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 Rainy Day Plans

Sure, today may be sunny and nearing 85 degrees, but these past few weeks have also been peppered with thunderstorms and tropical storm warnings. Wondering what to do when you’re faced with rain as a local or visitor? Below are some default rainy day plans for all.

Get Active
Being indoors doesn't limit you to sitting down in the Lowcountry. Velocity Air Sports (N. Chs) and SkyZone Trampoline Park (Mt. P) are two great options for all ages.

@skyzonecharleston

Catch a Flick
If you're a local, it's likely you spend less time at the movies in Charleston that you have anywhere else you've ever lived. There's simply too much going on! But really, it's a shame because we have great theaters like Cinebarre (Mt. P), where you can dine and view, and the Terrace Theater (James Isl.) that hosts some less accessible films in a beautiful building.

Take a Drive
Yes, we prefer to view window boxes and The Battery on foot, but think of how much ground you can cover in your car. Make a game out of it for the whole family; How many different color homes do you see? What is the purpose of those cement boxes on all the streets? What year do you think the homes were built?

@dunesproperties

Exercise Your Brain
Being a city, we're fortunate to have attractions like the Gibbes Museum of Art (Downtown) and the Charleston Museum (Downtown). The South Carolina Aquarium (Downtown) is another hot spot for education on conservation and seeing some aquatic friends. The Yorktown at Patriots Point (Mt. P) is another viable option, if you don't melt from the run from car to the museum.

@thegibbesmuseum

@southcarolinaaquarium

Freshen Up as a Foodie
You'll spend a good part of your time in the Lowcountry indulging on delicious cuisine, so why not learn how to prepare your own at home? In the Kitchen With Chef Bob Waggoner (Downtown).

Entertain by Theatre
Our city is home to a plethora of theaters that feature many different genres of performance. Check out The Dock Street Theatre (Charleston Stage), Woolfe Street Playhouse, Pure Theatre and Black Fedora Mystery Theatre (All Downtown). Looking for a laugh? Theatre 99 (Downtown) absolutely never disappoints.

@theatre99

Become a Kid Again
When's the last time you flexed your pinball fingers? The Alley (Downtown) is not only popular for bowling; their arcade games are a strong draw with options like Ms. Pac-Man, Mortal Combat, and a personal favorite, Skee Ball.

@thealleychas

Photo by:  Ridiculously Photogenic Photography by Will B. King    @riphopho

Photo by: Ridiculously Photogenic Photography by Will B. King @riphopho

And since it is so gorgeous outside today, here's Charleston Magazine's Summer Guide for 24 hours of outdoor fun to entertain you for now.

Where do you like to spend your rainy days in the Lowcountry?

A Love Letter from Kristen Cobb

Kristen:

In May 2008, my then boyfriend (now my ride or die, hubby, Walker) and I graduated from the fabulous, beautiful College of Charleston and packed up his 1997 Tacoma truck with a suitcase full of clothes, climbing and Ultimate Frisbee gear and our 2 fur babies to head out West. Charleston had been good to us, but we had the itch for travel and adventures. Little did we know how this big adventure would drastically change our lives. After 3 months of living the dream of climbing, playing Ultimate every day, and hiking I had this feeling that I needed to take a test to determine our next move. This test: First Response. And as soon as those two little lines appeared, our lives were positively changed forever. Two, wild at heart, hippies, that couldn't seem to keep a plant alive for more than 2 days, were going to be parents. Excuse me, what? Now instead of deciding of what sick, new mountain to climb or what Ultimate tournament to go to we had to decide on the best place to raise our “Cobblet” (as we came to call her); Boulder or Charleston. It did not take more than 10 minutes before we looked at each other and said in unison, "Charleston". Walker's mom and our amazing college friends lived in Charleston and my family was only 3 hours away in Charlotte. Growing up, we both loved the idea of living at the beach. Fast forward 8 years, with another beautiful Cobblet added to our line-up, and hundreds of life experiences under our belt, we know we made the right decision. Charleston is simply the best place to start and raise a family. Not only is it a beautiful place to live, but this city is more than that, it is a community that loves and supports each other. 

Walker and Kristen, being fancy at a wedding last year

Walker and Kristen, being fancy at a wedding last year

Our Cobblets, 2 beautiful girls, Brooklyn (7) and Hadley (almost 6), are perhaps the luckiest and most loved children in Charleston, better yet, the world. My girls have the best family and extended family one could ask for (Charleston Ultimate Frisbee community). Not only do these girls have an awesome support system but they live in a city with a different beach to choose from every weekend day and endless activities to keep their minds growing. Some of our favorites:

These girls have not 1, but 3 beaches within 15 miles of their backyard. Our favorite beach is Sullivan's Island. Sullivan's Island is also where Walker and I said “I do” in front of mating dolphins (sound clip here), family, and friends. Perhaps our favorite part of Sullivan’s is Station 30. This is where my girls first felt sand in their toes, got taken out by their first wave, picked up jellyfish, and practiced their swimming.

Babies at the beach

Babies at the beach

Cobblets after a day on Sullivan's Island

Cobblets after a day on Sullivan's Island

Aside from the beaches, Charleston has many museums, plantations, parks and tours to educate and entertain your children. From Magnolia Plantation to Charlestowne Landing to McLeod Plantation to the Charleston Museum to the Yorktown to Fort Moultrie and many more. Our family favorites include but are not limited to Boone Hall Plantation, Waterfront Park, and the Children's Museum of the Lowcountry.

Boone Hall Plantation offers many fun activities throughout the year. Our favorites are the Lowcountry Oyster Roast, strawberry festival and the Pumpkin Patch/Fright Nights. The Strawberry Festival and the Pumpkin Patch offer so many activities from trail rides, 3-story slides, jump pillows, petting zoos, local foods to try, and so much more.

Waterfront Park is nestled right under the Ravenel Bridge with beautiful views of downtown, the Yorktown and water. Besides having a great playground there is a huge field for families to have picnics, throw a frisbee, or kick a soccer ball. The park also offers a pier for fishing, sitting on porch swings, a monument to our Veterans in the Lowcountry, and a shop where you can buy souvenirs, sandwiches and most importantly it has soft-serve ice cream, a Cobblet favorite.

The Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry is a non-profit organization in the heart of downtown and offers a wide range of creative things for children of all ages to get in to, even babies. For the first couple of years of my girls life, we spent many days there hanging with friends learning and exploring our imaginations. And during the summers when school is out, the Children’s Museum offers a great summer camp for kids ages 3-10 from Jedi Training to Iron Chef to Harry Potter and so much more!

A young, Brooklyn, at the Children's Museum of the Lowcountry

A young, Brooklyn, at the Children's Museum of the Lowcountry

Making that decision in 2008 to move back to Charleston turned out to be the best idea we ever had and probably the best thing we could have done for our girls. The Cobblets are growing into curious, caring, active, supportive, and driven individuals and we have to say that along with our parenting and framily (friends + family), the Charleston community has had a big impact and we are so thankful.

 

Bio (by Emily):
Kristen lives in Mt. Pleasant with her husband, Walker, the Cobblets, and their fur baby, BoBerry (like the biscuit). This month, she is graduating Magna Cum Laude from the MUSC Accelerated Program with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Just last week, she passed her boards. In her free time, she can be found playing Ultimate Frisbee or completing a marathon or triathlon.

Kristen and friends at a Triathlon 

Kristen and friends at a Triathlon