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It's time once again for the Festival of Houses & Gardens

It’s officially spring, which means it’s time to see “behind the iron gates” of Charleston  – aka the Festival of Houses & Gardens.

The clocks have sprung forward, the equinox is in the rear view mirror, and the azaleas and wisteria are starting to pop.  Charleston is awash in hues of bright green, pink and purple.  Spring has indeed arrived.  And there’s one quintessentially Charlestonian way to experience it in all its peak loveliness.

This grand and beloved Charleston tradition has been going on for over seven decades.  The Festival of Houses & Gardens has officially kicked off for the 2019 season.

It’s put on by the fine and dedicated folks of the Historic Charleston Foundation.

The Festival of Houses & Gardens offers the chance to go inside some of the most lush private gardens and beautiful historic homes on the peninsula.  In other words, this is your opportunity to enter some of the best in the country.

Most of the tours take place downtown, South of Broad.  If you’re in one of our Isle of Palms vacation rentals, just head over the Ravenel Bridge and down the peninsula toward the Battery.  You are a short drive from the charm and history of America’s best city.

The Festival runs through Thursday, April 18th.  There are all sorts of terrific options to choose from, located on different charming streets downtown.  Think Wentworth, Legare, Meeting Street, Tradd, Broad, South Battery, all the best addresses in town.  You can concentrate on the historic homes, or take one of the “Glorious Gardens” tours.

Some of what’s offered during the Festival of Houses & Gardens


The festival has grown to offer more than simple house/garden tours.  They offer concerts, luncheon lectures (cleverly entitled, “Food for Thought”), historical harbor boat tours, a gospel brunch, wine and spirit tastings, and morning history walks.

Some of the Food For Thought topics include Myths, Legends and Lore: What You Thought You Knew about Charleston!, Botanical Journeys of “The Camellia Man,” The Culture That Rice Built, and Flavors of the Lowcountry: Reviving Gullah-Geechee Cuisine.

This year they also have a series called “Live like a Local,” with these offerings:

Here is a link to the Festival itself, where you can select events and purchase tickets.

The Festival of Houses and Gardens really is a Charleston must-do.  Thankfully there are so many different dates and sites to choose from, thus you have a good chance at securing tickets.

You won’t be disappointed if you check out this Charleston gem, the Festival of Houses & Gardens.  And when you are in the market for Isle of Palms vacation rentals, be sure to call us here at EP on the IOP.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

Fashion Week and a pub crawl

Another weekend, another plethora of happenings is going on in these parts, including Charleston Fashion Week.

First up, there’s the 13th incarnation of a popular festival.

Spring has officially sprung, and it’s time once again for Lexus Charleston Fashion Week.  It’s traditionally when the catwalk hit Marion Square for five straight days.  High fashion by local and nationally known designers come within close proximity to Charleston and its beaches.

What started in 2007 has grown and evolved a lot over the years.  This year it’s undergone its biggest changes yet.  Instead of a single five day festival, they’re changing the format to four times a year.  They’ll happen in March, June, September and November/December. Not a bad idea, since each season has its own fashion.

Accordingly, they’ve tweaked the name to Lexus Charleston Fashion Week: The Events.  The first one is happening tonight, with a major kickoff at the Cigar Factory.  From your Charleston beach house, just head over the Ravenel Bridge and take the first exit.  It’s at 701 East Bay Street.

What the First Lexus Charleston Fashion Week Event will entail


This event will have lots of glam, bells and whistles and will thrill the socks off all you fashionistas.  Get set for:

Get info and tickets here.

Two Markets near our Isle of Palms luxury rentals


Also going on downtown this weekend are not one but two markets for your perusing pleasure.

The Weekend Night Market is officially back again for the season.  It takes place at the historic City Market, between East Bay and Meeting Streets.

City Market is a must-do for folks visiting Charleston.  It’s the perfect place to find unusual local products, souvenirs and handmade Lowcountry items like a sweetgrass basket, cool jewelry, beachy stuff, you name it.

It’s open all year during the day, but the night market only happens in the warmer season.  Well, that’s officially arrived.  The historic buildings will be brimming with local vendors selling their creative wares and live music on Friday and Saturday nights.

The Night Market runs from March till December, from 6:30-10:30 each Fri-Sat.  Just follow the same directions as above, and head a little further down East Bay.  You can’t miss it.  Read more here.

Including this relatively new one… 


A downtown market that launched this past October, is back again.

I’m talking about The Post and Courier Farmers Market. It’ll take place every Sunday from 10:00 a.m. till 2:00 in the Visitor’s Lot of the Post & Courier.  That’s located at the corner of King and Columbus Streets downtown.  For your GPS, it’s at 134 Columbus Street.

They’ll have a slew of vendors, with produce and artisans’ wares. This is also a fun way to sample local products and find a souvenir from your stay here.

There will be live music by Malin Wagnon, Oh Valentino and Ward.  Food trucks scheduled to be there are Greekin’ Out and Life Raft Treats.  It’s pretty cool to point out that Life Raft is a semi-finalist for a coveted James Beard Award.

By the way, there’s plenty of free parking available in the employee parking lot across the street.

A Pub Crawl on the IOP


Tomorrow is the second edition of some Front Beach fun, sponsored by the IOP Exchange Club.  You just might walk away with some seriously great prizes, including a brand new golf cart  –  the vehicle of choice on the Isle of Palms.

It’s the 2nd Annual Front Beach Crawl and Raffle, going on tomorrow afternoon – Saturday, March 23rd on Front Beach at the IOP.

It’s happening from 1:00 till 4:00 p.m. and benefits the Exchange Club and their many charitable community ventures.  For a $20 entrance fee at the door ($15 advance), you’ll get a bracelet that entitles you to crawl amongst some local hotspots.  They include the Windjammer, the Dinghy, Luke & Ollie’s and the VFW.  There will be specials and goodies at each place.  Each drink purchase earns a chance to win a door prize.

Everyone will assemble at the Windjammer at 4:00 p.m. for a free concert and the awarding of prizes.  You can get discounted tickets online till 11:00 p.m. tonight.  Here’s a link.

So check out some of the fun happening downtown or on the IOP this weekend.  And when you are looking for Isle of Palms luxury rentals, be sure to call EP.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger




Spoleto's coming up

The Lowcountry in general is no stranger to world’s best lists.  Seems hardly a week goes by that another ranking has the Holy City near or at the top.

Who can forget when Conde Nast named Charleston as the top destination in the world – higher than Paris, Florence, Rome.  That kind of attention makes people take note and show up from all over the globe.

No wonder our Isle of Palms luxury rentals have seen such strong demand. Our portfolio of continues to grow in number and quality.  They provide an ideal combination – a charming Charleston experience AND a beach vacation.

While here, check out another world’s best – one of the best waterfront bars on the planet


Well, turns out we are near one of the top eight best waterfront bars IN THE WORLD.  This, according to Matador Network.

It’s Tavern & Table, located on Shem Creek in Mount Pleasant.  You’ll pass right by it if you drive on Coleman Boulevard toward Charleston.

Here’s what they had to say about it:

“There’s no better place to catch a sunset in Charleston than overlooking the Shem Creek, and Tavern & Table is the place to be as golden hour approaches. Along with the sky’s deep orange and pink hues, you’ll find one of the best food and drink menus in the area. The bar has 18 beers on tap and a solid wine list, as well as signature twists on classic cocktails and a seasonal barrel-aged cocktail. Try the Sorghum Sour — made with High Wire Sorghum Whiskey, simple syrup, lemon juice, egg white, and a red wine float — or come for happy hour when an Aperol spritz is only $5.”

Tavern & Table joins others located in such scenic spots as St. John’s Antigua, Spain, Australia, the Hamptons, Lake Tahoe, Florida and New York.

Read more from Live 5 News.  And here is the whole list from Matador Network.



Keep an eye peeled for the new Spoleto Poster


Speaking of world’s best  –  one of the best performing arts festivals in the world, Spoleto, is fast approaching.  The powers-that-be have unveiled the official poster for 2019.

It features an untitled painting by Laura Owens, a 49-year old artist based in Los Angeles.  It was created in 2016 with oil and screen printing ink on linen.  Owens recently had a 60-piece retrospective at the Whitney in New York.

Spoleto General Director Nigel Redden had this to say about the image on the poster:  “I think this particular work exemplifies the vibrancy, and also the curiosity, of the festival.  The unusual face within the piece certainly invites a closer look, and Ms. Owens’s layering techniques seem to conjure different ways of looking at things, which is very reflective of the festival’s nature.”

Read more about it in the Post & Courier.

This year’s festival runs from May 24th through June 9th.  Find out all about the festival and get tickets at the official website.

So check out one of the best bars on the water.  And remember, when you are looking for a great place to stay near Charleston, be sure to call EP.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger


Antiques, art and shamrocks galore this weekend

The weather is spring-like, the buds are popping, and it’s a great weekend to venture out from the beach for all kinds of cultured fun – antiques, art and anything Irish.

Take home a historical treasure from the Charleston Antiques Show


One of Charleston’s many charms is its history, and it’s on full display this weekend.

It’s time again for the Charleston Antiques Show.  This beloved event brings together fine vintage furniture, silver, decorative items and jewelry from the 17th century on, with a myriad of experts in one place.  It’s centered at The Gaillard downtown, convenient to all our beach rentals Charleston.  From our beach rentals Charleston, just head through Mount Pleasant, over the Ravenel and take the first exit onto East Bay.  Turn right on Calhoun, you can’t miss it on your left.

The show runs today – Friday, March 15th – through Sunday, March 17th.  Tickets are just $20 for unlimited admission all three days.

Show Hours:
Friday, March 15: 10 am – 6 pm
Saturday, March 16: 10 am – 6 pm
Sunday, March 17: 11 am – 5 pm* 

(*Enjoy a complimentary Bloody Mary on Sunday, March 17th.)

The chairman for this year’s event is the Right Honourable Nicholas E. A. Ashley-Cooper.  He is the 12th Earl of Shaftesbury, a descendant of one of the original eight Lords Proprietors of Carolina.  He’ll give a presentation on his life and work in restoring St. Giles House.

One of the themes of this year’s event is mixing antiques with modern design elements in home décor.  That’s become a hallmark for grand homes in the Lowcountry, whether they are downtown or at the beach.

You can watch a video about the CAS from the local NBC affiliate. Here’s the official site where you can learn more and purchase tickets.

ART FEST tomorrow 


Also going on tomorrow (Saturday, March 16th) from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., it’s the 23rd annual Art Fest at the Mount Pleasant Towne Centre.  It’s a showcase for the visual arts, music and dance.

Regional and local artists will display their creations.  There will also be live performances by local music and dance studios along with plenty of exhibits and vendors.  It’s a great place to pick up a souvenir.

A centerpiece is the juried art show by the Mount Pleasant Artists Guild.  The event is free, parking is free, and there will be food and drinks available for purchase.

It’ll take place in “The Oaks” among the many shopping options (both big chain and local) at Towne Centre.  Just look for Barnes & Noble, which is right across from The Oaks.

All this is just over the IOP Connector at 1218 Belk Drive in Mount Pleasant.

Read more about it here.

Time to go green


It’s always a good thing to be environmentally friendly, but that’s not what I’m talking about.  It’s that time of year when we’re all just a wee bit Irish.  You’d better be wearing green or beware the consequences!

Seems you can’t throw a stone without hitting a shamrock, a leprechaun, some cabbage and corned beef, or that charmingly disgusting green beer.

St. Patrick’s Day itself is this Sunday, March 17th.  But like Mardi Gras, the parties don’t seem to be confined by the calendar.

Tomorrow, Saturday, is the official St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown Charleston.

The celebration starts with 8:00 a.m. mass at St. Patrick’s Church, 134 St. Philip Street.  The parade begins nearby at 10:00 a.m. sharp, at the corner of Radcliffe and King.  It will travel south down King to Broad, turning right before ending at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist (120 Broad Street).

Afterwards, at approximately 11:30 a.m., they’ll raise the Irish flag above City Hall.  Then, head to any number of restaurants and pubs that will be filled with food and entertainment honoring St. Patty’s.  Here’s a list of the many pub crawls going on this weekend.

And here’s a breakdown of St. Patrick’s events going on all around the Lowcountry.

An Irish Block Party just over Breach Inlet


You don’t have to go far to get your Irish on.  Just hop over Breach Inlet to the islands’ favorite Irish pub, Dunleavy’s on Sullivan’s.  The block party starts Saturday morning at 9:00 and goes all day.  They’ll have live music, bagpipers and Irish dancers.  Dunleavy’s is at 2213-A Middle Street.

Read more here.

So, you have plenty of options this weekend to get cultured, or get your Irish on.  And remember, when you are looking for beach rentals Charleston, be sure to call EP first.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

Check out Angel Oak

Today, you can score free pancakes, help a great local cause to boot, and see one a top beautiful place in the country.

It’s International House of PancakesFree Pancake Day, going on all day until 7:00 p.m.

