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Piccolo Spoleto schedule and tickets available now

Piccolo Spoleto has announced its festival lineup, and it’s a whopper.

Of course, Piccolo Spoleto is the “little sister” of Spoleto Festival USA, and the two run concurrently with each other.  This year it’s Friday, May 24th through Sunday, June 9th.

Spoleto tickets have been available for some time, as I’ve covered in this blog.  But Piccolo Spoleto announces their performers and schedules much later than big sis Spoleto does, and much closer to the festival itself… in other words, now.

No doubt that’s because they have so many more events to coordinate and finalize  –  literally in the hundreds.  Piccolo Spoleto 2019’s official guide is a whopping 76 pages long.  As usual, there’s a myriad of great things to choose from; it’s actually a bit of over-choice.

 

Get The Official Piccolo Spoleto Guide Now

 

You can pick up a printed copy of the guide around town, or at their main office.  The City of Charleston runs Piccolo Spoleto through its Office of Cultural Affairs, located at 75 Calhoun Street, Suite 3800.  It’s open Monday through Friday from 9:00 – 5:00.

They will also be glad to mail you a copy.  Just give them a call at 843-724-7305 or email CulturalAffairs@charleston-sc.gov.

The schedule is also available online.  Here’s a link to the 76-page Piccolo Festival schedule.

By the way, you never know what kind of up-and-coming talent you might discover at Piccolo.  About a dozen years ago, a young and relatively unknown comic named Amy Schumer was the warm-up act for Isaac Witty in a Piccolo Spoleto event!

 

What’s Piccolo Spoleto offering this year?

 

Here’s the official website with access to all the events.  You can search by date or by category –  festival traditions; music; theatre & dance; literary, heritage & ideas; or visual arts.

The festival traditions category is especially fun.  Most of those are free and fun large-scale events, like the Sunset Serenade, Family Day at Marion Square, the Memorial Day Concert, Sand Sculpting Competition here on the Isle of Palms, Piccolo Spoleto Finale, and the ever popular Seed & Feed Marching Abominable.

Tickets can be purchased online, by calling 866-811-4111, or in person at the Gaillard Center, 95 Calhoun Street, 9:00am – 5:00pm daily from Tuesday, April 30. Payments accepted: All major credit cards, cash, or check.

A Charleston beach house is an easy drive from all Spoleto or Piccolo Spoleto events, most of which take place on the downtown peninsula.  It also provides you with a beach vacation at the same time.

 

Free Spoleto Artist Talks, or “Salons”

 

If you’ve been to Spoleto before, you know that tickets can be a bit pricey, especially for large productions like operas and theater performances.  That’s one thing that makes Piccolo Spoleto a nice option.  Many events are free or are much less expensive than Spoleto events.

Well, this year Spoleto itself is offering free artist talks, or Spoleto Salons, happening three Tuesdays in a row leading up to the festival.  The first one is tonight.  They are free, but you do need to reserve a spot.

 

Here’s more about the free salons from Spoleto Festival…

 

The Spoleto Salons—hosted at The Murray Center, 14 George Street—aim to illuminate elements of the 2019 Festival, offering fascinating behind-the-scenes perspectives from various creative personnel. Salons are free and open to the public; reservations required. Use the buttons below to reserve your seat or call (843) 579-3100.

 

SALON 1
Tuesday, April 30, at 5:30pm
Moderated by Edward Hart

 

THE RIPPLE EFFECT

How has Spoleto Festival USA changed the physical and cultural landscape of Charleston? The Festival has not only been instrumental in the preservation of some of Charleston’s most well-known theaters and buildings but has also been a catalyst for creating new performing arts spaces for artists throughout the city. Further, how has the Festival been a beacon for attracting people to the Charleston area?

RESERVE YOUR SEAT

 

SALON 2
Tuesday, May 7, at 5:30pm
Moderated by Edward Hart

 

SALOME FEATURING DIRECTORS PATRICE CAURIER AND MOSHE LEISER

Best known for the “Dance of the Seven Veils,” Strauss’s opera Salome is as riveting today as it was at its 1905 premiere. The libretto―dripping with opulent language from Oscar Wilde’s play by the same name―depicts the biblical story of Herod’s lovesick stepdaughter and John the Baptist’s ill fate. Please join us for a discussion with Salome Directors Patrice Caurier and Moshe Leiser as we discover how time has influenced their career in storytelling.

RESERVE YOUR SEAT

 

SALON 3
Tuesday, May 14, at 5:30pm
Moderated by Edward Hart

 

MEETING MELANIE

You may not know her name yet, but soprano Melanie Henley Heyn is a star in the making—and singing the title role in this season’s all-new production of Salome, Strauss’s notorious opera. Born in a small town in Northeastern Pennsylvania, Melanie studied at Manhattan School of Music, University of Southern California, and the Konservatorium Wien (now the Music and Arts University of the City of Vienna) in Austria. And though she has sung professionally in countless orchestral and vocal concerts around the globe, performing as Salome at Spoleto Festival USA will be her full-length opera debut. Please join us for a discussion with Melanie as we discover what it takes to become a leading soprano.

RESERVE YOUR SEAT

 

So plan your Piccolo Spoleto experience now, and call EP ASAP if you’d like a beach house for a festival home base.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

Shrimp season kicks off this week

It’s a busy weekend indeed, featuring three ingredients of spring fun in the South  –  strawberries, shaggin’, and one of the world’s most delectable treasures from the sea, shrimp.

I’ll take them in chronological order as they happen.

 

Strawberry Festival in Charleston All Weekend Long

 

First up, it’s the spring celebration of all things strawberry, right here in Mount Pleasant.  It features fresh-from-the-field deliciousness and family-friendly activities, happening now through Sunday evening.

This is the 22nd annual Strawberry Festival in Charleston put on by the good folks at Boone Hall Plantation, one of the Lowcountry’s preeminent locales.

From our Isle of Palms vacation rentals, just cross the IOP Connector into Mount Pleasant, then take 17 North.  You can’t miss it, it’s up a short ways on your left on 17 (address: 2330 N. Hwy. 17, Mt. Pleasant). Please note: for the Strawberry Festival, enter from Highway 17, not the main entrance to Boone Hall Plantation, which is located on Long Point Road.

Boone Hall has planted 12 acres and 135,000 strawberry plants so you can pick your own to your heart’s content.

Here’s the official Festival page.

Get set for…

 

Like I mentioned, you can pick your own berries and bring them back as a tasty souvenir of your festival experience.

Admission to the festival itself is $10 (ages 12 and up), $5 for ages 2-11.  Kids under 2 admitted free with an accompanying adult.  A wristband for all-you-can-ride thrill rides is $20 in advance ($25 at the gate), with part of the proceeds benefitting the Charleston SPCA.  Individual ride tickets are $1.25 each, and individual rides take varying  numbers of tickets.

Hours:

Friday  –  3:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Saturday –  10:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Sunday –  noon – 7:00 p.m.

 

Shaggin’ on the Cooper

 

It’s the quintessential Carolina  –  and coastal –  dance.  The Shag became officially designated as STATE DANCE OF SOUTH CAROLINA in 1984.

And the season is kicking off once again, where you can shag with the locals at a supremely scenic spot.

The annual Shaggin’ on the Cooper dance series officially kicks off for the summer season this Saturday night, April 27th.   It takes place at the pier at Waterfront Memorial Park, underneath the Ravenel Bridge on the Mount Pleasant side of the Cooper River.

Shaggin’ on the Cooper is sponsored by the awesome folks at Charleston County Parks and Rec, and it’s become wildly popular.  The party takes place on certain Saturday evenings during the summer months, so you can shag as the sun sets over Charleston.  Gates open at 7:00 p.m. while the music and dancing begin at 8:00 p.m.

Here are the dates and musical lineup for summer 2019:

Tickets are just $10 at the gate ($8 in advance online) and often sell out fast.  Here’s a link to the site with more info and where you can buy advance tickets and get the discount.

Food and beverages will also be available for purchase.  This is a wholesome event perfect for all ages, and you don’t HAVE to shag if you don’t want to.  But since you’re in South Carolina, why not?

 

Blessing of the Fleet

 

The local shrimp season officially kicked off this week. This comes after a rather rough season last year, when the January cold snap threw off shrimping.  In fact, this year shrimping starts a full two months ahead of last year – late April as opposed to late June.  Here’s more about this year’s shrimp season.

There really is nothing quite like the taste of fresh Lowcountry shrimp from local waters.  It’s definitely worth celebrating with a festival!

This Sunday is a beloved local event that’s been taking place each spring for 32 years.  It’s the annual Blessing of the Fleet and Seafood Festival, an age-old tradition when we bless our local ships (many of them decorated), our shrimpers and fisherman who are heading out to sea, praying for their safety and for a bountiful harvest of shrimp and more to come.

This blessing of the fishermen and of their fair catch of shrimp is a real taste of the Lowcountry.  It’s been ranked one of the top 20 events by the Southeast Tourism Society.

Our local shrimpers are a hardy lot, but they’ve faced tough times, what with foreign shrimp competition, rising fuel and maintenance costs and other challenges.  This is a chance for us in the community to express our appreciation and encourage them to keep on fishin.’

That’s the core of the festival, but it’s grown into a full-fledged celebration of all things shrimp and beyond.  Admission is free.  There will be tons of tents with vendors, shrimp but also seafood of all sorts, beverages for all ages, a huge arts and crafts area, kids’ activities and lots of live music.    There will also be the ever-popular shrimp eating contest (3:30 p.m.) as well as a Shag contest (4:00 p.m.).  As I mentioned above, the Shag is, after all, the state dance of South Carolina.

It all takes place this Sunday from 11:00 a.m. till 5:00, at Mount Pleasant Waterfront Memorial Park at 99 Harry M. Hallman Jr. Boulevard.  Note that this is the same awesome venue as the Shaggin’ on The Cooper, happening there the night before (Saturday).

A Long Tradition Celebrating Lowcountry Shrimp and Shrimpers

 

For years the event was held at Alhambra Hall in the Old Village in Mount Pleasant.  But the festival grew to be too large  –  parking was a nightmare, and tents (and people) were squeezed in cheek-to-jowl.  So when the new Waterfront Park and pier were completed near the Ravenel Bridge, it proved to be the ideal location for the event.   Here you have ample room to watch the boats as they parade by the end of the pier, plenty of parking and green space for all the tents and booths.

Several parking areas will be available around the event, and it’s generally well-marked.  There will be free golf cart shuttle service from area lots in case anyone could use an extra lift.

This event is very popular with locals, so you might want to get there early.  Folks bring coolers, beach chairs and blankets and make a real party out of it.

As an extra bonus, the event raises funds for local charities.

Here’s the website with more info.

So enjoy some of the bountiful pleasures of the Lowcountry – shrimp, strawberries, and shagging to beach music.  And remember to call EP when you’d like a great family home away from home at the beach near Charleston.

 

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

A Lowcountry tradition: Charleston tea rooms

A distinct Lowcountry custom is upon us, and it’s a delightful one: Charleston tea rooms.

Spring means it’s time for the annual tea rooms, graciously hosted by historic churches in the area.  It’s about as Charlestonian as you get, on so many levels.

It’s about the food.

 

This is your chance to savor Lowcountry delicacies such as she-crab soup, okra soup, tomato pie, shrimp paste sandwiches, chicken salad, shrimp remoulade, ham biscuits, pimento cheese.  Many of the recipes  –  or receipts, as Charlestonians call them  –  are passed down from earlier generations and still made with the same tender loving care from fresh local ingredients.

And don’t forget the desserts.  Traditionally waiters come around with large trays of handmade delights.  Keep an eye peeled for coconut cake, Huguenot torte, lemon pie, Lady Baltimore cake, pound cake, tipsy pudding, pecan pie.  People in the know go ahead and grab their favorite early, even before their entrée arrives, because they’re apt to sell out so fast.

 

It’s about helping others.

 

This isn’t just a great way to sample classic Lowcountry cuisine in historic settings, although it is that.  It’s also a terrific way to help the less fortunate.  Proceeds go to church missions, local nonprofits and charities including Crisis Ministries, Star Gospel Mission, Coastal Crisis Chaplaincy, Charleston Port & Seafarer’s Society, and Hebron House.

So take heart in knowing that it’s all for a good cause.

 

Charleston tea rooms: How the tradition started

 

The tradition started back in the late 1940’s.  Old St. Andrews Church in West Ashley is located along the main road that leads to several plantations – Drayton Hall, Magnolia Plantation and Middleton Place Plantation.  The ladies of started sharing lunch with the tourists who stopped to see their very historic church on the way to the plantations.

By 1953, it became officially known as the annual Old St. Andrews Tea Room and Gift Shop, and it’s been going every year since.  As Mildred Strobel, president of The Church Women of Old St. Andrew’s, explains: “We continue this beloved tradition in that same spirit of hospitality.”

Since then, many other churches have joined in, and you have an abundant choice of churches and dates.

A few tea rooms have already taken place for the season, including Old St. Andrews (March) and St. Paul’s Church in Summerville (late March/early April).  By the way, St. Paul’s is no small-scale effort.  Over the years they have raised about a half a million dollars for charity and mission work.  Their tea room is put on by 250 volunteers.

But there are several others, the biggies.  They’re also the ones downtown and most convenient to our Isle of Palms luxury rentals.

A visit to Charleston tea rooms truly is a great way to experience authentic Lowcountry home cooking without having to cook it yourself, or find a local willing to have you over for lunch.  Here’s an article by Hanna Raskin of the Post & Courier detailing the tradition of Charleston tea rooms and this season’s full offerings.

 

Here’s what’s coming up:

 

The St. Philips Tea Room,

St. Philip’s Church, 142 Church St., Charleston;

April 29-May 4

Monday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

 

“Seconds Please” Tea Room

Second Presbyterian Church,

342 Meeting St., Charleston:

May 20-26

Friday-Saturday 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.; Sunday 12:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

(This is the only one of area tea rooms offering Sunday service)

 

Grace Church Cathedral Tea Room and Boutique

Grace Episcopal Church,

98 Wentworth St., Charleston

May 27-June 1  –  Monday through Saturday, 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

June 3 – June 8  –  Monday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

(Grace Church’s is a terrific one.  It was featured on chef Sara Moulton’s show “Sara’s Weeknight Meals” on PBS.  It also takes place during the Spoleto Festival and is a great lunch option between performances.)  Here’s this year’s menu.

 

So check out one or more of some classic Charlestonian tea rooms.  And when you need a good home base for Spoleto or a family getaway, be sure to call Exclusive Properties.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

 

 

Easter services and egg hunts near Charleston and its beaches

This week, known as Holy Week, is spring break for many, as we gear up for Easter weekend and a huge choice in Easter services coming up on Sunday.

Before I get to those, there are also a couple fun egg hunts happening tomorrow (Saturday, April 20th), especially fun if you’re here with kids.

An Eggcellent Hunt on the IOP

 

First up, the Isle of Palms is having its annual Easter Egg Hunt at 10:00 a.m. sharp Saturday morning at the Rec Center.

In addition to filling their baskets with eggs, kids can visit with the Easter Bunny and pose for photos with the big guy.  Egg hunts will be grouped by age.  There will also be jump castles, photo booth, face painting, snow cones, cotton candy, and copious amounts of candy in general.  This is Easter, after all.  Here’s more from the IOP website.

The Rec Center is located at #24 18th Avenue on the Isle of Palms, more or less in the middle of the island.

Hunt Eggs or Attend Special Easter Services at Charleston Plantations

 

Area plantations are having special Easter events  – both egg hunts and Easter services.  Easter services are free, and the egg hunts are at no additional charge to regular admission.

Magnolia Plantation is having their 10th annual mambo Great Easter Egg Hunt, with a record 20,000 eggs stuffed with candy and neat prizes.  Hunts are grouped based on children’s ages, and there are both morning and afternoon hunts for all.  Here’s a breakdown:

3 years and under  – 10:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.  (parents may accompany their child)

4 to 5 years   –  10:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.

6 to 8 years  –  11:00 a.m.  and 1:30 p.m.

9 to 12 years   –  11:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

This is a very popular event and space is limited, so you should plan to arrive an hour before your egg hunt.  Eggbert Hopps, Magnolia’s mascot, will be on hand for pictures.  Here’s the plantation website with more details.

Magnolia will also be having an Easter sunrise service Sunday morning at 6:30 a.m., sponsored by Old St. Andrews Parish Church, St. Andrews Mission Church, and Church of the Good Shepherd.  Everyone’s welcome.  Parking is free, and you’re welcome to stay and enjoy the grounds of the plantation at no charge.  Just show the church bulletin for free admission.

Middleton Plantation is also having their Easter Eggstravaganza – an egg hunt (with genuine old fashioned dyed eggs) , visits with the Easter Bunny, egg decoration, Colonial games, egg games like egg toss and egg rolls, crafts, story time and live animals.  It happens from 10:30 a.m. till 1:00 p.m. Saturday.

They’ll also have a special Easter weekend brunch available Saturday and Sunday.  Read more about it all on their website and make a reservation, which is recommended.

 

Sunday Easter Services, including the Biggie at Boone Hall

 

There’s an abundance of great Easter services to choose from near the beach.

First, if you are an early riser, there will be an Ecumenical Easter Sunrise Service taking place on the beach itself, at Breach Inlet.  It’s put on by the churches of Sullivan’s Island and the Isle of Palms.  It starts at 6:30 a.m.  You are encouraged to bring a flashlight to make your way safely before the sun rises, and a chair if you’d like.  It’s always a very popular event so you are encouraged to get there early.  This is on Sullivan’s Island, just over the Breach Inlet bridge from the Isle of Palms.  For more information, contact Sunrise Presbyterian Church at 883-3888.

Then there’s the gigantic open air service on the lush grounds of Boone Hall Plantation in Mount Pleasant.  St. Andrews Church invites everyone to this, their annual Easter Service of Celebration.  It takes place under the giant white tent behind the main house.  In fact, the tent is the largest one in the state of South Carolina.  The service itself starts at 9:00 a.m., but the music begins even earlier, at about 8:30.

This is also very popular.  They expect about 5,000 people, so get there early if possible.  The grounds are gorgeous, and you are free to tour them at no charge after the service is over.

 

Here’s a list of Island Easter services, as compiled by the Island Eye News:  

 

Sunrise Presbyterian

Sunday Easter Services:

Sunrise Presbyterian Church is located at 3222 Middle Street, Sullivan’s Island. For more information, call 883-3888 or visit www.sunrisepcusa.org.

 

IOP Methodist Church

Sunday Easter Services:

First United Methodist Church located at 21st Avenue at Palm Blvd, Isle of Palms. For additional information call the Church Office at 886-6610 or www.iopmethodist.com. *Nursery will be provided at all services.

 

Isle of Palms Baptist

Easter Sunday: 10:30 a.m. Worship service

Isle of Palms Baptist is located at 14th-24th Avenue, Isle of Palms. Evening services are held at 6:30 p.m. on the first and third Sunday of the month, and a Men’s Breakfast is held at 9 a.m. on the second Saturday of each month. For additional information, call 886-6762.

 

St. Marks Lutheran

Sunday Easter Services:

*Flowering of the Cross between services

St. Marks Lutheran is located at 300 Palm Blvd., Isle of Palms. For more information, call 886-8557.

Here are more Easter services on Sullivan’s Island:

 

Stella Maris Catholic

Sunday Easter Services:

Stella Maris Catholic is located at 1204 Middle Street, Sullivan’s Island. For more information, call 883-3108.

 

Church of the Holy Cross Episcopal

Sunday Easter Services:

Church of the Holy Cross Episcopal is located at 2520 Middle Street, Sullivan’s Island. Nursery is available during the Maundy Thursday and Easter Day services. For additional information, call 883-3586 or visit www.HolyCross.net.

 

Sullivan’s Island Baptist Church

Easter Sunday: 11 a.m.  Easter Service

Sullivan’s Island Baptist Church is located at 1753 Central Avenue, Sullivan’s Island. For more information, call 883-3601. www.sibc.us.

 

So enjoy this most special and holy time of the year.  And when you are searching for the best in beach house rentals Charleston SC, be sure to call Exclusive Properties.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

 

Cypress Gardens has finally reopened

An iconic Lowcountry spot, Cypress Gardens, is open to visitors once again.

This past Saturday, with great fanfare and ribbon cutting, officials unveiled a new and improved Cypress Gardens.

Cypress Gardens has long been known as one of the Lowcountry’s most scenic locations, ever since it opened to the public in 1932.  Not only does it house the most gorgeous collection of cypress trees around, it also boasts some pretty impressive nature exhibits as well.  Think alligators and butterflies galore.

It’s where The Notebook was filmed

 

For movie buffs, Cypress Gardens is the place where a very famous scene in The Notebook was shot.  This is where Noah and Allie canoe through the cypress trees amidst a gigantic flock of white birds.   So in other words, Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams were here.

Scenes from the movie The Patriot with Heath Ledger and Mel Gibson were also filmed at Cypress Gardens.

The park’s been closed for more than three years, due to the 1000-year flood that happened in the fall of 2015.  Water ended up in every single building in the park.

Cypress Gardens was supposed to open much sooner, but each subsequent fall brought additional storms and issues that had to be dealt with, for the benefit of the park and its visitors.

Well, finally all of that has been taken care of, and now the park is better than ever.

 

Some stats on Cypress Gardens:

 

Cypress Gardens is a pleasant drive north from your luxury house on Isle of Palms.  It’s located at 3030 Cypress Gardens Road, Moncks Corner, in neighboring Berkeley County.

Here’s the website with all the details, as well as their Facebook page.

Check it out, and be sure to call us at EP when you’re ready to book a terrific beach house near Charleston.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

Photo credit: Cypress Gardens

RiverDogs baseball season is here again!

Spring has sprung, which means the opening of other seasons as well – farmers markets (which I covered in that last blog), and RiverDogs baseball in Charleston.

Charleston’s team, the RiverDogs, is a Single-A Sally league team that’s, rather ironically, part of the Yankees organization.  We are securely in the South, after all.

Charleston Baseball has a Very Cool Owner

 

The team is co-owned by none other than the SNL alum and movie icon himself, Bill Murray, whose official title is “Director of Fun.”  Bill lives in Charleston and can be seen out and about the area, photobombing unsuspecting tourists and turning up in the most unlikely places.  Potential Bill Murray sightings are yet another perk of visiting the Lowcountry.

As you might imagine, the Riverdogs isn’t just any team, or ballpark, or milieu.  They’re known for their zany promotions and for their creative cuisine.  Plus, it’s just a wholesome, very fun way to spend an afternoon or evening.  It’s got something for everyone staying in your Charleston beach house, and is a fun outing for locals and visitors alike.

 

Go to The Joe

 

The RiverDogs play at “The Joe,” Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park, named after Charleston’s beloved mayor.  It’s a gorgeous ballpark, and they just completed a major redo of the field to make it better than ever.  It’s also super convenient to get to.  If you’re on the Isle of Palms, head to Highway 17, take it all the way onto the peninsula and the Crosstown, and turn right onto Lockwood.  There’s plenty of parking nearby.  For your GPS, it’s at 360 Fishburne Street, Charleston.

Riverdogs Baseball Officially in Play

 

The season technically started last week, but they were playing an away stretch (and won four out of seven games).  Last night was the first home game, and they had amazing attendance  –  the fifth highest of all time.  Over 8,000 folks filled the park.  They’re here for a home stretch and have some fun things planned in the days ahead.

Get set for:

Friday – Fan Pick Fireworks Night.  Post-game fireworks show over the Ashley River/Boeing Red Shirt Friday honoring members of the military.

Saturday  – NBA Draft Night. Fans can try to sink a half-court shot to win $1,000.  Also Make-A-Wish SC Wish Night with the RiverDogs wearing special jerseys.

Sunday –  Kids’ Opening Day/ MUSC Health Family Sunday.  Kids eat free.  They can play catch on the field (before the game) and run the bases (after).  They’ll even get a shot at announcing the game, running cameras, working concessions, etc.

Monday  –  Game of Bones Dog Day.   Dogs are welcome.  Craft beer tasting by Bay Street Biergarten.

Tuesday  – Live & Local.  They’ll have a farmers market on the concourse.  You can also check out Rusty Bull Brewing Co. and their new BellyItcher Ale, the RiverDogs signature brew.

Wednesday –  Education Day.  Students/teachers will take off from school to watch the game which starts late morning.

 

Here’s a link to the official website for RiverDogs baseball, with this season’s full schedule and ticket info.

Not just Hot Dogs & Cracker Jacks

 

But back to the food.  They’re always coming up with the most interesting stuff to nosh on and sip.  This year they even have their own beer.  They collaborated with Rusty Bull to brew their own unique summer ale, named the BellyItcher (don’t get a pitcher, get a BellyItcher).  You can only get it at the Joe.  It’ll be for sale at all 70 home games.

They’ve also tweaked their menu, as they do each season.  New up this year: a pimento cheese and fried green tomato sandwich, steakhouse fries topped with mac and cheese, Mediterranean healthy nachos and a chicken and waffles bowl.

They like to have food that’s easy to eat at the park, carry with a beverage and balance on your lap, like a hot dog but more creative.  So in the spirit of Riverdogs baseball, they’re serving several dishes in a full-sized plastic dog bowl.  The Dog Bone Bowl will have smoked pork rib with BBQ sauce and baked beans.  You can find it and many more (including shrimp and grits) in the Bowls and Strike stand.

They also have come up with a new version of their popular beer shake.  This year’s offering: The Strawberry Lemonade Beer Shake, made with Natural Light’s Naturdays.

Read all about it in the Post & Courier.

 

So check out RiverDogs baseball, now through the summer.  And remember to call EP when you’re looking for the perfect Charleston beach house.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

It's time again for Charleston Farmers Markets

The weather is warming up nicely, and farmers markets around Charleston are back in season once again.  And you certainly have your pick of some outstanding ones.

Farmers markets have seen a surge in popularity, for so many good reasons.  They dovetail perfectly with the locavore/eat local movement, the farm-to-table trend, the eat healthy trend, and the shop local and support area businesses and farmers movement.  That’s a lot of trends and movements, and they’re all good.

According to Certified SC Grown, here’s some of what’s harvested fresh in the month of April:  asparagus, beets, cabbage, cilantro, leeks, mixed leafy greens (collard/kale/mustard/turnip), onions, oriental vegetables, parsley, radishes and strawberries.

Downtown Farmers Markets

Charleston Farmers Market

The farmers markets around Charleston are especially good.  The biggie around here, the downtown Charleston Farmers Market on Marion Square, has been named one of the ten best in America.

It offers a neat blend of fresh local produce, unique Lowcountry and artisanal products, artistic crafts that are a cut above the norm, and creative food and beverage vendors.   It’s also a lively Saturday morning scene at the green hub of the downtown peninsula.

The Charleston Farmers Market kicks off its 2019 season this coming Saturday, April 13th at 8:00 a.m. with over 100 vendors.  There will also be live music by Red Cedar Review and a special Plow-to-Chow event by Lowcountry Local First.

This market happens Saturdays, 8:00 a.m. till 2:00 p.m. from April 13th – November 30th.  Here’s the official website.

Post & Courier Farmers Market

One other farmers market downtown is a relative newcomer and takes place on Sundays from 10:00 a.m. till 2:00 p.m.  It’s The Post and Courier Farmers Market with 40 vendors, plenty of live music, food and beverages for sale.  The locale is their Visitor’s Lot at the corner of King and Columbus Streets downtown (134 Columbus Street).  There’s plenty of free parking available in the employee parking lot across the street.

 

Farmers Markets Closer to the Beach

 

You also have some other options that are closer to our luxury beach house rentals SC.  By the way, shopping at farmers markets is a perfect way to stock your kitchen, put something fresh on the dinner table, and find a souvenir to take home from your stay in the Lowcountry.

Mount Pleasant Farmers Market

This market kicked off last week and takes place each Tuesday from 3:30 p.m. till 7:00 p.m. through September.  It’s located in the special pavilion next to Moultrie Middle School at 645 Coleman Boulevard in Mount Pleasant.  It’s a great spot to pick up fresh seafood or ready-made meals for dinner.  There’s also food available to purchase and eat onsite.

Sullivan’s Island Farmers Market

This one, just over Breach Inlet from the Isle of Palms, also kicked off last week.  It happens on Thursdays from 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm, now through June 27th.  It’s a relative newcomer, having launched in 2016.

This year they’ve changed the location.  It used to be in front of the Poe Library.  They’ve moved it to Stith Park, at 2050 Middle Street on Sullivan’s Island.  Check it out, they’ll have about 30 tents as well as food trucks like The Immortal Lobster.  You can check out their Facebook page for more details and who the vendors are this time around.

Isle of Palms has a farmers market as well, but theirs happens in the fall.  But fear not, there are many others that have also started or will shortly, including:

The Post & Courier did a piece recently about area farmers markets with all the details and links to each one.  Read it here.

So support local farmers and businesses while getting a true taste of the Lowcountry.  And remember to call us at EP when you’d like a luxury place to stay at the beach near Charleston.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

Cooper River Bridge Run happening this Saturday

Get set for a bunch of big activities rolling quickly down the pike, including the 42nd running of the beloved Cooper River Bridge Run.

It seems like this coming weekend is just about the most chockablock full of the year, especially considering it’s not even an official holiday.

The trick will be deciding how to manage your time so you can experience as much of the fun as possible.

Thankfully, the weather this weekend looks to be mild and pleasant.  Temps for Saturday should be in the low 60’s, eventually reaching the mid-70’s with cloudy skies.  That’s pretty comfortable conditions for running/walking.  More about the Bridge Run in a minute.

 

Tennis, anyone?

 

Right now we’re in the midst of the primary week of the Volvo Car Open, formerly known as the Family Circle Cup, going on now through Sunday at the Tennis Center on Daniel Island.  It’s one of the biggest women’s only tournaments in the world, and the best players are here duking it out.  This is the 47th year of the tournament and it’s 19th here in the Lowcountry.  The tourney started in 1973 in Hilton Head.

The tournament has a new owner, who is making things even more fun and family-friendly than ever.

Special events go on each day this week, then this weekend will be the semis and the finals.

 

Fun’s in Full Bloom at Flowertown

 

Starting Friday morning at 9:00 and running through Sunday is the 47th annual Flowertown Festival, taking place in historic downtown Summerville.  The flowers look to be gorgeous, with azaleas, dogwoods and wisteria in bloom.

Organizers center the festivities around Azalea Park and Main Street.   There you’ll find all sorts of arts and craft vendors (over 200 jury-selected artists), food vendors, rides and fun at the Kids Fest and Children’s Jubilee.  This year offers Food Truck Friday and a special Farmer’s Market on Saturday and Sunday.

The Southeast Tourism Society has ranked the Flowertown Festival as one of the Top 20 events in the Southeast.  Check out the official website for more info.

 

The Biggie, the Cooper River Bridge Run

 

This Saturday morning, of course, is the Cooper River Bridge Run.  Tens of thousands race or walk across the Cooper River from Mount Pleasant into downtown Charleston.  Even if you’re not in the race, it’s fun to cheer them on, watch the crazy costumes and world-class Kenyans flying by.

As they’ve done in recent years, organizers will line the course with 20 great original bands entertaining and encouraging the runners all the way to Marion Square, site of the post-race party.  Believe it or not, 2,500 bands applied for the coveted spots along the route.  It’s all pulled together by local nonprofit This is Noteworthy.  Read more about what you’ll hear along the way – the Bridge Run playlist, if you will – and the fascinating process behind it.

The Cooper River Bridge Run has a tremendous economic impact on the area.  So says a recent study led by Dr. Harry Davakos of The Citadel.  In a recent year, the Cooper River Bridge Run had a direct impact of $19.2 million.  That includes lodging, restaurants and stores.  Total impact is $29.6 million.

As I covered in this blog, it’s been named as the top tourism event in the state.

CRBR events kick off before the weekend, with the Bridge Run Expo running Thursday (noon – 8:00 p.m.) and Friday (8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.) at the North Charleston Convention Center.  Friday will be the Kids Run/Wonderfest at Hampton Park as well as the Taste of the Bridge Run.  Get all the details on the official Bridge Run website.

 

Cajun Sunday Funday

 

Mardi Gras is over, but it’s still time to laissez les bons temps rouler, y’all!

This Sunday is the 28th annual Lowcountry Cajun Festival.  The party happens from noon till 6 p.m. at James Island County Park, 871 Riverland Drive.  There will be plenty of authentic Cajun/Creole food, a crawfish eating contest, crafts market and kids carnival.  And there’s some of that superfun toe-tappin’ Zydeco music, performed by Randy McAllister and the Scrappiest Band in the Motherland, the Pine Leaf Boys, and Gerard Delafose & the Zydeco Gators.  Read more about it here.

So if you’re here this weekend, have a great time, and good luck with that time management thing.   And as always, remember to call us when you’re in the mood to stay in the very best Isle of Palms luxury rentals.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger