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!
 

 

A Love Letter for Tater Burney-Wicke

David Wicke:

This past weekend, I had to say goodbye to one of my best friends and beloved family member.  It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do.

I met Tater "Buzz" Burney-Wicke over 4 years ago when Angela and I began our relationship.  I had set my jacket down on the couch and Tater hopped up, laid down in it and promptly went to sleep.  Normally, very territorial, Angela was surprised Tater was so comfortable with my presence.  Never once did he snap at me.  He was always tolerant of guests after some initial barking and sniffs, but he instantly liked me and would nuzzle up to me.  The affection was mutual.  Angela once told me that Tater was a major factor in deciding to be with me.  If Tater didn't like me, then I just wasn't good enough. She also told me that she thought I married her to be closer to Tater.  I'm a lucky man that the both of them decided to keep me.  

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Over the years, we went on many travels.  He would hike with us on Hunting Island, comb the beaches on Dewee's Island and Folly Beach, and James Island County Park.  He loved walking through Hampton Park and Downtown Charleston and especially around our neighborhood in Riverland Terrace.  We would take him to visit Angela's parents in North Carolina and my parents in Goose Creek.  He wasn't the quickest dog to walk with, though. Every ten feet, he had to mark his territory.  Tater would turn a 10-minute walk into an hour., but it was worth it to see his happy little tail wag back and forth.

Tater at his Riverland Terrace homestead

Tater at his Riverland Terrace homestead

For a man who loves the water so much, I was a little disappointed that Tater wasn't a water dog but, I think I understand.  Tater was so fiercely loyal and protective, he would literally drown himself trying to rescue you from the water.  Bath time wasn't his favorite, either, but he loved to be chased afterward.

Angela and Tater on Dewees Island

Angela and Tater on Dewees Island

We would often fall asleep and take naps together on the couch.  Sometimes, he would sleep next to my face and let one rip.  Oh so polite, that little guy.  He loved being chased throughout the house ending with belly rubs.  Sometimes, we would search the house for him only to find him curled up in our laundry.  If we ever had to leave him at a family or friend's house, we would leave one of my recently worn shirts in his bed.  He felt more comfortable that way.

Tater was a very punctual dog, too.  Each morning at 7, he would let us know it was time to get up.  At 4pm, he would be by the door, letting Angela know that I was on the way home.  At 5pm, I would come home and he would be under foot, ready to greet me. 6pm was dinner time and at 9pm, it was back to bed.  And if we didn't go to bed? He would get up every few minutes to let us know, "It's bedtime!".

Sometimes, if he was sick or scared, I would stay up all night with him, even on a work night.  I was never angry, I only wanted him to be comforted.  It worked both ways, too. He was there to comfort me on my not so great days.

In the past year, things took a turn.  Tater's heart was failing.  It was becoming too big for his body.  It's called dilated cardiomyopathy.  Pushing against his trachea, he struggled for breath sometimes.  Eventually, it became a chronic cough because it was the only way he could breath, if he became too excited (which was always around me).  It was hard, but he was still happy.  We could still walk through the neighborhood and I could still chase him around the house.

With this past year, we added another member to our family, little Ruby.  While Tater was never playful with Ruby, he didn't mind her either.  And Ruby was enraptured with Tater.  She wanted nothing more to pet Tater, her older "brother".  Some days, he would actually let her.  As she began to learn how to crawl, Tater would always stay just out of reach.  Now, Ruby can race along pretty well.  I think she learned faster than normal with Tater motivating her.  I'd also like to think that his heart got so big because it was so full of love for our family.

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This weekend, Tater lost his appetite.  It was surprising because he was always a big fan of my cooking.  Soon, he couldn't walk for very long.  We took him to the emergency vet.  It was a whirlwind of bad news.  We could tell he was in pain and exhausted at this point.  So, Angela and I made the decision to make his last moments as comfortable as possible with the family he loved so much.  With Tater in both Angela's and my hands, we had to say goodbye to our dear family member, our "son".  Four years was not enough for me and fifteen years was not enough for Angela.

I tell you Tater's story, not because I want you to be sad, but because I want you to know the love we knew by being Tater's family.  It may seem ridiculous to those of you without a pet, but knowing Tater's unconditional love is important.  Even as my keyboard is dotted with tears of sorrow and joy, I want you to feel at least a little of that love.

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We're coming up on the holidays which is a special time of year that we spend with family, friends and loved ones.  So here are a few tips for those of you who will be around your four-legged friends:

- Beware of poultry and pork bones as treats.  They can splinter, become sharp and damage the esophagus, stomach and intestines of your animals.  Cooked beef bones are best.

- During celebrations, loud noises and bright lights can frighten your animals.  Make sure you keep track of them during the use of fireworks and such.  More dogs get lost during 4th of July and New Year's than any other time of year.

- If you are planning on getting a pet for your family this holiday season, check out the local shelters, first.  There are a lot of wonderful animals waiting to be loved and join you for your adventures in the next decade plus.

Thank you for listening to my story.  Thank you Tater for being such a fierce warrior, loyal companion and loving brother.  Thank you for being my "son" and thank you for teaching me how to be a good dad!

See You Later Tater!

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A Few Fun Days on Folly Beach

This week's post is about all things Folly Beach, or as it is commonly referred to by locals, the "Edge of America." 

Our friends Erica van Bavel and Eric Olivier happen to be getting hitched in the Lowcountry this coming Saturday, with family and friends (hi, guys!) staying on Folly. We decided to map out a fun few days to fill in the gaps, while they're not celebrating with the happy couple, but this could apply to anyone looking for a long weekend away on Folly.

BACKGROUND
Folly Beach is a barrier island that sits just south of the Charleston peninsula. The island is mostly residential with beach house rentals, bed and breakfasts, and few hotels available.  Folly in the fall is one of my favorite times of year. This is the time when the weather and water are still relatively warm, the bugs are at bay, and you can take your pooch to the beach without worry. 

WEDNESDAY
At Folly River Park, you will find a small local Farmer's Market this evening. Start your long weekend here, grab dinner from a food truck and enjoy some local music. This is a great place to pick up a few locally handcrafted souvenirs including one of those famous sweetgrass baskets. If the food trucks aren't what you had in mind for dinner, consider checking out one of my favorite restaurants on Bowen's Island, just down the road from Folly. In October, Bowen's Island Restaurant serves up some of the best oysters in the area. This place isn't fancy, but definitely worth the short trip over the bridge. The Tides Hotel also shows movies on Wednesday nights at dusk on the beach. These are free, just bring a towel or blanket and check out their page for this week's movie pick!  The Tides Hotel also is home to the great Blu Beach Bar where you can get a great view of the ocean while sipping on a cocktail.

THURSDAY
Beach day! If you're looking for a beautiful path to the beach, check out the public beach access located where E. Ashley Avenue meets 13th Street. As you walk through the lush green tree lined path, you will emerge onto one of the best surf spots at Folly Beach. You may also notice areas on the dunes roped off with stakes and tape. These areas are marking sea turtle nests and are not to be disturbed. If you go out for a night walk, you will notice that Folly Beach is a "light's out" beach, as not to confuse the hatchlings. Walk to the north from this public access and you can catch a glimpse of the Morris Island Lighthouse. More beach fun can be found walking through the Folly Beach County Park in search of sand dollars and shells or checking out the Folly Beach Pier. Looking for dinner? Enjoy a bite, beer, or live music at Chico Feo.

FRIDAY
Friday fun day could be spent playing cornhole or shuffle board at The Barrel. The view is beautiful and the drinks are cold here.  You could also checkout Crosby’s Fish & Shrimp Friday Night for a fun night of live music and seafood on the dock. The family friendly affair is run by the Crosby family and open to the public, beginning at 6pm (weather permitting). If it's late night dancing you're after, shake it on over to Snapper Jacks for some rooftop fun or stop by Surf Bar for some more local music.

SATURDAY
Today would be the day to venture into town. The Charleston Farmer's Market at Marion Square, downtown is bustling with people, food, activities, and more local vendors to find just what you're looking for to make this trip memorable. While you're downtown, stroll down King Street for some additional shopping. If you get there early enough, Glazed may still have some fresh doughnuts available! Before you head back to Folly for the evening, make sure to check out at least one of the downtown, rooftop bars to get a complete view of the Holy City.

SUNDAY
Breakfast or Sunday brunch at Lost Dog Café is a must!  This is one of our all-time favorite breakfast spots. It's a popular place, so you may have to wait, but we guarantee it is worth it. If your pooch is accompanying you on this trip, they are welcomed on the porch here. If it's just a cup of coffee you're after, check out Black Magic Cafe just off of Center Street.

Our congratulations to Erica and Eric. We can't wait to see you two walk down the aisle with this beautiful Lowcountry backdrop. Many happy days ahead!

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You might have heard a thing or two about it flooding these last few days in the Lowcountry. We're happy to report that both of our homes and loved ones stayed safe during the rains, but not everyone was so lucky. We are very grateful to the first responders and everyone that continues to work together to keep us all informed on safety precautions and what is ahead of us. For now, we're all looking forward to the sun predicted on Tuesday. Our friend (and van Bavel bridesmaid) Stacey appeared on CNN to discuss her experience with the flood downtown. Somehow, we always tend to keep a sense of humor in this town- and a pair of rain boots at our front door.