Let’s face it, pancakes make the world a better place.  They’re a great way to feed the folks in your Charleston beach house.  They’re perfect for all ages.

Pancakes aren’t just for breakfast, either.  In fact, a pancake lunch or early supper makes a fun vacation outing.


Foodie Freebie Fun


Any guest from 7:00 a.m. till 7:00 p.m. will receive a free short stack of their original buttermilk pancakes.  If you so desire, you can leave a donation to charity.

This offer is good at all iHop restaurants nationwide, where the default charity is Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.  They also like to support local charities, as Live 5 News explains.

Here in the Lowcountry you are encouraged to donate to the new Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital.  It’s a wonderful place being built in downtown Charleston which will provide world-class care to women and children.

This is the 14th Annual National Pancake Day.  Since they began the celebration in 2006, they’ve raised over $30 million for charities across the U.S.

Read more from Count on 2.  Here’s a link to iHop locations.

If you’re here on the Isle of Palms, just cross the Connector.  There’s an iHop near Lowe’s and Towne Centre.  For your GPS, the address is 1787 N. Highway 17 in Mount Pleasant, just “a short hop” from your beach house.


Be sure to check out a Top Beautiful Place near here


The Discoverer Blog recently named the 15 Most Beautiful Places in the United States.  They are places of natural beauty, like the Grand Tetons, Yosemite, the Na Pali Coast in Kauai and Sequoia National Park.

Not surprising to those of us who live here, one special spot in the Lowcountry made the list. It’s one of my favorite places and a real “must do” for folks coming here.

Remarkably, it’s a single tree.  And it’s totally worth the drive out to see it.

Of course I’m talking about Angel Oak.  In fact, it’s believed to be one of the oldest living things in the entire country.  It’s estimated to be twice as old as the United States.  It’s:

This is what they had to say about it:  “The South wouldn’t be complete without its stunning oaks, and this one takes the prize. The 500-year-old tree can be found just outside Charleston. Its knobby arms draped with moss make it a wonder to behold, and you’ll feel like you just stepped out of a southern romance novel.”

For your GPS or smartphone, the street address is 3688 Angel Oak Road, Johns Island.  

Read Discoverer’s whole list of beautiful places here.

So take an afternoon and check out this amazing top beautiful place.  And when you are looking for a Charleston beach house or other great things to do around here, be sure to give EP a call.  

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger





Great time to be in Charleston

If you’re in the Lowcountry this weekend, you may be taking part in the Charleston Wine + Food Festival going on through Sunday.  Weekend Culinary Village tickets have been sold out for quite some time now, although they occasionally pop up on neighborhood sites.

As I mentioned in that last blog, NBC’s Today Show will be broadcasting live from the Festival this morning.  Catch it on Channel 2 from the warm comfort of your beach house.  They’ll be in Marion Square at 8:00 a.m., and Waterfront Park at 10:00 a.m.

Festival events take place all over the downtown peninsula.

See the whole schedule and any remaining tickets here.


Sunset n’ S’mores on the Isle


This weekend you don’t even have to leave the island for some delicious and festive fun.

First up is an event this evening, where you can mix with some locals while you’re at it.

It’s called Sunset n’ S’mores and is a free community event hosted by the IOP Exchange Club.  Here are some specs:

It takes place at the Exchange Club, located at 201 Palm Boulevard.   Read more about it here.



Front Beach Fest, also during Charleston Wine + Food


Then tomorrow  –  Saturday, March 9th  –  it’s yet another event on the IOP.

The City of Isle of Palms is hosting its annual Front Beach Fest at  –  you guessed it – Front Beach.  The celebration lasts from noon till 4:00 p.m.

Here on the Isle of Palms, just head toward the Isle’s “downtown” where the hotels and most restaurants are.  Unlike the Charleston Wine + Food Festival, where Culinary Village tickets run $135 per person per day, this event is FREE.  It promises fun for all ages.

Here’s what to expect:


Don’t forget to spring forward Saturday night


This weekend is also when we switch to Daylight Saving Time.  Before you go to bed Saturday night, be sure to move the clocks ahead an hour so you start Sunday morning on the right foot, and hour.

Of course most cell phones and tablets will make the change for you automatically.

They say the key to adjusting well to the change in time, is to start beforehand.  You can even prepare this evening to help lessen the effects of the loss of an hour.  Read more about the strategy from NBC News.

So have a great time at Charleston Wine + Food or on the IOP this weekend.  And when you are looking for a great beach house near Charleston, be sure to call EP.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger





This week and weekend is Wine + Food Festival near your Charleston beach house

Wine + Food are a delicious combination, especially right now in the Holy City.

It’s time once again for the Charleston Wine + Food Festival.  The foodie fest officially kicks off tomorrow and lasts through the weekend.

This is yet another one of those Charlestonian festivals that gets bigger, better and more popular each year.  It really pays to plan way ahead for this one, since tickets sell out very fast, often within hours.  Hopefully you’ve scored your tickets way in advance, and are securely settled in Charleston or one of the islands.

The action centers around Marion Square downtown, the locale of the Culinary Village.  Various venues around the peninsula host individual events, intimate dinners, special guest chef culinary creations, and the like.  All events are an easy drive from our beach house rentals Charleston SC.   From our Isle of Palms luxury rentals, just cross through Mount Pleasant, head over the Ravenel Bridge and you’re downtown.

Here’s the official festival website, where you can snag any tickets that are still available.


The Today Show broadcasting live from Wine + Food


In a sign of the festival’s growing popularity, NBC’s morning Today Show will be broadcasting live from Charleston Wine + Food.  So you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your luxury house on Isle of Palms to enjoy the festival sights.  Just tune in this Friday morning, March 8th to NBC, which airs on Channel 2 in our beach rentals Charleston.

Kathie Lee Gifford and Al Roker will start the 8:00 a.m. broadcast from the Culinary Village.  Then, they’ll do the 10:00 a.m. show from Waterfront Park.

Kathie Lee has this to say about Charleston: it’s “one of the most enchanting, adorable towns I’ve ever been in America.”

Gillian Zettler, Executive Director of the festival, had this to say: “In line with the NYC plaza experience, guests are encouraged to bring signs for wide crowd shots… guests can expect food samplings, coffee, water and a cooking demo.” 

Tickets are free but must be reserved in advance.  Each session is ticketed separately.  Both locations are a convenient drive from the IOP, although you may want to factor in rush hour traffic.

Read more in the Post & Courier.

So enjoy the festival, and maybe land yourself on national TV.  And when you are in the market for Isle of Palms vacation rentals, be sure to call EP.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger



Art Lovers: Art Walk and Spoleto both happening

The South Carolina Lowcountry, anchored by the historic Charleston peninsula, has become a real center for the arts and major destination for art lovers.

In fact, as I covered in this recent blog, a group recently named Charleston as the number one place in America for art lovers.  It’s based on a per capita breakdown of the number of art entities like galleries and museums compared to the population.

This evening is a great example of that.


Attention Art Lovers: Charleston Art Walk tonight 


It happens four times a year.  It’s not far from any of the beach and super close to some of the country’s best restaurants.  It’s the Charleston Art Walk, and it’s grown in popularity with each passing one.

I’ve been a few times, and it really is a lot of fun.

Basically, a few dozen galleries (about 40) stay open after hours on a Friday night and host special exhibits.  Many have complimentary wine and hors d’oeuvres, some have live music.  It’s sponsored by the Charleston Gallery Association.  A wide spectrum of artistic styles are represented.

Art Walks take place the first Friday evening in the months of March, May, October and December.  They’re a fun, free way to get a good dose of that Charlestonian culture.

So if you’re here right now, you’re in luck.  Tonight  –  Friday, March 1st –  in the first Art Walk of 2019.  It goes on from 5:00 till 8:00 p.m. all around the downtown peninsula.


Then, of course, there’s Spoleto, the ultimate festival for art lovers


Charleston is a cultural center, indeed.

It’s not too early to plan for what is one of the best times to be in the Charleston area.  I’m talking about the end of May through early June, also known as Spoleto time.  It’s one of the preeminent South Carolina arts festivals in the country (and arguably the world).

Tickets for the festival are on sale now, and shows and performances are going fast.

The 43rd annual festival takes place this year from May 24th through June 9th.   Events take place in venues across the area (centered on the historic district).

If you are interested in coming during Spoleto time, please call us ASAP to secure the best selection from among our portfolio of homes.

There are some new things this year for Spoleto.  Highlights include:



A bit more Mardi Gras this weekend 


We still haven’t hit Mardi Gras yet.  In fact, this weekend is technically Mardi Gras weekend.  So it comes as no surprise that there are several themed events going on this weekend.  They include:

Read all about these in the Post & Courier’s Charleston Scene.

And when you are looking for rental homes South Carolina, be sure to call EP.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger