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Pumpkin Patch Time

You know fall is definitely here when you spot a pumpkin patch.

As I covered in that last blog, a slew of fall festivals are coming down the pike.  The color orange is appearing in a big way, especially with October right around the corner.

One of the most orange and fun fall family events is cranking up October 1st and running through the 31st, Halloween night.  As a special bonus, it takes place on the grounds of one of the Lowcountry’s most iconic sites, Boone Hall Plantation.  It’s located up Highway 17 north in Mount Pleasant.  Turn right at the end of the Isle of Palms Connector, then look for it on your left.

 

It’s a mega Pumpkin Patch, Charlie Brown!

 

Boone Hall is hosting their annual Pumpkin Patch, starting this coming Tuesday, October 1st.    It’s become one of the biggest fall attractions in the state.

Here you will find everything pumpkin and an amazing array of fun fall things to do.  It’s a perfect fall outing for the whole family.  They excel at hosting groups and birthday parties as well.  It’s an ideal photo-op spot, perfect for the ‘Gram.

Here is some of what you’ll find on site:

 

While there, check out the aMAZing Corn Maze

 

One of the coolest parts of the Pumpkin Patch is the Corn Maze.  It’s eight acres of adventure.

Each year they have a new design, often quite elaborate and a couple years in the making.  This year’s design features the logo of ABC News 4, the presenting sponsor.   A GPS-guided bulldozer cut the design into the cornfield.

Here is what they say about it:  This year the corn maze will be divided into two mazes. There will be a shorter maze for those who just want to have a brief corn maze experience. The longer maze covers the majority of the corn field and is one of complicated twists and turns that will present quite a challenge for the more adventurous explorers. 

Here’s more on the maze, complete with a “map” of the design to help you navigate the puzzling paths.

So pick a perfect pumpkin at the Pumpkin Patch, just over the Connector from our Isle of Palms vacation rentals.  And when you’re ready to book a great beach house, just give us a call at Exclusive Properties.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

Fall Festival Fun

Now that the autumnal season is officially upon us, it’s time for a fall festival or two, or a couple dozen.  Literally.  The calendar is filled with all matter of seasonal fun.

Fall also happens to be a terrific time to come to Charleston, and to stay in one of our Isle of Palms luxury rentals.  Right now we’re running a special, with up to 30% off.  Just give us a holler here at Exclusive Properties and we’ll find you the perfect place at a great rate.

The weather is downright gorgeous.  The beaches are less crowded than in peak summer months.  Check out our live beach cam for evidence.

And just because it’s the so-called off-season, doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do.  Au contraire!

The folks at Hulafrog recently compiled a mega-list of 28 different fall festival or similarly fall-themed events.  Seeing as its Hulafrog, they tend to be particularly family-friendly.

I’ll paste a link to the whole list at the bottom.  But here are some of the highlights…

 

Fall Festival Fun in the Lowcountry

 

… and that’s not even all of them.  It’s a veritable fall festival frenzy!

 

Here’s a link to the whole list, with plenty of information about each one.  They generally give an overview of each event, outlining dates and times, cost or ticket info, appropriateness for each age group (Babies, Preschoolers, Elementary, Tweens, Special Needs), and links to websites where available.

So enjoy fall in the Lowcountry  –  the perfect time to be in one of the best places on earth.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

Beach Sweep, Sea & Sand, and Sweet Tea

Three more fun events are happening this weekend, including a couple festivals and the big annual Beach Sweep.

 

Sea & Sand Festival on Folly

 

First up, it’s the longest running festival on Folly Beach.  This weekend is the 29th annual Sea & Sand Festival, starting tonight and running through Sunday.

There’s a whole slate of events worth checking out, and they are all considered family-friendly.  It used to take place in the spring, but a couple years ago they switched it to the fall, which has proven to be a popular move.  The temps this weekend are gorgeous.

It kicks off tonight (Friday, September 20th) at 7:00 p.m. with the Miss Sea & Sand Fest Pageant at Folly River Park.

Categories include: Tiny Miss (ages 4-5), Little Miss (6-9), Junior Teen (10-13), Teen (14-17), Junior Miss (18-20), Miss (21-25), Miss (26+, single), Misses (any age, married) and a Little Mister category for males 7 and under; additional awards  –  Donnie E. Wilkinson Spirit Award and Overall Miss Photogenic Award.  Judges choose based on evening wear, volunteer activities, awards, hobbies and love for Folly Beach.

Saturday is a massive street fair from 10:00 a.m. till 4:00 p.m. on Center Street.  Get set for 75 arts & craft and fashion vendors, plenty of food and a slew of kids’ activities.  There will be live music throughout by Average Savages, Bender Funk, Fancy Kool Aide, as well as the Wylder Funk Band.  They’re expecting around 9,000 people are have taken a lot of steps to insure a safe event.  Read more about that here.

Sunday is the Sandcastle Competition at 9:00 a.m. and Beach Volleyball Championship at 10:00 a.m.  Both take place in from of the Tides at 1 Center Street on Folly.

Check out the Sea & Sand page for more info.

 

Sweet Tea Festival in Summerville

 

It’s time once again to celebrate a staple of southern cuisine, sweet tea.

Nearby Summerville is the self-proclaimed capital and birthplace of sweet tea.  Well, tomorrow they’re cranking up the party with the 8th annual Sweet Tea Festival, going on from 3:00 – 9:00 p.m. in downtown Summerville.

Get ready for:

Here’s more info.

 

The Big Beach Sweep

 

Beach litter and ocean pollution is a big problem, as I covered in this blog and this one.  Local groups on the Isle of Palms recently formed to conduct regular weekly and monthly beach cleanups.  This IOP Cleanup Crew has its roots in a statewide annual event known as the Beach Sweep.

In 1988, the Sea Grant Consortium created a statewide event called the Beach Sweep River Sweep South Carolina, to combat the problem of litter on the beaches and waterways.

It’s taken place every year since, on the third Saturday of September, and the next one is coming up this Saturday, September 21st, from 9:00 a.m. till noon.   This will be the 31st Annual Beach Sweep.

The Sweep is part of the International Coastal Cleanup, coordinated by the Ocean Conservancy.  They tally data on just what is discovered and removed, in an effort to prevent pollution in the first place.

It’s the largest one-day volunteer cleanup of its kind.  It’s massive  –  not to mention fun, important, and eye-opening.  Organized by the Sea Grant Consortium in cooperation with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, the goal is to remove as much aquatic debris from beaches, rivers, lakes, marshes, and swamps as possible.

Here’s the Sea Grant’s website, which is a clearinghouse of general Beach Sweep info.  You can also read more in the Moultrie News about the event locally.

So check out some Sea & Sand, sweet sea and take part in a mega beach sweep before tomorrow’s Turtle Trek on the IOP.  And when you are looking for great Isle of Palms vacation rentals, be sure to call EP.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

Turtle Trek 5K

The weather is gorgeous, and this weekend has an abundance of wholesome, healthy activities, including an island wellness fair and the Turtle Trek beach run.

 

First up:  Wellness Fair on the IOP

 

You can get the weekend off to a great start this Friday.

The Isle of Palms has an annual event to help you along the path of good health and wellbeing.  It’s the IOP Community Wellness Fair, a partnership of the City of IOP, East Cooper Medical Center and Harris-Teeter.

The Wellness Fair will happen this Friday morning, September 21st, from 7:00 – 11:00 a.m.  The venue:  the IOP Rec Center, right in the middle of the Isle, at #24  28th Avenue.

ECMC staff will be onsite offering free cholesterol screening blood work.  You’re asked to fast for 12 hours before the blood work and to drink a lot of water ahead of time.  Also, call (843) 884-7031 to make an appointment for a specific time.  They’ll supply  food and beverages for you after you take the test.

Delta Pharmacy, located on the IOP across the street from Harris-Teeter, will offer flu shots.  They’ll be free if you show an insurance or Medicare card.

You can also consult with more than 20 health professionals, specialists and wellness resource people.  They’ll be offering information, freebies and concrete steps to a healthier, happier you.

This fair is open to the public  –  not just locals but also visitors.  Read more on the IOP’s website.  You can also call 843-886-8294 for more information.

 

It’s Turtle Trek Time!

 

Also back again this year is the SC Aquarium’s fun beach run, the Turtle Trek.   Called “a 5K Sunset Beach Run and Kids’ Fun Run,” it will benefit sea turtles and the Aquarium’s newly renovated Sea Turtle Care Center.

Here’s a fun fact: at last count, the Turtle Hospital has rehabilitated and released 274 sea turtles back into the wild.

Turtle Trek is happening this Saturday, September 22nd.

Here are the stats:

New this year, they are inviting “remote runners” to participate from afar.  Here’s what they say:

“We invite ‘Remote Runners’ to join us in support of the sea turtles! Run the 5k in your own city, share your pics and race time using #turtletrek! Remote Runners will receive a mailed race t-shirt and race bib.”

Here’s a link to the race signup.  And here’s info from the Aquarium’s website and their Facebook event page.

So take good care of yourself, and try a beach run.  And remember, when you are looking for luxury beach house rentals SC, be sure to call EP.  We have the best on the beach.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

 

Angel Oak A-OK after the storm

There’s good news to report on many beloved Lowcountry sites, including Cypress Gardens and the extraordinary Angel Oak, in the wake of Hurricane Dorian.

Thankfully Charleston and the Isle of Palms were spared the wrath of the mega-storm.  None of our beach homes suffered damage.  The main issue around the Lowcountry was downed leaves and branches, with some trees down, and subsequent power outages.

Two classic Lowcountry places are very tree-centric, and thus vulnerable to damage from such storms.

 

Angel Oak and Hurricane Dorian

 

First up is Angel Oak.  Right after the storm, officials announced that there was no damage to the tree itself.

The site was temporarily closed to the public due to tree issues on the entrance road, but nothing involving Angel Oak itself.  Thank goodness!

Angel Oak truly is a miracle of nature  –  a living connection to the distant past.

Recently Lowcountry Weekend and Live 5 News filmed drone footage of the tree.

“If the Angel Oak Tree could talk, oh the stories it could tell. It’s estimated that the southern live oak located on Johns Island is 400-500 years, but some believe it could be much older… possibly 1,500 years old!  Check out this drone footage of the probably one of the oldest living things in the entire country. “

Watch the drone video here.

 

What about Cypress Gardens?

 

The folks at Cypress Gardens breathed a gigantic sigh of relief as they surveyed the park post-Dorian.

Cypress Gardens suffered massive damage back in October 2015, back in the 1000-year flood.

Repairs and renovations began after sorting through bureaucratic red tape.  However, just as they were making headway, another weather event would come along and derail the progress.  Matthew (2016), Irma (2017) and the weird ice and snowstorm of January 2018 all dealt blows to the reopening timeline.

Cypress Gardens finally reopened this past April after an almost four-year closure and $2 million in renovations.  Improvements helped prevent any Dorian damage, as did draining the swamp and putting up sandbags ahead of time.  The park only had debris, like the rest of the Lowcountry.  It’s open and ready for visitors.

Cypress Gardens is an iconic and scenic spot.   It’s served as the location for numerous photo shoots and movie scenes, including The Patriot and The Notebook, where Noah paddles Allie in the canoe amidst the flock of white birds.

Read all about it here.

 

MCG at the Marina

 

Also, here on the Isle of Palms, Morgan Creek Grill dealt with some post-Dorian cleanup.  The marina area had some wind and water issues right around the boat landing.

Owners are happy to announce everything’s back up and running.  Following is their announcement and fall schedule:

Morgan Creek Grill’s Fall Hours of Operation

Main Dining Room & Dog Friendly Patios:

*Sunday, Tuesday –  Thursday:

*Sunday Brunch: 10am – 2pm

Lunch: 11am – 4pm

Dinner: 5pm – 9pm

*Friday & Saturday: 5pm – 10pm

Creekside Bar:

*Tuesday – Friday: 4pm – volume

*Saturday & Sunday: 11am – volume

**Creekside Bar now serving our casual menu nightly

and on weekends!**

We are now closed on Mondays until Spring.  Creekside Bar hours are dependent upon weather.

Live Music every Friday and Saturday at 5:30pm

We just want to say thank you to all of our patrons as you were so patient while we recovered from Hurricane Dorian. We look forward to seeing you!

It’s always a good day to
#MeetMeAtTheCreek  (843) 886-8980

 

It’s actually a great time to be in one of our Isle of Palms luxury rentals.  The rates are lower, the humidity’s dropping, and the beach is less crowded.  Just call us at EP to book the perfect one.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

 

 

Charleston Restaurant Week

Thanks to Hurricane Dorian, Charleston Restaurant Week has been extended an extra week.

The popular twice-a-year foodie event was supposed to begin September 4th and conclude this coming Sunday, September 15th.  However, the first week was swallowed up by Hurricane Dorian and its mandatory evacuation.

As a result, Charleston Restaurant Week will now last through the following Sunday, September 22nd.  Watch more here, from Channel 2 News.

Restaurant Week has become a well-anticipated tradition, popular with both visitors and locals alike.  Over a hundred restaurants take part, offering special menus for the occasion.  Many are prix fixe, offering three or so courses for your dining pleasure.

Originally most were dinner only, but several places now offer lunch options as well.  If you plan your week right, you can sample a wide variety of Charleston cuisine in a fairly economical way.

Charleston Restaurant Week is sponsored by the Lowcountry Hospitality Association.  It takes place during what is traditionally the slower time of year  –  in January after the holidays, and in September after peak summer season and Labor Day.

 

Charleston Restaurant Week: Fall 2019 Edition

 

Here is the main website.  You can view the restaurants participating, a link to their special Restaurant Week menu, and even make reservations if possible.  Make reservations if at all possible.  Slots at the more popular places fill up fast.

As you’ll see on the website, they’ve grouped restaurants by location.  These include:

Each incarnation of Restaurant Week tends to see some creative tweaks, and this year is no exception.

Popular downtown restaurant Butcher & Bee has thrown a new spin on their offering.  For the first time, they’re letting the chef get creative with each day’s menu and are not specifying it in advance.  They’re offering a chef’s selection of seasonal favorites, served family style, for $25 per person.  Sounds intriguing, and likely quite delicious.

Read more about it from the Post & Courier’s Hanna Raskin.

So check out Restaurant Week, Fall 2019.  And when you are in the mood for a week in a luxury house on Isle of Palms, just give EP a call.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

 

Goodbye Hurricane Dorian

Hurricane Dorian came and went.  The Lowcountry is open for business once again!

Thankfully it was nowhere near the impact that had been feared.

 

Bye Bye, Dorian

 

It’s been a tense week around Charleston and the entire Atlantic coast.  As I mentioned before, SC Governor McMaster ordered a mandatory evacuation of coastal counties beginning Monday at noon.  Once that happens, schools and governmental offices shut down.  People prep their properties and leave.  The state reversed north/westbound lanes of I-26 so that all lanes headed away from the coast.

The lane reversals were supposed to end noon on Wednesday.  The Governor ended up extending it a couple hours since traffic was still steady heading out.

 

Hurricane Dorian’s slow path to South Carolina

 

This time, many residents on the Isle of Palms decided to stay put and weather the storm.

Hurricane Dorian slowly made its way up the coast.

It’s been a very large and unpredictable storm.  The general thought was it would make landfall in Florida.  Jim Cantore et. al. camped out there and gave dire predictions.

But that didn’t happen.  It dropped to a Cat 2.  Dorian had been a named storm for thirteen days, unheard of in weather circles.  The hurricane had stalled right on top of the poor Abacos, causing such terrible destruction there.

Then the attention started to shift to Charleston and the Lowcountry in general.

The first outer bands of Hurricane Dorian began hitting the Isle of Palms Wednesday morning about 8:30.  Heavy rain, wind and thunder arrived, signaling what was to come.

By Wednesday evening, it was picking up speed, but also intensity.  That night it strengthened into a Cat 3  –  officially making it a major hurricane as it approached Charleston.  The rains came down and the winds whipped up.

The big concern was the times of high tides  –  basically, 1:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Thursday for the Isle of Palms pier.  The big concern on the IOP was storm surge   –  possibly between four to seven feet.  The timing of the storm’s passing, whether it would make landfall and where, the wind speed and direction  –  all these factors were part of the equation.  We waited with breath that was baited.

 

Timing is Key

 

Around 11:00 a.m. Thursday, Isle of Palms police clocked winds at 62 mph on the Connector.  Thankfully, Dorian stayed off the coast.  The storm’s eye was about 45 miles off the beach as it passed the Holy City.

Copious amounts of rain fell  –  by my count, about twelve inches total.  But the timing with the tides proved fortuitous.  By the time of the afternoon high tide, winds had shifted.   Instead of blowing the water onshore, they actually were blowing the opposite direction, helping push the water out into the ocean.

The storm surge they had feared did not occur.  Praise the Lord!

 

Effects on the IOP

 

There was a lot of rain and flooding, but it was similar to what the IOP’s seen in previous storms.  Leaves and small branches basically covered most roads, yards and decks.  The storm blew down some trees around the island, with a few uprooted, and knocked down some power lines.  One was down at Palm Blvd. and 3rd Avenue.

However, unlike much of Mount Pleasant, Charleston, West Ashley, North Charleston and Summerville, a lot of the Isle lost power for only short periods of time.  It flickered a lot but then came back on.  Parts of the island near the downed lines are still having issues.

Cleanup began in earnest right away across the Lowcountry.

The weather is gorgeous, as if the sky has been scrubbed clean.  The Governor lifted the mandatory evacuation yesterday morning.  Residents who left are returning.  Schools reopen Monday.  Most businesses are back up and running.  Read more about that here.

If you are booked in one of our Isle of Palms luxury rentals, just contact us at EP and we’ll fill you in on the latest.

We feel very blessed and relieved here on the IOP.  It’s a lovely day on the Isle of Palms.  People are hitting the beach.  See for yourself on Exclusive Properties’ intrepid beach cam, which showed live video throughout Hurricane Dorian.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

 

The Lowcountry, along with much of the Atlantic Coast, is prepping for the arrival of Hurricane Dorian – an unwelcome visitor, indeed.

It is a very powerful one, one of the worst Atlantic ones on record.  Hurricane Dorian has absolutely pounded the Abacos and other parts of the Bahamas.  It hit as a Cat 5 and stayed almost stationary for what must have felt like an eternity.

Hurricane Dorian has finally begun its trek northward, and we all wait to see what happens, and track the latest spaghetti models.

 

A Mandatory Evacuation is in place

 

As of Monday (yesterday) at noon, SC Governor McMaster ordered a mandatory evacuation of the coastal counties in South Carolina.  Basically this covers the entire coast, and involves 830,000 residents as well as anyone visiting the area.  Everyone is urged to get away from the coast and move inland to higher ground until the threat of Hurricane Dorian passes.

These counties include Beaufort, Jasper, Colleton, Georgetown, Horry, Berkeley, Dorchester, and yes  –   Charleston.

In concurrence with the orders to evacuate, and to aid in the flow of traffic away from the coast, the Governor ordered lane reversals on Interstate 26.  As of about 11:00 a.m. Monday, all lanes of I-26 between I-526 in North Charleston and I-77 in Columbia are heading north/west.  This will continue until further notice.

With the evacuation also comes several closings.  The Governor ordered schools in the affected counties closed as of today (Tuesday).  They were already closed Monday for the Labor Day holiday.  Same goes for government offices.

The list goes on from there.  Basically, all area colleges are closed as of today, as well as the City Market, Aquarium, carriage tours, Middleton Place, Drayton Hall, the Gibbes Museum, Patriot’s Point, Cypress Gardens and many more.  Read the list here.

 

Hurricane Dorian and the IOP

 

Because of the governmental closings (namely the county landfill), the IOP has suspended trash pickup until further notice.

The Isle of Palms Post Office is closed, door locked, with outside mail drop taped shut.

However, many businesses remain open.  The IOP’s Harris-Teeter is open and will stay that way until no longer possible.  Same with Costco in Mount Pleasant, which even opened early this morning with a new stock of generators.

Several Isle of Palms restaurants are open for business, including the Refuge, ACME, Papi’s and the Windjammer.

How to stay updated

 

The City of Isle of Palms is posting frequent updates on a special Hurricane Dorian page on the official website, as well as their Facebook page.  The IOP Police Department is also posting on their Facebook page, with helpful information.

One question that the IOP Police addressed was the closing of the IOP Connector.  Basically, it will remain open until winds are deemed too dangerous.  According to protocol, officials will then issue red warnings for area bridges when winds are 40 mph sustained or higher.

We here on the Isle of Palms have been under a hurricane watch.  It has now turned into a hurricane warning.  That means hurricane force winds are expected within 36 hours.  Hurricane Dorian is heading up the coast.  We are praying, and hope you will too, that she will stay out in the ocean and away from the Lowcountry.

Exclusive Properties has a beach cam, where you can watch live video of the beach and ocean at the Isle of Palms.  Click here to see the current conditions.

Please stay safe.  Hopefully Dorian will stay away from the Lowcountry, so we at EP can welcome back nice visitors like you to our Isle of Palms vacation rentals very soon.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

Photo credit: IOP Police Department Facebook page