in a row of record-breaking numbers for SC tourism.

South Carolina’s Director of Parks, Recreation & Tourism, Duane Parrish, announced the numbers at the Governor’s Conference on Tourism and Travel, which kicked off yesterday in Columbia.

U.S. Representative Jim Clyburn noted that South Carolina’s economy used to be driven by textiles and tobacco.  He pointed out that now the main forces are two other “T’s”  –  tourism, and transportation.

The word is definitely out about South Carolina in general, and Charleston to be specific.


SC Tourism: Park numbers also look great


There is good news where South Carolina’s State Park Service is concerned, as well.  Their annual revenue also set a new record, totaling more than $30 million.

In another indicator of progress and economic health, they announced that the SC Park Service is almost completely self-sufficient, covering 99% of its costs.  This is up from just 73% ten years ago.

We are located near some of the most naturally gorgeous and well designed parks imaginable.  It’s yet another good reason to stay in one of our South Carolina vacation rentals.

You can read the whole story on the front page of today’s Post & Courier, or online here.


SC tourism: if you’re coming to visit, why not stay in the safest city in the state?


In more good news… a recent study analyzed the safest cities in the state of South Carolina.

Guess what  –  our Isle of Palms luxury rentals are located in the safest one of all.

The study, conducted by Safewise, analyzed FBI crime report statistics and population data.  They came up with a list of the top 20 safest cities in the state of South Carolina.  #1 on the list is our own Isle of Palms, with 0% violent crimes per 1,000 people.

Read more about it here.  Or watch the video on YouTube.

So when you are looking to stay in South Carolina, why not play it safe and choose the Isle of Palms?  Just give us a call at EP and we’ll help you find the perfect place.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger




Charleston and art and Party with a Purpose this weekend

It comes as no surprise that Charleston and art are a match made in heaven.  In fact, according to one list, Charleston is THE best city for art lovers in the U.S.

So sayeth the folks at Apartment Guide.  They based their assessment on the per capita number of artistic entities and galleries in the city.  Charleston comes in at one for every 1,775 residents, which is the highest concentration in America.

They referenced 56 Charleston art galleries/dealers, special events like Spoleto, Piccolo Spoleto, MOJA, and institutions like the Gibbes Museum of Art and the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art.

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

“In addition to the yearly offerings, dozens of galleries and exhibition spaces have sprung up across Charleston… But the heart of the city’s art community lies in the studios of Gallery Row on historic Broad Street and along the avenues of the nearby French Quarter… If you take a tour of the Lowcountry’s historic antebellum homes, you’ll be privy to some of the finest private art collections in the South.”

It’s yet another reason to come stay in the Lowcountry, not that you really needed it.

Read more about it here.


SEWE means Charleston and Art go hand in hand all weekend long 


Speaking of art, one of those special art events is going on this weekend, and it’s a biggie.  As I blogged recently, you can see some of the very best wildlife artists on earth, here in the Holy City.

It’s SEWE, and it’s taking place in five main venues on the Charleston peninsula.  They include:

They’re convenient to all our vacation rentals.  Figure about a 30 minute drive or so, factoring in traffic.


Check out Charleston and art.. or Party with a Purpose this weekend


Mardi Gras is still a couple weeks away (March 5th), but the celebrating’s already cranking up in these parts.

This Saturday (February 16th) is the Parrothead Mardi Crawl It’s the 15th annual one, to be exact.

This movable, Jimmy-Buffet themed party takes place in various venues around Shem Creek.  Shem Creek is where the shrimp boats (and several other boats) dock.  There’re plenty of restaurants and bars with outdoor seating, great views, pretty people, dogs, dolphins, SUPers, pelicans, you name it.  From the Isle of Palms, just head over to Sullivan’s, then cross over to Coleman Boulevard in Mount Pleasant and go about halfway to the Ravenel Bridge.  You can’t miss it.

The Parrothead Mardi Crawl is sponsored by the Lowcountry Parrot Head Club, which encourages you to come “party with a purpose.” 

If you sign up for the event, you’ll play various games like trivia, enjoy food and drink specials, festive beads and prizes, and migrate from one place to the next at your own pace.  You can either walk, take a limo or even a water taxi among the venues.

Participating restaurants/locales include: Red’s Ice House, The Mill Street Tavern, Saltwater Cowboys, RB’s, Vickery’s, and The Wreck of the Richard and Charlene.

It’s all for a good cause  –  several, actually.  They include the Alzheimer’s Association of South Carolina, the Ronald McDonald House, Pet Helpers and others.

There will be plenty of live music.  Here’s a breakdown of what’s going on:


It’s always a raucous good time, with Buffet beachy tunes and libations that pair perfectly together, like Charleston and art.

So check out some greatCharleston and art happenings.   And when you are looking for beach rentals Charleston, be sure to call EP for the very best.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger


Coming to a Charleston beach house? Here's help.

Nothing like a good beach packing list to make your trip planning a little easier.

A stay in a Charleston beach house is a great idea for many reasons.  Two of the main ones?  You get to visit Charleston, one of the top destinations in the world.  And, you get to stay at the beach, one of the best parts of the world.

It’s a natural win-win.

The weather this time of year varies.  We have had some wonderful 70+ degree days lately, with more coming down the pike.  It’s actually a great time to be at the ocean and the Lowcountry.  The beach itself is far less crowded than peak times.  At certain hours of the day you can practically have it all to yourself.


Packing help for your stay at the beach


To help you prepare for your trip, the travel gurus at AFAR have assembled a thing called, “The Ultimate Beach Vacation Packing List.”

Basically it outlines 18 practical must-haves or should-haves for your stay at the beach.

The whole list is well worth a read on their website for the details and specifics, including top-rated products and where to get them.  You can read it here.

But I’ll give you the list lowdown here:

  1. Swimwear
  2. Sunscreen
  3. Hat
  4. Footwear
  5. Sunglasses
  6. Water
  7. Snacks
  8. Towels
  9. Wet Wipes
  10. Beach chairs
  11. Layers
  12. Shade
  13. Reading material
  14. Games & gear
  15. Dry snacks
  16. Waterproof speakers
  17. Power pack
  18. Tote bag.

Of course, you don’t need to pack all this stuff from home to bring with you when you visit Charleston.  You can purchase all of this and more once you get here.  There are countless shopping options nearby.


A Charleston bucket list 


Once you’re here, there’s obviously a whole lot more than just the beach to see and “do.”

The Post & Courier, Charleston’s trusty newspaper, recently assembled a “Charleston Bucket List” of 50 fun things to see and do around the area.

It’s quite a good list, actually, with specific suggestions that are not just the obvious tourist sites.  A couple examples: rent a bike downtown from Holy Spokes; hunt for Charleston murals downtown; go to the Royal American and get $8 punch in a souvenir cup.

I won’t outline them all, but you can see the full list here.

So enjoy your beach time, and enjoy some of the dozens of Charlestonian things to do.  And when you are looking for a great  beach house, be sure to call Exclusive Properties.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

Take a Chocolate Walk

This weekend there are three great things going on in Charleston and its surrounding islands, including a Chocolate Walk.  There’s even something special for your four-legged family members.


Doggie Day at the Rec on the Isle of Palms


A number of our beach rentals are pet friendly.   Just call us and we’ll help you pick the perfect one for you and your beloved pet.  Goodness knows doggies love the beach, too!

If you brought your dog along with you this weekend, there’s a great annual event right smack in the middle of the IOP.

It’s Doggie Day at the Rec, and it happens tomorrow morning from 9:00 till noon.  All are welcome.

Here’s what’s on tap:



This event is open to the public… not just locals, but also visitors.  Read more on the Isle’s website.  Here’s a link to the registration form.

It takes place at the Isle of Palms Rec Center.  It’s located at #24  28th Avenue, in the middle of the Isle.


Take a Chocolate Walk, just in time for Valentine’s 


Valentine’s Day is coming up next Thursday.  You can get a jump on the holiday in a delicious way this weekend.

Magnolia Plantation is hosting a very appealing Valentine’s event this Saturday and Sunday.  It’s called the VALENTINE’S CHOCOLATE WALK, and it’s free with regular garden admission.

Stroll with your sweetheart through the oldest gardens in America, which has one of the top collections of camellias in the world, with over 20,000 specimens.

While you do, you’ll be serenaded by string musicians.  You’ll make your way among several different tasting stations, each with a decadent chocolate creation to sample from around the world.

Gardens are, after all, one of the many charms of Charleston.  And what a delectable way to experience them!

The Chocolate Walk will be going on both Saturday (Feb. 9th) and Sunday (February 10th) from 11:00 a.m. till 3:00 p.m.  If you’d like to enjoy a romantic walk just with your sweetie, separate activities are available for your kids.  As a bonus, children 6 and under are free.

For more info on these fun things to do on the Isle of Palms, go to their website.


“The Big One…Under the Big Tin” just over Breach Inlet from your luxury house on Isle of Palms


We are fully in the throes of oyster season, for sure.  Coming up tomorrow is yet another whopper of an oyster roast.  It really is a fun way to feed folks and experience a quintessential Lowcountry experience to boot.

It’s “The Big One… under the Big Tin,” the umpteenth annual Sullivan’s Island Fire and Rescue Oyster Roast, taking place this Saturday, February 9th from 5:00 till 8:00 p.m.

They’ll have all-you-can-eat single oysters, hot dogs and fish stew.  You’re encouraged to bring your own oyster knife, which all good locals have in their possession.  There’s lots of live music, jump castle for the kids, T-shirts and such.

Tickets ($40 advance, $45 the day of) are available at the Sullivan’s Island Fire Station, Town Hall, Simmons Seafood and the Harris-Teeter at Sea Island Shopping Center.  The latter would be the most convenient to your luxury house on Isle of Palms.  If you grab them tonight, you’ll get the discount.

Proceeds go toward the worthy sponsors, Sullivan’s Island Fire and Rescue.  They spend all year helping others in need, whether they’re on land or in the water.  This is a nice way to show our support for what they do for so many others.

This, too, is convenient.   Just cross over the Breach Inlet Bridge and head over to Hennessy Street.  Look for the big tin shed/fish fry shack near Fort Moultrie.  Here’s more from the town’s website.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger




Spoleto auction going on this week

We are rapidly approaching festival season in the Lowcountry, and a Spoleto auction is just a harbinger of things to come.  SEWE is coming up the weekend after next. Then there’s Wine + Food, Charleston Fashion Week, and a whole slew of others.

Before you know it, the world-renowned Spoleto Festival will be here, kicking off the peak summer season for SC vacation rentals.

You don’t have to be here right now to get in on the pre-Spoleto fun.  Right now an exciting online Spoleto auction is taking place.  Proceeds benefit the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra, the official musicians of the festival.

There almost 100 great items up for bid, including:

The online auction is running from now through Monday, February 18th at 10:00 p.m.  Out of the 93 items up for bid, 53 have no bidders yet, as of last check.  So you have a shot at getting a great deal on terrific items or experiences while you’re here.

Several involve adventures in areas away from Charleston as well.  Cases in point: Design Tour of Manhattan, A Weekend in the Queen City, Garden & Gun Atlanta Getaway, Concours d’Elegance & Motoring Festival, Birthday Luncheon for Eight in Hilton Head, Private Tour of Jefferson’s Monticello, and many more.

Here’s a link to the online bidding and a list of everything that’s up for grabs.


A Special Luxury Live Spoleto Auction Event 


Also, there will be a special LIVE auction gala event this coming Friday, February 8th.  The event will take place at the just-opened Hotel Bennett on Marion Square in downtown Charleston.

This live auction will have 15 very special items up for bid, like dinner for 12 by renowned Charleston chef Mike Lata of FIG fame.  Here’s a description from their website:

“You and 11 guests will enjoy an intimate dinner prepared by James Beard Award-winning Chef Mike Lata of FIG and The Ordinary in the privacy of your own home [e.g. your luxury house on Isle of Palms]. Chef Lata and Harry Root of Grassroots Wine will work together to create a delicious multiple-course menu featuring the best local produce and seasonal ingredients paired with wine from FIG’s extensive list that highlights small-production winemakers.”

Voting by proxy is also available, so you don’t have to be here in person this Friday to bid.   You can contact Spoleto Patron Services at (843) 720-1104.

If you are here this week and would like to attend the live Spoleto auction, you can obtain tickets by calling (843) 720-1114, or by using this link.

But hurry.  Tickets are only available until February 6th at 12 p.m.  –  that’s tomorrow, Wednesday.


The Latest on CHS Flying High


As I’ve blogged about numerous times, Charleston International Airport is on a roll.   It’s undergone a massive $200 million renovation. The number of carriers and flights is growing by leaps and bounds.

Well, the latest counts are officially in, and the Charleston International Airport has set an all-time record for the number of travelers flying through.

A whopping 4.47 million people came in or out of CHS in 2018 It’s the first year ever to top the 4 million mark, and it’s a 12.1% increase over the previous year.

It translates into an extra 500,000 people over the previous year.  This is amazing, especially when you consider the airport was shut down for four days last January (2018) for snow and ice, and three days this past September for a hurricane swirling in the Atlantic.  Read more here.

So, happy bidding/flying.  If you are interested in coming for Spoleto, call us soon as possible since our homes tend to book up fast.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

Photo credit: Spoleto




Time to buy tickets for Southeastern Wildlife Exposition

One of the many popular Charleston festivals is coming up fast – I’m talking the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition, aka SEWE.

The Southeastern Wildlife Exposition is a celebration of wildlife art, wildlife preservation and the sporting life.  The three-day celebration draws the largest number of visitors of any single event in the Lowcountry.

This year this mega Charleston festival takes place February 15th through the 17th and promises to be bigger and better than ever.  More about that in a minute.

Today  –  February 1st  –  is the last day to purchase tickets online.   Use the promo code SAVE to get 20% off general admission day passes for the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition, until midnight tonight.

Here is a link to buy tickets.

Three-day general admission tickets are just $50 not counting the discount.  If you prefer individual day tickets, Friday and Saturday day passes are $25, Sunday is $15.  But hurry  –  and don’t forget that promo code.

By the way, it’s a very family-friendly event.  Kids 10 and under get free entry to the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition.

 Here’s what’s new this year at the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition, aka SEWE


If you’ve been to the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition before, you probably already know the lay of the land and how things have been in the past.  Well, they’ve made a few tweaks this year, designed to help things move even more smoothly.

Here’s what’s new:

  1. Expanded area at Brittlebank Park, one of the five main venues covered by the day pass. This area has many different popular events going on, like the beloved DockDogs competition, and so they’ve folded in even more green space and acreage for your comfort and pleasure.
  2. A new and improved Kid Zone. It will now be located at the north end of the Brittlebank playground.  The kids in your clan will love the exotic petting zoo, games, pony rides, inflatables and all sorts of SEWE fun.
  3. A new Marine Village – focused on fishing, watersports and other water-based activities. Located at Brittlebank.
  4. Even “Cooler Art” –  two renowned artists, Ryan Kirby and Chad Poppleton, will paint wildlife scenes on YETI Tundra coolers, which will then be auctioned off for a good cause.  The fun takes place at Charleston Place on Saturday afternoon.
  5. This year SEWE will have even more dogs –  yay!  In addition to DockDogs and the sheep- and duck-herding border collies, they are bringing in STARR.  These are specially trained search and rescue dogs (Search Tactics and Rescue Recovery Team) who help find lost hikers, children, Alzheimer patients, people in the water, etc.  They’ll be doing demos on all three days of the festival.

Read more about these new additions here.



What’s even better than a Super Bowl?  How about a Pup Bowl.


Of course this Sunday is the Super Bowl, when the perennial Patriots will take on the L.A. Rams in Atlanta.

Those who are animal lovers may already know about the awesome Puppy Bowl, which airs on Sunday afternoon on Animal Planet.   In fact, this year a local puppy, a Dachsund named Charlie sponsored by PetHelpers, is taking part.

Not to be outdone, the Charleston Animal Society is sponsoring their own Pup Bowl at Mount Pleasant Towne Centre tomorrow  –  Saturday, February 2nd.  Adoptable puppies and dogs will be squaring off on the gridiron  –  the PUPtriots versus the K9 Rams.  Get set for:

So get those SEWE tickets stat.  And when you are looking for luxury beach house rentals SC, be sure to call EP.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger