Neighborhood Spotlight: Park Circle

We're often tasked with finding clients neighborhoods that mark off certain items on their livability checklist. Walkable, bikeable, easy access to good food, dog friendly, and park nearby are normally at the top of people's list. Add to that a budget and you've got yourself a handful of areas around town that fit the bill.

Park Circle, located in North Charleston is a simple answer to all the above, also factoring in affordability. For a little history, check out NorthCharleston.org. Below, we touch on the current happenings in the area.

Neighborhoods
New builds are happening left and right in Oak Terrace PreserveMixson (complete with a hip and kid-friendly pool) and Hunley Waters, but there's also the traditional area off of the circle.
 

p&c park circle.jpg

Eat & Drink
There's no shortage of locales for coffee, cocktail hour, or lunch and dinner and the list continues to grow. Most of their names speak to their craft.

Get Involved
As it is in most of Charleston, there are events to fill every hour of your social calendar, but we picked a few of our stand-outs.

As you may remember, Angela moved to this area earlier in the year and has recently sold Emily (get it?) on moving her family there next month, as well. So this list will serve as a great resource when our husbands ask us, "Honey, what's for dinner?". Especially since Angela has another little one due early next year. We don't have much time for cooking, nor do we excel at the art of food.

What's your favorite spot in Park Circle? Do you have a memory from this area if you grew up in the Lowcountry? We'd love to hear more about the history.

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!
 

 

When Buying and Selling Become Personal

Angela:

Ever wonder what happens when a Real Estate Agent decides to sell their personal home? The art of buying and selling residential real estate is a very personal business by nature, but when my husband and I decided to list our darling Riverland Terrace cottage, the emotions ran high. Luckily my husband is a 'go-with-the-flow' kind of guy and allowed me complete control over all of the details that I, as a Realtor, understood to be crucial to getting top dollar for our little piece of paradise in the Lowcountry. Below are a few tips to keep in mind to get top dollar when listing your home.

 Allow a healthy budget for prepping your home for the market:

I blame HGTV for the attitude of today's consumer; everyone expects to walk into an immaculately staged house. For us (read: family with a toddler), this meant out with the old and in with the new. I spent $1,000 on new (smaller, or as described by my husband, "museum quality") furniture, rugs, lighting, house plants, and even rented artwork (courtesy of the lovely Julia Deckman), in order to set our stage. We rented a storage unit and packed away most of our personal photos, books, tv/gaming consoles, and most of the baby toys. We rented boxes from EcoPax, making storing super easy! I also took the opportunity to clean out and organize all of our closets (remember, people look in every corner when you are showing your home).

PRO TIP: House plants make a space seem alive and welcoming. Unfortunately, house plants rarely survive living with me, so I shopped exclusively from the Lowe's house plant clearance shelves. I was able to pick up around $200 in house plants for $40 the day before we listed and by some miracle, they are all still alive.

Hire professionals:

Cutting corners on items such as landscaping, photography, pressure washing, etc., can really cut into potential profit. Curb appeal is king in this business!  We hired a professional landscaper (Coastal Green) to ensure that our yard was in tip top shape.  We had the house professionally pressure washed (by Under Pressure). Most importantly, we chose a very talented photographer. I would say one of the things that I never 'cheap out' on is photography. Pictures are ultimately what will capture the attention of potential buyers and get them through the door. Donnie Whitaker Photography did an amazing job!

PRO TIP: Adding an American Flag to the front of your home can really make it pop with curb appeal in photographs.

Keep your house and yard neat and tidy:

This seems like common sense, but you wouldn't believe how many homes we have shown where the buyers were completely turned off by clutter, dirty dishes, unmade beds, and the list goes on. You are ultimately trying to allow the buyer to imagine themselves living there, which is hard to do if the house is dirty. This particular tip was especially challenging for our family with a one-year old running around. Sticky hands and crushed goldfish crackers seem to be the norm.  Since I knew that keeping the house super clean and tidy would be challenging, it was important to me that showings were limited and that our house wasn't sitting on the market for months on end. This is where listening to your Real Estate Agent, especially in regards to pricing, becomes key.

PRO TIP: I hired a professional house cleaner to do a deep cleaning prior to picture day and also to come weekly for maintenance cleanings while the house was being shown. Also, a bowl of fresh lemons sitting out can mask daily kitchen odors (I learned that tip from my Granny!).

MOST IMPORTANTLY Listen to your Real Estate Agent!

We decided to enlist the help of Emily for the sale of our home. Legally, I could have listed my personal home on my own, but emotionally, I knew that I needed a buffer. This was one of the best decisions that we could have made. By having Emily list the house, I was able to focus on the emotions that I was struggling with about leaving our cute home and neighborhood. She manned an open house and fielded questions that I would have probably taken too personally. She buffered me from criticism that was not constructive and headed up a mass marketing campaign so that I could focus on getting the dirty dishes out of the sink and watering those doomed house plants.

PRO TIP: Don't be afraid to speak openly with your Real Estate Agent about anything that may be burdening you. Their job to is represent your best interests!  Trust me, they will want to know if you are feeling uncomfortable or unsure throughout any part of the process. A "Big Thank You" to Emily for taking my crazy calls at all hours of the day/night!

Stay Calm and Trust the Process:

Three days after officially listing our house, we had multiple offers, and five weeks later, we closed. Those five weeks were a roller coaster of emotions, but by preparing properly, hiring professionals, and trusting in the guidance of a great Real Estate Agent, we have successfully moved onto our next chapter...life in Park Circle!

The wicke's new home! welcome to Park Circle!

The wicke's new home! welcome to Park Circle!

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.

A Love Letter from Michel Hammes

Dear Lowcountry,

I love your lowlands surrounded by tidal creeks and marshes. I grew up swimming endless hours in the creeks of Mt. Pleasant and searching for seashells at low tide on the beaches. Although I cannot purchase places similar to my childhood home, I found the perfect 1940's restored cottage in Park Circle, North Charleston. We can easily walk to the river, to the neighborhood park we all call "the Duck Pond" or bike to Riverfront Park. Often we make our way down E. Montague - our area's main street - to sit outside and drink a pint or order a pistachio pesto pizza from Evo Pizzeria. When we do drive, we are so close to everywhere- 15 minutes to downtown for a nice dinner and walk along the Battery, 20 minutes to the Isle of Palms and Sullivan's Island and 10 minutes to Charles Towne Landing State Park where you can see an array of wildlife and scenic views on your hike. And when we don't wish to venture far form home, we sit on the porch and visit with neighbors or watch birds and butterflies in our flower beds. Life is good in the Lowcountry. You will always be my home. 

With love,
Michel

Bio:
Michel Hammes is a professional book peddler and is happily married. She and her husband Cary Jones have two dogs and two cats tho Michel would like to have a yard full of cats and is very put out that her husband has not warmed to the idea. She is finally going to Botswana, Africa next year to see elephants, lions and hippos in the wild. If she gets eaten, she said to not be sad- it was a good way to go...although she hopes it is fast. 

Charles Towne Landing

Charles Towne Landing

Michel and her husband Cary at the Park Circle Duck Pond

Michel and her husband Cary at the Park Circle Duck Pond