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Charleston Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting

Thanksgiving is barely over, and we’re headed full bore into Christmas, with the official Charleston Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting.  This traditionally marks the kickoff of all things Christmas in downtown Charleston and beyond.

They both take place this coming Sunday, December 1st.

Normally there’s a bit of a breather between turkey day and the Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting.  However, Thanksgiving fell quite late this year, so it’s full steam ahead, ho ho ho!


The Charleston Holiday Parade


The fun kicks off at 3:00 p.m. with the Charleston Holiday Parade.  Sponsored by the City of Charleston along with the Charleston Fire Department, it follows a fun route downtown.  The parade starts near Colonial Lake on Broad Street and Rutledge Avenue, then travels north up Meeting Street, ending at the corner of Calhoun and Meeting  –  right at the corner of Marion Square.

Expect plenty of holiday music, marching bands, floats , special performers and appearances, culminating with the big guy himself, Santa Claus.  Read more about it here.

FYI, the Holiday Parade will cause a few road closures.

Street Closures

The following streets will close, then are projected to reopen by 5 p.m.

Following the parade, these street sections will close for parade breakdown and disbursement:


Holiday Tree of Lights


As I mentioned, the Charleston Holiday Parade ends right at Marion Square… just in time for the Holiday Tree of Lights celebration.  This giant tree lighting and celebration takes place from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m.

It’s a celebratory ceremony with live music and holiday-themed performances, arts organizations and local celebrities.  Then, at about 6:00 p.m., they’ll light up the 64-foot tall City of Charleston Christmas tree, along with all the many others that fill Marion Square.

Here’s more on downtown’s “Holiday Magic” events throughout the festive season.

As a special treat, here’s a voucher for two hours of free parking in several city lots, including the Visitor’s Center, Aquarium, Majestic Square, and some others.  You can either print it or scan from a mobile device.

So get ready, Christmas is coming.  Enjoy the official Holiday Parade and tree lighting to help get you in the Christmas mood.  And if you’d like to spend the holidays in a great Charleston beach house, just give us a call.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

Turkey Day Run and Gobble Wobble

Thanksgiving is fast upon us, and it’s time once again for that fun holiday 5K run.  It’s time for Charleston’s own Turkey Trot, officially called the Turkey Day Run and Gobble Wobble.  It takes place on Thanksgiving morning, on a scenic route in downtown Charleston.

The Turkey Day Run and Gobble Wobble 5K is a great way to assuage some of that holiday overindulgence guilt.

The generic term for these events is “turkey trot.”  In Charleston’s case, the Gobble Wobble part of the name is for those who’d prefer a walk to a run.

You can find these turkey trots taking place all over the United States.  Not surprisingly, their numbers increase each year.

In fact, it turns out that Thanksgiving Day is the number one day in America for running/walking events.  FYI, Fourth of July is the second most popular holiday for these races.  New Year’s Eve/Day is third.


All About the Turkey Day Run and Gobble Wobble


As for Charleston’s version, it’s sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, with proceeds going to a myriad of charities.  There’s a whole giant list of charities that benefit from the Turkey Day Run and Gobble Wobble.  You can read about them here.

It has a history that dates back about a century.  At one point it even ran from Charleston to Summerville.  In its current form as a true 3.1 mile/5K run and walk, it is officially the 42nd annual one.

The 5K will attract registrants from all over North America and is second in size only to the Cooper River Bridge Run.  It’s a U. S. Track & Field certified event.

The course itself is lovely, as it travels down and back up the historic spine of the peninsula.  It kicks off at Marion Square, heads down Meeting Street to White Point Gardens, along The Battery and Murray Boulevard, then up King back to Marion Square.  It’s also a lot of festive fun, as people often come ready to run in costume.

The run kicks off promptly at 9:00 Thursday, with shorter length runs for the kids beginning at 10:00 a.m.  There will be a fun post-race party with live music and the awards ceremony, free food and beverages, including a beer garden for those 21 and over.

Get all the info, including registration details, at the official website.


Restaurants Open for Thanksgiving Dinner


If you are cooking or helping to cook Thanksgiving dinner, you can get great tips from the pros.  Read all about it in that last blog.

If you’d rather go out for Thanksgiving dinner, there is nothing wrong with that.  Charleston is blessed with an overabundance of great restaurants.  And several have decided to stay open and serve those who would rather eat out and let someone else grapple with the hassles.

The Post and Courier has compiled a list of places open for your Thanksgiving dining.  They also list menu options and pricing, which helps.  Many are prix fixe menus with their take on traditional Thanksgiving fare.

Read the latest list here.  You are STRONGLY urged to make reservations as soon as possible since these spots fill up fast.

So check out the Turkey Day Run and Gobble Wobble, and maybe leave the cooking to the talented chefs of Charleston.  And call EP for the best in beach rentals Charleston, great for the holidays or any time of the year.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

Thanksgiving Tips and Trends

It’s that time of year, when family and/or friends are coming for a big dinner.  We could all use some Thanksgiving tips from the experts.

Top Thanksgiving Tips


MyRecipes.com recently put together a very comprehensive resource with all the top tips  –  37 of them, in fact  –   to help you survive and even thrive during Thanksgiving.

Tips include:

They really have every question you can think of answered and explained, along with photos and videos to help.  Here’s a link to their slideshow of those and 33 other great Thanksgiving tips in one place.


Thanksgiving Trends


I subscribe to a blog called Well Done that shares all kinds of interesting news about food.  Recently they shared an article from MyRecipes based on Google trends.  Basically it ranked the most popular Thanksgiving side dish by each state, based on recent Google searches.  The results are rather illuminating.

Here are a few highlights from the list:

As for the main dish  –  the turkey  –  preferences vary by region.  West of the Mississippi River, it’s smoked turkey.  In the Southeast, fried turkey reigns.  And in the Northeast and New England, the more traditional roast turkey is tops.

Also worth noting  –  the idea of Friendsgiving is growing in popularity each year, according to these Google Trends.  I can totally relate, as we have two in the next two days.

I always thought the term originated with the show Friends.  Turns out that’s not true. Here’s the real story behind the word “Friendsgiving.”

You can read the whole article here.  Also, here is the link to all the Google Trends for Thanksgiving.


We at Exclusive Properties wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving.  And remember, one of our Isle of Palms luxury rentals is a perfect place for generations of family to gather for the holidays.  Just give us a call, and we’ll help make it a reality.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

High Water Festival 2020

One of the newest and fastest growing festivals around, High Water Festival, has announced its 2020 dates as well as its all-star lineup.

It doesn’t matter what time of year you’re in Charleston, chances are there’s great live music going on.  And I’m not just talking during Spoleto or other music festivals.  The Lowcountry has cultivated a thriving music scene.  It’s launched some globally known groups in recent years, like Band of Horses and Shovels & Rope.

Speaking of Shovels & Rope and music festivals, the popular duo launched a new festival in Charleston a couple years ago, and the response has been phenomenal.  Tickets sold out in record time.  Folks who were lucky enough to snag some raved about the festival experience.

High Water calls itself “A celebration of music, food, & libations, curated by Shovels & Rope.”

Organizers have set the dates for 2020.  The next High Water Festival will take place April 18th and 19th, at Riverfront Park in North Charleston.  It promises to be quite a weekend.


High Water 2020 Lineup


As usual, their announcement of performers fuels excitement and ticket sales.  Past acts include The Avett Brothers and The Shins.

This year is no exception.  The following are slated to perform next spring:

You can listen to the High Water Spotify playlist with many of these performers here.

It’s not just music, it’s also the complete High Water Experience.  There’s also the culinary (with loads of local food options at The Refuge), enjoy crafted brews at The Porch, take an Oyster Education Class taught by Seaborn Oyster Co., check out plenty of art, merch and vendors at The Market.

If you are interested in attending High Water, you’d better lock down those tickets ASAP.  There are general admission, VIP, and Platinum Pearl Experience weekend passes available.

Here in the official website with the whole scoop.

They also have an official High Water app, available for iPhone in the App Store or for Android.

It’s also not too early to book a luxury house on Isle of Palms as your High Water Festival home base.  Just give us a call at EP and we’ll put you in the perfect one.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

Steeplechase of Charleston this Sunday

This Sunday, November 17th, it’s a must-do, and must see-and-be-seen-at, event: the Steeplechase of Charleston.

Now in its fourth year, it has a heavyweight new owner and sponsor, The Post & Courier.  Talk about a lot of horsepower!

Steeplechase of Charleston has more than ably filled the void left by what was formerly known as the Charleston Cup.  Plus, they have major plans to make it bigger and better than ever, tapping into the rich history of horse racing in the Lowcountry.  After all, steeplechase racing in Charleston dates all the way back to the 1700’s.

The event will take place at The Plantation at Stono Ferry Racetrack, 5000 Old York Course in Hollywood (South Carolina, not California).   The rain should be all gone by then, replaced by lovely Carolina blue skies.

Steeplechase of Charleston is part of the national circuit.  In fact, it’s the last race of the 2019 season, with previous events in Aiken, Camden, Saratoga Springs and other east coast venues.

Gates open at 9:30 a.m., with opening ceremonies and a paddock call kick off at noon.  At 1:00 over 60 horses will begin racing in five races over four-foot tall jumps, races starting about every 20 minutes.  There will be plenty of money at stake, along with the esteemed silver Alston Cup.

They’ll have a big Vendor Village, Family Fun area for the kids, food, beverages, and some serious Lowcountry tailgating.  There will also be best hat, best-dressed and best tailgating competitions.


Some great articles about the Steeplechase of Charleston


Seeing as the Post & Courier is now behind the event, they have some terrific coverage of the Steeplechase of Charleston.  Here are some of their articles about the history behind it and the fun that will happen this Sunday:

There are several options for ticket purchasing, including tailgating, group and VIP options. Kids 12 and under don’t need a ticket.  Part of the proceeds go to a great charity, the Post & Courier’s Good Cheer Fund.

Here’s the official website with all the info, including online ticket purchasing.

It’s quite a popular event, and this year they’re expecting several thousand folks.


Lights, Lights everywhere…


Also, a quick reminder that both the Holiday Festival of Lights and Lights of Magnolia officially kick off tonight for the season.  Holiday Festival of Lights lasts through the end of 2019 while Lights of Magnolia (also known as the Charleston Chinese Lantern Festival) lasts through March 2020.

So check out the new and improved Steeplechase of Charleston, destined to be a classic.  And when you are looking for the most classic Charleston beach house, be sure to call EP.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

Isle of Palms Firsts

The Isle of Palms: it’s the island we know and love, and maybe call home for a week or more each year.  But how much do we know about its history?

Isle of Palms Magazine, a local news source for the island, tackled this very subject.  It published a list of “firsts” on the IOP.

Here are a few highlights of IOP firsts…



Pretty interesting stuff.  You can read the whole list on IOP Magazine’s website.


Some Isle of Palms links


Speaking of the island, there are a few links that are handy to have.

Here is the official website for the City of Isle of Palms, where you can find all sorts of useful information about the island.  It’s updated regularly.

The IOP police department is active on social media.  Check out their Facebook page here.

Thankfully, the traffic camera at the main intersection in town, coming off the Connector, is back online.  Here’s how you check the IOP Connector traffic cam:

Option 1:

Option 2:

You can also check current weather (and ocean) conditions with Exclusive Properties’ own live beach cam.

So check out these IOP resources.  And when you are planning your next trip here, be sure to contact us at EP for the very best in Isle of Palms vacation rentals.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

Lights of Magnolia opens November 15th

A beloved Lowcountry plantation has announced an exciting new illuminated attraction: Lights of Magnolia.

It’s a world-class installation, joining the other festive light extravaganza, Holiday Festival of Lights, which I covered last time.  They both kick off on the same day  –  next Friday, November 15th.

But unlike the Holiday Festival of Lights, which ends on December 31st, Lights of Magnolia will run all the way through March 15th.


What is Lights of Magnolia?


Also known as the Charleston Chinese Lantern Festival, Lights of Magnolia is a visual spectacle never seen before in this part of the world.

It’s described as a “massive garden installation of LED light exhibits,” put on in partnership with the world famous Zigong Lantern Group from Zigong, China.

According to their website, Zigong is the leading Chinese lantern festival in the world.  They’ve won numerous international awards, are the largest in China and the biggest lantern festival operating outside of China as well.

Here is how they describe their work:

“Artisans build mgnificent lantern displays on-site, using a variety of materials including silk and chinaware.  They then illuminate all of our lanterns with environmentally-friendly and cost-effective LED lights. The famous pagoda is made of thousands of ceramic plates, spoons, saucers and cups knotted together by hand – always a visitor favorite.

Cultural Chinese lantern festivals began during the Han Dynasty of the Chinese Empire, when people believed that fire could ward off evil and bring blessings. The art of the lantern festival has evolved over centuries and is now a combination of traditional and modern materials with the ancient craft.”

Their installations are stunning works of art.  They are sure to be particularly beautiful on the famous grounds and gardens of Magnolia Plantation.  Lights of Magnolia’s tagline is, “See America’s oldest public garden in a new light.”

Lights of Magnolia will cover 9 acres with 23 different themed lighted lantern displays.  Here’s a cool video of them installing Lights of Magnolia, including a gigantic fire-breathing dragon whose scales are made up of lovely ceramic plates.


Where else have they been?


Here are some other locations where Chinese Lantern Festivals have transformed the environs with lanterns and light:

Lights of Magnolia will be open for walk-through tours, Wednesday through Sundays evenings, from 5:30 till 9:30.  It will be at Magnolia from November 15th through March 15th.  Food trucks will also be on site nightly.

The official Lights of Magnolia website has plenty of details, photos and online ticket purchasing.  Here is Lights of Magnolia Facebook event page, as well as the Charleston Chinese Lantern Festival’s event page.

So check out a lovely lighted event in one of the most beautiful gardens in the country.  And when you are looking for the best in luxury beach house rentals SC, be sure to give EP a call.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

Holiday Festival of Lights begins Nov. 15th

The weather’s getting cool-ish, just in time for the beloved annual event, the Holiday Festival of Lights!

Officially we’re smack dab in autumn and swiftly cruising toward the holidays, which means the events calendar is filling up fast.

As I covered in that last blog, the Coastal Carolina Fair is in full swing and continues through this coming Sunday, November 10th.  It’s wholesome fun for all ages, with plenty of live music, Midway rides, shows and competitions, and of course all that fried fair food.

Then, next week marks the kickoff of a super-fun event sure to get the whole family in a festive mood.


It’s the Holiday Festival of Lights, now in its 30th year!


The Holiday Festival of Lights is an extravaganza of enchanted loveliness.  It’s been named one of the top ten light shows in America.  You and your whole group can drive through over two million lights decorating a winter wonderland within James Island County Park.  Along the way, listen to park information and holiday music on your radio at 1630 AM.  This year’s primary sponsors are Boeing and Chick-Fil-A.

Opening night is next Friday, November 15th.  The festival happens every night, rain or shine, from then through the end of 2019  –  i.e., December 31st.  Hours are 5:30 pm – 10:00 pm Sunday through Thursdays, and 5:30 pm – 11:00 pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

The Holiday Festival of Lights is not just dazzling light displays that you drive through.  Once you park, you can also experience the following:


Then there’s the Fun Run & Walk


They are actually having a pre-opening event, the Holiday Festival of Lights Fun Run &  Walk.  It’s a two-mile noncompetitive preview  –  a chance to see and make your way through the path of lights before they open for the season, while getting in some good exercise.  They even allow leashed dogs.

The pre-festival run/walk used to take place the night before opening night, on Thursday.  It proved to be so popular that they added a second night, Wednesday.  So this year, the Fun Run & Walk will be Wednesday and Thursday, November 13-14th.  Its popularity only grows with each year, and alas both nights are already completely sold out.

You still can see the festival itself, however, and you have a month and a half in which to do it.

Here’s the official website with all the details.  The address of James Island County Park is 871 Riverland Drive in Charleston.

You check out the Holiday Festival of Lights, a Christmas staple in these parts.  And be sure to call EP for the perfect luxury house on Isle of Palms, a great place to spend all or part of the holiday season.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

Coastal Carolina Fair going on now

It’s fall in the Lowcountry, which means it’s time once again for the Coastal Carolina Fair.

The fair’s 11-day run actually cranked up last night, on Halloween.  It’s set to run through next weekend  –  through Sunday, the 10th of November.

The Coastal Carolina Fair is the region’s version of a state fair meets a county fair.  It’s wholesome family entertainment for all ages.  As Hulafrog points out, the fair is appropriate for babies, preschoolers, elementary age kids, tweens, special needs… actually for everyone, on up through centenarians.

And talk about a long-running tradition.  The Coastal Carolina Fair has been going on every year since 1957!

The fun happens at the Exchange Park in Ladson.   For your GPS, that’s at 9850 Highway 78, Ladson SC.


What’s new at the Coastal Carolina Fair?


First off, they’ve added some intriguing new things this year.  For the first time ever, they have a Biergarten, open every day.

They’ve also added an “Extreme Zone” complete with the daredevil ride Speed, Kid Bungee and a rock climbing wall.  Also new: the first ever fiddling contest, FFA Tractor Driving Competition, plus a golf cart giveaway.


Then, of course, there’s all the usual stuff, like…


Check out the website for the complete schedule, ticket prices and available discounts.  As a special deal, you can get in for free on Monday with the front page of Sunday’s Post & Courier newspaper.

The Coastal Carolina Fair really is a load of fun for all ages.  Who knows  –   perhaps, like Noah and Allie, you might have a life-changing moment at the fair.  After all, the movie The Notebook was filmed right here in the Lowcountry.

So check out the fair.  And when you are looking for the best in beach rentals Charleston, be sure to call Exclusive Properties.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger