Lowcountry Experience Gift Guide 2018

Thanksgiving is a few days away and so we find ourselves quickly rushing into the holiday season. Originally, this post was meant to follow the previous year’s gift guide format, where I listed out fantastic local wares that would make great gifts. Then I glanced around my house, got overwhelmed with the amount of ‘stuff’ sitting around, and thought back to a tip a friend of mine shared years ago, “Experiences, not things”. And while, yes, I still enjoy the occasional physical gift, there is no lack of experiences to partake in Charleston, so I’ve listed my favorites below for all ages.

Memberships
All of these experiences are staples of Charleston. My son was gifted the Children’s Museum Membership for his birthday and it’s made a great get away for our entire family. Cost, benefits and details in link to each membership association.
Gibbes Museum of Art
South Carolina Aquarium
Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry
Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art
The Charleston Museum
The Charleston Friends of the Library

 My son, Grant, at the Lowcountry Children’s Museum

My son, Grant, at the Lowcountry Children’s Museum

Outdoor Adventures
From a kayaking to see a sunset to finally running the bridge to taking advantage of all of the parks Charleston County has to offer, this gift really keeps giving and lets your recipient have some flexibility in how they want to use it.
Coastal Expeditions
Cooper River Bridge Run (or another 10k or 5k)
Charleston County Parks
Charleston ZIp Line Adventures
Wild Blue Ropes

 Palmetto Islands County Park in Mt. Pleasant

Palmetto Islands County Park in Mt. Pleasant

Health & Wellness
Yoga studios and gyms abound, so maybe check with the recipients personal preference of location. Spas are a-plenty, as well, but these are my favorites. Also, “Hi” to my husband.
Woodhouse Day Spa
Urban Nirvana
Yoga Studios
Gyms

 At Serenity Now Yoga with some friends

At Serenity Now Yoga with some friends

Musical & Theatrical Performances
There is no lack of talent in our city and many acts travel to town throughout the year. Summer and winter are a great time to enjoy performances at any of these venues.
Charleston Music Hall
North Charleston Coliseum & Performing Arts Center
Spoleto Festival USA
Pure Theatre
South of Broadway Theater
Charleston Stage
The Footlight Players
Theatre 99

 Groundhog Day Concert at Charleston Music Hall

Groundhog Day Concert at Charleston Music Hall

And because it was this post’s original intent, here are some additional gift ideas:
Charleston Magazine Holiday Gift Guide
Traveler of Charleston Holiday Gift Guide
Explore Charleston Holiday Gift Guide
Christmas in Charleston Gift Ideas
Upcoming Buy Local Markets

What’s your favorite experience in Charleston? Would love to add to this list for future years.

Lowcountry Job Hunting

Whether you're a Charleston native, looking for a change in workplace scenery or new to town and looking for a job opportunity, this post is for you. This overview of job hunting in the Lowcountry is a pathway to a fresh start.

Overall tips:

Charleston is ultimately still a small town. Networking can get you far in finding connections to jobs that might interest you. It never hurts to meet new people or connect with people you maybe haven't seen in the years since you were in your previous workplace role. The new, every day Charleston newsletter, Chs Today, sends out daily networking suggestions, like the Lowcountry Local First Mixer or East Cooper Networking. We'd even suggest joining a social sports league, Meet-Up, or volunteering around town.

Even in the age of email, texts, and networking, Resumes and Cover Letters are relevant. Some tips and tricks here. 

This summer, National Career Fairs is hosting a Charleston Career Fair, free for job seekers. You could also set up a Google alert to be notified when a new search with the words "Charleston job fair" or "Charleston career fair" become available. 

If you're on Instagram, they now allow you to follow hashtags. Check out #chsjobs and #charlestonjobs for a start.

Photo via @chstoday

Some of our largest and most known local employers and links to their career sites:
Boeing
Blackbaud
BenefitFocus
Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC)
Roper St. Francis Hospital
East Cooper Medical Center
Charleston County School District
Charleston County Parks & Recreation
Charleston County Public Library
City of North Charleston
Town of Mt. Pleasant
Berkeley County Government
College of Charleston
Trident Technical College
The Citadel
South Carolina State Ports Authority

Local and national employment sites:
Lowcountry Classifieds
SciWay
Digital Corridor
Indeed
Simply Hired
Glass Door
LinkedIn
Facebook (yes, they've even jumped on board!)

Contract work:
Upwork
Freelance
Guru

Non-profit specific job listings:
Together SC

Teleworking:
(the use of home computers, telephones, etc, to enable a person to work from home or in a shared office space while maintaining contact with colleagues, customers, or a central office)
Local Works
Work Nest

This post has been a long time coming, packed full of useful information, but we would love to hear your feedback, as well. What did you find as your best resource when you were job hunting in the Lowcountry? Do we need to expand on any details of continuing the search?

Ultimately, we hope you find something fulfilling, challenging, and FUN and we believe there are plenty of opportunities for that in Charleston.

Updated 3/7/18:
CharlestonWorks
Center for Women, Ready 4 Work program

Downtown Local Lunch Spots

This week alone, I've been contacted three times by friends in town for a conference or other events for suggestions on lunch, coffee, and family friendly dining downtown. And guess what- I KNOW lunch (and it looks like I must like it best in the form of a bowl). For now, I'm going to focus on local, lunch spots within walking distance of the Francis Marion Hotel, along with my personal favorite lunch pick, a link to their menus, and a full map to guide your way:

(Walkable map)

Closed for Business
Pick: Jimmy Serano Veggie Burger

Monza
Pick: Ciccio Pizza

Juanita Greenberg's
Pick: Chicken Rice Bowl

Leyla
Pick: Lula Kabab

Basic Kitchen
Pick: Salmon Rainbow Bowl

Circe's Grotto
Pick: Cuban Press

Beech
Pick: Delecta-A-Bowl

Verde
Pick: Chickpea Salad

Co
Pick: Koran Short Rib Banh Mi

The Watch
Pick: Fish Tacos

Virginia's on King
Pick: She Crab Soup

Poke Tea House
Pick: Seared Tuna Poke Bowl

39 Rue De Jean
Pick: Brasserie Burger

And in case you aren't motivated enough, some Instagram accounts to follow:

@basic_kitchen (their Instagram is a MUST follow)

@monzapizza

@eatatverde

@therestorationhotel (The Watch)

If you're staying at the Francis Marion Hotel, your closest local, coffee (and craft beer) shop is Kudu, but fair warning, they don't have WiFi, so you're going to have to interact with people and nature for a few minutes.

What are your favorite, downtown lunch spots? This list is all within 10 minutes walking distance of Marion Square.

Bonus:
Current favorite family friendly spots downtown for lunch AND dinner (not necessarily walkable, but space for those toddlers).

Taco Boy
Workshop
HomeTeam BBQ
Fuel
Rutledge Cab Co.
Park Cafe (outside/no dinner)

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Have an idea for a blog post or would like to submit your own Love Letter to the Lowcountry? Email egildea@dunesproperties.com. 

Oyster Time

Emily:

Before I moved to Charleston, I'm not sure I had ever tried a raw oyster. Now, I wait for months with the letter 'R' with the best of them. The local, raw, steamed ones are still rolling out at most spots, so you might want to call ahead to confirm. But otherwise, raw, fried, as a cocktail or fancy as can be, we have a list (and juicy photos - pun intended) for you to make sure you never miss out when in search of the perfect oyster around town.

When You're Feeling Fancy:
The Ordinary (Downtown)

When You'd Like to Combine it With Booze:
Pearlz (Downtown/ W. Ashley)

When You Want to People Watch:
The Darling Oyster Bar (Downtown)

When You Want to Try Out the New Joint:
Rappahannock (Downtown)

When You Want to Host a Roast:
St. Jude Farms (My house or yours? Tips on making your oyster shucking table.)

When You Want a Sunset:
Bowens Island (James Island/ Folly)

When You're Looking for a Date Night:
Amen Street/ Coast (Downtown)

When You Want a Variety of Options:
Leon's (Downtown)

When You Remember the Secret Spot:
167 Raw (Downtown)

When Your Counterpart Wants Pizza: 
Wood & Grain

What's your favorite spot to grab oysters around town? You can truly find oysters at almost restaurant in Charleston! Favorite type? Memory? I still long for the fried oysters at the now shuttered Leaf and have the best memory of shucking with my dad at the spot that is now a barbecue spot (imagine that) on Coleman in Mt. Pleasant.

Make sure to mark your calendar for the Lowcountry Oyster Festival on January 28 of next year.

Bonus:

 My son, Grant, last night at Bowen's Island after eating his actual weight in food

My son, Grant, last night at Bowen's Island after eating his actual weight in food

Lowcountry Eclipse Plans

Frances:
There are many reasons that I love calling the Lowcountry my home. Among my top reasons are the outdoor and nature options that are provided to us by living on the coast. As the Solar eclipse approaches I am again thankful that I am lucky to live in an area that will reach 100% totality of the eclipse. I AM PUMPED! I have always been inspired and humbled by nature and have obviously never seen an eclipse in person. And buzz kill; I'll be at work while it's happening!

If you are lucky enough to have the day off work, are staying at home because the kids are out of school or are treating yourself to this special event, there's not a shortage of things to do. With over 100 events scheduled in the Charleston area there is something for everyone to enjoy.

“Things I Would Rather Be Doing Than Going to Work, So You Should Do Them”

For my Yoga friends, Charleston County Parks is offering a Sun Shadow Yoga class at the Mount Pleasant pier from 1:30-2:30pm. This class is for ages 12 and up and costs $5 in advance or $8 day of event. 

If you want to view it from the beach, the City of Isle of Palms will host an eclipse viewing event on Front Beach. Leading up to the eclipse, there will be music by DJ NattyHeavy on the beach behind the Windjammer. Plane Jane will take the stage following the eclipse to celebrate this incredibly rare event. Children's entertainment will be available in the Isle of Palms County Park, and eclipse information will be provided throughout the event. The event will be from 11:30am – 4:30pm.

Want to know how wildlife are going to react to the eclipse? Caw Caw Interpretative Center will be hosting an Eclipse Extravaganza from 1:30-3:30pm where you will enjoy a guided tour by a naturalist. 

For those of you in North Charleston, the new venue The Bend will be hosting a free, family friendly and educational event from 12-4pm. Look to the Sky will feature live music, STEM based activities, a Boeing trebuchet, robotics demonstrations and more.

Last, but not least, on my list of events I would rather go to than be at work, The Charleston RiverDogs will have an Eclipse Home game at Joe Riley Stadium. Gates will open at 1pm and first pitch will be at 4:05pm. During the eclipse there will be special guests from NASA there to teach you about the eclipse as it happens!

Yes, I am secretly hoping to have a Heroes moment and gain a super cool super power after this event.

And now for Emily and Angela's Plans:

Emily:
Originally, we planned to walk outside at the time of the eclipse and enjoy it from our front yard, since it's during our little one's nap time, but then we heard about the Total Solar Eclipse Barn Jam in Awendaw. Parking is open at 10am, with music starting at noon. We've got our glasses ready (thanks, Brownyard Law Firm!) and are ready to shake it down to some tunes!

Angela:
The eclipse has been the talk in our house for some time now. Out-of-town relatives started requesting to stay in our guest room six months ago!  Most of our extended family will be coming into town for the main event and I'm excited to share this once in a lifetime experience with our nearest and dearest. We joked about searching for Al Roker, who will be in town, or if we didn't have a baby, I would have insisted that we go kayaking with Coastal Expeditions (word on the street was that all of the spots were filled within 24 hours of reservations opening last December). It's hard to decide what to do with all of the options, but I think that we will stick close to home in Park Circle and go to The Bend. Out of excitement, I've purchased the special edition Total Eclipse of the Sun stamps from the post office which use thermochromic ink that reacts to the heat of your touch (Emily bought them, too!). Maybe I'll give one to Frances to play with at work (we love you Franny).

A few tips that we received from the Mount Pleasant Police Department and wanted to pass along:

  • Expect heavy traffic beginning the weekend before the eclipse
  • Have your cars filled with gas and have groceries stocked before the weekend, the influx of visitors may put a strain on supplies
  • Sunglasses will not protect your eyes! Only use certified eclipse viewing glasses
  • The pedestrian walkway on the Ravenel Bridge will be closed from noon until 4pm and will not be available as a viewing site
  • Under no circumstances should you stop your vehicle on any roadway or bridge during the eclipse
  • Expect cellular communication towers to become overloaded, have a plan in place to communicate with family and friends beforehand

We hope that you all find somewhere to view this amazing celestial event. Stay safe out there and wear your eclipse glasses. You can find them almost anywhere in the city right now, but they can also be purchased for $1 at all of the Visitor's Centers. For more information and a complete list of events visit the Charleston CVB’s eclipse website.

 

Family Friendly Weekend Outdoors

Well, hello, rain and Monday! These past couple of weekends, we have found ourselves outside without even meaning to be. In the Lowcountry, it doesn't take much effort to find something with a breeze, bench, and people watching. Whether you're from here or visiting, we think the activities below will keep you outdoors and entertained:

SATURDAY

10:00am
Fit Mommy Charleston
This newly discovered group meets during the week and weekends at different parks and locales around the Lowcountry. What a great way to explore! Last weekend's class in Park Circle featured ultimate frisbee followed by circuit training for mom, dad and child. $10/ class or unlimited options available.

11:30am
Marion Square Farmer's Market
This spot is especially packed with entertainment during Spoleto, but takes place every Saturday with the basics; fresh veggies, local artisans, and food. Make it this coming Saturday before Spoleto closes up shop and you'll see dozens of artists, as well. We're fans of bringing a quilt and putting it under a tree for people watching.

1:00pm
Walk down King Street to The Battery
We're sending you on a pretty straight path here, but we also encourage you to veer off onto one of the side streets to find additional charm in the homes and streets of downtown. Try taking a turn down Tradd or Queen street. Pretty stroller friendly. The cobblestone streets rock those babies straight to sleep.

2:30pm
American Made Market (and many more markets)
Charleston has no shortage of artisan markets, but this one is held at one of our favorite dining spots (that's still serving Emily's husband's beet beer, Fan Fiction, on tap!). Follow Thrifters & Drifters, Lowcountry Local First, and US to hear all about them as dates/ times/ locations are released. 

4:00pm
Deck Music at The PourHouse
Kids can let their dance moves loose while parents grab a snack and cold beverage. Check their schedule for all upcoming music, but there's never been a time that we've been here and there hasn't been music playing somewhere.

@chspourhouse

7:00pm
Dinner at Rita's/ Beach Walk
Try to grab an outdoor table to enjoy the beachy breeze. Their signature nachos are a must. Chances are, they'll have music playing, too. When you're ready to walk off those nachos, head on down to Folly, just a couple of blocks away.

SUNDAY

10:00am
Bendy Brewski Yoga at Holy City Brewing
Our one non-kid friendly option of the weekend, but doesn't everyone need a small break? Yoga and beer. You don't need to say much more.

@bendybrewskiyoga

12:00pm
Celadon Flea
More food and local vendors, the last Sunday of every month. The furniture warehouse is open to the public on these days. It's a fun meet up for friends, with great parking. 

@celadonhome

2:00pm
Riverfront Park N. Charleston
Head just around the corner to enjoy art in the park, spectacular views of the Cooper River, and occasional events.

6:00pm
Dinner Al Fresco
Local or not, use some of those veggies and treats you've picked up along the way this weekend to make an outdoor picnic for you and your family on your patio, screened in porch, or yard. Enjoy the silence... we mean, cicadas. 

What's your favorite way to get outside in the Lowcountry? It's not a weekend activity, but Folly Beach Movie Nights are back and they are a kid favorite!
 

 

Fresh Local Loves

We hope you've noticed that a few things have changed on this site since we first started out; our listings and buyer clients (thanks, guys!!!), motherhood, hairstyles (bangs much?), and even more to come, as you'll see later this week on our Facebook page, but the one constant has been our LOVE for local around the Lowcountry.

Today, we'd like to get your feedback on freshening up our Local Loves section. We're updating our own (see below), but would also like to incorporate yours from your different go-to spots around town. This short questionnaire will take less than 5 minutes. Leave your name, if you'd like us to credit you as a source.

Share your Local Loves!

Angela's Local Loves:

Coffee- Muddy Waters Coffee Bar
They always get my order right even when I'm mumbling and half asleep.

Brunch- Baguette Magic
Try the French toast, you can thank me later.

Garden/ Home- Hyam's Garden Center
Serving Charleston since 1981, this local business keeps our yard in bloom. They recently helped me design a cute flower box under my kitchen window.

Library/ Bookstore- Free Little Library
I love stopping by my neighborhood's Free Little Library. (Click the link to find out if there is one in your neighborhood!) 

Mobile Office- In and Out Car Wash
It might sound odd, but I've gotten quite a bit of work completed while having my car detailed.

Boutique/ Clothing- Style Dwell
Style Dwell has perfect outfits for a night on the town or for a fun work look. Bonus: they have great small gift ideas!

Lunch- Cory's Grilled Cheese
This place is a hidden gem. In addition to an amazing grilled cheese, the burger is pretty delicious.

Grocery/ Farm fresh- Sunday Brunch Farmer's Market
Situated behind the Pour House, this market is where we like to shop for local fresh produce, eggs, meat, and pasta.

Park- James Island County Park
With miles of trails, a fantastic dog park, and an awesome playground for the kiddos, this one is hard to beat.

Emily's Local Loves:

Coffee- Collective Coffee
Beyond impressive selection of brews with a knowledgable staff.

Brunch- Edmund's Oast
Babka wasn't even a thing I knew about until I selected it from EO's menu. Every dish is creative and of premium quality.

Garden/ Home- Abide a While
We have big plans to take Grant here soon for his first (but not last experience) to get our flower boxes started.

Library/ Bookstore- Village/ Poe
The public library is my soft spot, so I'd list all 16 of them if I could, but I love the quaintness of the Village and Poes library. Cannot wait to take Grant to see the Easter Bunny at The Village Library next year. 

Mobile Office- Vintage Coffee Cafe
If I could go here every day, I would. Lots of outdoor seating, with a play area for children. It's like sitting in your backyard with endless fancy toast options.

Boutique/ Clothing- Two Cumberland
It just so happens that I don't buy clothes for myself very often anymore, but when I do need a quick option for a wedding or fun event, this store never disappoints. Bonuses: Their staff is incredibly nice and they have two locations (one downtown, one in Mt.P).

Lunch- Rutledge Cab Co.
While it's been around for a while, I recently discovered their $5 burger deal on Mondays from my friend that calls Charleston #vacationland. Truly.

Grocery/ Farm Fresh- Boone Hall/ Wishbone Heritage Farms
Convenience is a big factor here and with Boone Hall being across the street from our house, we never have a problem stopping by to pick up the veg we need for a meal. Now, for our meat and eggs, my husband schedules a weekly pick-up with Wishbone. Their bacon is one of a kind.

Park- Palmetto Islands
This spot has been a go-to since I moved to the Lowcountry. Great for dog walks, dog park, and now baby walks! We recently went with a large group of friends and explored on a gorgeous winter day. The views are spectacular.

Did you know April is Eat Local month? There are lots of events and ways to get involved.

Your turn to tell us your favorite spots around the Lowcountry!

 

Lowcountry Music Scene

Emily:

As some of you know, I grew up in a small town called Bristol, on the border of Virginia and Tennessee. Bristol is known for being the "Birthplace of Country Music" (no, Nashville doesn't get that title) and holds an amazing music festival that we attend every year, called Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion. Music has had a strong presence in my life since I was born. My mom was in a band called White Lightnin' in the 70s (bonus if you make it to the bottom) and worked for the community theatre in Bristol for over a decade. Most of my evenings as an adult in Bristol were spent at local spots listening to an array of artists and I served on the Board of Directors for The Birthplace of Country Music Alliance. The market there is so saturated with talent, it's unbelievable. 

When I moved to Charleston, I immediately fell in love with the beaches, weather, and lifestyle. The days here stay packed with RiverDogs baseball games, Charleston Wine + Food Festival, yoga, speakers at the College of Charleston and more. But sometimes, I found myself missing the tunes. Well, I have good news for you. After years of living here, I've compiled the most popular and my favorite spots to catch music around the Lowcountry and spoiler alert- there are a lot!

IMG_0153.JPG

VENUES:

The Music Farm (Downtown)
A late night spot where I've personally seen everyone from Lauryn Hill to Dr. Dog (and will completely deny seeing Nick Carter). One of my favorite bands, Moon Taxi, is playing there on April 7, but Iate nights are different with a newborn, so y'all report back.

The Pour House (James Island)
Live music every night on the Deck Stage and traveling artists on the Main Stage. Free admission and family friendly on the Deck Stage, early, most evenings. I vote this spot most likely to host an artist who has also played my hometown music festival. Appropriate for hippie leg and hip shaking.

Charleston Music Hall (Downtown)
One of my new favorites, as someone who enjoys having a seat to enjoy music these days (it's more about the personal space, less about the dancing). St. Paul and the Broken Bones is coming up, but sold out, so I would advise signing up for their eNewsletter. Dave Chapelle also sold out here, last month.

Surf Bar (Folly Beach)
A smaller spot where you can grab a burger, sit outside, and listen to tunes within blocks of Folly Beach. Live music almost every night of the week.

Prohibition (Downtown)
Surprisingly active music scene for a spot on King Street. Their bluegrass during Sunday brunch is my favorite, but they also host jazz and salsa nights.

Kudu (Downtown)
Sunny, warm days in Charleston are meant to be spent outside and their courtyard is like sitting in your friend's backyard enjoying a coffee or beer with the pleasure of music. 

Awendaw Green Barn Jam (Awendaw)
A favorite spot for locals. Takes place every Wednesday year-round, but they also host multiple events around town.

Palmetto Brewing (Downtown)
Their collaboration with Awendaw Green, the Loading Dock series, is the perfect low-key Friday evening with a pint, food truck, and tunes. In fact, plenty of the local breweries host live music, especially on the weekends. Follow their social media accounts for updates. 

The Sparrow (N. Charleston)
Touted as the only music venue in Park Circle, their upcoming line-up is pretty impressive with a large range in styles.

The Royal American (Downtown)
Hard to believe that they're able to fit a band in this spot, but they make it work and the crowd loves it. Likely to have a cover, so come armed with cash.

Tin Roof (West Ashley)
Karaoke? While not a band, it's still considered music, right? They also host bands a few times a week.

Hometeam BBQ (Multiple Locations)
With 3 locations in Charleston county, you can't go wrong with their food or tunes. Each location offers a different vibe and size for your crowd.

The Windjammer (Isle of Palms)
Many popular bands travel to town to perform in this venue. It has a beach view, but you'll most likely be going to a late night show here, unless the Budweiser bikini competition interests you (not for me).

The Gaillard (Downtown)
Recently renovated and just as stunning on the interior as it is on the exterior, this venue is likely to continue to host big names like Loretta Lynn and plenty of Spoleto performances.

N. Charleston Coliseum & Performing Arts Center (N. Charleston)
From Garth Brooks and Earth, Wind, & Fire at the Coliseum to REO Speedwagon and The Head and the Heart (who I got to see this past Saturday!) at the Performing Arts Center, big names play here and pack the house.

Volvo Car Stadium (Daniel Island)
Outdoor venues in Charleston are a must and this intimate spot doesn't disappoint. The summer concerts are the absolute best (and the cicadas a little loud). The upcoming Jimmy Buffet show sold out in minutes. 

FESTIVALS/ SERIES:
High Water Music Festival
April 22 & 23, 2017
"Where Lowcountry culture meets a vibrant and diverse musical lineup at the waterfront just outside historic Charleston, SC." Lowcountry natives, Shovels and Rope, are hosting this music festival and making it very local friendly for vendors and attendees.

Spoleto Festival USA
May 26- June 11, 2017
"For 17 days and nights each spring, Spoleto Festival USA fills Charleston, South Carolina’s historic theaters, churches and outdoor spaces with performances by renowned artists as well as emerging performers in opera, theater, dance, and chamber, symphonic, choral and jazz music. Now approaching its 41st season, Spoleto Festival USA is internationally recognized as America’s premier performing arts festival."

Reggae Nights
Summer 2017
"The Reggae Nights Summer Concert Series at James Island County Park features traditional old school roots reggae with a new school attitude in a beautiful outdoor setting. Bring your chairs or blanket."


Looking to find out more about artists coming to town? Sign up for the eNews of some or all of the venues/festivals listed above to get notifications or search the hashtag #chsmusic. What's your favorite spot for tunes in the Lowcountry?

BONUS:

My mom singing to me in 1984. 

Bargain Shopping Lowcountry Style

Angela:

Emily and I love a good bargain, especially now that we are both moms. I discovered an entire new way of shopping when I was pregnant and was invited to attend the Charleston Repeats Sale (taking place again next weekend!) as a "New Mom."  Never again would I buy retail without thinking twice. With resources like ThredUp, OfferUp, Letgo and numerous other local, resale Facebook groups, rarely do I have to make a trip to a large retail store to make my purchases. I've bought everything second-hand, from maternity clothes and baby food, to floor lamps and baskets.

One of my favorite semi-annual sales, the Daniel Island Red Balloon Yard Sale, is quickly approaching. My girlfriends and I make an event of it. We leave our babies with their dads, meet before dawn, grab coffee and a biscuit, then begin the yard sale hunt. It's always fun to show off our goods at the end and decide who gets the "best bargain" bragging rights. 

I get excited about the semi/annual sale events, but for the day-to-day stuff, I often try to find it at a local resale shop first. I feel good about shopping second-hand because I am not only saving money, but also supporting local businesses.  

We've listed several of our favorite shopping spots below. 

For the kids:

Tiny Tadpoles is one of my favorite go-to shops on James Island.


Angels and Rascals in Mount Pleasant has an ever-changing inventory sure to please.


Charleston Repeats Sale is coming up March 9th-12th at the Omar Shrine Temple in Mount Pleasant.

In support of a cause:

Habit for Humanity ReStore has lots of great finds for those DIY projects around the house.

Animal Helpers Retail sale proceeds go to Pet Helpers to save animals in the Lowcountry.

 

Fashion and home finds:

Reinvented Upscale Resale is where I go for work attire and those staple closet pieces.

Worn. Consignment + Wear for Men is the place to send your man for an affordable wardrobe update.

Consign Charleston is hands down one of my favorite shopping spots! Find anything from designer clothing and jewelry, to furniture for the home.

Mt. Pleasant Mall in... you guessed it, Mt. Pleasant... is housed in an old furniture store and packed to the brim with impressive home items.

Other Events to check out:

Daniel Island Red Balloon Yard Sale
Whale of a Sale
That BIG Book Sale
Great Outdoor Gear Sale (James Island County Park)
Charleston Style Exchange

My husband requested that I be sure to add that McKevlins and Ocean Surf Shops have a great variety of used surf gear (I guess this is my hint).

Support local businesses by shopping resale instead of retail! Leave us a comment about where you like to bargain hunt. Even we haven't visited all of the great consignment shops around the Lowcountry.

Lowcountry Beer Is Here (Pt.2)

Trevor:

A lot has happened to the Lowcountry Beerscape since my last love letter. Can you believe 10 breweries have opened up?! Charleston City Paper follows the new arrivals, but Charlestonbrewerylist.com is even more on the up-and-up. There are a few breweries focused on distributing, but no tap rooms, just yet; Fatty’s Beer Works, Lo-Fi Brewing, Snafu Brewing, & Fat Pig Brewing. Snafu tap room is imminent. For the ones with open tap rooms NOW, keep reading:

Ghost Monkey
@ghostmonkeybrew | MAP
This nano is adjacent to the Wando Port Terminal on Long Point Road and their primate braincase is always howling for a pint. Garage doors are up in nice weather with music, food trucks, and a constantly rotating draft selection Thursday through Sunday. Special shoutout to the monkies for hosting Lowcountry Libation’s Colonial Cup Competition last year shortly before they opened their doors to the public.

Two Blokes
@twoblokesbrewing | MAP
Walk through the double entryway just off Long Point Road to find the Blokes’ Half Pints kids corner up front and a 7bbl brewhouse in back. Patrons, alewives (I'm referring to Emily, here), blokes, and lady blokes take refuge from the heat 7 days a week for a lineup of solid flagships and a steady drip of special releases.

Cooper River
@cooperbrewing | MAP
The shotgun style tap room near the “bridge to nowhere” runs parallel to the production floor. Gaze out through the glass with a pint in hand for a picturesque view of stainless brewery operations or chat with the Herron behind the bar. Find their warehouse 4 days a week for patio fun and food trucks to boot.

Low Tide
@lowtidebrewing | MAP
Open 5 days a week on Johns Island, this tap room has plenty of space indoors and out. Feed off their dozen beer offerings, plenty of food trucks, yoga and the natural beauty of the Island. Bring the dog and pick up an LT collar from their merch area.

Charles Towne Fermentory
@chsfermentory | MAP
Rustic meets fresh in this modestly sized Avondale tap room. You’ll find a small but distinctive tap list, with a healthy dose of hop haze for those who dig it. Go early with the kiddo before the crowd heats up 6 days a week.

Lagunitas Brewpub
#lagunitascharleston | MAP
Same vibe, different tastes from the old Southend location. Live music at 4:20pm every day to go with plenty of picnic style seating and hop forward favorites and seasonal brews. Grab some brewpub grub and chill.

What's your favorite new spot around town? Old favorite? 

Drink local, drink fresh! Cheers.

Bonus:
Thanks to my wife for carting us boys around for our field work on this post!

Favorite Food Truck Finds

Angela:

My husband and I have a running joke that we must lower our expectations for a delicious meal when we are vacationing because we may be disappointed when compared to dining in Charleston. In my opinion, we are spoiled here in the Lowcountry with the unbelievable amount of superb food available to us.

Some of my favorite bites of all time have happened in parking lots, on the side of a road, or in the heat of a summer farmer's market. I’m talking about food trucks. My very first weekend living here, friends invited me to tag along to a food truck rodeo. I had never heard of such a thing and was hooked from the very first bite.

In keeping with tradition, this weekend we attended the 6th Annual Food Truck Festival held in a new location in the Park Circle neighborhood of North Charleston. It was a little chilly for a Lowcountry winter day, but there was plenty of great food, drinks, and dancing to keep you warm.

Don’t miss the Johns Island Food Truck Festival event scheduled for February 11, 2017 or the Food Truck Rally 5k happening April 22, 2017.

If you’re not ready to try a food truck rodeo, start small by supporting the local truck parked in your office building parking lot for lunch one day. You can track your favorite trucks by following them on social media or by using trackers (like this Roaming Hunger tracker). You can also receive updates about events by ‘liking’ the Charleston Food Truck Federation Facebook page.

Holy City Sinner and Food Trucks In have provided a decent list of most of the food trucks in the area, but they are ever changing and often times you stumble upon something new to give a try when you least expect it. A few of our favorites (in no particular order):

Brava Bowls

Roti Rolls

Outta My Huevos

Short Grain

The Juice Joint

I’m not the only one raving over this trend, rumor is that a Food Truck O’Rama will be opening in the spring (a place where food trucks can park and patrons will have access to seating, a bar, and bathrooms). In addition, we are seeing a trend in pop-up shops such as Two Nixons. (Delicious!) 

Also consider hiring a food truck to cater your next big event, meeting, or even birthday party such as Dashi!

Last but not least, a BIG shout-out to Dunes Properties colleague and food truck owner Jared Maus. Check out his truck, the Immortal Lobster, for an unbelievably delicious lobster roll (oddly enough, the Connecticut Roll was one of my pregnancy cravings)!

Idea Alert: If anyone would like to start a Poutine Food Truck, I promise to be a loyal customer! Tell us what food trucks you would like to see in the Lowcountry in our comments section.

Self Discovery & Care in the New Year

Emily:

This past week, I read an entire book, mostly in one day. Not a children's book, but a 300+ page fiction novel. This is quite the achievement for my new mom status. Finishing that book did not come without guilt. The dishwasher really needed to be unloaded, the dog walked, notes needed to be put together from my 8 showings earlier in the week, and there was an email from my broker I needed to follow up on. Truly, the list goes on and on, so why not pause, decide what can wait (I mean, the baby has to be fed), and take some time for yourself? Below are some ideas on how to concentrate on your self care for the New Year. 

THE GIVEN
If you're reading this post to be encouraged to get your nails or hair done, get a massage or head to a yoga class, go for it, but the suggestions below are a little more outside of the box. I'm sure someday in the next couple of years, I'll have a few hours to spend at Earthling Day Spa and it will be fabulous. 

GET OUTSIDE
If you live in the Lowcountry, you have access to some of the country's best county parks and beaches. On the days I only have 30 minutes to spare, I tend to take a stroll around our neighborhood. It's the ultimate mood changer and especially rewarding now that my husband and I both have a FitBit (thanks, Santa). Our dog doesn't mind it and it's a major calming resource for the baby. Recently, I discovered a hiking group called Hike It Baby and once my little is old enough, I'd really like to try out Loblolly Adventures

 Our littles, Ruby and Grant, enjoying Hampton Park in downtown Charleston

Our littles, Ruby and Grant, enjoying Hampton Park in downtown Charleston

LISTEN TO PODCASTS
For the busiest of people, a podcast is always a good idea. We're all in the car on and off throughout the week, so why not use that time to listen to a 30 minute segment on your hobby or lose your mind in fiction? Serial was a big hit a couple of years ago, but I've been sucked into Limetown, Presidential, TED Radio Hour, and Love + Radio. The lists for good podcasts go on and on. The library also has free downloadable audiobooks through the Overdrive and Hoopla.

GO TO THE LIBRARY
Speaking of books; When is the last time you went into a library and got lost for a while? One of my favorite activities is to walk to the New Book section in my local library branch and leave with a few, free to check out, non-fiction books to leave laying around the house. Do I really need to own The Tao of Bill Murray? Probably not, but it is fun to pick up and read a few lines when I have a moment or two to spare. Commit to spending 20 minutes walking around the library (apply for your library card online). It's mind-opening. If you're lucky, the bread making book you bring home for your husband might turn into his newest hobby that will keep an endless supply of baked goods in your home. 

DISCOVER NEW FOOD
Which leads us to cooking. Full disclaimer; Cooking is not my thing. Sure, I can bake a pre-made mix with the best of them and my mom's recipe for potato salad is a real winner, but it's not something that calms me. That being said, eating good food does heal me. Some days good food is comfort food and others it's a big, fresh plate of veggies, but either way, staying nourished is a good way to care for yourself. The library has an endless selection of cookbooks and our favorite time-sucker, Pinterest, still has all those recipes you saved back in 2013. We're lucky to live in a place that supports many farmer's markets and farms. Buy a veggie you've never cooked with before (watermelon radishes, anyone?) or stop at the farm stand you've been passing for years.

SLEEP WHEN YOU CAN
Rest doesn't come as easy for me as sleep. The day before I went into labor was spent at a nearly two hour yoga class after cleaning up one of my listing's back yards from Hurricane Matthew. These days, when my son goes to sleep, the electronic devices and lights get turned off and I commit to getting in as many hours of sleep in as I can. All these phone and computer items I've suggested above? Well, there's a time to stop. Tonight, pay attention to how long you spend doing unnecessary phone scrolling instead of sleeping. If there's anything motherhood has taught me in these first couple of months, it's that I can be incredibly unpleasant without sleep. Need something to keep you focused on cutting screen time? Try the app Moment.

BE YOUR BEST SELF/MOM
Since both becoming moms this year, Angela and I have both discovered a few resources to help along the way. Local entrepreneur (and friend), Gervase Kolmos, runs Shiny Happy Human, an online and in-person resource to moms. The Facebook group makes me laugh on a daily basis and helps me feel sane in this motherhood ride that somedays threatens to steal every brain cell I've worked so hard to cultivate. Posts on MotherMag and PopSugar Moms also help to relinquish some of the squishy brain functions. Alone time is absolutely necessary, so why not check out a morning program once or twice a week for those kiddos that aren't in school yet?

@gervasekolmos

What are some of your favorite things to do to encourage self-care? 

Wishing you great health and happiness in 2017!

 

Lowcountry Love Letters Official Instagram

We've come a long way over the past two years! As we gear up to start another year of Lowcountry Love Letters, we wanted to share a new way to follow our adventures; through our Instagram account @LowcountryLoveLetters.

We'd also like to encourage you, our friends and followers, to document your Lowcountry experiences by using the #LowcountryLoveLetters hashtag. Who knows? Maybe we'll feature one of your photos on our account!

You can check out more of photos past by searching #LowcountryLoveLetters and don't forget to follow @LowcountryLoveLetters for blog post updates, listing/home-buying photos, and generally gorgeous photos of the must-see Lowcountry.

From our families to yours, Happy Holidays!

Lowcountry Gift Guide 2016

Yes, we know it's hard to believe that the holidays are already upon us, but have no fear. We're providing our second annual gift guide below, featuring great gift ideas for under $50. Last year's gift guide has held the test of time, with items from Rewined Candles and King of Pops, so feel free to trek back for additional ideas.

3 Little Beads Oyster Pendant, $52 (ok, just over $50!)
Known for their original painted oyster pendant, this company describes their designs as delicately fierce handcrafted jewelry.  | Online Shop

Bittermilk, $20
Hand-crafted cocktail mixer compounds | Retailers

Bulls Bay Saltworks Gift Box, $30
Salt, sustainably harvested from Bulls Bay | Retailers

Callie’s Hot Little Biscuits, $40
Carrie Morey founded Callie’s Charleston Biscuits in 2005 with the goal of making the tender, buttery, made-by-hand biscuits of her mother accessible across the country | Retailers

Cirsea Ice Cream Pint Club Connosiuer, $50
Eclectic ice cream flavors made by hand | Retailers

Color Coloring Book Bundle, $30
Celebrate the unique qualities of Charleston and use your imagination to add in the real energy of these special places - the people! - as you color the town | Online Shop

CSA Gift Card, All prices
Give the gift of local fruits and veggies with a gift card for any amount to one of the local Community Supported Agriculture groups in the Lowcountry, like Ambrose Family Farm or Boone Hall Farm. | CSA List

Fiber Art Workshop Woven Wall Hanging, $42
Handmade weavings, felted wildflower arrangements and terrariums, and felted jewelry | Online Shop

Firefly White Lightening Moonshine, $20
Firefly Distillery is located on Wadmalaw Island, South Carolina, thirty miles south of Charleston. It is the largest distillery in the state and has become a top destination in the Charleston area. We recommend visiting the distillery to pick this gift up and staying for a tasting. | Distillery or local liquor stores

Geechie Boy Mill Holiday Breakfast Sampler, $50
On their Edisto Island farm, the Johnsmans, owners of Geechie Boy Grits, operate historic working mills, creating grits used in the country’s finest restaurants, includingJames Beard award-winning chefs in nearby Charleston and around the nation.  | Retailers

Heritage by Sean Brock, $25
In Chef Brock’s much-anticipated first cookbook, this James Beard Award-winning chef presents all of the sublime dishes that have made him one of our country’s most acclaimed chefs | Local bookstore or Amazon

Mac & Murphy Gift Card, $50
Card and accessories gift shop located in the Cannonborough neighborhood | Online Shop

Nostalgic Graphic Shrimp Boat Children's Tee, $31
Vintage inspired tees that capture the memorable moments of childhood | Retailers

Peninsula Grill Coconut Cake, $12 per slice or $130 for full cake (16 servings)
With its twelve towering layers of delicious, Southern perfection, the Peninsula Grill Ultimate Coconut Cake® caused a sensation when it first appeared on the Peninsula Grill menu Valentine's Day 1997. Praise from Bon Appétit, Saveur, Martha Stewart Living, The New York Times, TODAY Show, and Vogue—in addition to other esteemed culinary and travel media outlets, made the fresh vanilla and coconut infused dessert famous. | Online Shop or Peninsula Grill

So Twisted Up Headband, $12
Headbands and wraps with fun colors and designs that stay on securely with a "hidden" wire | Online Shop

Suite 33 Cosmetic Case, $45
Designer, Emily Papuga has created a collection of throw pillows and accessories using patterns inspired by iconic places and pieces of our #1 city. | Online Shop

Sweeteeth Chocolates, $6-$8
Sweeteeth creates artisan chocolates using traditional, handcrafted techniques. Their operation in North Charleston, is devoted to the small-batch production of finely crafted chocolate bars and bon-bons, with an emphasis on high-quality chocolate couverture and innovative flavor pairings. | Email sweeteeth@evopizza.com or spot them at many different food spots like Ted's Butcherblock or Caviar & Bananas

What's your favorite gift to give from the Lowcountry? Does you family have a tradition of giving certain gifts each year?

Buy Local Block Party 2016- Meet the Vendors

It's hard for us to believe that it's been a year since we hosted the Buy Local Block Party with Lowcountry Local First. This year, their amazing staff and planning volunteers have curated the vendors on their own and have given us a sneak peak into what's to come. See below for all the important details:

FROM LOWCOUNTRY LOCAL FIRST
The Buy Local Block Party brings community members and local merchants together for a one-of-a-kind fundraiser and social event that highlights locally-owned, independent businesses with live music, local artists, indie retailers, farm stand, kids activities, and of course LOCAL food, beverages and beer garden. Just in time for all your holiday shopping, we're curating 40+ vendors featuring local makers, artists, and craftspeople, celebrating the great things that are made, produced and grown in the Lowcountry.

DETAILS
Buy Local Block Party
Saturday, November 12
1630 Meeting Street, 29405
11AM-4PM
Photos from last year's fun

TIPS

  • Bring Cash – Just in case. Many of the vendors accept cards, but sometimes the wi-fi connection runs slow. 
  • Come Hungry – LLF will have plenty of food and drink available from various local vendors along with a local farm stand hosted by LLF's Growing New Farmers program and Lowcountry Street Grocery
  • Pace Yourself – Shop for yourself, or pick up some great gifts for the holidays, with items unique to Charleston that are truly one-of-a-kind finds.
  • Take a Business Card – Most of the vendors have shops online, so be sure to grab their business cards in case you would like a different item, size, shape, color, etc. They may have additional goods online or be open to custom orders.
  • Tickets- Buy ahead of time or pick up day of for $10. Kids 12 and under are free.
  • RSVP- Check out the Facebook event page to stay up-to-date on all the details.

VENDORS

Breton Trading Co.
Ansley Elizabeth Designs
Fiber Art Workshop
Laura Jane Louise Designs
Nostalgic Graphic Tees
Tremundo
LeBon Designs
A Frock To Remember Vintage
Supermassive Textiles
circa1910
Queenly Artistry
Sawdust Wood Co.
Inspired by Stephanie Rose
So Twisted Up
Surcee Jewelry
SheSells Candles
Hemming Birds
Red Rose Vintage
Mad Made Metals
bareforms
Charleston Map Jewelry
The Spice and The Spoon
Moon Bath Botanicals
pH reclaimed
Origin Acres
The Contents Co.
Alison Brynn Ross Illustration & Design
JUST WATCH ME
Hunter Brookes
Bulls Bay Saltworks
Sea+Stone Jewelry
On A Wire Handmade Jewelry
J. Stark
Olinda Olives and Olive Oil
Pure Fluff Co.
Burnt and Salty
Brooke Wilder Atelier
JoJo Rings
The Vinyl Countdown
Mantras in Bloom
Miss Maddies
8 Petals Design

IMG_0178.JPG

(L to R): Ansley Elizabeth Designs, Fiber Art Workshop, Laura Jane Louise Designs, Nostalgic Graphic Tees, Tremundo, LeBon Designs, A Frock To Remember Vintage, Supermassive Textiles, circa1910

IMG_0179.JPG

(L to R): Queenly Artistry, Sawdust Wood Co., Inspired by Stephanie Rose, So Twisted Up, Surcee Jewelry, SheSells Candles, Hemming Birds, Red Rose Vintage, Mad Made Metals

IMG_0180.JPG

(L to R): bareforms, Charleston Map Jewelry, The Spice and The Spoon, Moon Bath Botanicals, pH reclaimed, The Contents Co., Alison Brynn Ross Illustration & Design, JUST WATCH ME, Hunter Brookes

IMG_0181.JPG

(L to R): Bulls Bay Saltworks, Sea+Stone Jewelry, On A Wire Handmade Jewelry, J. Stark, Olinda Olives and Olive Oil, Pure Fluff Co., Burnt and Salty, Brooke Wilder Atelier, JoJo Rings

 (L to R): The Vinyl Countdown, Miss Maddies, 8 Petals Design

(L to R): The Vinyl Countdown, Miss Maddies, 8 Petals Design

What vendor are you most looking forward to? How do you like to Buy Local in Charleston?

Literary Lowcountry

Emily:

Fall in the Lowcountry. My favorite time of year. Not just because of the cooler temps that are upon us, but also because it's when That BIG Book Sale takes place. The Charleston Friends of the Library fundraiser hosts more than 60,000 books for children and adults, along with DVDs and other specialty items. Today, we're focusing on some items you might pick up at the sale to learn more about the Lowcountry, or engulf yourself in a fictional tale taking place in this place we love so much.

We encourage you to seek out all of the following books at the sale, October 14-16 at the Omar Shrine Auditorium, or your local bookstore, like Blue Bicycle Books on King Street or Mr. K's Used Books in N. Charleston. Most of these titles are available for free at your local Charleston County Public Library branch.

Books With Charleston in the Title (click on the images for details):

Looking for that perfect beach read? We have our share of authors that base their fictional stories in Charleston, as well.

Popular Fiction Authors:
Dorothea Benton Frank
Pat Conroy
Karen White
Mary Alice Monroe

Below are some other Charleston book lists we'll explore further in future posts:

Poetry

  Poetry-   Marcus Amaker

Poetry- Marcus Amaker

Cookbooks

Guide Books

  Guide Book -  Wildsam

Guide BookWildsam

What are some of your favorite Charleston books or authors? If you've attended That BIG Book Sale before, what's been your favorite find?
 

Shem Creek Staples

Emily:

Shem Creek holds a special place in my Lowcountry heart. When I first moved to town, I lived a few blocks away in the neighborhood, Bayview Acres, and would walk my puppy (now 6 year old nap frequenter) to the pier. Since then, they’ve revitalized the docks and pier, added new walkways, restaurants, and one honking parking garage (that we won’t dwell on because it doesn’t make anyone happy).

This coming weekend, two of my good friends (and clients) will tie the knot on Shem Creek at the beautiful venue, Cottage on the Creek. In preparation for their nuptials and out of town guests, I thought I’d prepare a little bit of history and entertainment on the locale.

History
For a full history, visit this article by our local East of the Cooper newspaper, Moultrie News. Excerpt:

"Today picturesque docks, any manner of pleasure boats and net-draped shrimp boats make this Mount Pleasant creek one of the most scenic and popular spots in the Lowcountry. Restaurants on both sides of the creek offer both superb seafood and up-close-and-personal views at the nature of the creek itself. Kayakers and paddleboarders navigate the creek's narrow waters side-by-side with schools of porpoise and armadas of pelicans, making it a busy creek for both man and wildlife.

The creek's name derives from the Sewee Native American word “shemee,” but whether that was the name of a tribe who lived along the banks or the name they gave to the creek itself is undetermined."

Food & Drink
Tavern & Table
The newest spot on the creek has fancy cocktails, Southern comfort food, and plenty of space for larger groups. Valet parking for the win. I once saw Tara Lapiniski there!

@tavernandtable

Red's Ice House
Two stories high, the buckets of beer are flowing late night and on sunny afternoons, where you can bring your furry friend. Check out any boats docking outside, they may be bringing in some fish that you can watch them measure and clean from a few feet away.

@redsicehouse

R.B.'s Seafood
To be fair, I've only dined here once, but it looks like they have pretty great happy hour specials throughout the week on both food and drink. They've been in business since 1979, after a fire setback in 2002, they reopened bigger and better in 2003.

Shem Creek Bar & Grill
Lunch, brunch, happy hour, dinner- they've got it all. This spot is on the opposite side of the creek from the aforementioned, but you'll enjoy their gorgeous view just as much, and it might be less crowded.

@shemcreekbarandgrill

Vickery's Bar & Grill
This is as close to the dock revitalization as you'll get, along with a stunning sunset view. One of my favorite memories in Charleston was hanging out by their downstairs bar with friends, listening to live reggae. 

Water's Edge
You want me to talk about a brunch? Oh, I'll talk about brunch (says the nearly 9 months pregnant lady). The brunch buffet (Sundays, 10am-3pm) at this Shem Creek staple is one of my top 3 in the Lowcountry. Fresh omelets, crab cake benedicts, shrimp & grits, and more grace the buffet. Don't miss the Bloody Mary bar with garnishes that take up a whole table. 

The Shelter Kitchen & Bar
Just across the street and on the corner, you'll find Mt. Pleasant's favorite late night spot. They frequently have live music and a DJ on Saturday nights. Their burgers aren't half bad, either. Try the Early Bird.

The Wreck
You want a real, local hideaway? Look no further than The Wreck, a little ways down the creek from R.B.'s, but worth the trek, if only to check out its notable history and how it got it's name. They don't take reservations and run a pretty lax schedule on operating hours, so it's good to call ahead. Come hungry for seafood galore.

Recreation
Palmetto Breeze
If you're looking to sail away for a two hour tour (this isn't Gilligan's Island, they'll bring you back), this 100 passenger vessel is great for groups or a date night. At $20/ person, they have a different deal and schedule for each day, but you'll want to schedule ahead of time, as they book quickly. Dunes Properties had a great time last year on a company outing and have another one planned in a couple of weeks.

Coastal Expeditions
You've heard me sing their praises before, but I don't mind doing it again. Their kayak tours are a favorite of visitors and locals alike. Their guides can't be matched. Get the camera out, you'll look like a professional when you show your friends what you got to see.

@coastalexpeditions

Nature Adventure Outfitters
This is where I had my first paddle boarding experience, and yes, you should be sad you missed the show. However, the diners at Red's always have a great view, as you can watch first-timers and pros manage their paddleboards, kayaks, and canoes from the dock across the way.

Other
LodgingShem Creek Inn
Fresh Seafood- Mt. Pleasant Seafood, Magwood Seafood

Congratulations to the future Mr. and Mrs.! I promise to not give birth at your wedding, so long as you provide me with an endless supply of shrimp and grits.

Farewell Summer: Labor Day To-Do List

Angela:

Summer is nearing its end and the relentless heat is subsiding (just barely). The end of summer means different things to different people. To parents, it’s that busy time that the kids go back to school. To the kids, it’s the bittersweet end of break freedom. To everyone else, it's the end of a glorious summer.  The last days of summer are marked by the Labor Day holiday weekend and we've made a list of things to-do to end summer with a bang! If you're planning to move here or have recently relocated, you'll notice there's never a day your calendar can't be filled with something fun! (Note: Be sure to read to the end for our giveaway!)

Labor Day Weekend To-Dos:

I'm planning to spend at least part of my holiday weekend on the beach. One of the best parts about living in Charleston is that there's always a beach nearby!
Photo: @angelawicke

Get your tickets to the 8th Greater Lowcountry Jazz Festival, September 2-4.
Photo: @lowcountryjazzfest

Set sail on the Palmetto Breeze, Friday, September 2nd for the Firefly Friday Charleston Harbor Sunset Sail benefiting the Susan G. Komen foundation.
Photo: @palmetto_breeze

You don’t want to miss the Labor Day weekend fireworks on Folly Beach, September 4th at 9 p.m. near 3rd Block West.
Photo: @edgeofamerica

IMG_0188.JPG

Other upcoming Lowcountry events to check out:

Photo: @chasriverdogs

As always, the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau has a great ongoing calendar here

*Now for the giveaway- Leave a comment with your favorite Lowcountry Labor Day activity for a chance to win two free general admission Riverdogs tickets to this season's last regularly scheduled game on Thursday, September 1 at 6:35 p.m. Giveaway ends Wednesday, August 31 at 12 p.m.

 

Gettin' Buggy With It

Emily:

Ah, summer in the South. Hot days, hopefully spent by the water somewhere with a refreshing drink, good reading material and company, and a hefty breeze. Some days, I get to live this relaxing description of life. Others, I’m out exploring new homes with clients, in and out of an air conditioned car, and if we’re lucky- air conditioned homes. This time last year, I was showing homes to clients from out of town, where the power had been turned off, due to no one living in the home. Oh, the audacity! Not that I want to pay that electric bill, either (Pro-tip: It will help you sell your home faster, if it’s on and working well). What did many of these homes, and many others around the Lowcountry, host? Bugs. 

Grossed out? Don't worry, no actual images of bugs ahead. Not to go all Forrest Gump on you, but we have palmetto bugs (yes, they’re different from cockroaches), cicadas, mosquitos, termites, and no-see-ums, to mention a few. Move along if you’d like*, but it’s a fact of Lowcountry life. So much so, that we have a jewelry line designed around the palmetto bugs, the Goldbug Collection, by the oldest family-owned jewelry store in Charleston, Croghan's Jewel Box. And it’s cute. And I own the crest ring. Those clients from out of town were introduced to a palmetto bug that had seen better days, while I showed off my ring and how we embrace our buggy friends.

Follow @croghans:

Nearly a decade ago, I had my first experience with a palmetto bug. I was visiting South Carolina for the weekend, walked into a friend’s bathroom, and found one dead on the floor. Oh, bless their heart, I thought. I couldn’t dare mention it, thinking I’d be critiquing their cleaning skills. Now I know, clean or not, your home is going to have a surprise friend from time to time. Sure, there are ways to keep your home ‘bug lite’ with exterminators I could recommend from around town or some homemade remedies. It’s even required by most loan under-writers to get a CL-100, a termite clearance letter, before buying your home.

The musical artist, Ben Folds, knows about bugs in the South. Just last month, my husband and I were at his show with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, when he stopped mid-song and said, “What the hell is that noise?”. And everyone replied like true South Carolinians, “Cicadas!”. And so he composed a song about them, right on the spot (full of colorful language, so beware).

We have a state bird, reptile, spider, dog, duck, and fish. I hereby declare palmetto bugs our state bug. 

What ways have you seen the Lowcountry embrace our bugginess? These engagement party invites from Ink Meets Paper, a local letterpress shop, are modern and fun.

@inkmeetspaper

*Of note: I am not afraid of bugs, snakes, or many things in general, but put a clown in front of me and I will lose it.

Beat the Lowcountry Heat

Angela:

I have a serious case of the summer heat blues and with a new little one on my hip, getting out and about is nearly impossible. A few weeks ago we posted Charleston Magazine’s “Explore: A Cooler Walk in the City” guide to our Facebook page and it motivated me to find fun activities (read: activities that take place in air-conditioning) that would get me and baby out of the house.

I started by researching activities that I enjoyed pre-baby to see if I could find anything that would be baby inclusive. I started to create my list of things to do and to my surprise it grew long!  Here are a few of my favorite ways to beat the summer heat with baby in tow:

The Yoga House of Charleston’s Love, Baby & Momma class is a great way to stretch and bond with baby all while beating that heat! Don’t worry if little one has a melt-down, it’s all peace and love in this safe space.

Follow @yogahousecharleston on Instagram:

Terrace Theater Lowcountry Parent Family Film Series happens every Wednesday at 11am throughout the summer and kids under 10 are free!  Best part is that they serve wine and gelato so you can spend the extra cash that you saved on your little one’s ticket on “mommy juice.”

The Charleston County Public Library offers numerous activities and events for all ages!  We have enjoyed the Babygarten at our local James Island Library branch each Wednesday.

The South Carolina Aquarium offers daily programs and events sure to keep everyone entertained. They offer a stellar membership benefit package that makes it affordable for the entire family.

Follow @southcarolinaaquarium on Instagram:

And of course we had to list The Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry!  Check out their upcoming events and family membership package options. BONUS: If you purchase a CML membership, you also get a discount on your SC Aquarium membership!

Follow @explorecml on Instagram:

And if you don’t have to worry about a little one, but just want to stay cool, these could be fun options:

Opt for a therapeutic massage with Michael N. Livingston, LMT at Live for Wellness Chiropractic Center. He’s not your typical masseur and he will leave you feeling relaxed and refreshed. Plus while you are there, why not get an adjustment from Dr. Jen Perdue?

Oh to be baby free for a day; I might check out one of the many classes offered at the Gibbes Museum of Art. They offer a variety of classes and programs for all ages and skill levels. They also recently went through a major renovation, which has been gaining praise from locals and visitors alike.

Follow @thegibbesmuseum on Instagram:

If you have to be outside and you’re looking to cool off, check out one of the many Charleston County Water Parks.  Choose from Splash Zone, Splash Island, or Whirlin’ Waters. Get your Splash Pass to save on entry fees all summer long.  

Follow @charlestoncountyparks on Instagram:

Drop us a comment to tell us how you plan to beat the summer heat, and be sure to stay cool out there my friends!