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My Charleston The Post and Courier’s guide to life in the Lowcountry

2013-2014 EDITION

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10 My Food

Culinary masters Nathalie Dupree, Mike Lata and Robert Stehling. . . . . . . . . Unsung heroes: Chefs de cuisine. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Find local flavor in unexpected places. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Good eats at our favorite restaurants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

24 My Visit

Helen Hill leads the tourism charge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Must-see attractions and hidden gems. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Charleston’s “real” history. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Artifacts reveal hidden past . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Lowcountry’s big events. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

42 My Beach

“Matty-Cool Breeze” on the beach life at Folly. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Beach Guide: Which spot is best for you?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Surfing, kite boarding and more. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Beach creatures. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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26 28 36 38 40

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54 My Shopping

Rosanna Lucia Krekel on the Holy City’s fashion scene. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 Shopping Guide: From King Street to Summerville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 Lowcountry must-haves. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66

68 My Life

Charleston Mayor Joe Riley reflects on long career. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70 Guide to Lowcountry Golf . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74 Music and nightlife. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82 Surfing and yoga: A Q&A with Jenny Brown. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86 A town for runners . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88 Cycling Charleston. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90 Fitness fanatics. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92 Lowcountry fishing tips. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94 Exploring the Lowcountry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100

102 My Town

Boeing executive Jack Jones on moving to Charleston . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104 Downtown Charleston. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108 East of the Cooper. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112 West of the Ashley. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116 North Charleston . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118 Summerville and more . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 122 Public schools. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126 Higher education. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 128

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Note: The wrought iron symbols seen throughout this edition are based on actual designs by iconic Charleston blacksmith Philip Simmons (right), who died in 2009.

Editorial: Andy Lyons and Matt Winter, manager of niche content and design for The Post and Courier. Staff Writers: Robert Behre, Diette Courrégé Casey, Prentiss Findlay, Stephanie Harvin, Brian Hicks, Diane Knich, Schuyler Kropf, Dave Munday, Bo Petersen, David Quick, Brenda Rindge, Gene Sapakoff, David Slade, Glenn Smith, Teresa Taylor, Matt Winter and Warren Wise. photography: Unless otherwise credited, all photographs are from The Post and Courier. Contributing photographers include Grace Beahm, Leroy Burnell, Brad Nettles, Marie Rodriguez, Wade Spees and Paul Zoeller. advertising: To learn about advertising options, call 843-937-5480. distribution: Limited free copies of My Charleston are available at The Post and Courier offices at 134 Columbus St. in downtown Charleston. For all other distribution questions, please call 843-937-5765. Online: For more stories, photographs and video of Charleston and its surrounding communities, go to About the cover: Grace Beahm of The Post and Courier scored our cover shot at The Ordinary, a seafood house and oyster bar that garnered considerable acclaim after opening on King Street in late 2012. My Charleston, The Post and Courier’s guide to life in the Lowcountry is a publication of The Post and Courier, 134 Columbus St., Charleston, S.C. 29403-4800. Copyright 2013 by The Post and Courier. No portion of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part without express written permission from The Post and Courier.

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File/The Post and Courier

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Editor’s letter


ardon Charleston residents if they seem full of themselves. Loads of compliments in the form of No. 1 awards and “Best of” lists do come with consequences. The awards for the Holy City just keep coming. No. 1 Travel + Leisure city in the U.S. and Canada. Top Destination in the World by Conde Nast Traveler 2012 Readers’ Choice Awards. The list goes on. In the pages to come, you’ll find clear-cut advice from the quintessential experts — the reporters and editors at The Post and Courier — so you can cut through all the accolades and praise and figure out what in Charleston you want to experience. For four years, My Charleston magazine has become the guide to dining, shopping, and simply doing the Charleston. I’ve promised it before, but this edition of My Charleston is our most comprehensive yet. In the fourth edition of this annual publication, we showcase food as its heart and soul. We’re writing about the restaurants, the festivals, even those special spots off the beaten path. We’re also introducing you to a cast of characters who have had tremendous influence on the culture. They include a top business executive, a fashion maven, a wise beach bum and a few of the most honored chefs in the country. What do they have to offer? Simple, what they love about Charleston. We asked them about their favorite foods, haunts and activities. So keep this magazine handy. Refer to it throughout the year as the temperatures change and different foods and vegetables come in season. While reading these pages, if you find a place you’ve never been or a dish you’ve never tasted, try it out. We all have a unique take on “My Charleston.” — Andy Lyons Wade Spees/The Post and Courier

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The World Grits Festival in St. George features a “rolling in the grits� contest. Whoever accumulates the most wins.

My Food We Southerners love to cook, and we love to eat. Here in the Lowcountry, we revel (and sometimes even roll) in our culinary traditions.

File/The Post and Courier

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Culinary MASTERS

Robert Stehling, Nathalie Dupree and Mike Lata in The Ordinary, Lata’s new restaurant on King Street.


Paul Zoeller/The Post and Courier

By Teresa Taylor

t’s hard to believe, but all the good food in Charleston was the city’s best-kept secret as recently as 2008. That’s when chef Robert Stehling brought home the bacon, winning the city’s first James Beard Foundation award for Best Chef Southeast. The annual contest, which spans 20 categories and brings thousands of nominations nationwide, is considered the “Oscars of the food world.”

Charleston blazed on the country’s culinary radar like never before — although locals and frequent visitors had been enjoying the fruits of the expanding food scene here for years. But somehow, it made it official: Charleston had arrived in the high society of dining. Today, the city claims six winners of various James Beard awards. What’s inside their heads about cooking, Charleston and life in general?

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Mike Lata

Lives: West Ashley Bio in brief: The Massachusetts native was inspired to cook after hearing Julia Child speak on campus. Lata was lured from Ciboulette in Atlanta to Anson in Charleston in 1998. Five years later, he and business partner Adam Nemirow opened FIG (Food is Good), acclaimed for its farm-to-table cooking. Lata won the James Beard award for Best

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Continued from Page 12

Robert Stehling

Nathalie Dupree

Chef Southeast in 2009. He and Nemirow opened The Ordinary, a raw bar and seafood house, in December 2012.

Lives: Downtown Charleston Bio in brief: Stehling cut his teeth in the kitchen at the legendary Crook’s Corner in Chapel Hill, N.C. After cooking for some years in New York, he came to Charleston in 1996 and opened Hominy Grill. Stehling’s restaurant soon attracted national attention, including from esteemed writer R.W. “Johnny” Apple Jr. of The New York Times. He won the James Beard Best Chef in the Southeast award in 2008.

Lives: Downtown Charleston Bio in brief: Dupree was a pioneer of “new Southern cooking” that arose more than 30 years ago. She began at her restaurant in Georgia in the early 1970s, continuing on as chef, director and teacher for Rich’s Cooking School in Atlanta from 1975 to the mid-1980s. She went on to host more than 300 programs on the Food Network, the Learning Channel and PBS. Dupree is the author of 13 cookbooks, three of which have won James Beard awards. Her “Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking” won in the American Cooking category in May.

In his words: I had a fantastic experience at Bowens Island about a year after I got here. I had an oyster pulled off the steamer or the roaster at just the right time, and when I ate it I had this burst of seawater with that barely cooked oyster. … I remember that as being one of the top five bites of my life because it was so perfect, natural and unmanipulated. When we opened FIG I was struck by this feeling, “Wait a minute, this is the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do my entire life and now it’s done, it’s over, it’s happened.” ... I had kind of this empty feeling. I was a French toast fanatic when I was a child. I remember looking at my grandmother, I don’t remember how old I was but I was pretty young, and asking, “Meme, one side of the toast has this frilly little crispy thing happening when the butter and the egg fry. But when you flip the toast in the pan that butter is pretty much gone. So what if we had two pans?” So instead of flipping the toast over in the one pan, we had another pan ready with the butter and we could re-create the experience on the other side. I always kind of had that curiosity with technique. Self preservation is a personal journey. And it doesn’t always jive with the rest of your life and those in it. I have two hobbies that revolve around solitude. One is riding motorcycles, which I do a little bit less than I used to. I’ve been golfing for a while. When I walk on that course it’s all about how well I do by myself, my own thoughts and directions, as opposed to delegating or expecting something from somebody else. There is no shortcut to success. I think you have to say that to yourself a lot.

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In his words: The expansion of the restaurant industry in town is amazing, exciting and a little bit scary. So many more restaurants, a lot more diners. This town’s brand as a food town has grown and there’s the danger the brand gets a little diluted. My favorite restaurant food experience in Charleston was when we first came here and we got a taxi over to The Wreck of Richard and Charlene, and kind of finding it down on the creek and not many people knowing where it was or what we were talking about, and having exactly the kind of great shrimp and local dishes that were there. It set the hook for me coming to this town. The first food experience I had that made me think, “I can do this,” was not a dish. It was the experience of a really busy night in the restaurant, cooking all this food for all these people — the adrenaline charge I got out of it. This is fun, I want to do this. I think sanity is a matter of perspective. It’s a stressful job, long hours and everything, and I think if it all went away tomorrow, I’d go crazy.

In her words: The hardest thing in cooking in particular, as well as life, is to know what you know and to know what you don’t know. I have what I call the pork chop theory. Which is that if there’s one pork chop in the pan, the fat goes dry. But if there are two or more, the fat from one feeds the other. So as we go around Charleston we see one restaurant moving into an area and all of a sudden two or three coming in. With a few exceptions, we are still pretty weak in ethnic restaurants, and I don’t know if that will change. I don’t think that’s necessarily bad because I think it makes our local chefs shine with their originality. The first time I ever came to do any food photography in Charleston, just seeing the oysters, you could pick them off an island from a boat. ... The restaurants are wonderful but the raw ingredients excite me.

I was the only person in my family to drop out of college and start washing dishes. Also the only person in my family to ever get an article in The New York Times, or a James Beard award.

My paternal grandfather ... said anyone is capable of doing anything. Although he was talking about the civil rights movement, I think he was saying women could do anything. That was the first time I ever thought about that.

If you open a restaurant and don’t own the property, you really don’t own a whole lot — your reputation and your tables and chairs and what’s left on your lease.

The thing that has really changed me in Charleston is seafood. Before I came to Charleston I thought I knew something about seafood, and I knew nothing.

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Chefs de cuisine Chris Delaney

Chris Delaney, chef de cuisine at The Macintosh in Charleston.

By Teresa Taylor


Paul Zoeller/The Post and Courier

hey are titled “chefs de cuisine,” which sounds awfully close to “chefs behind the scene,” which they are. But these are the functional captains of the kitchen, or the “cooking chefs,” especially when the executive chef may be running more than one restaurant. Chefs de cuisine do the daily grind as the traffic cops of work flow, of the kitchen staff, as creative executioners of the menu’s dishes. And they are the troubleshooters. They deserve a lot of the credit for your dining experience. They also deserve a chance to step out of the shadows. We talked with five who have helped Charleston become one of the greatest food cities in the country.

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Age: 30 Lives: West Ashley Occupation: Chef de cuisine, The Macintosh Trajectory: Raised in Hanover, Mass., Delaney was food-influenced by his grandmother, Eleanor Delaney. He graduated from Johnson & Wales (Providence, R.I.). He was a line cook for Al Forno there, then headed south to Charleston. Served as a sous chef under Sean Brock at McCrady’s for five years before being recruited to The Macintosh. The Macintosh was a 2012 James Beard Foundation semifinalist for Best New Restaurant, and made Bon Appetit’s annual 50 Best New Restaurants list in August 2012. In his words: Eleanor Delaney was a line cook. No formal training, just another worker bee. She raised nine kids on welfare and a cook’s salary. She was a great lady. She taught me how fulfilling it can be to cook for a big family, watching everybody cut in line and try to get all the mushrooms out of the gravy. The nurturing that comes from providing for your family was the most important message. She also showed me the three-way breading technique (flour, egg, bread crumb). My teammates at McCrady’s were mostly Southern, they taught me a pride in Southern culture and history, something that was totally foreign to me at the time. I try to lead by example. I believe that you are only as good as your last performance. I try to convey an idea of ownership for the menu items each individual is responsible for. ... I want them to work like they are the chef every day so when it’s their turn it is second nature. The most exciting vegetable in my garden this year is tomatoes, because it means tomato sandwiches are in my future. A garden helps me understand the food more completely.

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Nick Francis Age: 28 Lives: Mount Pleasant Restaurant: Trattoria Lucca Trajectory: Francis was raised in an Italian family in Cleveland. He started under Chef Ken Vedrinski at Sienna after graduating from Johnson & Wales (Charleston). Left briefly to work with the Neighborhood Dining Group in Atlanta. Followed Vedrinski to Trattoria Lucca. In his words: The focaccia pizza at my favorite Italian deli and market, DiStefano’s Authentic Italian Foods ... There is just something about how simple and delicious it is. It’s something that I find myself constantly craving, I can’t make a trip home without stopping by, at least once. I think most people would say that “authentic” Italian is keeping with the traditions of old-world Italian cooking. The easiest way to achieve this is by using the fresh, local, seasonal product that is available to you. It’s about staying true to the ingredients. What I find most exciting is the resurgence of interesting cocktails. I’m personally not that into drinking wine, I don’t know nearly enough about it to enjoy all of its intricacies. It’s refreshing to have the option of a refined cocktail when out dining that someone has taken as much care, if not more, in crafting as we strive to do in the kitchen with the food. What I love most about Lowcountry and Southern cuisine is how close in concept it is to rustic Italian cooking, using what’s available to you in the finest of fashions.

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Jeremiah Langhorne Age: 28 Lives: Charleston Restaurant: McCrady’s Trajectory: Started in F&B as a pizza deliveryman in Charlottesville, Va., and gravitated to the kitchen. Langhorne later drove a fish delivery truck at 4 a.m. so he could learn how to butcher fish. Worked for no pay at acclaimed OXO restaurant in Charlottesville but eventually rose to executive sous chef. After a brief time in Colorado, Langhorne came to McCrady’s and was hired as a line cook. He became sous chef after doing a twomonth stage at Noma in Copenhagen. He was promoted to chef de cuisine in spring 2011. In his words: Sometimes we taste something like a fresh tomato and then start a conversation about what would be good with it like lemon verbena or African blue basil or whatever it may be, so we can start distilling down the ideas to the best one. Food is the basis of my life. I never stop thinking about it and never want to, either. It’s the only thing that can make me laugh and cry throughout the same day and I still wake up every morning excited to learn something new and explore food even more. Simple foraging makes me feel like a kid again. It’s so much fun to traipse around the woods or the beach and try to discover new things, and finding a chanterelle that just popped up that morning.

Forrest Parker

Jason Stanhope

Age: 42 Lives: James Island Restaurant: Old Village Post House Trajectory: The Anderson native went to the College of Charleston and worked as a licensed tour guide. He cut his kitchen teeth under chef Louis Osteen at Louis’s Restaurant. After leaving Charleston, he was chef at casinos and resorts in Michigan and Minneapolis. Most recently, Parker served as executive chef at Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, Tenn. In his words: In Andalucia (Southern Spain) they talk of the song of the South there that mesmerizes folks so they never leave — the Duende. I think the Duende is very real here. When I cooked for Louis Osteen, we didn’t have any of the incubator farms or grass roots distribution networks like what we see today, and I’m really encouraged because I see this as sustainable over the long haul. I think Charleston will remain one of the most relevant dining destinations for some time.

Age: 31 Lives: West Ashley Restaurant: FIG Trajectory: The fish cook was ill, Stanhope had to fill in. That kickstarted Stanhope’s culinary career. He was a student then at California Culinary Academy in San Francisco and was in Peru doing an externship at the Hotel Monasterio. The Kansas native spoke no Spanish. Back in the States, Stanhope went to work for three years at FortyThirty in Kansas City. Then he came East and took a job at FIG. In his words: Part of the biggest test for a chef de cuisine is ... figuring out how to take over that leadership position without stepping on toes but at the same time coming into your own. It can be touchy. I could eat ceviche the rest of my life. No country does it better than Peru. … A couple of the guys I worked with took me into the country. In Peru the national dish is ‘cuy,’ and it’s guinea pig. They dress them and stuff them with all these local herbs from the mountains, then they roast in it in big wood- burning ovens with potatoes. It’s one of those food experiences that it couldn’t be recreated anywhere. Part of me wants to one day open a bakery ... anything you can fit into a crust. Rolling out crusts, baking tarts, something romantic.

(A restaurant concept I’ve fantasized about:) A historical revisionist tapas restaurant. The Spanish were here, then retreated South to St. Augustine. What if they never left? … Live oak acorn fed Jamon Ossabaw, Carolina Gold paella, Lowcountry olive oil, Old World wines and New World cuisine. … We’d finally be able to create a demand for all those underutilized shellfish that are here but don’t otherwise appear on menus — cockles, razor clams and whelks.

We get caught up in a new technique, a new ingredient, but at the end of the day we have a soft spot for a perfectly cooked egg, or poached fish, or perfectly sautéed greens.

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Local Flavor Do yourself a favor and drop by Martha Lou’s Kitchen for a home-style meal.

Soulful food

Honest Southern food like pork chops, turkey wings, lima beans and white rice, collards, mac ‘n’ cheese, and yes, fried chicken can be found all around, but not with the same vibe as Martha Lou’s Kitchen (1068 Morrison Drive) and Bertha’s Kitchen (2332 Meeting Street Road). It tastes like your momma’s cooking because it is. The food has attitude and so do the surroundings, with buildings painted bright pink (Martha’s) and turquoise blue and purple (Bertha’s). You can’t, and shouldn’t, miss them.

Fried and fine

File/Grace Beahm

By Teresa Taylor


hile fancy downtown restaurants rack up most of the accolades, they hardly have a lock on good eating in the Lowcountry. Tasty fare — sometimes astonishingly so — can be found in the least expected places, where you’ll eat off white paper placemats, not white tablecloths. Some are virtual holes in the wall. Others are kitchens on wheels. There are former gas stations now filling bellies, not tanks. Here is a sampling of places, many off the beaten path, where the food is worth seeking out. Often the atmosphere is just as savory as what’s on the menu.

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Fried seafood is near the top of our list of guilty pleasures. Check out two take-out joints that aren’t especially pretty to look at but know their way around fried shrimp, whiting and more: Dave’s Carry-Out (42 Morris St.) and The Fishnet Seafood store/kitchen in Red Top (3832 Savannah Hwy.) Another of our favorite experiences is Crosby’s Dock Party. It’s a congenial Friday night affair on the dock of Crosby’s Fish & Shrimp Co. (2223 Folly Road), complete with a river and sunset view. The menu is seafood, mostly fried, but it’s the atmosphere that reels you in.


The shortest distance between a field and a plate is a farm that supplies its own restaurant. Our Local Foods Cafe and Market in Wando (1190 Clements Ferry Road), run by Maria Baldwin, is the restaurant and retail face of Thornhill Farm in McClellanville. Bringing local and organic food to market is the mission. Try the Grilled Veggie Foccacia or the Farm Fresh Egg Salad. Also east of the Cooper is Boone Hall Farms Market Cafe (2521 Highway 17 North) inside the red barn-like landmark. We hitch our plates to the menu’s “farm meals” and “daily farm specials.” The Tomato Shed Cafe at Stono Market on Johns Island (842 Main Road) is a family-run place that tends to get packed on Saturdays. That’s because the

lunch menu changes daily, based on the farm’s harvest. So you might find heirloom tomatoes, Greek style or a squash saute along with the standards such as crab cakes and pimento cheese burgers.

LowCountry brews

On a roll

One of the first food trucks we ever saw in Charleston was “Hello my name is BBQ.” We still consider it a gem of a name. Now the local food truck fleet has multiplied and offers a smorgasbord of food and monikers, from OuttaMyHuevos to Roti Rolls, Auto Banh to Little Star of the Caribbean. This is street food on steroids. Follow the trucks at and watch for rodeos around town.

On ’cue

Declaring “good ’cue” is a hard call because every Southerner has a different opinion. But we’ll go out on a limb to like Fiery Ron’s Home Team BBQ, with locations in West Ashley and on Sullivan’s Island. To us, barbecue is all about the smoke, and Ron’s got it down. Then they get creative with it, in the form of tacos, wraps and nachos. For a traditional barbecue buffet, make the pilgrimage to Po Pigs Bo-B-Q on Edisto Island (2410 S.C. Highway 174) or Music Man’s BBQ in Moncks Corner (112 E. Railroad Ave.)

Slice of heaven

Wood-fired pizzas are truly a cut above. The most addictive in town are those made at EVO (ExtraVirgin Oven) Pizzeria in North Charleston (1075 E. Montague Ave.) EVO thinks outside of the box, which is why it was voted as the best pizza in the state and in the U.S. top 50.

Divine tradition

It’s a spring ritual in Charleston that shouldn’t be missed: Tea rooms. Various churches open their fellowship halls and gardens and offer daily lunch service, usually for a week. It’s very old-Southern, ladies luncheon-like, but tea rooms ooze charm and hospitality. The menus vary but often include Charleston classics such as okra soup or shrimp salad or pimiento cheese sandwiches. A tray of delectable dessert choices is the high point — bringing oohs and aahs — as they are all homemade by parishioners and every day is different. The service is warm, attentive and one of a kind. Among the churches that do it every year are Old St. Andrew’s Parish Church, St. Philip’s Episcopal and Grace Episcopal.

Spring forward

Times are a-changing on Spring Street and bringing a wave of good ethnic food to the neighborhood. At Xiao Bao Biscuit (corner of Spring and Rutledge), the okonomiyaki, a Japanese cabbage pancake with local vegetables (egg and pork optional), made us converts in just one visit. Down the street, we love the Bon Banh Mi’s (162 Spring) five spice pork sandwich. Yet another choice is the food fusion going on at Octobachi Asian Gastropub (119 Spring).

Since stronger, more challenging beer arrived in South Carolina six years ago, Charleston has gone from a rather hapless and hopless beer town to one with an increasingly sophisticated palate. Microbreweries, specialty beer stores and beercentric bars have popped up around the region. Supermarkets, restaurants and even gas stations are hawking growlers, or half-gallon jugs of beer; and the number of brew festivals has multiplied with each passing year. The state is home to a dozen breweries, with more in the works. A change in state law this year now allows these breweries to sell pints of their product on-site. Here are some recommendations: Coast Brewing: 1250 2nd St. N., North Charleston. Tours, tasting and sale hours are Thursdays, 4-7 p.m., and Saturdays, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Holy City Brewing: 4155 C Dorchester Road, North Charleston. Tasting room open Monday and Tuesday, 4-6 p.m.; Wednesday through Friday, 4-7 p.m.; and Saturday, noon-4 p.m. Westbrook Brewing: 510 Ridge Road, Mount Pleasant. Tasting room and tours on Thursdays and Fridays, 4-7 p.m.; and Saturdays, noon-4 p.m. Palmetto Brewing: 289 Huger St., Charleston. Tours are Wednesdays and Fridays, 3-5 p.m. Frothy Beard Brewing: 7358 B Peppermill Parkway, North Charleston. Open Wednesday through Friday, 5 to 7:30 p.m., and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. — Glenn Smith

My Food 21

prepared for a restaurant that pulls out all the stops. Duo of lamb tops the list during the summer, with fresh butter beans and English peas. The menu changes frequently, so look at the restaurant’s website for seasonal dishes. Oh yes, Brock was nominated for this year’s James Beard Best Chef category for his phenomenal work with both restaurants. East Bay Street, Charleston

Good Eats Oysters at Bowens Island

Bowens Island

File/Marie Rodriguez/The Post and Courier

By Stephanie Harvin


f you think you’ve eaten your way through Charleston, think again. Every few months another restaurant opens, and the resulting praise often flows as easily as sherry dolloped on she-crab soup. When even The New York Times says that Charleston is a food haven, who are we to say otherwise? Here are some gems that others have found to be among the best:

EVO Pizzeria

EVO Pizzeria was voted No. 1 Pizza in South Carolina and in the Top 50 Pizzerias in the U.S. by Food Network Magazine in 2011. What more could you want than one of their white pizzas with pesto sauce and fresh veggies of the week? Of course, the woodburning oven gives the crust that perfect fresh crust. Park Circle, North Charleston

wich shop and thought that the pulled squash with smoked slaw on a hoagie “is just one irresistible example of how this forward-thinking spot does some of the most creative takes on the classics in the country.” Of course, you need to be patient for a table and be prepared to share it with the new friends you made while waiting to order. Upper King Street, Charleston

Butcher & Bee


Bon Appetit magazine has been very good to Charleston. In April, they found the Butcher & Bee sand-

22 My Food

And then there was the now-famous award by Bon Appetit to Husk in 2011 as the Best New Restaurant in

America. Husk is known for taking the freshest, local ingredients and cooking them to perfection. While the food isn’t the fanciest in town, it is certainly the most Southern to its roots. Chef Sean Brock has hunted his food in a five-state radius and only food grown in season. Fried chicken never tasted this good. Queen Street, Charleston


Chef Sean Brock’s other restaurant in town has deep roots of another type. Go down the brick alley, enter the tavern-like atmosphere and be

Off the beaten path is Bowens Island (left) where fresh seafood is served upstairs overlooking a creek complete with dock, while downstairs fresh oysters are served over an open fire in season. This landmark restaurant has kept remnants of its original site that burned down a few years ago. Still preserved in the new place is the tradition of dumping oysters fresh from the creek onto a steel plate over an open fire and then shoveled by the bushelful onto your table. Owner Robert Barber, a former S.C. legislator, may join you for a chat, although he will never slow you down from scooping up those steamed bivalves. If you want the full fresh oyster experience, go in months with an “r” in the name. Folly Road, James Island

The Tattooed Moose

Duck fries, a moose hanging over your head and motorcycles parked outside. Some of the most unique sandwiches in Charleston are served here, along with a wry attitude that makes anyone feel welcome. They can pile on the duck, and it was enough to earn them a spot on “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” on the Food Network. Watch the reruns and you can pick out just what seat host Guy Fieri settled into while he was filming. Morrison Drive, Charleston

Perfectly Frank’s

On the same show, Fieri also sought out Perfectly Frank’s for its comfort food, like sweet tea-marinated pork chops and deep-fried hot dogs topped with chili. It’s run by a local football legend so it’s likely that you will be rubbing elbows with town athletes, past and present, while you wait for your table. It’s one of the area’s bestkept secrets. Main Street, Summerville

Hominy Grill

No Southern adventure would be complete without a breakfast to die for. Robert Stehling has been serving up not only breakfast but also lunch and dinner for years at Hominy Grill. You can find it by the line that forms first thing in the morning down Rutledge Avenue, and it’s very likely that you will have boiled peanuts waiting for you as a munchie before you order. Stehling was a James Beard award winner for the Southeast and has kept his high standard of excellence as a trademark while he serves up classic Southern fare at a reasonable price. Rutledge Avenue, Charleston … And then there are a few up and coming stars:

Heart Woodfire Grill

This small restaurant is rapidly becoming a hot spot on James Island and is known for cooking everything in its wood-fired oven. They bake their own breads, roast their meats and fire up their pizzas, all right in

front of you. They’ve been open a little over a year, and have already expanded their outside seating area to accommodate all the nighttime crowd. Folly Road, James Island

Two Boroughs Larder

Tucked into the heart of the student district of Charleston, this up and coming restaurant plays with food in fascinating ways. Only a few tables are available at any one time, but the combos are worth the wait. You might even try sitting at the communal table in the midst of the groceries. Coming Street, Charleston


This elegant new restaurant ranks right up there with Husk and McCrady’s for its elegant take on Southern food. The difference is that it is also a great hangout spot for drinks. The rooftop bar is one of the few that look out over the city, and it’s a great place to meet for some quiet conversation before going downstairs to eat. King Street, Charleston

My Food 23

Time and time again, travelers have voted for Charleston as one of the top destinations in the country and across the globe. Here are just a few of the reasons why.

My Visit File/The Post and COURIER

24 My Visit

My Beach 25

In her words I had a summer internship at the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau. It was my job to respond to visitor inquiries. Back then, they were all by hand, but there were only about four or five a week. By comparison, last year the Charleston CVB fielded 2.5 million inquiries. Can you imagine answering all of those by hand?

We’re No. 1!

In 1986, I started working for the (Charleston) Convention and Visitors Bureau selling ads for the visitors’ guide and later sales manager for meetings and conventions. … We’ve come a long way. We now have 45 workers and a budget of $12 million. Hurricane Hugo really tested my abilities as a leader. I got to work with a lot of great people during an intense time. We laid a lot of groundwork then that we still deal with today. We have a better idea of who we are now. Because Charleston has grown so much, you have a lot of people who have moved here who have a passion to keep Charleston special. Our core mission is to put more heads in beds. That’s what brings people to the community and puts people in restaurants, hotels and golf courses. Tourism is a huge business here. It needs to be supported.


Brad Nettles/STaff


elen Hill is perhaps the embodiment of the person any city would want to lead its tourism efforts. Always bubbly, effervescent and friendly to a fault, she helms the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. She has done so since 1989, two weeks before Hurricane Hugo barreled ashore. A Charleston native, she has led the Holy City to world renown with numerous No. 1 rankings from Conde Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure magazines. But Hill almost missed her calling as the No. 1 cheerleader for all things Charleston.

26 My Visit

It’s the history that makes us special. There is not another place like this in the United States of America. This is not Anywhere, USA. Charleston has returned to the (economic) prominence it had before the Civil War. We have taken that as a challenge for the next 25 years to be as great as the past 25 years. The time to look forward is when you are on top. Being No. 1 just means you take more hits. It makes you work harder. I am in the right job for who I am. A lot of people don’t love their job. I really do.

My Visit 27

See the sites By Schuyler Kropf


Angel Oak on Johns Island


any of Charleston’s attractions are obvious: The Battery, Rainbow Row, the beaches. But the Lowcountry also brims with hidden history and secret scenery that rarely ends up on postcards or the backdrop on television news sets. Some of these “must-see’s” are easy to find, while others require a more adventurous route. Here are some of the most interesting sightseeing options: Angel Oak

Azalea Park in Summerville

Located on nearby Johns Island, many believe this Southern live oak is one of the oldest living things in the eastern portion of the United States, with estimates beginning at 300 to 400 years old and up. Measurements for the tree are generally set at 65 feet high, with circumference of more than 25 feet. The tree is now part of an official city of Charleston park. There is no admission charge and a gift shop and picnic area are nearby. Visitors are urged to walk under its shady canopy and follow its spread of limbs, the lower rungs of which bow into the surrounding grounds.

Aquarium Wharf

At this area near Calhoun and East Bay streets, visitors can sample marine life at the S.C. Aquarium or buy tickets for a boat ride to Fort Sumter, where the Civil War began.

Azalea Park Alligators on Bull’s Island

This 16-acre park nestled near Summerville’s oldest homes was created during the Great Depression. Its namesake blooms are celebrated each spring during the Flowertown Festival, but it’s also a nice place to wander when the crowds are gone

Botany Bay

Botany Bay Heritage Preserve and Wildlife Management Area. This state wildlife site on Edisto Island opened recently and features a bit of everything: historic buildings and ruins, woodland and marsh trails and a walk to a secluded beach.

Bull’s Island The Battery in downtown Charleston

28 My Visit

A ferry runs twice a day from Garris Landing to this secluded barrier island off Awendaw — in the heart of the Cape Romain National Wildlife Ref-

uge. Visitors are virtually guaranteed to see alligators. The luckier ones might see a bald eagle steal a fish from an osprey.

Caw Caw Plantation

This former rice field, now a Charleston County park off U.S. Highway 17 south of Charleston, offers some interpretation of Lowcountry flora and fauna. But the real appeal here is its extensive set of nature trails through different habitats.

Charles Towne Landing State Park

This marshy point up the Ashley River from where downtown Charleston grew, is where a group of English settlers landed in 1670 to establish the original Carolinas colony. Today, the park depicts life in Colonial Charleston, showing the hardships, techniques and defenses of starting the fledging colony. Interpretive rangers and a self-guided history trail and audio tour are ways to absorb the park, along with a recently modernized Visitor’s Center. Other sites to see are the sailing ship Adventure, a 17th-century replica. An Animal Forest Natural Habitat zoo features animals native to the state, including otters, bear and bison.

Charleston’s Battery

One of the most photographed spots in the city. Historic homes surround White Point Gardens with its collection of shady oak and palmetto trees. Locals like to brag that this is where Charleston Harbor and the Ashley River meet to form the Atlantic Ocean. Civil War period cannon and mortars line the area as well as monuments to historic figures, including the Confederate defenders of Fort Sumter. Feel free to climb on the guns and picnic on the grass or under the shade. Follow East Bay Street into East Battery and Murray Boulevard.

My Visit 29

City Market

One of the city’s best-known tourist attractions, this outdoor/indoor market features vendors selling everything from sweetgrass baskets to clothing and jewelry. The historic market, which is lined on both sides by restaurants and taverns, once served as the city’s grocery store and an extension of its port.

Colonial Dorchester State Historic Site


The City Market in downtown Charleston

The Lowcountry’s earliest history extends well beyond Charleston’s peninsula. In 1697, a trading community known as Dorchester took root along the Ashley River. It faded away within a century but is now a state park, where archaeologists are still digging to learn about some of South Carolina’s earliest history.

Donnelly WMA/ACE Basin

The ACE Basin, named for the three rivers that wind their way to the cast between Charleston and Beaufort (Ashley, Combahee and Edisto), is a pristine area protected by public and private property owners. Exploring the trails on this 8,000-acre center outside Green Pond (open from Feb. 9 to Oct. 31, except for special hunts) is a great introduction to the Basin.

Dorchester County’s camps Re-enactors at Colonial Dorchester site

These four simple villages scattered across the rural parts of the county are dormant most of the year but come to life each fall during “camp meeting.” This annual ritual, part religious gathering and part reunion of family and friends, is unique to this corner of the state.

Edisto River tree houses

This relatively unknown destination on the Edisto River offers one of the area’s most unique getaways. Canoe down a dozen miles to a secluded series of tree houses, spend the night, and canoe farther down river to check out. It’s not cheap — at $150 per person for the first night — but it is memorable.

Fishing piers Bird watching at Francis Beidler Forest

Two massive piers offer Lowcountry visitors and residents the chance to wet a line or just soak in the views. The oldest pier juts out in the Atlantic Ocean at Folly Beach; the newest extends out into Charleston Harbor from the Mount Pleasant side. Both piers are operated by the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission. It’s free to walk out on them, but anglers must pay a fishing fee.

Fort Moultrie

The H.L. Hunley submarine

30 My Visit

On the southern tip of Sullivan’s Island is the site where several incarnations of the fort have stood. The first fort drew fame when it withstood an attack from a British fleet during the American Revolution on June 28, 1776, saving Charleston from invasion. It was named in honor of Col. William Moultrie. Today, the brick fort and surrounding park is eas-

ily walkable, has good views of the harbor and many displays give insight to its history and workings. Outside the front entrance and across the street from the visitor’s center is the grave of Seminole Indian Chief Osceola.

Fort Sumter

The fort guarding Charleston Harbor is where the Civil War began on April 12, 1861. After months of national saber-rattling and secession threats, Confederate batteries opened fire from multiple locations on federal forces inside the fort. The Union troops surrendered 34 hours later. For four years of fighting during the Siege of Charleston, Union naval and land forces tried repeatedly to take it back. Today the fort is a monument to the siege where visitors can walk the ramparts and take in a panoramic view of the harbor. Visiting Fort Sumter is done by concession-operated ferry that departs from two locations listed on the National Park Service website: the Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center in Charleston and Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum in Mount Pleasant.

Francis Beidler Forest

This primal forest in Harleyville covers 16,000 acres — more than a third of the larger Four Holes Swamp. Its boardwalk meanders through a mix of black water sloughs, deep bald cypress and tupelo gum flats. It’s a great place for birdwatching — or simply stretching your legs.

Francis Marion National Forest

Want a true wilderness experience? Try hiking, paddling or biking your way deep into the Francis Marion National Forest. Just make sure you know where you’re going — the forest spans 259,000 acres north of Charleston and Mount Pleasant. This natural treasure boasts a bewildering array of habitats, from sun-streaked longleaf pine savannahs to dark hardwood bottoms and seemingly impenetrable cypress swamps. The creatures that call the Francis Marion home are just as varied: carnivorous plants, black bears, whitetail deer, wild hogs, swallowtailed kites, bobcats, alligators and rare woodpeckers. Some locals even tell stories about cougar sightings deep in those woods.

H.L. Hunley

The H.L. Hunley is the world’s first successful combat submarine. The 40-foot sub was built in 1863 as a privateer; investors hoped to sink Union blockade ships and reap rewards from bounties placed on them. The Hunley, designed by James McClintock, sank twice in Charleston Harbor, killing 13 men before it eventually sank the USS Housatonic 4 miles off the coast of Sullivan’s Island on Feb. 17, 1864. It was lost that night with eight men aboard. A dive team funded by adventure novelist Clive Cussler found the Hunley in 1995 and, in 2000, it was recovered and brought to the Warren Lasch Conservation Center for restoration.

My Visit 31

Lakes Moultrie and Marion

Exploring the edge of the Santee Cooper lakes — created in the mid 20th century for power generation and flood protection — offers a host of fish camps (restaurants), fishing holes and other unique attractions, such as the St. Stephens Fish Lift, which operates from March 15-April 15.

Magnolia Cemetery

Sunbathers at Marion Square


This historic graveyard was laid out in the first half of the 19th century, as burying people in churchyards began to give way to a rural cemetery movement. Its collection of grand monuments is vaster than any downtown cemetery.

Marion Square

The unofficial center of downtown Charleston, this popular gathering spot at King and Calhoun Streets plays host to sunbathers, festivals and farmers markets.


This fishing village at the northern end of Charleston County is picturesque and has several interesting sites nearby, including Hampton Plantation State Historic Site (where George Washington once stayed), the Santee Coastal Reserve, and the St. James Santee Church, also known as “Brick Church.” The USS Yorktown at Patriots Point

Morris Island Lighthouse

Unfortunately, the barrier island around this Lowcountry landmark washed away several decades ago, but those traveling to the northern (eastern) end of Folly Beach can take a short walk to get a great glimpse of this 19th century light.

Patriots Point/USS Yorktown

The spring bloom at Magnolia Gardens

The USS Yorktown at Patriots Point has been a Charleston Harbor landmark for more than 35 years. This 872-foot Essex class carrier was originally supposed to have been named the Bon Homme Richard, but after the original Yorktown was sunk at the Battle of Midway, this ship’s name was changed in its honor. The ship joined the Pacific fleet in 1943 and served the U.S. Navy through the Vietnam War. It was decommissioned in 1970 and moved to Charleston Harbor in 1975. Patriots Point also features the USS Laffey, a 376-foot Sumner-class destroyer known as “The Ship That Would Not Die,” and the Clamagore, a submarine believed to have stalked the shallows off Cuba during the missile crisis.

Philip Simmons’ home and shop

The late blacksmith worked all over Charleston, but his last home at 30 1/2 Blake St. is now a museum that preserves the memory of the man and his remarkable work.

Pitt Street Bridge The Pineapple Fountain at Waterfront Park

32 My Visit

Mount Pleasant’s original linear park, built on the former causeway and bridge pilings that once linked the town with Sullivan’s Island, offers great

views of the harbor, Intracoastal Waterway and miles of marsh. The town spruced up the park a few years ago, and it’s not far from another prime scenic spot: Alhambra Hall at 131 Middle St.

Plantation District

Drive up S.C. Highway 61 west of the Ashley, and you’ll pass through what seems like a tunnel of live oak branches. This iconic road carries untold numbers of tourists each year to a number of historic plantations along the Ashley River. Middleton Place features America’s oldest landscaped gardens, begun by Henry Middleton 25 years before the Declaration of Independence. Magnolia Plantations and Gardens ranks as America’s first gardens opened to visitors. Its picturesque, Romantic design stands in stark contrast to the formal geometry of Middleton. Drayton Hall, one of the nation’s greatest surviving colonial residences, includes an unaltered Georgian Palladian home maintained as a museum by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Powder Magazine

One of Charleston’s few surviving structures from its earliest colonial days, this small museum at 79 Cumberland St. recently turned 300 and created a new exhibit to honor the occasion.

Old Naval Base

The former Charleston Naval Base and Shipyard. Once the Lowcountry’s largest employer, this base — closed in 1996 — runs along three miles of the Cooper River and offers a series of interesting buildings and history. Check out the city’s Riverfront Park and the officers’ housing complex, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Old Slave Mart Museum

This site at 6 Chalmers St. gives a thorough history of how slaves were sold inside the country, with a focus on the building’s role in selling slaves after 1856, when the city banned slaves sales in public places.

Shem Creek

Sure one of the state’s best-known waterways, Shem Creek runs under Coleman Boulevard in Mount Pleasant and winds out to Charleston Harbor. The idyllic waterfront includes restaurants, inns, shrimp boat docks and a town park with a boardwalk stretching through the marsh. Spend a few minutes soaking in the sights along the waterway and you’re likely to spot dolphins, pelicans, paddleboaders, kayakers, pleasure boaters and hard-core anglers.

Waterfront Park

Spend enough time walking around downtown Charleston, and sooner or later someone will approach you to ask for directions to Waterfront Park. This spot at Vendue Range and Concord Street features fountains, a pier, swings and beautiful views of Charleston Harbor.

My Visit 33

34 My Visit

My Visit 35

Charleston’s real history

Revolutionary War hero Francis Marion took to the swamps of the Lowcountry following the introduction of mechanized warfare by British redcoats.

File/Wade Spees/Staff

36 My Visit

past as we see it

Editor’s note: Columnist Brian Hicks thinks he’s funny. This is his take on the history of Charleston. Most of it is true, but we can’t verify all of these “ facts.” April 1670 — Two English ships land at Albemarle Point, what we now call Charles Towne Landing. Local residents, the Kiawah Indians, refer to these settlers as the first people “from off.” 1680 — The town relocates to the peninsula. Soon Broad Street is established so the cool colonists can live south of it. 1718 — The pirate Blackbeard terrorizes the city, which retaliates by hanging Stede Bonnet — and licensing the first pirate re-enactors, who will terrorize tourists for the next 300 years. April 13, 1780 — British troops begin the siege of Charles Towne. In May, the city surrenders. Locals complain these tourists are clogging the streets and bringing down property values. Aug. 13, 1783 — Charles Towne is incorporated, changes name to Charleston. On James Island, people complain that one day they will be annexed. May 1791 — President George Washington visits the city for a week, apparently while suffering from a bout of narcolepsy. Tour guides claim he slept in every building in town.

File/Wade Spees/Staff

tury, some will maintain it was a great idea — and that we should do it again. April 12, 1861 — Confederate troops open fire on Fort Sumter, starting the Civil War. Charleston wins the battle, but soon will be blamed for the deadliest conflict in American history. So the results were mixed. December 1861 — An accidental fire decimates much of downtown Charleston. Locals are incensed when, years later, Yankees get credit for the destruction. Aug. 29, 1863 — Union forces begin a 545-day bombardment of Charleston. It is considered the second-worst occurrence in the city’s history, after the arrival of Carnival Cruise Lines. Feb. 18, 1865 — Confederate forces evacuate Charleston, allowing Yankees to occupy the town. They are still here.

May 1, 1865 — Former slaves honor Union soldiers who died in the city’s Dec. 20, 1860 — South Carolina’s prison camp. It will come to be consecession convention meets on Broad sidered the first Memorial Day. LegStreet and votes unanimously to secede end has it that on that same weekend from the Union. Within five years, the charcoal grill was invented. locals will say this was a terrible idea. Within 30 years and into the 21st cen- Aug. 31, 1886 — An earthquake

devastates Charleston. This prompts locals to install “earthquake rods” in buildings, giving tourists something to ask about. Every. Single. Day. 1901 — The Charleston Naval Base opens, marking the first time in half a century the U.S. Navy has actually been welcome in town. Aug. 8, 1929 — The first bridge over the Cooper River opens, named after former Mayor John P. Grace. Aug. 9, 1929 — The first complaints about traffic on the Cooper River bridge are heard. 1931 — The Board of Architectural Review is established as part of the first historic preservation ordinance in the United States. Charleston residents with purple houses begin to worry. 1950 — U.S. District Judge Julius Waties Waring writes the dissenting opinion in a school desegregation case that becomes the foundation for the U.S. Supreme Court’s monumental Brown v. Board of Education decision. Within a few years, Waring is run out of town. This is not a joke.

and NAACP leaders converge on the town in the middle of a 113-day strike of nonprofessional hospital workers at Medical College (now MUSC), who want better pay and benefits. Once again, Charleston makes national news for all the wrong reasons. 1977 — The first Spoleto Festival USA is held. For the next 36 years, Willie Nelson will not be invited to perform. Sept. 21-22, 1989 — Hurricane Hugo makes landfall. The storm kills more than 100 people and does $10 billion in damage, much of it in Charleston. It’s still too early to joke about this. 1993 — Charleston Naval Base closes, giving the city a new excuse when the economy goes south. July 16, 2005 — The Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, the new span across the Cooper River, opens. Even with eight lanes, people still complain about the traffic.

June 2011 — Preservation groups file a lawsuit against Carnival Cruise Lines, arguing that cruise ships in the harbor threaten the historic charm of the 340-year-old seaport. This argument actually makes sense to some people Spring 1969 — The National Guard because, well, this is Charleston.

My Visit 37

Hidden History Darius Rucker of Hootie & the Blowfish

Citadel graves

For decades, the largest forgotten cemetery in the city’s history lay hidden beneath The Citadel’s football stadium. But thanks to the sleuthing of some Confederate re-enactors and the school’s planned upgrade of the Johnson Hagood site, the remains of 341 graves, plus rebel Civil War dead, would be found and recovered (left). The Confederate dead numbered about four dozen, and included the first crew of the submarine H.L. Hunley, who were moved to Magnolia Cemetery and reburied in a ceremony that drew thousands.

Political button

In the mid 1990s, a single gold button (top) commemorating President George Washington’s 1789 inauguration was discovered in shallow dirt by a College of Charleston student at the Dill Sanctuary property on James Island. Because it represented the nation’s first inauguration, experts said the button is priceless, with only a few known to exist. About the size of a modern-day campaign button, circling the perimeter are the words “LONG LIVE THE PRESIDENT.” It probably was worn on a man’s dress coat. File/Staff

By Schuyler Kropf


undreds of years after Charleston was settled, the region’s buried history is still being uncovered. Case in point: In March, the graves of 37 of Charleston’s earliest Colonial residents were found buried 10 feet beneath the new Gaillard Center construction site. While the research into who these people were is continuing, here are some more of the region’s discovered secrets:

38 My Visit

Torpedo boat

A famous post-Civil War photograph of Charleston shows a gutted Confederate torpedo boat resting at the seawall at what is now Tradd Street downtown. Local figure Lee Spence wanted to see if it might still be there, trapped 8 feet below the asphalt. Spence and his team used ground-penetrating radar to see if a “David” — as the low-riding, cigar-shaped boats that patrolled Charleston Harbor were called — was still in the ground. Their work may have found something. Spence reported “a pattern

Wade Spees/Staff

of anomalies under the pavement” consistent with what one would expect from a 50-foot, steam-driven, wood-hull torpedo boat. No excavations were done, since continuing the search would have meant a major removal of the neighborhood street.

Giant shark teeth

Divers and diggers around the region regularly report finding gargantuan-sized shark teeth representing monsters from eons ago. Young children playing in the dirt and divers hunting the Cooper River have reported coming back with hand-sized specimens, some reaching 6 inches in length. Megalodons, giant 50-foot sharks that swam the seas long ago, are the accepted owners.

Slave tags

A product of Charleston’s brutal past is now one of its most highly soughtafter and more valuable collectibles. During the 19th century, it became common practice for slave owners to begin “renting” their property to others in need of skilled labor. Slave tags soon became an accepted form of city licensing, to create revenue and to help track the movements of slaves. The copper stamps included an issue number, date and the occupation of the holder. Most were good for one year. Today, the tags are highly prized, with some known to go for tens of thousands of dollars at auction. Some have been found at the bottom of wells and privies and under houses.


With as much construction and street work as Charleston sees, it is not unheard of for fully intact projectiles from the Civil War to be uncovered periodically. During the siege of the city, Union forces shelled Charleston for nearly 600 days, firing ordnance of various sizes, landing into homes, streets and gardens. The most famous of the assault guns was the Swamp Angel, a 16,500-pound, 8-inch Parrott gun set up on Morris Island at Marsh Battery. The range was more than four miles. Landscapers working recently at a Broad Street residence unearthed a 5½-inch cannonball while uprooting a Washingtonia Palm. Speculation is that it’s older than the Civil War, and likely a British cannon- ball fired into the city during the Revolutionary War.

Mortar shells

The summer of 2011 brought heavy erosion to the south end of Folly Beach, where the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission operates a public park. Tons of sand were scraped away, exposing deep cuts in the island’s past. Among the items uncovered were two mortar rounds, probably from the pre- or early World War II days. The rounds were picked up and carried to a park employee by a curious island visitor. Each of the devices was described as tubular, measuring about 2 feet in length, and as big around as a softball. How they got there remains a mystery.

My Visit 39



here’s always something to do here in the Lowcountry. Festivals, runs, art expos, history tours, musical performances — we have en event to suit everyone’s tastes. Here are some of our favorites: Polar Bear Plunge on Sullivan’s Island


POLAR BEAR PLUNGE: Jan. 1 on Sullivan’s Island. Jump-start the new year and help raise money for Special Olympics by taking a bone-chilling dip in the ocean. S.C. RESTAURANT WEEK: Jan. 8-19, greater Charleston area. Local restaurants offer discounted menus, giving diners a chance to try out new spots. CHARLESTON MARATHON: Jan. 17-19 in Charleston and North Charleston. Hit your stride in the marathon, half marathon or 5K at this fundraiser for the Youth Endowment for the Arts.

Lowcountry Oyster Festival

LOWCOUNTRY OYSTER FESTIVAL: Jan. 26 at Boone Hall Plantation, Mount Pleasant. This annual roast offers up more than 80,000 pounds of oysters for consumption, as well as live music and oyster shucking contests. SOUTHEASTERN WILDLIFE EXPOSITION: Feb. 14-16 in downtown Charleston. The “largest wildlife art and nature event in the nation,” this expo features birds of prey and retriever demonstrations, vendors, parties and more.

Southeastern Wildlife Exposition

AFRICAN AMERICAN HERITAGE DAY FESTIVAL: February at North Charleston Wannamaker County Park, North Charleston. Celebrate African American heritage with performances, re-enactments, demonstrations and more. BB&T CHARLESTON WINE + FOOD FESTIVAL: March 6-9 in downtown Charleston. Discover Charleston’s renowned culinary scene with celebrity chef appearances, wine and beer tastings and more. FESTIVAL OF HOUSES AND GARDENS: March 20-April 19 in Charleston. Tour some of the finest homes and gardens during the city’s peak blooming season.

African-American Heritage Day

40 My Visit

CHARLESTON FASHION WEEK: March 18-22. Marion Square, Charleston. Emerging and veteran designers converge on Marion Square to showcase their most fashion-forward looks.

PET FEST: March 22-23 at Palmetto Islands County Park. Mount Pleasant. Family-friendly, tail-wagging fun for pets and their owners at this weekend of exhibitions, experts, entertainment and more. FAMILY CIRCLE CUP: March 29-April 6 at Family Circle Tennis Center, Daniel Island. Watch some of tennis’ hottest female stars take to the courts and enjoy additional parties, family activities, vendors and more. FLOWERTOWN FESTIVAL: April 4-6. Azalea Park, Downtown Summerville. Celebrate spring at this annual festival, which features more than 200 vendors, crafters and artisans. Proceeds benefit the Summerville YMCA. COOPER RIVER BRIDGE RUN: April 5 in Mount Pleasant and Downtown Charleston. This 10K race, one of the largest in the Southeast, attracts tens of thousands of runners and walkers and begins in Mount Pleasant, spans the Ravenel Bridge and ends downtown with post-race festivities in Marion Square. LOWCOUNTRY CAJUN FESTIVAL: April 6. James Island County Park, James Island. Louisiana comes to the Lowcountry during this celebration of the ragin’ Cajun culture with zydeco music and authentic Cajun and Creole cuisine. CHARLESTON INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: April 9-13 at Sottile Theatre, Downtown Charleston. Pick a flick during five days of the best in independent short, feature-length, documentary and classic films. BLUES BY THE SEA: April 13 at Freshfields Village Green. Johns Island. Stake a claim on the lawn and get in the Southern swing for this afternoon full of rhythm and blues, harmonicas, slide-guitars and more. WORLD GRITS FESTIVAL: April 11-13. St. George. It’s a weekend full of the corn-based dish with vendors selling grits-based creations, contests for corn shelling, hula-hooping, grits-eating and gritsrolling, carnival rides, art displays, a 5K race and a parade and a Grits Queen.

EAST COAST PADDLESPORTS & OUTDOOR FESTIVAL: April 11-13. James Island County Park, James Island. Immerse yourself in a weekend full of all things kayak and canoe, bike and board, climbing and more.

FALL TOURS OF HOMES AND GARDENS: October in Charleston. The Preservation Society of Charleston hosts weekend tours of homes and gardens in several of Charleston’s finest neighborhoods.

BLESSING OF THE FLEET & SEAFOOD FESTIVAL: April 27. Waterfront Memorial Park, Mount Pleasant. The annual festival features shag dancing, shrimp-eating contests, a blessing ceremony for the local shrimp-catching armada, live music, and more.

MOJA FESTIVAL: Sept. 25-Oct. 5 in Charleston. Celebrate African-American and Caribbean culture and with dance, music concerts, literary and visual arts, theater, traditional crafts, ethnic food, children’s events and more.

NORTH CHARLESTON ARTS FESTIVAL: May 2-10, Main Event May 3-4. North Charleston. An eight day celebration of the arts, featuring dance and theater performances, photography, crafts, fine art and more. GREEK FESTIVAL: May 10. Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, Downtown Charleston. Give kudos to authentic Greek cuisine and exhibits, with folk dancing, art and more. SPOLETO FESTIVAL USA: May 28-June 8. Downtown Charleston. Charleston’s world-renowned arts festival brings premier musicians, performers and artists to the Lowcountry, highlighting the best in opera, theater, dance, poetry, music, fine art and more. PICCOLO SPOLETO: May 23-June 8. Greater Charleston area. Spoleto USA’s companion festival focuses more on local and regional artists, musicians and performers and offers inexpensive and free performances throughout the Charleston area. SWEETGRASS CULTURAL ARTS FESTIVAL: June 6-7. Waterfront Memorial Park, Mount Pleasant. Weave your way through this showcase of the Gullah Geechee heritage with music, dance, arts and a Taste of Gullah Festival on June 6. BBQ & BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL: Aug. 31. Boone Hall Plantation, Mount Pleasant. Barbecue, brews and bluegrass are the highlights of this end-ofsummer event, which brings Appalachia a little farther south. CHARLESTON RESTAURANT WEEK: Sept. 3-14 in the greater Charleston area. Local restaurants offer discounts so diners have a chance to sample venues. SCOTTISH GAMES AND HIGHLAND GATHERING: September at Boone Hall Plantation, Mount Pleasant. Revel in this gathering of Scottish family clans with piping and drumming, fiddling, dancing, athletic competitions, border collie demonstrations and more.

TASTE OF CHARLESTON: Sept. 26-28. Charleston, Mount Pleasant. Annual Southern Living event featuring an Iron Chef competition and tastings at Boone Hall Plantation. charlestonrestaurant


The Blessing of the Fleet

BOONE HALL FRIGHT NIGHTS: October. Boone Hall Plantation, Mount Pleasant. Dare to be scared at the state’s largest multi-attraction haunted event. LATIN AMERICAN FESTIVAL: Oct. 5. North Charleston Wannamaker County Park, North Charleston. Spice things up with authentic music, performances, crafts and the flavors of Mexico and Central and South America. RACE FOR THE CURE: Oct. 18. Family Circle Tennis Center, Daniel Island. Go pink and run in this fundraising event in honor of a family member, friend or co-worker with breast cancer.

Spoleto finale

COASTAL CAROLINA FAIR: Oct. 30-Nov. 9 the the Exchange Park Fairgrounds, Ladson. This annual fair continues to entertain with thrill rides, fireworks, concerts, a petting zoo, food booths, competitions and more. HARVEST FEST: Nov. 1 at Mullet Hall Equestrian Center, Johns Island County Park. Johns Island. Dig into this celebration of a bountiful harvest with a day of Southern food, bluegrass music, hayrides, lasso demonstrations and more. HOLIDAY FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS: November and December at James Island County Park, James Island. Illuminate your holidays with this 3-mile driving tour through hundreds of displays with over a million twinkling lights. Guests can enjoy train rides, marshmallow roasts and more.

The MOJA Festival

TURKEY DAY RUN AND GOBBLE WOBBLE: Nov. 27 in Charleston. Work up an appetite for your Thanksgiving feast during this 5K run and walk that ends on King Street with post-race festivities. WINE UNDER THE OAKS: December at Boone Hall Plantation, Mount Pleasant. Fine wining and dining on the back lawn of the plantation and live entertainment.

Turkey Day Run and Gobble Wobble

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My Beach Sand, surf and salt add an irresistible flavor to life in the Lowcountry.

File/The Post and Courier

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In HIS words Go bike riding, because it brings joy. It’s never-ending joy. It’s relatively inexpensive. It’s the best way to see every nook and cranny on this island. Either you can race as fast as you want or you can go twice the speed of Mark Twain and just cruise it.

Beach life lessons

The people of Folly Beach, we’re not too stuffy. We’re not too busy to go, “Hey man, let me help you.” It’s a very diverse community, with people from all over the place who kind of got washed up here with the tide — an astronomical high tide. When it came back in, it just didn’t reach high enough to take them away. No matter what the strife and all the craziness, we’re still on the beach. Surfing is the healthiest thing you can do. My parents tried to keep me out of it but it was the healthiest thing I can do for myself. You can stay fit. You can eat good. But surfing is definitely not a requirement to be part of Folly Beach. We have a vast amount of people out here who don’t surf. A lot ‘em don’t even go to the beach. Just knowing it’s there is enough for them. Old bikes are better than new bikes because they’re just unique. Vintage.


Wade Spees/The Post and Courier

BY Schuyler Kropf

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or six years, Matthew Burnup, who says most people know him as “Matty-Cool Breeze,” has operated Cool Breeze Bikes. It’s a rental shop where he fixes and recycles all sorts of wheeled objects. The 52-year-old reformed beach bum, man of faith and “Bike Guy” is an advocate for Folly Beach, where he has lived for the past 30 years.

Age definitely builds character in a person because you have experiences in life to go through. Once you start talking to the people here, you want to be a part. It’s not just one character — it’s a whole community of characters that make it up. I’m just one speck of sand in a seashore of (characters). You can call me what you want. Just don’t call me late for dinner.

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Guide to beaches

File/wade spees/The Post and Courier

BY David Quick


he beaches of Charleston County — Edisto Beach, Seabrook Island, Kiawah Island, Folly Beach, Sullivan’s Island and Isle of Palms (not counting those reachable only by boat) — are a variety pack of sand and surf, running the spectrum from the fun and somewhat touristy to luxurious and exclusive. Despite some traffic on weekends, especially on summer holidays, all are nearby by conventional standards. Generally, from downtown Charleston, Sullivan’s Island is a mere 9 miles away, while the more remote Edisto Beach is about 50 miles.

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Just as the sand on the beach is dynamic, going through phases of building and eroding, so are popularity trends for beaches. After Folly Beach City Council joined other beach communities in banning alcohol consumption on public property, the beach-going populations have dispersed. This summer has witnessed increased traffic to Sullivan’s Island and Isle of Palms. Starting from the closest to downtown to the farthest, here’s a guide for what beach matches you.

Sullivan’s Island

Sullivan’s Island, arguably, is the beach of choice for residents of the East Cooper area and downtown, which may be a driving reason why town officials demanded that its swing-span bridge be replaced with a similar one, not a fixed-span. This historic island, which features Fort Moultrie National Monument and the site of the Battle of Fort Sullivan’s Island in 1776, is a draw for far more than history buffs. The island’s east end, with its predictable winds and ever-changing beach ponds and sandbars, is a hotspot for kiteboarding and stand-up paddleboarding, as well as for families with small children who want to avoid waves and undertows. Over the years the island commercial district has become a bustling hub for restaurants and bars, including Dunleavy’s Pub, Taco Mamacita, High Thyme, Poe’s Tavern, Home Team BBQ, Salt and Sullivan’s. And while summer holiday weekends tend to be the most popular times for people to come to Sullivan’s Island, three events also draw thousands — the Dunleavy’s Pub Polar Bear Plunge on New Year’s Day, the July Fourth fireworks show and St. Patrick’s Day weekend festivities. General Rules: No alcohol, glass containers, fireworks, bonfires, littering, motorized vehicles or overnight sleeping on the beach. Dog Policy: All dogs must have a valid Sullivan’s Island permit, whether the owner is a resident or a visitor. Dogs can be leash-free 5-10 a.m. May 1-Sept. 30 and 5 a.m.-noon Oct. 1-April 30, but keep the leash in hand and have voice command. Dogs must be leashed from 6 p.m.-5 a.m. May 1-Sept. 30 and noon-5 a.m. Oct. 1-April 30. Dogs are not allowed on the beach from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. May

1-Sept. 30. Owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pets. Lifeguards: No lifeguards on duty. Parking Policy: All four tires must be completely off the street. Don’t block beach accesses, driveways, mailboxes or fire hydrants. Noise Policy: Quietness required after 11 p.m.

Isle of Palms

Like Folly, Isle of Palms not only draws tourist traffic — notably because of large vacation rental homes and Wild Dunes Resort — but a contingent of residents from nearby Mount Pleasant, Daniel Island and North Charleston. The island, often referred to as “IOP,” also has a vibrant commercial district on Ocean Boulevard, which includes the 41-year-old Windjammer, long a hub of local music, beach volleyball and summertime bikini contests late Sunday afternoons. The island is a whopping 7 miles long and was first called by a name often associated with New York, “Long Island.” Half of the island, however, is behind the gates of Wild Dunes, though the beach is accessible to the public via walking or biking down the beach. Besides The Windjammer, other draws are Isle of Palms County Park, surfing spots at 7th, 25th and 30th avenues, and The Grand Pavilion at Wild Dunes. Major events on the island include the Piccolo Spoleto Sandsculpting Competition and the finals of the Windjammer’s Bikini Contest in midAugust. General Rules: No alcohol, glass containers, fireworks, bonfires, littering, motorized vehicles or overnight sleeping on the beach. Dog Policy: Dogs can be leash-free from 5-8 a.m. April 1-Sept. 14 and

File/The Post and Courier

File/Marie Rodriguez/The Post and Courier

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Girls wait to compete during the 2013 Folly Beach Wahine Classic at the Washout at Folly Beach.

File/Paul Zoeller/The Post and Courier

4 p.m.-10 a.m. Sept. 15-March 31, but keep the leash in hand and have voice command. Otherwise, dogs must be leashed and owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pets. Lifeguards: Only at designated swimming areas at the Isle of Palms County Park at avenues 1-14. Parking Policy: All four tires must be completely off the street. Don’t block beach accesses, driveways, mailboxes or fire hydrants. Fishing Policy: Fishing off bridges is prohibited. Noise Policy: Quietness required from 10 p.m.-10 a.m. Sunday-Thursday and from 11 p.m.-10 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

Folly Beach

Folly Beach and Isle of Palms are about equal distance from downtown Charleston. Depending on where you start and finish, it’s roughly 12 miles.

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Folly, known as “The Edge of America,” has changed dramatically since city officials prohibited public alcohol consumption in 2012 (though some street festivals still allow it). Still, Folly remains a hub for the laid-back and has long been the beach of choice among surfers, as well as residents of James Island, West Ashley and North Charleston. Among its lures are the Edwin S. Taylor Folly Beach Fishing Pier and nearby Locklear’s Beach City Grill, Rita’s, Taco Boy, Surf Bar, Lost Dog Café and Sand Dollar Social Club. Also, Folly Beach County Park recently was restored and reopened, after being severely damaged by Hurricane Irene in August 2011. Among Folly’s big annual events are the Sea & Sand Fest Street Party in April, Governor’s Cup state championship of surfing in August, and Snapper Jack’s Polar Bear Plunge on Jan. 1. General Rules: No alcohol, glass

containers, fireworks, bonfires, littering, motorized vehicles or overnight sleeping on the beach. Dog Policy: Dogs are not allowed on the beach from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 1-Sept. 30. Otherwise, dogs are allowed on the beach, but must be leashed at all times. Owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pets. Lifeguards: Only at designated swimming areas at the Folly Beach County Park at 1100 W. Ashley Blvd., as well as at the fishing pier at 101 E. Arctic Ave. Parking Policy: All four tires must be completely off the street. Don’t block beach accesses, driveways, mailboxes or fire hydrants. Fishing Policy: Allowed at the beach and from Edwin S. Taylor Fishing Pier at 101 E. Arctic Ave. Surfing Policy: Surfers must have a leash on their boards and cannot surf within 200 feet of the Folly Pier. Surf-

ing is prohibited in the Swimming Zone (Second Street East to Third Street West) from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. May 15-Sept. 15.

Kiawah Island

Kiawah Island may be the most nationally recognized of Charleston area beach communities because of its high-profile golf tournaments. The Kiawah Island Golf Resort and its acclaimed Sanctuary Hotel draws the golf, tennis and luxury vacation crowd from around the country and world. And while most of the golf resort is closed to the general public, Charleston County’s public Beachwalker Park continues to rank among the top 10 best beaches in the United States. Some of the events that draw locals include the Kiawah Island Triathlon in September and the Kiawah Island Marathon and Half Marathon in December.

Folly Beach

File/The Post and Courier

File/Marie Rodriguez/The Post and Courier

General Rules: No alcohol, glass containers, fireworks, bonfires, littering, motorized vehicles or overnight sleeping on the beach. Dog Policy: Dogs must be leashed at all times from March 16 to Oct. 31, unless in designated “Dog Use Areas” located east of the Beach Club and west of Beachwalker Park. Dogs can be leash-free from Nov. 1-March 15, except in the “Critical Habitat Areas,” but keep the leash in hand and have voice command. Owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pets. Watch out for alligators. Lifeguards: Only at designated swimming areas at Beachwalker Park at 8 Beachwalker Drive. Parking Policy: Parking is not permitted on the roadways within 25 feet at pedestrian-access locations. Beachaccess parking is provided at Night Heron Park, Duneside Road (west end), Ocean Course Drive (near firehouse) and Ocean Marsh Drive.

Noise Policy: No loud music on the beach.

Edisto Beach

For those who like a more mellow beach experience, Edisto Beach — also known as “Mayberry by the Sea” — is the one to consider. That longer drive pays off in having less crowded beaches. Even the town’s website says if someone is looking for a “fastpaced” experience with lots of entertainment, Edisto is not your place. General Rules: No alcohol, glass containers, fireworks, bonfires, littering, motorized vehicles or overnight sleeping on the beach. Dog Policy: Dogs must be leashed at all times from May 1 to Oct. 31. Otherwise, keep the leash in hand and have voice command. Owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pets. Lifeguards: No lifeguards on duty.

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ot everyone who heads to Charleston area beaches wants to lounge in the sun, read a book, watch people, sneak beers, and/or doze off.

Local beaches, especially certain areas, are hot spots for adrenaline junkies, such as surfers, kite boarders, stand-up paddle boarders, windsurfers, kayakers and skimboarders. Where these activities take place often depend on topography and prevailing water currents and winds.


The most sustained beach activity over the last 40 years in the Charleston area is surfing and the epicenter of it in Charleston is The Washout on Folly Beach, which is positioned to catch the swells coming off the Atlantic Ocean. All but one of more than a dozen annual surfing competitions in the area, including the Governor’s Cup state championship in early August, take place at The Washout. And when tropical storms and hurricanes kick up waves, the most dedicated and hungry surfers head to the narrow stretch of beach that is precariously close to the marsh across the road. That said, surfing also has a secondary home east of the Cooper River on the Isle of Palms where surfers can find waves at beaches at 7th, 25th and 30th avenues.

Kite boarding

File/GRACE BEAHM/The Post and Courier

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Mother Nature parcels out her assets to the aquatic adrenaline junkies well, though. Sullivan’s Island and the winds that kick up near the Breach Inlet area, particularly on long summer afternoons, draws so many kite boarders that the skies can be filled with two

or three dozen colorful kites in the afternoon. Just like spectators can get an eyeful of surfers at The Washout, they also can mix and watch kite boarders from their launching hub at Station 28½ Street. (Google map it and you’ll even see a couple of kites on the beach!) Some kite boarders also opt to launch across Breach Inlet on the Isle of Palms beach at 3rd Avenue.

breeze. Also, many local outfitters offer demos, social paddles, tours and races on both the ocean and flatter creeks.

Best of the rest

Long before kite boarding hit the scene, windsurfing was king on local beaches, especially in the Breach Inlet area. Every now and then, a windsurfer still mixes with hot-shot kite boarders. It is a sport for those Paddle boarding not addicted to extreme air. The newest kid on the block — Kayaking in the ocean near beaches stand-up paddle boarding, or SUP comes in two basic forms. Longer — continues to gain popularity in kayaks cruise outside the breakers Charleston for multiple reasons. It’s and have a unique perspective on the easier to learn than surfing and you beach, while those in the whitewater don’t need waves to do it. You can do crowd can practice their skills when it in creeks and the ocean. And it’s a the waves pick up. great workout. The beach adrenaline junkies needThe only drawback to paddle ing the least amount of expensive boarding for beginners and the less equipment are the skimboarders who adventurous is that wind and waves run on the edge of the surf, drop a can make it more difficult. thin wooden board in just a scan Less windy mornings and the inch or two of water and ride it for ample flat gullies (at least for now) 10 or more feet. Usually, they are between the sandbars and the beach youngsters — and the future surfers, on Sullivan’s Island helps make kite boarders and SUPers in the years beach side paddle boarding, well, a to come.

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Shelling Shells can be found along all beaches at all times of the year. The best possible spots are barrier islands that can only be reached by boat, such as Bull’s, Capers, Dewees or Morris islands. If you don’t have a boat, don’t despair. The shelling at the inlet areas of the beaches also can be quite good. And you can beat the crowds at popular beaches by starting at dawn. Here are a few of the most commonly found shells:

BEACH creatures By Bo Petersen


stroll down a Lowcountry beach opens up a whole world of “wow” creatures. The water, sand and sky are home to laughing gulls, bottlenose dolphin, pelicans, nesting loggerhead turtles and osprey, among any number of others.

A wayward alligator can show up in the surf. A careful look around can come up with black skimmers darting along inches from the water, their red beaks seeming to skate across the surface. Ghost crabs dig in the sand, and occasionally even a fox turns up, slinking through the dunes. Back in the bay, you can spot wood storks, manatees and bald eagles. Heck, nearly 40 species of sharks are roaming around beneath the waves. A comprehensive list of creatures would be overwhelming — everything from wintering avocets to invasive, zebra-striped lionfish. Here are a few you’d be lucky to find but ought to keep your eye out for:

Sea horses

The ocean and estuaries are home to the lined sea horse, an 8-inch-long version of the fish that is the stuff of dreams. Shannon Teders, South Carolina Aquarium aquarist, likes to call them “chameleons of the sea.” Like chameleons, the horses can rotate their eyes independent of each other, change colors from light yellow through red to black and have a prehensile tail, which they can hang on. “They’re not good swimmers. They have really tiny fins, so they rely on that tail to keep them sedentary,” Teders said. Even along beaches renowned for shelling and marine strandings, your chance of coming across a sea horse is as tiny as its fins. But they do show up, so keep your eyes peeled.

The leatherback turtle

The loggerhead sea turtle is the darling of the Lowcountry, bistro-table-sized reptiles that crawl ashore in the spring and summer to lay eggs in the dunes. They lay nests by the thousands each year, drawing an army of watch volunteers and crowds of people when a turtle is spotted or a rehabilitated injured turtle is released. Leatherbacks are twice as big as the ponderous loggerheads. Their nests are much rarer — only one or two, if any, laid each year. Teders, who works with the Folly Turtle Watch, saw a female in 2008 crawling back to sea at midnight after laying a nest. “Huge, huge. The flippers had a span of about 8 feet,” she said. “The flippers are massive. They have smooth skin rather than the hard shell (loggerheads have). They look prehistoric.” Your chance of seeing one is almost nil. There are just

too few of them laying nests, and they are too secretive doing it. But if you happen across one, give it space. All sea turtles are considered endangered and are protected species.

The loggerhead turtle

The egg-laying females tend to come ashore at night. Laws prohibit interfering with the endangered species or their nests, which volunteers mark to keep people from disturbing them. Occasionally a beachgoer will come across one of the turtles retreating to the sea, or its tiny hatchlings scrambling to the water. Marvel, but leave them be.

The laughing gull

There’s nothing rare about this beach creature: It’s the one overhead with the raucous shrieking like it’s laughing at you, the one who shows up with a posse when the kids fling potato chips into the air. But there are a few not-sowell-known things about the laughing gull. First, it’s a shameless predator with a belly for just about anything, “hot dogs, (bird) eggs, chicks,” said Janet Thibault, S.C. Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist. The gull, which tends to nest with shorebirds and seabirds like the black skimmer, is also an opportunistic plunderer of their nests. The gull is a reason why the skimmers have struggled to fledge chicks. “They’re not funny to me,” Thibault said. One more thing about this bird — like the least tern and other shore and seabirds, the laughing gull was nearly wiped out a little more than a century ago by people hunting eggs and feathers for hat plumes.

Arks and cockles: More than 10 species of arks are found in Carolina waters. The incongruous ark is one of the most common finds on S.C. beaches, especially in muddy sand. Live arks are covered with a dark, hairlike substance. They seldom exceed 21/2 inches in length. To the untrained eye, cockles are very similar to arks. The giant Atlantic cockle grows to 5 inches in length. The outside is tan or dirty white, with darker reddishbrown spots, often in rings. Shark teeth: These fossilized relics occasionally can be found along the beach. Edisto Beach is a well-known spot for finding shark’s teeth. The teeth range in size from ones small enough to fit on a button to larger ones like those of a prehistoric shark called megaladon. The teeth can be found in a range of colors, though usually black or light brown. The black ones are fossilized. Oyster: Most live oysters are found inside estuaries, but oyster shells often wash up on beaches. They can vary greatly in color and range from 2 to 6 inches in length. They are extremely sturdy with thick, irregular ridges. Clams: Also known as quahogs, thick clam shells are commonly found on the beach. The Northern quahog is 3 to 5 inches long. It can range from white to dirty gray. The inside of the shell often has purplish stains.

Lettered olive: South Carolina is one of 14 coastal states with an

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officially designated seashell. The “lettered olive” became the official shell of the Palmetto State nearly 20 years ago.The shell seldom exceeds 3 inches long. It gets its name from the zigzag pattern that resembles script letters. Whelks are one of the most common shells and often are mistakenly referred to as conchs. There are three types of whelks common to our beaches, the lightning, knobbed and channeled whelks. Angel wing: If you can find a whole one, an angel wing is one of the most prized finds of beachcombers. The angel wing is very fragile and seldom survives to make it to the beach with both halves intact. They are chalky white and can grow to 7 inches. The false angel wing grows to about 2 inches.

Skate case: The egg case of the clearnose skate, a bottom-dwelling species closely related to stingrays and sharks, is a black, leathery rectangularshaped object with a curly horn at each corner. Common nicknames include devil’s pouch and mermaid’s purse. Sand dollar: The keyhole urchin is the most common sand dollar found on S.C. beaches. The sand dollar is round, flat and thin. Live sand dollars are covered with a brownish-green layer of velvety spines. When they wash up on the beach and die, they bleach to a bright white from the sun. Moon snail: The moon snail is also a prized find. It often is referred to as a shark eye, for obvious reasons. A moon snail can consume as many as four clams in a day.

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My Shopping From world-class boutiques to outlet malls, the Lowcountry offers plenty of opportunities to indulge.

Charleston Anthropologie on King Street. File/Brad Nettles/The Post and Courier

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In her words I think it is important to continue to push boundaries in our city, embrace new concepts and talent.

Fashion scene

There is something tremendously exciting to me about having the history and traditions of a historic city like Charleston while being able to introduce new designs that capture the imagination. Such vitality will ensure a very prosperous fashion industry over the long term. Fashion is always reflective of the people and culture of a city. Charlestonians are a mix of multigenerational families and transplants from all over the world. They each bring their own unique style, which creates such a rich fashion tapestry. The company is reflective of my life — I grew up and went to school in New York but moved to Sullivan’s Island in 2007 while maintaining a home in New York City. My clientele is global, and fortunately, in the digital age, business can be transacted from any location to any other location instantaneously.


Brad Nettles/STaff

By Lauren Sausser

osanna Lucia Krekel is on the cutting edge of the Holy City’s fashion scene. And as founder of La Vita E Bella, a marketing company based in Charleston and New York City, and the regional director for the Fashion Group International, she knows how to dress the part. Krekel offered a few thoughts about our city’s fashion aesthetic and the path Charleston is taking to claim its spot on the global catwalk.

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There are so many great (shopping) choices, where can I begin? Just off the top of my head: Croghan’s, Hampden Clothing, Berlin’s, The Hidden Countship, Rapport, Cose Belle, Dixie Dunbar, Cynthia Rowley and so many more, and I shop in Mount Pleasant too, at Out of Hand and Gwynn’s. Charleston is on the edge of creating the infrastructure to match the unique design and creative genius of the city. By infrastructure, I am referring to the backbone of any successful industry: investment support, educational resources, along with design and production capability. These elements are all so critically important. Once in place, Charleston can rightfully claim its position as a leading design capital in the South, the United States and eventually in the world.

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Shopping guide

File/David Quick/The Post and Courier

BY WARREN L. WISE And Katie Abbondanza


he shopping scene in greater Charleston is as broad as the territory it covers. From the beaches to the inland malls, the Lowcountry offers a veritable smorgasbord of shops. From the high-end designers on King Street to the mid-tier department stores and costconscious outlet malls throughout the region to the quaint one-of-a-kind shops that dot the landscape with those hard-to-find items, Charleston has it all.

And shoppers won’t leave empty-handed when they walk into any store throughout the region. Friendliness helped Charleston soar last year to be named the top city in the world as a tourist destination. Customers will most likely walk out of a shop with a heaping helping of Southern hospitality, if not a bag or two of special finds. Thanks, y’all.

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Lower King Street

It’s not an exaggeration to call Lower King the epicenter of shopping in Charleston. In 2011, the strip was named one of the 10 best shopping streets in the United States, and the number of local boutiques and antique shops is astonishing. Factor in Charleston Place, the opulent hotel with an array of luxury stores on the first floor, and it’s easily on par with any city in the world. Perhaps the pinnacle of modern fashion in Charleston, Hampden Clothing (314 King St.) serves its frippery straight from the runway, with an accessible aesthetic that’s

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File/Wade Spees/The Post and Courier

Lower King Street becomes a shopper’s paradise during Second Sunday events, when the street is closed to traffic … and opened for dining. “classic with a twist.” Owner Stacy Smallwood and her team of buyers head to New York and Paris to find covetable Alexander Wang bags, office-ready Theory threads and loads of clothes by cool-kid brands, such as Rag & Bone and Opening Ceremony. Poke around the jewelry collections and shoes for quickie wardrobe updates. If you’re lucky, you might be able to find vintage Chanel jewels, which Smallwood brings back from Paris. Those searching for timeless or trendy footwear would be smart to step into Bob Ellis (332 King St.). The salon has an old-school feel, but they house all the big names from Blahnik to YSL. They have an enviable cohort of bags as well, including practical ones by Tory Burch and the lustworthy PS1. If your feet require more

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practical coverings, Phillip’s Shoes (320 King St.) carries clogs, flats and sandals of all sorts. Lower King is dotted with nearperfect complements throughout. Weekend wear abounds in V2V (295 King St.); there are always plenty of diaphanous maxi dresses, huge totes and Hard Tail yoga pants. The hippie-chic feel is offset by girly cocktail dresses and affordable jewelry scattered throughout. Across the street at Worthwhile (268 King St.), the clothes hang as art. Airy linen frocks and so-clunky-they’re-cool shoes are everywhere you look. The front of the shop is populated with the type of tiny items that make for thoughtful, if not somewhat eclectic, gifts. There must be someone on your list looking for a woven market bag from Africa or rosemary mint soap, no?

New to King are Anthropologie (260 King St.) and H&M (opening fall 2013, 281 King). Both add bundles of selection to the assortment of shops for both tourists and locals alike. A stone’s throw away is some brilliant antique shopping. Francophiles will feel at home in the domain of Alexandra (156 King St.), which sells French antiques for house and garden. The ambiance is “boheme chic,” where both Baroque mirrors and simple pressed flowers hang on the walls and there’s furniture with distressed white paint everywhere you look. Down the road a pinch is Parham & Co. (344 King St.), a store so gilded with goodies that photography is prohibited inside its walls. The antiques and oddities there range from the wonderful to the weird.

East Bay Street, City Market Perhaps due to the proximity to some of the city’s best places to wine and dine (FIG and The Gin Joint come to mind), this touristy swath is also home to a number of food-centric shopping destinations. Charleston Cooks! (194 East Bay St.) anchors the scene, selling just about anything a culinarian could possibly be seeking to stock a bar or cupboards. The store carries kitchen staples such as Viking pans and cutlery of all kinds, but it’s the obscure gadgets and cooking paraphernalia that make it a cut above. There’s caipirinha pestles for concocting Brazilian libations, ravioli stamps for crafting stuffed pasta and cheese buttons so your guests will never put their mitts on a your wedge of morbier at a din-

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File/Wade Spees/The Post and Courier

Michael Mitchell Gallery hosted an artist reception during the 2012 Upper King District Fall Design Walk. ner party. And while the apron-clad employees must answer the question “What is this?” no less than 500 times a day, they will cheerfully help you select the right cookbook to present to your mother or inform you that the doohickey in your hand cuts the tops of soft-boiled eggs. Although The Spice & Tea Exchange (170 Church St.) is not native to Charleston, this mostly Southern chain fits in near the City Market. It stocks no less than five varieties of cinnamon and pepper, tea and salts of all sorts, in addition to spice blends from around the globe. No tour of downtown is complete without a trip to the City Market. The stalls start to come to life at 8:30 a.m., and getting there before brunch will help you beat the browsing crowds. Vendors in this historic space hawk everything from local pottery to sweetgrass baskets. Notable booths include a miniature Charleston An-

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Michael Mitchell Gallery (438 King St.) captures the flora, fauna and other elements of life in the South. Both retailers offer design services to clients in addition to the hard goods. Blue Bicycle Books (420 King St.) Upper King Street is everything you could hope for in a In comparison to its show-pony local book shop. It hosts events toastcounterpart, the Upper King Design ing local authors and celebrating teen District is still coming into its own in literature; their window display is terms of shopping. While you might ever-changing and always clever; and wander around Lower King for ages, there’s a cat who roams in and out of Upper King is where you go when you the 50,000 new and used titles. Did need something specific, like a couch, I mention the staff is hyper-knowlbike basket or piece of art to gussy up edgeable and that they have lots of the foyer. Charleston-based authors in stock? For a store that’s been in business Affordabike (534 King St.) has since the 1920s, the expansive Morris nothing to do with books, and, not Sokol Furniture (510 King St.) feels shockingly, everything to do with modern and totally sensible. The style bikes. Its Bilda program churns out represents Lowcountry living, with beach cruisers to college students and dining sets suitable for the patio and Charlestonians starting at $150. They plenty of bright whites and nautisell other cycles and accessories and cal accents for the family room. Just rent bikes if you left yours at home. down the street, the art hanging in the If you are looking for a play thing, gler, Chuma Gullah Gallery for art by Jonathan Green and the mini cafe Caviar & Bananas, in case you need a coffee or pastry to take the edge off the whir of people.

stop by Magnifilous Toy Emporium (525 King St.) The new shop is a veritable carousel of unusual toys.

French Quarter, Broad Street

Stroll down gallery row and peek around the distinctive boutiques in this surprisingly quiet section of the city. Curiosity (56 Queen St.) is a teeny vintage shop filled with items that could have jumped off of your favorite design blogs or recent Pins. And for good reason: Proprietor Courtney Laine keeps up with what’s au courant in the world of antiques. She unearths vestiges of bygone eras that manage to feel very of-the-moment (think: seltzer bottles, vintage baguette trays and cordial glasses for sipping old-timey cocktails). Courtney also specializes in monogrammed and hotel silver, as well as vintage trophies, which make your ancestors instantly accomplished. Wedged near Waterfront Park and a gelato stand, it’s surprisingly easy

to walk right by Indigo (4 Vendue Range). But this home goods store, festooned with fabric bunting and homemade flowers, is just too playful to ignore. There’s mini chalkboards decked out with images of Charleston, bohemian scarves and bags and plenty of cutesy kitchen and garden accents. Broad Street and the French Quarter are dotted with galleries galore. Ann Long Fine Art (54 Broad) curates stunning shows and represents Jill Hooper, Charleston’s much-celebrated classical realist painter. With its awe-inspiring bronze sculptures and works by artists from around the world, Ella Walton Richardson Fine Art (58 Broad St.) is a pretty stop. Robert Lange Studios (2 Queen St.) features talented younger artists, if only in spirit. “The whole perspective is contemporary realism,” says gallery director Carri Schwab. Describing the space as having a “fresh perspective,” the open floor plan and couch encourage you to sit and stay a while as you ponder what’s hanging. “If light is a reflection of energy, we have a lot of energy in here.”

Tanger Outlet Center

to make you think online shopping doesn’t exist. Journey’s, Foot Locker and Champs Sports mean you can quickly pick up cleats or Chuck Taylors, should you be so inclined.

Towne Centre

With a mix of local chains, box stores and boutiques, Mount Pleasant Towne Centre (1600 Palmetto Grande Drive,) is home to both the affordable and the eclectic. It’s the place to go if you don’t want to battle downtown traffic, but are looking for a beach read, a new dress and something to give your football-loving best friend for her birthday. There’s also a Barnes & Noble, Banana Republic and Palmetto Moon. Belk anchors Towne Centre, and the Charlotte-based department store chain is expanding and adding a parking deck as it becomes a flagship store in the land of high-priced homes and people of means. There’s somewhat of a beauty scene here as well, with a giant Ulta store, Stella Nova and the ubiquitous Bath & Body Works. Stashed inside Belk’s is MAC, Clinique and a few other fraFile/The Post and Courier grance and makeup counters. Towne Centre in Mount Pleasant ranks as one of the Lowcountry’s most The micro chain Copper Penny has popular shopping destinations, particularly around Christmas. a colorful boutique at Towne Centre. Its finery runs the gamut from printed dresses to classic jeans, all by top brands, like Milly, Tibi and Citizens of Humanity. Shooz, Copper Penny’s sister shoe salon, always has an assortment of heels and flats in unexpected prints and textures by the likes of Kate Spade and Sam Edelman. Both stores embody that Charleston blend of casual-yet-refined, and always carry the much-loved Jack Rogers, for when the well-heeled need a break from, well, heels.

At some point, outlet shopping became a sport, and Charleston is certainly in the game. Just up I-26 in North Charleston, Tanger Outlet Center (4840 Tanger Outlet Blvd.) is expansive, but not overwhelming. The design, with its pastel storefronts and palmetto trees, fits in with the Lowcountry, while the stores are obvious out-of-towners: Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5th, Banana Republic and Brooks Brothers Factory Stores opened up there. The triumvirate of Old Navy, the Gap and J. Crew outlets mean you can re-buy the basics: cardigans, jeans and Spas and salons tops for just about anyone in the famPerhaps the quintessential Charlesily. There are also plenty of bargains ton spa, Stella Nova’s downtown locato be had at Northwoods Mall (2150 tion (78 Society St.) will make you feel Northwoods Blvd., North Charleston). at home — literally. In a charming house with a magnolia tree out front, Citadel Mall the staff will pamper you with everyThe days of mall rats might be over, thing from body wraps to luxurious but this mall doesn’t seem antiquated. massages. Or, walk a few blocks to get Citadel Mall (2070 Sam Rittenberg your hair cut and colored, or browse Blvd.) happens to be propped up by the beauty boutique (292 King St.) to a clutch of department stores and stock up on Butter London polishes neighbors. Sears, JCPenney and Belk and Bare Minerals makeup. anchor the mall, while Target provides If Stella Nova is rooted in the Lowthe true siren call (it’s impossible to country, Seeking Indigo (445 King avoid, right?). St.) transports you to faraway locales. There is also a surprising number “When you walk through those giant of sports stores (like Dick’s Sporting teak doors, you’re transported to a Zen Goods) and enough sneaker shops paradise,” owner Kathryn Peters says.

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File/The Post and Courier

Summerville’s town center features an array of shops and cafes. Visitors also uncover a world of craft goods and artwork at the annual Flowertown Festival, a massive event held every spring amid the town’s blooming azaleas. We couldn’t agree more. She describes the boutique as an “Anthropologie for the soul,” where silk dresses from Bali hang near an aromatherapy bar and you can find jewelry of all kinds (from acai beads to pieces studded with precious stones). Behind the store is the crown jewel — a spa and yoga space offering treatments influenced by ancient traditions, like a Qi Gong massage or an Ayurvedic ginger compress. Sweet 185 (476 King St.) is named for its signature sugaring services, where estheticians use an old-school technique to get rid of unwanted fuzz. The waxing-weary should take note: the removal process is less painful than its more popular counterpart. The staff also specializes in organic facials and inspired massages. Those looking for an organic nail experience will love the collection of non-toxic polishes and natural approach to nails. Unlike standard salons, their pedis are done in a bowl

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style, unlike traditional jet foot baths.

For the gents

Guys in Charleston are known for Summerville shopping their dapper style. From fedoras to Pull into historic Flowertown and drivers, our men know their way you’ll be transported back in time ... around a haberdashery. Luckily, the in a good way. clothiers around town stay stocked The downtown district is teeming with the finest threads, including with antique, specialty and gift shops, plenty of pieces with provenance in in addition to its local playhouse and the South or at least the U.S. of A. old-fashioned Guerin’s Pharmacy (yes, Embracing the local ideal to its fullcomplete with hand-dipped ice cream). est is Grady Ervin & Co. (313 King Simple to Sublime (120-122 Central St.), whose portfolio of American Ave.) focuses on the eco-friendly, brands includes T-shirts by Logwhich includes aromatherapy to soy gerhead Apparel and High Cotton candles. Glyserene Soap (100 Central bowties. The store carries tuxedos and Ave./120 W. Richardson Ave.) is a cute suits of all sorts, in addition to more bath shop, where you can test their her- casual khakis and polo shirts. The asbaceous sugar scrubs at an oversized sortment of accessories is notable, essink or pick up a slice of soap from the pecially the belt buckles and cufflinks. expected (coconut lime) to the cheekIts slightly less staid, and slightly ily named “Bollocks” soap, which is more preppy counterpart in gentlewhipped up with whiskey. men’s wear is M. Dumas and Sons Aptly named Piazza (127 Central (294 King). The clothes still have tradiAve.) is where locals go for furniture tional tailoring, the Dumas customer or makeovers for the entire home. is a little bit more likely to inquire via

Facebook about Southern Proper Frat Hats. In addition to Skipjack polos and pastels of all sorts, it also sell sa range of sportswear and formal togs. All these duds get a true second life (instead of just looked past in the closet), thanks to the upscale consignment store Worn (92 Folly Road Blvd.). The premise is simple: Those who want to look sharp can finally afford to and those with bursting closets can clean house and make some bourbon money on the deal. For those hooked on the Lowcountry’s original sports (those would be hunting and fishing), there are more than a few places to check out. With its ubiquitous fish logo and numerous locations, The Charleston Angler (654 St. Andrews Blvd.) may be the best known. In addition to the gear and apparel you’d actually need on the water, they’re hawking loads of lifestyle stuff and offer lessons if, well, it’s been a while.

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hen you visit Charleston, you will want to save plenty of room in your suitcase to bring home mementos of your trip. From rare antiques to typical tacky tourist trinkets, Charleston offers an abundance of unique gifts and keepsakes.

There are the standards — T-shirts, shot glasses and key chains — but there are also many items that are distinctively Charleston. They can be found in historic downtown areas like the City Market and King Street. You can remember your trip with jewelry, such as earrings that replicate famous church gates or bracelets with Charleston charms. The state flag symbols, a palmetto tree and crescent moon, also are popular themes for jewelry. Art is also abundant in the Charleston area. Many visitors take home prints or photos of the colorful Rainbow Row or other famous homes or churches. In addition to its historic buildings and architecture, Charleston is also famous for its food and drink. If you want your trip to last after you get home, pack away some delectable delights in your suitcase. Benne wafers are thin, crisp cookies made with toasted sesame seeds that have been unique to the Lowcountry

File/Wade Spees/The Post and Courier

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Miller Greg Johnsman pours a 50-pound bag of Kentucky-grown corn into his antique grits mill at Geechee Boy produce market on Edisto Island.

File/The Post and Courier

since Colonial times. Known for their nutty, caramel taste, they are said to bring good luck to those who eat them. They can be served many ways, and one of the most popular is with ice cream. They are available in many stores in Charleston. Another Southern favorite is pimento cheese, a cheesy spread or relish. You can slather it on a piece of bread to make a quick sandwich, put it on a hamburger or hotdog like other condiments or use it as an ingredient in everything from appetizers to desserts. While it’s available in many local restaurants, Palmetto Cheese, which calls itself “pimento cheese with soul,” is available in grocery stores throughout the Charleston area. Get a tub or two to bring home with you. You also won’t want to miss other Charleston taste treats like Southern

pecan pralines, Charleston grits, 13-bean soup, shrimp and grits or she-crab soup (all available in mixes to take home and make), or local barbecue sauces and rubs. Most can be found in many local shops. If all that food makes you thirsty, you might want to bring home some beverages, too. For that there’s Charleston Coffee Roasters, with flavors like Charleston Blend and Charleston Organic, and American Classic Tea, which comes from the Wadmalaw Island-based Charleston Tea Plantation. For something with a little more punch, try some Firefly Vodka. Created in a small still on Wadmalaw Island, Firefly is the world’s first handcrafted sweet-tea-flavored vodka. Look for it in bars in the Charleston area.

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We like to have a good time here in the Lowcountry. The nightlife’s as hot as the fishing, and you’ll never run out of things to do. File/Grace Beahm/The Post and Courier

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My Life 69

In HIS words Charleston is a small big city. You have the real downtown, relatively densely occupied, and then wonderful suburban neighborhoods. But the scale — you can more easily get things done in a city the size of Charleston, 125-130,000.

Joe Riley

This is the most interesting and best city to be mayor of. I grew up here, so I knew the beauty and the history of our city was unusual. The complexities of carefully managing that are more profound than I realized at first. The substantial preservation considerations, and the degree to which they are important here, is not found in any other American city. I never thought of being mayor. It never entered my mind. The first city council I attended in my life was the first one I presided over when I was elected mayor. I was always interested in the idea of public service. I studied history and government and politics, so that was an early interest. I got into the job of mayor by being encouraged to run.


File/Brad Nettles/The Post and Courier

n 2011, Joe Riley won his 10th term as mayor of Charleston. It is a feat no one has ever accomplished, or is likely to repeat. Riley has presided over the city’s emergence as one of the nation’s top tourist spots and a popular destination for folks looking for a new place to live or retire. Riley sat down with Post and Courier columnist Brian Hicks to talk about what he’s learned in nearly 40 years at the helm, why his is the best job in public service, and why it’s time to retire.

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People believed what I could be, what the community needed, was a bridge builder between the races. African-American leadership and white leadership encouraged me to run. They believed I could connect and that was why I ran. Thirty-seven years ago was a very different time. We’ve had integration of work places and recreation places, and so it’s a very different city. That is a huge source of pride for me. I’ve worked hard to open doors, certainly for the African-American community to be included, to feel included, to feel listened to and cared about more than in any time of the history of our city. I feel it every day, I see it in the

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In HIS words

File/The Post and Courier

These images show Joe Riley’s first (1975) and most recent (2012) inauguration as mayor of Charleston. eyes of our citizens, I see it in what they say, in their body language. Young African-Americans who could leave, a generation and a half ago, were going to different parts of the country to live and seek opportunity. Now they are staying, and AfricanAmericans are coming home. I knew Charleston couldn’t be a great city if it wasn’t a just city, and it had to be a racially just city. My last major project is the International African-American Museum, which we’ve been working on a while. I believe that will be a great institution to everyone — people of African ancestry or European or Asian ancestry. It’s a profound opportunity to honor the AfricanAmericans who were brought here against their will and helped build this city, and helped build this country. We need to understand the past to effectively lead and advance into the future. A city government is a builder. We build things. Then we guide the things that are built in our city. If someone can see it, then enormous pressure should be felt to make it as attractive as possible. I try to convey that through all the people I work with. I think it’s the best job in public service — being mayor of Charleston. And I think being mayor is the best category of public service because you get to do things, you get to achieve things. It’s visible, physical, direct — not talk, action.

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I remember Donald Schaefer, who was mayor of Baltimore, told me that the biggest mistake he made was running for and being elected governor. Because he left a job where you could get things done to one where it’s more difficult to get things done. From a city leadership standpoint, Hugo was the most difficult challenge. The hardest, and in many ways the most personal challenge, was the tragedy of losing nine firefighters. You’re either moving forward or you’re falling back. I should leave the city with lots of things going on, with lots of things to do and lots of things for my successor to work on. A lot of things I’m working on will not be finished, some might not even begin by the time I’ve left office, but I will have done everything I could. You have to have the courage to say “yes” when the right thing is yes, and the courage to say “no,” when the right thing is no — even if people that you care about disagree with you. I challenge myself and my wonderful staff to see if what we do passes the 25- to 50-year test. What we’re doing now, will it be revered as beneficial 25 to 50 years from now? And is there any chance that what we’re doing would not be beneficial? You can never make everyone happy, but at least having heard all the voices, you do what you think is right. I’m a public servant and the citizens I serve, they’re the heroes. No lobbyists come to see me, there are no intermediaries. So many things I work on wouldn’t happen without the board members or volunteers.

I really don’t think of who on city council is Republican or Democrat. I think every local government ought to be nonpartisan. It’s just a better system. We’re not here debating philosophy of government. We’re making the city safe, we’re making it clean and we’re working hard to create a great economy and to provide for our children. Say the person you’re running against has been to every party precinct meeting in the county and you’ve been working for the PTA and a civic club and you’ve been volunteering at the playground. That’s the kind of people I want running for city council. I thought I would serve one term. That usually brings smiles to faces or erupting laughter, but I did. I didn’t realize the nature of the job, and the city, is that there are so many opportunities to achieve and so many things that need to be done that can’t be done in a year or even four years. Is 40 years enough? It is. It’s time. The only way to do this job is fullcourt press. It’s an executive position and by that I mean you have the responsibility of 1,700 people working for an organization that is seeking to excel every day. It is not a job you can ease off the throttle. Have vision — the vision of greatness. That sounds trite, but you should not be timid in seeking excellence.

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Country Club of Charleston: Site of the 2013 U.S. Women’s Amateur, the Country Club of Charleston has been hosting the top amateurs for more than 60 years with the Azalea Invitational. Open and not overly long by modern standards (6,799 yards from the back tees), the undulating greens and wind from Charleston Harbor make it a challenge for the very best golfers. Private, 843-795-2312, 1 Country Club Drive, Charleston

Lowcountry Golf

Crowfield Golf and Country Club: This course was built on the site of Crowfield Plantation, and portions of the 18th century ruins can still be seen around the course. Owned by the city of Goose Creek, the fairways and greens are heavily contoured. The S.C. PGA Championship has been played here three times. Semi-private, 843-7644618, 300 Hamlet Circle, Goose Creek

File/Grace Beahm/The Post and Courier

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland wins last year’s PGA Championship at the Ocean Course on Kiawah Island.


hile the 2012 PGA Championship at Kiawah’s spectacular Ocean Course gave South Carolina its first golf major, Charleston has been building its reputation as a golfing destination since the founding of the nation’s first golf club at Harleston Green on the Charleston peninsula in 1786. In that time, the Lowcountry has accumulated a collection of more than 30 courses:

Berkeley Country Club: Built on the site of Exeter Plantation, Berkeley Country Club started as a nine-hole course built in 1959. Architect George Cobb completed the course with an additional nine holes in 1967. From its longest tees, it measures just under 6,700 yards. Semi-private, 843-761-4653, 772 Exeter Plantation Road, Moncks Corner Golf Club at Briar’s Creek: A must-play if you have the chance, Briar’s Creek was named Golf Digest’s Best New Private Course for 2002. Designed by acclaimed architect Rees Jones, it runs along the Kiawah River. Private, 843-768-3050, 4000 Briar’s Creek Lane, Johns Island

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Bulls Bay Golf Club: From the clubhouse perched more than 70 feet above sea level, members of this golf-only private club can look out and see 14 of the 18 holes, the Intracoastal Waterway and in the distance the Atlantic Ocean. Private, 843-881-2223, 995 Bulls Bay Boulevard, Awendaw Charleston Municipal Golf Course: One of the oldest courses in Charleston, the Municipal Golf Course also is one of the most popular as attested by the 60,000-plus rounds played each year by those attracted by the reasonable green fees. Public, 843-795-6517, 2110 Maybank Highway, Charleston

Daniel Island Club — Beresford Creek: Named for a tributary that leads into the nearby Wando River, Beresford Creek was the first of Daniel Island Club’s two championship courses. Framed by large oaks and expansive marsh views, the Tom Fazio-designed course has hosted numerous state and regional tournaments. Private, 843-971-3555, 600 Island Park Drive, Daniel Island Daniel Island Club — Ralston Creek: In Ralston Creek architect Rees Jones delivered a course that could stand up to professional golfers but be fun for the members. It is named for a Wando River tributary that fronts several holes. Private, 843-971-3555, 600 Island Park Drive, Daniel Island

Dunes West Golf Club: Built on the site of Lexington Plantation, Arthur Hills followed the contours of the land in building Dunes West Golf Club. WagCharleston National Golf Club: Famed ner Creek is the backdrop for the closing architect Rees Jones built this beautiful hole and the entrance to the Lowcounand challenging course. From the back try-style clubhouse is flanked by a tees it can stretch to 7,100 yards and will majestic avenue of oaks. Semi-private, test the very best golfers. Semi-private, 843-856-9000, 3535 Wando Plantation 843-884-4653, 1360 National Drive, Way, Mount Pleasant Mount Pleasant Kiawah Island Club — Cassique: Coosaw Creek Country Club: Coosaw The South Carolina Lowcountry meets Creek winds through an upscale deScotland in this course designed by velopment with gentle rolling fairways five-time British open champion Tom that feature gradual elevation changes. Watson. Named for the Kiawah Indian A premium is placed on shot-making, chief, Cassique plays through marshwhether you are hitting your tee shot land out to the ocean. It was the site of or making your approach to the green. the 2009 U.S. Mid-Amateur. Private, Semi-private, 843-767-9000, 4110 Club 843-768-5752, 100 Old Cedar Lane, Course Drive, North Charleston Kiawah Island

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Kiawah Island Club — The River Course: The original course of the private Kiawah Island Club derives its name for the Kiawah River, with six holes that play along the river’s edge, including the spectacular 17th and 18th. The River Course’s closing holes on the front nine play around beautiful Bass Pond. Private, 843-768-5715, 10 River Course Lane, Kiawah Island

narrow and the greens are small. Turtle Point has played host to the Carolinas Amateur, South Carolina Amateur, Carolinas PGA and the 1990 PGA Cup Matches. Private, 843-266-4050, 1 Turtle Point Lane, Kiawah Island

Legend Oaks Golf Club: Legend Oaks is one of the most enjoyable golf courses in the Lowcountry, and the experience begins with the majestic oaks that frame Kiawah Island Golf Resort — Cougar the drive to the clubhouse. And there’s no more delightful place to relax after a Point: Gary Player got a mulligan in round than in one of the rocking chairs 1996 when Kiawah Island Golf Resort called in the Hall of Fame golfer for a re- on the back porch overlooking the 18th design of the club’s original course that hole. Semi-private, 843-821-4077, 118 opened in 1976. Cougar Point now mea- Legend Oaks Way, Summerville sures 6,875 yards, plays to a par of 72 and is a much better test of golf. Resort, The Oaks Golf and Country Club: The 843-266-4020, 12 Kiawah Beach Drive, nine-hole Oaks Golf and Country Club in Goose Creek harkens to a day when Kiawah Island an enjoyable place to play golf, not a top 100 ranking, was the goal. It measures Kiawah Island Golf Resort — Oak Point: Located off the island, Oak Point 2,745 yards from the back tees and par is 35. The Oaks was built on the site of has undergone dramatic changes since a former rice plantation and the plantabeing purchased by Kiawah Island Golf tion house (not in use) still stands. SemiResort in 1997. A par-4 hole was elimiprivate, 843-553-4141, 130 The Oaks nated and replaced by the par-3 ninth Avenue, Goose Creek that has Haulover Creek as a backdrop. The par-4 18th is as picturesque as it is challenging. Resort, 843-266-4100, 4394 Patriots Point Links: Location, location, location sums up the Patriots Hope Plantation Drive, Johns Island Point Links experience. Positioned on Charleston Harbor adjacent to PatriKiawah Island Golf Resort — Ocean Course: The Ocean Course is certainly ots Point Maritime Museum, Patriots Point Links is a parkland layout with the gem of Kiawah Island Golf Resort, no development framing the golf holes. having served as the site of the 1991 There is plenty of room if you spray the Ryder Cup matches, the 2007 Senior PGA Championship and the 2012 PGA ball, and the wind off the water makes it challenging. Public, 843-881-0042, 1 Championship. Located at the eastern Patriots Point Road, Mount Pleasant end of the island, 10 holes parallel the Atlantic Ocean, and all 18 have views Pine Forest Country Club: Pine Forof the ocean. It tops the rankings in Golf Digest’s list of America’s Toughest est is an extremely challenging course, tough but fair. The fairways are lined Courses and is No. 26 in Golf Digest’s top 100 American courses. Private, 843- with large pines, there’s plenty of water and once you get on the sharply con266-4670, 1000 Ocean Course Drive, toured elevated greens you had better Kiawah Island have your putting game in order. Semiprivate, 843-851-1193, 1000 CongressioKiawah Island Golf Resort — Osprey nal Boulevard, Summerville Point: You can’t see the ocean but you can hear its roar on several holes at Osprey Point. The fairways feature generous Plantation Course at Edisto: Off the beaten path, the Plantation Course at landing areas, and there are few forced Edisto was remodeled in 2006 and ofcarries. It is ranked 10th in Golf for Women magazine’s 50 Best Golf Courses fers a pleasurable golf experience, with excellent conditioning. It measures just for Women. Private, 843-266-4640, 700 6,130 and plays to a par of 70 from the Governor’s Drive, Kiawah Island championship tees, but narrow fairways and plenty of lagoons require precision. Kiawah Island Golf Resort — Turtle Public with memberships, 843-869Point: One of the earliest designs by 1111, 19 Fairway Drive, Edisto Island the legendary Jack Nicklaus, Kiawah Island Golf Resort’s Turtle Point can Redbank Plantation Golf Course — test the very best players. Fairways are

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Naval Weapons Station: Redbank Plantation is a military recreation facility located near the Cooper River. From the very back tees it plays just 5,382 yards and has a par of 70 so it is enjoyable for all skill levels. Private (eligible military personnel may bring guests), 843-764-7828, 2316 Red Bank Road, Goose Creek RiverTowne Country Club: An Arnold Palmer signature design, RiverTowne Country Club is located along the marshes of Horlbeck Creek and the Wando River. In addition to a demanding course, it also features an excellent practice facility. Semi-private, 843-8492405, 1700 RiverTowne Country Club Drive, Mount Pleasant Seabrook Island Club — Ocean Winds: Ocean Winds, the original course on Seabrook Island, derives its name from several holes on the back nine that play near the Atlantic Ocean. Short by modern standards at only 6,765 yards from the championship tees, it is nonetheless a stern test. Private, 843-768-2529, 3772 Seabrook Island Road, Seabrook Island Seabrook Island Club — Crooked Oaks: When owners of Seabrook Island Club saw the need for a second course they hired revered architect Robert Trent Jones Sr. Without benefit of the ocean, Jones routed the 6,780-yard course through the marsh and mosscovered oaks. Water is in play on just six holes, but you can’t spray the ball too much if you want to post a good score. Private, 843-768-2529, 3772 Seabrook Island Road, Seabrook Island Shadowmoss Plantation: Centrally located with reasonable greens fees, Shadowmoss Plantation is one of the most popular Charleston courses. It is a very playable 6,700 yards from the back tees with only two par-4s that are longer than 400 yards. Semi-private, 843-5568251, 20 Dunvegan Dr., Charleston

highlight the Links at Stono Ferry, a 6,756-yard course that winds through the Stono Ferry residential development. The course was built on the site of the Battle at Stono Ferry and is a good test for players of all skill levels. Semiprivate, 843-763-1817, 4182 Stono Links Drive, Hollywood Summerville Country Club (Miler): Summerville Country Club, known to many as Miler Country Club, is one of the oldest courses in the Charleston area. Still, it’s a fun course for members and visitors alike at only 6,037 yards. Par is 71. Semi-private, 843-873-2210, 400 Country Club Blvd., Summerville Golf Club at Wescott Plantation: The Golf Club at Wescott Plantation is owned by the city of North Charleston and features 27 holes. The Black Robin nine places a premium on accuracy with the greens well bunkered; the fairways are wide on Oak Forest; the greens are undulating on Burn Kill. Public, 843871-2135, 5000 Wescott Club Drive, North Charleston Wild Dunes Resort — Harbor Course: Built after its sister course, Wild Dunes’ Harbor Course is short (6,359 yards, par70) but don’t let the length fool you. At 464 yards from the tips, the par-4 17th is stout and scenic as it plays along an expansive marsh. Resort, 843-886-2301, 5757 Palm Boulevard, Isle of Palms Wild Dunes Resort — Links Course: The Links Course helped propel Tom Fazio’s name to the top of the golf architecture. The course winds skillfully through the marsh and natural dunes to a stunning finish along Dewees Inlet. Resort, 843-886-2002, 10001 Back Bay Drive, Isle of Palms

Wrenwoods Golf Course — Charleston AFB: Located on Charleston Air Force Base, Wrenwoods Golf Course is a parkland-style layout within a spacious 200-acre footprint. Private Snee Farm Country Club: Best known (eligible military personnel may bring guests), 843-963-8177, 100 Cusabee as the home of the Rice Planters Amateur that has produced numerous cham- Trail, Charleston AFB pions who have gone on to successful PGA Tour careers, Snee Farm Country Yeamans Hall Club: One of the greatest Club measures 6,834 yards. It is a mem- golf experiences in the area is stepping ber-friendly course with generous driv- back in time to play Yeamans Hall Club, designed and built by Seth Raynor in ing areas. Private, 843-884-2600, 1200 1925. Fairways are generous and the Club Drive, Mount Pleasant greens are large, many of them with false fronts. Private, 843-747-8855, 900 Links at Stono Ferry: Outstanding Yeamans Hall Road, Hanahan views of the Intracoastal Waterway

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Spectator sports


harleston isn’t the nation’s largest sports market, but it’s one of the more unique. Where else can you see the New York Yankees’ top minor league prospects, enjoy award-winning promotions, follow three NCAA Division I basketball programs, watch minor league hockey and soccer, and catch top college basketball teams? … All without having to pay much to park. The starting lineup:

Charleston RiverDogs

Rachel Ray raved about the concession stand offerings on the Food Network. Adam Richman of The Travel Channel stopped by Joseph P. Riley Jr. Park to gush about the Homewrecker Hot Dog. And Esquire Magazine this year said the RiverDogs have the “Best Food” in minor league baseball. The menu includes a Peanut Butter Jalapeno Burger and Chicken & Apple Sausage. Esquire preferred the beer milkshakes, particularly the Guinness caramel. Oh, yes, baseball. The RiverDogs are the Class A South Atlantic League affiliate of the New York Yankees. Big league stars such as Josh Hamilton, Carl Crawford and B.J. Upton have passed through. Famous for their crazy marketing stunts, the RiverDogs struck gold last summer by staging the first round of the South Atlantic League All-Star Game’s Home Run Derby on the deck of the Yorktown aircraft carrier. “Promotion of the Year” honors came from Minor League Baseball.

Charleston RiverDogs relief pitcher Dietrich Enns was named to the SAL All-Star Game.

Charleston Battery

Blackbaud Stadium, recognized as a soccer showplace, frequently attracts top events, from U.S. women’s national team visits to exhibition games pitting the Battery against Major League Soccer teams.

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Youth Sports Check with recreation departments for age restrictions and other details. CHARLESTON Phone: 843-724-7327 Website: Fall registration: May 1-July 27. Sports: flag football, football, micro soccer, cheerleading, baseball, softball, youth start smart development. Winter registration: Oct. 7-26. Sports: basketball, flag football, indoor soccer clinic. Spring sports: baseball, flag football, lacrosse, softball, rugby, soccer. MOUNT PLEASANT Phone: 843-884-2528 Website: Fall registration: July 7-22. Sports: soccer, football, baseball, softball. Winter sports: basketball, lacrosse, track and field, swimming, wrestling. Spring sports: baseball, basketball, track, softball, lacrosse. Summer sports: T-Ball, Machine pitch baseball, basketball, therapeutic kickball, developmental soccer. Wade Spees/The Post and Courier

Serena Williams defeated Jelena Jankovic in the 2013 Family Circle Cup finals. Otherwise, Charleston’s USL Pro team mixes it up in a league that has sent many players on to Major League Soccer and other elite competition.

slugger Bo Thompson. The Citadel shares Riley Park with the RiverDogs, giving it one of the best home ballparks in college baseball.

South Carolina Stingrays

College of Charleston

South Carolina’s first minor league hockey team has won three Kelly Cup championships since its ECHL debut at the North Charleston Coliseum in 1993, and the Stingrays are as well-known for their community service work. Stingrays players visited over 40 schools and the organization contributed over $70,000 in actual and in-kind donations to Charleston-area charities during the 2012-2013 season. The holiday Teddy Bear Toss is a fan favorite.

The Family Circle Cup

The annual tennis tournament on Daniel Island transcends serves and volleys. Boutique shopping, gourmet food offerings and nightly happy hour concerts mix with world-class tennis every spring. Serena Williams is the defending champion.

The Citadel

Renovated Johnson Hagood Stadium is home of a Citadel football team that annually plays a rugged Southern Conference schedule. A young Bulldogs baseball team overachieved its way to the Southern Conference Tournament championship game in 2012. Most of the cast returns for 2013, including 5-10, 255-pound

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The Cougars have bolted the Southern Conference and entered the new world of the Colonial Athletic Association in all sports. CAA rivals include UNC-Wilmington, Drexel, Northeastern, Hofstra, Delaware, Hofstra, Towson, William & Mary, James Madison and Elon. No matter the league, state-of-the-art TD Arena on Meeting Street shines as an ideal showplace for mid-major college basketball. The College of Charleston last year played a home game against eventual national champion Louisville. TD Arena also hosts the Charleston Classic basketball tournament each November. This year, participating teams include Clemson, Georgia, Davidson, Nebraska, New Mexico, Massachusetts, Temple and Alabama-Birmingham.

Charleston Southern

Jamey Chadwell takes over as the Buccaneers’ third head football coach. CSU has five home games this season and a tough road opener at The Citadel. The CSU basketball team made more strides under head coach Barclay Radebaugh last season, reaching the Big South Conference championship game.

NORTH CHARLESTON Phone: 843-740-5814 Website: Fall registration: July. Sports: football, cheerleading, soccer, baseball, softball. Winter registration: October. Sports: basketball. Spring registration: January. Sports: baseball, softball. Summer registration: April. Sports: basketball. GOOSE CREEK Phone: 843-569-4242 Website: Fall registration: June 3-Aug. 15. Sports: football, cheerleading, baseball, softball, soccer. Winter sports: basketball. Spring sports: baseball, softball, soccer, T-ball. SUMMERVILLE Phone: 843-871-9622 Website: Sports: Baseball, softball, T-ball, basketball, cheerleading. MONCKS CORNER Phone: 843-719-7900 Website: Sports: baseball, softball, T-ball, football, cheerleading, soccer, basketball.

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Music & Nightlife The Avett Brothers perform at the Southern Ground Music & Food Festival.

File/Marie Rodriguez/The Post and Courier


harleston’s nightlife has been the stuff of legend since Colonial times. No wonder. We work hard here in the Lowcountry, but we play even harder. Drive through the city on almost any weekend night and you’ll see a seemingly endless stream of beautiful people, dressed to the nines, ducking in and out of music venues, bars and restaurants, theaters and nightclubs. Here’s a guide to some of the hottest hot spots. 82 My Life

The music scene

Charleston’s roster of high-quality shows and noteworthy local acts has blossomed in recent years, giving the Holy City a unique vibe and drawing national attention to its homegrown talent. It’s a town where you can still see a great show for under 20 bucks and watch someone like alt-country rocker Jason Isbell deliver a scorching set from just a few feet away. Or catch a rising talent like Wallace Mullinax dish out some tasty leads with his band The Dead 27s.

Elise Testone performs at a Party at the Point event at the Charleston Harbor Resort in Mount Pleasant.

File/Marie Rodriguez/The Post and Courier

If you’re looking for household names, check out schedules at the North Charleston Coliseum, the adjacent Performing Arts Center and the Family Circle Stadium on Daniel Island, which has upped its game of late with shows by the likes of The Killers and Widespread Panic. The Zac Brown Band has also made Daniel Island home to its annual Southern Ground Music & Food Festival with guests such as Willie Nelson. If you’re more in the mood for hyper-local, take in a barn jam at

Awendaw Green (4853 U.S. Highway 17, Awendaw) in a bohemian, woodsy setting. Charleston’s most recognizable homegrown exports are Darius Rucker and Hootie & the Blowfish, whose 1994 debut sold more than 16 million copies. But the area is home to Columbia-signed Band of Horses, Needtobreathe, American Idol finalist Elise Testone and country/rock/ indie duo Shovels & Rope, whose “O’ Be Joyful” album has catapulted them into the national spotlight.

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You’ll never go thirsty in Charleston. Stop by Closed for Business on King Street for a great selection of brews. File/Grace Beahm/The Post and Courier

A number of other artists are on the brink of making it big, from rockers Dangermuffin and rapper Righchus to Stop Light Observations, who were chosen from about 1,000 bands around the country to play at Bonnaroo this summer, For the most part, be prepared to be up late if you’re looking to catch some tunes. Most clubs don’t really start rocking until after 10 p.m. The Charleston Pour House (1977 Maybank Highway, James Island) has the fattest schedule of regional bands and emerging local artists, with stalwarts like Taj Mahal and Leftover Salmon thrown in on occasion. For the thrifty and early-to-bed crowd, the Pour House also offers free music on the back deck many nights from 6 to 9. Downtown, the Music Farm (32 Ann St.) is a funky space in an old railroad depot that has been hauling in a mix of regional and national acts for two decades. Gov’t Mule, Snoop Dogg, Drive-By Truckers, Iggy Pop and the

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Dirty Dozen Brass Band are among the many artists who have played there. The nearby Charleston Music Hall (37 John St.) arguably has the best acoustics in town and an upscale feel with lots of wood and exposed brick. The hall, which has played host to Gregg Allman, Steve Earle, Keb’ Mo’ and other luminaries, has boosted its booking of late, pulling in more local acts as well as international artists such as Solas. Out on the Isle of Palms, The Windjammer (1008 Ocean Blvd.) mixes local favorites like Sol Driven Train and the Blue Dogs with traveling headliners such as Buddy Miller, Cracker and The Wailers. Fiery Ron’s Home Team BBQ (1205 Ashley River Road in West Ashley and 2209 Middle St. on Sullivan’s Island) serves up tasty blues, rock, bluegrass and more at its two locations. West Ashley residents can also amble up the road to find some good tunes at The Tin Roof (1117 Magnolia Road). For those looking for some jazzier

or head up nearby Cumberland Street to the new Craftsmen Tap House. It’s all good. Wandering up and down King Street in the evening may be one of Charleston’s best entertainment options. From the new bars and restaurants proliferating along Upper King down past Marion Square and on to The bar scene Charleston Place, this street is lined If you can’t have a fun night out in with gold. Start by playing a little Charleston, you can’t have one anyping-pong wile you drink a cold one where. at HōM, then join the college crowd at East Bay Street, from the City MarMidtown or watch a game at Charlesket down to Broad Street, is lined with ton Beer Works. Explore further up top-tier restaurants and trendy bars. Upper King and you can swing into Swing into High Cotton or Cypress The Grocery on Cannon Street to orto enjoy a cocktail and charcuterie der up a Dirty Green Tomato martini plate. Work your way to the bar at (pairs nicely with the Piggy Plate). Go Social and peruse the extensive wine a bit further and you’ll discover The list. Drop by The Griffon on Vendue Recovery Room, one of the town’s best Range Road to see a dive that Southcollege/dive bars and the No. 2 seller ern Living described as “unapologeti- of PBR in the nation. cally awesome.” Pop into the Gin Joint Scoot back down King toward the for a cocktail done right, test your city center to AC’s for another dose mettle with an oyster shooter at Pearl’s of dive-bar goodness, then even it out fare, The Mezz (276 King St.) has a full line-up, with two shows nightly. The full list of local watering holes that feature music is just too crowded to enumerate here. But from the Sand Dollar on Folly Beach to The Mill in North Charleston, there’s always somewhere to catch a band.

with a swanky cocktail at O-Ku or the Cocktail Club. Hit Closed for Business, The Rarebit or The Macintosh to experience the gastropub phenomenon at its finest, then move on down to the sports bars and fancy pizza joints past Marion Square. If you want to ditch downtown, head over to Shem Creek in Mount Pleasant, where the locals have been known to have a good time. Few other places offer the chance to sip a beverage while a steady stream of dolphins, pelicans, shrimp boats, paddleboarders and fishing boats stream by. Or Try the Avondale area of West Ashley, a funky little hot spot of bars, restaurants and trendy shops just a hop skip and a jump from downtown. Nearby, on St. Andrews Boulevard, you can join the crowds at the relatively new Mex 1 Coastal Cantina (home of a kicking jalapeno margarita). Visiting the Olde Village in Park Circle is well worth the short drive to North Charleston, if only for the pizza at EVO, a stout at Madra Rua or the sweet potato fries at Sesame. It’s also well worth tracking down the nearby Mixon development, which features a trendy market and new Bath & Racquet Club, where “badmintoninduced grass stains and impromptu poolside dance parties are encouraged.” Up in Summerville, join the locals for a cold one at Homegrown Brewhouse on Main Street or the venerable Ice House on Church Street, a triedand-true watering hole.

There is an artistic performance nearly every weekend of the year. Charleston’s rich artistic community includes notable groups such as Theatre Charleston, Charleston Stage, Charleston Ballet Theatre, Theatre 99, Pure Theater, the Footlight Players and South of Broadway. Theater buffs can catch performances at a number of wonderful settings, including the Sottile Theatre, used mostly by the College of Charleston, and Memminger Auditorium, which underwent a transformation into a black-box theater now used by all. North Charleston’s Performing Arts Center and Coliseum often host big-name acts and off-Broadway musicals.


Hoping to do some shopping or grab a bite before a movie East of the Cooper? Check out Palmetto Grande, tucked inside Mount Pleasant’s Towne Centre shopping center. For a dinner and a movie simultaneously, take your date to Cinebarre, off Houston-Northcutt Boulevard. Heading across the Ashley River into West Ashley and James Island, movie buffs can hit the new Citadel Mall Stadium 16 with IMAX, or soak up the vibe at the Terrace Theater, a small but popular spot off Maybank Highway. Film fans can experience both ends of the movie spectrum in North Charleston with a megaplex Theater experience at Regal Charles Towne Charleston is a Southern artistic Square Stadium 18 off Mall Drive or mecca. The city hosts film festivals, Northwoods Stadium Cinemas off art galleries, plays, jazz, chamber Rivers Avenue, or by taking in an music, wine and food festivals, and independent film at The Olde North the annual Spoleto USA Festival and Charleston Picture House in Park Southeastern Wildlife Exposition. Circle.

File/The Post and Courier

Charlton Singleton leads the Charleston Jazz Orchestra.

File/Marie Rodriguez/The Post and Courier

The Grand Band performs at the barn at Awendaw Green.

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In HER words My love of the ocean happened early in my life. Going to the beach with my mom and fishing with my dad. I lived and sailed in the Abacos. Really, I have always had a sense of knowing I would always be in and near the ocean.

My Lifestyle

I have been surfing for 27 years. Over those years, I’ve seen more girls surfing and really surfing progressively, as well as a healthy dose of respect from the guys. Living aboard a sailboat for seven years, including a couple of years in the Abacos, definitely left an impression on me. I learned just what one truly needs to live and thrive. It’s not so much, really. The sea, open sky and the simplicity of life on a boat brings awareness of weather, wind, rain and all our surroundings that can go unnoticed in the fast-paced world. This connection with the ocean helps my own balance in life. Peace inspires me. I practice yoga every day and have been teaching consistently for 16 years. I think both yoga and surfing bring you to a place of timelessness, a state of being completely immersed in what you are doing. They both bring about a positive, happy state of mind where you can be creative and grow on a personal level. My husband, Chris, is a major influence in my life. He really loves surfing and truly embodies all aspects of the surfing lifestyle from fishing, diving, surf travel. He captains a research vessel for the S.C. Department of Natural Resources. I love Nicaragua and the waves there. Nicaragua offers such a diverse selection of waves, barrels, point breaks, beach breaks.

David Quick/The Post and Courier

By David Quick


f there were a Charleston Surfing Hall of Fame, Jenny Brown would be among its first inductees. At 42, Brown has been surfing for nearly three decades and continues to be among the area’s top competitive surfers. The uber-fit mother of two also is passing her passion on to future generations by teaching surfing at a day camp she founded, Folly Beach Shaka Surf School. Last year, a photo of Brown surfing in the womens-only Folly Beach Wahine Classic surfing contest graced the cover of the 2012 edition of “My Charleston.” 86 My Life

Surfing teaches you to live in the moment. You need to be completely present when you are surfing. You get into the flow where nothing else seems to matter. So it teaches you to operate in the now. I am a pescatarian. I live off the garden in my backyard and the seafood my husband harvests. I think the media and Hollywood portray surfers as beach bums, but if you look into the real world of surfing and the pioneers of surfing, they are true water men, eco-active and world explorers. I don’t take surfing for granted. Each time I paddle out, I try to be aware of my surroundings and not bring any negative thoughts with me. I leave everything on the beach and ... just surf.

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running town

File/Wade Spees/The Post and Courier

About 40,000 runners and walkers took their place behind the elite and seeded runners for the start of the 2013 Cooper River Bridge Run. By David Quick


harleston has never made a Top 10 list for its running, but it should. Person-for-person, it’s starting to chase down running meccas such as Boulder, Colo., and Eugene, Ore., and large cities known for their running, such as New York, Washington, D.C. and Chicago. 88 My Life

In 20 years, the area has gone from having one running specialty store (The Extra Mile) to five (The Extra Mile, On the Run, TrySports, The Foot Store and Fleet Feet). And that’s with some heavy competition from big box sporting goods retailers and online shopping. And while those stores have loyalists and offer training opportunities via camps, clubs and

running groups, the Charleston Running Club has been a presence in the area since 1977 and has been integral in building the activity’s foundation here. The epicenter of Charleston’s running scene is the Cooper River Bridge — not only the focal point of one of the nation’s Top 10 largest road races but, since 2005 and the opening of a bike and pedestrian

lane, a hub of everyday running. Other popular places to run include the West Ashley Greenway, Hampton Park, The Battery, the Old Village of Mount Pleasant and the Pitt Street Bridge, the Park Circle area of North Charleston, Marrington Plantation in Goose Creek, and the islands of Folly Beach, Sullivan’s and Isle of Palms. The number and diversity of races in a town is one of the best barometers of the vitality of the running community. The number of races in Charleston have doubled in less than 10 years. In 2012, 110 timed road races were held in the Charleston metro area. And there are events to suit practically everyone. The big five: Mega races include the Bridge Run 10K in April, the Turkey Day Run 5K in November, Komen Lowcountry Race for the Cure 5K in October, and Kiawah Island Half-Marathon and Reindeer Run 5K, both in December. Local runner favs: Veteran runners tend to be loyal to certain races. Besides the Bridge Run and Turkey Day, others include the Charleston Running Club’s File/Paul Zoeller/The Post and Courier Charleston Post Classic 15K and 5K in late January and the Floppin’ The kids’ race in a fun run during the Turkey Day Run in downtown Charleston. Flounder 5K in June. Other favs include the Leprechaun Run 5K in March and races on Isle of Palms and James Island “connector” bridges in October and November, respectively. Hitting the trails: Also emerging in recent years are trail runs, including the Francis Marion Dirt Dash Half Marathon, 12K and 5K in September, Almost Nine Miler in February, Last Chance 50K in December, Wambaw Swamp Stomp 50-miler in May and Capers Island EcoRuns throughout the year. Muddy fun: Obstacle course races usually have a mud element and include: The Citadel Bulldog Challenge, Rugged Maniac, Mega Mud Run and Project Mud, usually held in March and April. Color & glow runs: Keeping up with national trends, Charleston also is hosting “color runs,” where participants get bombed with neon corn starch, and nighttime “glow runs,” where running File/Tyrone Walker/The Post and Courier seems secondary to getting together for a little fun. The annual Komen Race for the Cure takes place on Daniel Island.

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File/The Post and Courier

Cyclist travel the loop in Hampton Park. BY ROBERT BEHRE


he Lowcountry’s flat terrain makes it attractive to cyclists of all abilities, except those training for the Tour de France.

Charleston’s premier cycling advocacy group, Charleston Moves, is pushing for a new Battery2Beach Route that would link the Isle of Palms with Charleston’s Battery with Folly Beach. It’s not in place yet, but some parts are, including the bike lane of the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge. Here are a handful of other ideas for a special bike ride:

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zz Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island. These neighboring islands offer many quiet streets that are cyclist friendly, and those with wide tires may bike along the shore. Even the bridge linking the two beaches has wide bike lanes. zz For mountain bikers, the new Wannamaker North Trail offers an 8-milelong loop on Charleston County Park

File/David Quick/The Post and Courier

Many professionals use bikes to commute over the Cooper River bridge. and Recreation land in Goose Creek. Can be muddy after a heavy rain, and bring bug spray. zz Historic cemeteries off Cunnington Avenue. Magnolia Cemetery offers the best scenery and most varied monuments, but more than a dozen others also speak of the area’s 19thand 20th-century history. zz The West Ashley Greenway. This 8-mile-long old railroad bed runs just south of Savannah Highway. Its surface quality varies, but those who make it to the southernmost few miles are rewarded with grand marsh views. zz The shorter West Ashley Bikeway, which runs from the Ashley River to Wappoo Road, is another old railbed

that offers a safe and scenic ride. zz The Sawmill Branch Canal just south of Summerville offers almost 7 miles of a flat, 10-foot wide, paved trail through a wooded area. The streets it crosses aren’t very busy. zz The historic neighborhoods in downtown Charleston and Mount Pleasant’s Old Village may best be seen by bike, though cyclists must stay mindful of traffic and car doors opening. Charleston’s Hampton Park sports a new bike lane. zz Charleston County parks, such as James Island, Palmetto Islands and Wannamaker, offer a few miles of paved multiuse trails that are very kid friendly.

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Fitness town

The Lowcountry Splash open water swim

File/David Quick/The Post and Courier

BY David Quick

which takes MUSC trainers to parks to lead exercise classes. Do-it-yourselfers find options in harleston is known nationally for its his- renting or buying stand-up paddletory, architecture, food, manners, world- boards and hitting waterways, biking to and from the islands or out to the class medical facilities and its internaFrancis Marion National Forests, running or biking on the Cooper tional arts festival.But in the shadows of all that and River bridge. Events that bring like-minded peois a booming fitness town. ple together include the Louie’s Kids In the past decade, the growth of And that’s just the indoor options. Yoga Marathon for yogis in October, fitness has been widespread – from a With ample space in parks and on The Primal Games for CrossFitters dozen CrossFit “boxes,” 20 yoga stu- beaches, some personal trainers are in June, and the Push Up & Up Chaldios, and dozens more fitness clubs taking clients outdoors. In May, the lenge for fitness clubs and schools in and personal training studios, among Medical University of South Carolina April. them three indoor cycling studios Wellness Center collaborated with Endurance athletes — many of them and a climbing studio, as well as a the Charleston County Parks and members of the Charleston Running half dozen recreation departments Recreation Commission for a pilot Club or Coastal Cyclists — enjoy an offering similar programming. program called “Adventure Out,” even greater array of opportunities to


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test their fitness against others. Runners had 110 races in 2012, ranging from the Cooper River Bridge Run with 36,756 finishers to one of many Caper’s Island ECOruns, with as low as 15 participants. Cyclists have the I’On Smackdown and S.C. State Criterium Championships to the After the Bridge Run Ride and the Jerry Zucker Ride for Hope. Triathletes have TryCharleston in April, Charleston Sprint Triathlon Series from May to August and the Kiawah Island Golf Resort Triathlon in September. And open water swimmers have the Lowcountry Splash in late spring and Swim Around Charleston in September.

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er at ambush points along a riverbank. Many trout anglers fish live mud minnows, finger mullet or shrimp under a float. Others prefer artificial lures. Top-water plugs can draw explosive trout strikes at dawn and dusk, but the standard trout lure of choice continues to be a 1/4-ounce jig head rigged with a soft-plastic grub. This time-honored combination is deadly. When the bite is hot in the fall, a couple of experienced anglers can catch dozens of trout in short order. Pro tip: When using a jig/soft plastic combo, cast toward shore and retrieve the lure with just enough speed to keep it bouncing off the bottom.

Fishing fanatics Drop baits down off Charleston and you can catch big grouper, snapper and a host of other species.


File/Matt WInter/The Post and Courier

By Matt Winter


harleston’s a port town, a beach town, a river town, a seafood town. And it is, without a doubt, a fishing town. Inshore, offshore, nearshore. Fly fishing, deep sea fishing, bottom fishing — we do it all. If you live here or are just visiting, don’t miss out on some of the Southeast’s best fishing. Get out there and catch ’em up.


Redfish, aka spot-tail bass and red drum, form the backbone of the local inshore fishery. Catches range from tiny “puppy drum” in saltwater creeks to 40-plus-inch “breeder reds” at the Charleston Jetties and nearshore reefs. Redfish will hit a variety of baits, including shrimp, menhaden, mullet and quartered blue crabs. Spoons, softplastic grubs, top-water plugs and a number of fly patterns also work well. In the winter, anglers pole their boats

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into the flats to sight-cast to reds congregating in the shallows for warmth and protection from hungry dolphins. In the spring and summer, reds are plentiful throughout coastal estuaries. Look for them around docks, creek mouths and in flooded marsh grass during extreme high tides. In the fall, fishing gets even better as reds fatten up on migrating shrimp. As temperatures cool, many anglers hit the beach for hot surf-fishing action. Pro tip: Concentrate your efforts

Who doesn’t love flounder? These fascinating flatfish make for superb table fare and can be caught inshore from spring through fall. Bigger flounder move out to nearshore wrecks and reefs in the wintertime. Many anglers use a simple Carolina rig consisting of a light egg sinker on the mainline followed by a swivel, about 18 inches of 20-pound leader and a hook. Mud minnows are the bait of choice for flatfish, though finger mullet and shrimp work just fine. Slowly work these rigs along riverbanks and around dock pilings, oyster beds and creek mouths. Pro tip: When a flounder strikes, you’ll often feel a thump on the line, then nothing. Give the fish a few seconds to reposition the bait in its mouth, then set the hook.


Locals take no small amount of pride in their sheepshead fishing skills, and for good reason. These beautiful, stucture-oriented fish are notoriously tough to hook. Built to chomp barnacles off pilings and rocks, sheepshead sport a mouthful of funky teeth. The sheepshead fishery heats up through the fall and winter, with in the shallows and right along the anglers concentrating their efforts at marsh grass during higher tides. Red- dock pilings, rock jetties and nearfish often follow the rising tide and shore reefs. hunt in waters so shallow that their Most anglers use fiddler crabs for tails and backs break the surface. bait, though shrimp and clam meat work well. A typical sheepshead rig Speckled seatrout consists of a few splitshot weights, Fishing for speckled seatrout can be about 18 inches of leader and a small, a ton of fun. These feisty, beautiful sturdy hook. fish strike hard, fight well and proPro tip: To hook a sheepshead, you duce light-tasting, flaky white fillets. must maintain tension on the line. Trout seem to prefer relatively clean Slowly move the bait straight up and and fast-moving water and often gath- down along pilings. Set the hook when

Cobia fishing heats up in May and June.

File/Matt WInter/The Post and Courier

you feel a light tap or some resistance.


Cobia move into Lowcountry waters in late spring, with prime time arriving in May and June. Though occasionally caught inshore, most cobia are landed at nearshore reefs and near the shipping channel buoys. Many of the cobia found off our coast are big fish, some topping out at more than 60 pounds. These brownand-white brutes are curious, often approaching an anchored boat. A popular and productive cobia fishery has developed south of Charleston in sounds and inlets near Beaufort, where the fish are thought to arrive en masse to spawn. Pro tip: Many cobia catches are incidental, but if you’re targeting these bad boys, bring along plenty of tackle and bait. Sometimes, they’ll only hit pink bucktail lures. Other times, they’ll only want live fish, or live crabs, or cut bait.

continually edging the boat in and out of gear, keeps the lines from getting tangled. Pro tip: Big, lively baits are key to catching trophy king mackerel. To avoid pulling the small treble hooks on a nice mackerel, anglers set drags light and drive the boat toward a hooked fish. Once boatside, keeper kings are almost always gaffed.


The waters around Charleston are filled with myriad shark species, from 500-plus-pound great hammerheads offshore to 10-foot-long tigers at the reefs and fat blacktips at the inlets. Inshore, anglers can always count on a few Atlantic sharpnose and those neat-looking bonnethead sharks. Shark fishing is fun and easy. Rig up just about any live or cut bait on a stout Carolina rig, then cast it along a bank, into the surf or down in a deep hole. Sooner or later, some kind of shark or ray will pick it up. King mackerel Pro tip: Big bonnetheads are plentiLike souped-up, super-sized versions ful around Charleston. The cool thing of Spanish mackerel, kings rank as about fishing for bonnetheads is that one of the most sought-after targets of you can target them by using quartered small-boat anglers. blue crabs for bait. Other sharks usualA basic live-baiting king trip starts ly will ignore the crab, but bonnetheads inshore, with anglers cast-netting (along with big redfish) love it. for menhaden. With a live well filled with bait, anglers head to the shipping Snapper-grouper channel or to any one of the many Recent changes to federal fishing well-known trolling grounds in 40 to rules have turned bottom-fishing on 80 feet of water. its head. New limits and closed seaUsing wire rigs with multiple treble sons have touched a number of spehooks, a crew will deploy up to a half- cies, including gag grouper, red snapdozen lines at staggered distances per and black seabass. behind their boat. “Bump-trolling,” Anglers can participate in the fishery,

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but they should use circle hooks and visit for the latest changes. In general, anglers can find black seabass from live-bottom areas in 60 feet of water out to the artificial reefs in about 90 feet. Vermilion snapper and gray triggerfish also school around underwater structures in the 80- to 120-foot depth. Gag and scamp grouper can be found in about 60 feet of water, though the fishing is better from 90 feet out to about 240 feet. Despite the popular belief that grouper are mostly found around wrecks, many seasoned bottom-fishermen look for these tasty fish in live-bottom areas with relatively low-profile pieces of bottom structure. Frozen squid remains the go-to bait for bottom fishing, though cigar minnows and a variety of live baits can improve success when targeting specific species. Pro tip: Small, sturdy hooks are key to catching triggerfish. A trigger school often shows up on a depthfinder screen as a chevron-shaped collection of blue fish marks.

ing lures, especially.

Anglers can find big redfish at drop-offs, sandbars and jetties.


If you’re looking for yellowfin tuna, Charleston’s not your best bet. The yellowfin bite has dropped off in recent years, with some folks blaming international overfishing, others a change in yellowfin migration. Whatever the case, thank goodness for blackfin. These smaller tuna still grow to about 30 pounds or so off our coast, and in recent years some offshore crews have figured out how to fill their fish boxes with these sleek, hard-fighting fish. The blackfin bite seems to be hottest in spring, though they can be caught throughout the year. Some anglers troll ballyhoo with light leaders to compensate for the tuna’s great eyesight. Others drift-fish on the ledge using deep-dropping “knife” or “flutter” jigs. Still others cast top-water plugs to schooled up blackfin. Pro tip: Blackfin love to hang around structure, so stick to the ledge. Some say the blackfin bite turns on once offshore water temperatures reach 69 degrees.


Dolphin are to Charleston’s offshore fishery what redfish are to its inshore fishery. Pound for pound, no other fish means as much to the offshore fleet. Every year, unbelievable numbers of these fast-growing, neon-colored fish migrate north off our coast. For the past few years, the dolphin fishing’s been hottest from late April through May, with bigger fish (30 to 50 pounds) typically moving through first. But dolphin are common well into summer and fall, and even have been known to show up just 12 miles or so from shore during the hottest months. It’s tough to pick the dolphin’s greatest attribute. Its willingness to hit just about any lure or bait? Its acrobatics when hooked? Its abundance and great taste? All of the above. Pro tip: Look for temperature breaks, current upwellings or rips, weed lines and anything floating. Some boats spend hours catching dolphin around a an impressive display of speed. single piece of floating debris. Shaped like a torpedo and adorned Wahoo with blue tiger stripes, wahoo tend to They don’t jump when hooked, and hang out along the ledge, where the wayou’ll probably never see them actuter depth drops relatively quickly from ally hit a lure. What wahoo will do, about 140 feet deep to more than 200. however, is put a serious hurting on Wahoo can be caught virtually yearwhatever poor fish happens to get in round off Charleston, including durfront of its crazy jaws. And if they’re ing colder months. Fish in the 30- to on the end of your line? Get ready for 50-pound range are common, and

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Matt WInter/The Post and Courier

some 80-plus pounders are caught most years. Most are caught by anglers trolling offshore lures rigged with ballyhoo. Though wahoo are often incidental catches, offshore crews targeting these toothy fish incorporate wire into their rigs to avoid cutoffs. Pro tip: Try dark colors for wahoo. They seem to like black and red troll-

They say horse racing is the sport of kings, but billfishing can’t be far behind. Most billfish trips take place about 50 miles or more off Charleston at such popular spots as the Georgetown Hole and Edisto Banks. Boats can and have achieved a “super-slam” out of Charleston, catching blue marlin, white marlin, swordfish and sailfish all in one trip. The marlin bite gets going in late spring and runs strong through June and July. The sailfish bite stays hot throughout the summer; in recent years offshore anglers have reported a fall bonanza of sails. Trolling for blues and whites usually involves a mix of bigger trolling lures and standard lure-ballyhoo rigs. Sails prefer smaller lures or “naked” ballyhoo. Crews fish for swords mostly at night, dropping big rigged squid and other baits down into deep water. Though anglers generally keep legal swordfish, most other billfish are released (except a few blue marlin during big-money tournaments). Pro tip: Most crews serious about billfish run a number of teasers, including dredges that trail a collection of teaser baits and mimic a school of small fish.

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on the hunt

File/Matt WInter/The Post and Courier

By Matt Winter


hough you might not believe it while stuck in traffic around Charleston, much of the Lowcountry remains a wild place. The coastal counties surrounding Charleston are home to enormous national forests, lush private plantations and a vast network of preserved public land. Here, hunters can pursue everything from deer and ducks to wild hogs and alligators. 98 My Life

Deer hunting

A large whitetail population, liberal bag limits and a season running Aug. 15 through Jan. 1 make South Carolina a deer hunter’s dreamland. Hunters can dog-drive or still hunt deer, and in coastal areas, baiting is legal on private lands. Public hunting opportunities abound, including in the Francis Marion National Forest north of Charleston and other wildlife management areas to the south. Hunters can take deer with a rifle,

shotgun or bow, and since its season starts so early, South Carolina is one of the few states where hunters can take a buck in velvet. When the season starts in midAugust, bucks usually are still in their bachelor groups. They soon break up and start establishing individual domains. This pre-rut in early September is a great time to take a trophy buck. As the weather cools and days shorten in mid-October, the rut begins and hunting gets better and better.

Pro tip: Prepare yourself for some serious bug action. The locals joke about mosquitoes being our state bird, but it’s not far from the truth. An added bonus: chiggers and ticks are voracious in late summer. Do yourself a favor and stock up on bug spray, Bug Tamer gear and a ThermaCELL.

Duck hunting

Though bigger ducks and geese sometimes make an appearance, most duck hunting around the Lowcountry revolves around resident and migrating wood ducks, ringnecks,and blueand green-winged teal. Look for woodies in flooded timber, teal in coastal impoundments. Pro tip: Wood ducks are incredibly beautiful and relatively plentiful. Hunters all over the world would jump at the chance to bag one of these beauties. With a little research and a small investment in licenses and stamps, even a novice hunter should be able to find success in the swamps of the Francis Marion Forest.

Wild turkeys

Once a rare sight in South Caro-

lina, wild turkeys have rebounded throughout the state. With huge tracts of protected lands, the Lowcountry has long provided a refuge for these magnificent birds. Every spring, the open piney woods and hardwood bottoms crackle with the sound of early-morning gobbling. Turkey hunters take to the woods in droves, driven to test their calling skills and to match wits with crafty old toms. Turkey hunting is limited to a spring season, and hunters may only take gobblers or jakes (young males). Pro tip: You might not think it, but turkeys sure do love water. They often roost over swamps and cypress ponds, and don’t mind sloshing through wet hardwood bottoms all day. A great pair of water-proof boots may be the most underrated turkey-hunting tool.

More hunting

Deer, ducks and turkeys not enough for you? You also can go after bobwhite quail, marsh hens, dove, wild pigs, coyotes and even alligators. For more information and regulations for all types of hunting and fishing, visit

File/Matt WInter/The Post and Courier

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Go exploRing Botany Bay Plantation

File/Wade Spees/The Post and Courier

By Bo Petersen

The Awendaw Passage

Botany Bay Plantation

he Lowcountry astonishes in big ways — wide open marsh and ocean vistas, huge-limbed live oak trees.

This 7-mile trail conclusion to the 425-mile Palmetto Trail skirts along Awendaw Creek and coastal and maritime forests. Enthusiasts consider it the most northern tropical trail in the country. It can be hiked, run or biked. Yet few people know the trail includes boardwalks through spectacular wetland scenery and a bench seating area about halfway along with views across the creek and out to Bulls Bay. The discovery waiting there might be a shell midden, a mound of discards from shellfish feasts a few thousand years ago. The trail “is right there and it’s beautiful,” said Lauren Corbett, manager of The Backpacker in Mount Pleasant.

Sure, the remote barrier island beach is the thrill of this 4,000-acre state wildlife management area that’s a former oceanfront plantation on Edisto Island at the end of Botany Bay Road. It’s one of the last “wild” and relatively untouched beach stretches in the state. But the 3-mile motor trail through the plantation also can be biked or hiked. It passes surprises such as a brick cylinder “beehive” seep well, built to act like a catch basin at the bottom of a small run. Farther on, if you look hard at the remains of some live oak trees, are the distinct, cutaway rings of “girdling.” The bark and live wood rim of the tree was shaved off to kill it, so the dense timber could be harvested more easily.


And it’s those big lures that get people paddling, biking, hiking, camping, trail running, scuba diving — exploring in ways that don’t seem to end. And the longer you’re here, the more the less-noticed wonders are the ones that fascinate. Here are a few of those trips worth taking:

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Lowcountry critters

File/Brad Nettles/The Post and Courier

Dolphin strand-feed on the Kiawah River.

Pitcher plants in a Carolina bay File/David Quick/The Post and Courier

The Carolina Bay

The Bull Shark Hole

Maybe the easiest find is also one of the most exotic — an almost perfectly oval Carolina Bay in the Francis Marion National Forest. The bays are a vast enigma of the Southeast coast, oval-shaped wetlands holding exotic plants. They pock the entire coastal plain of the Carolinas and Georgia in clusters with an eerie symmetry. Each is turned northwest to southeast. They are thought to be as old as 100,000 years. And nobody really knows how they formed. This bay can be seen just past the second power lines that are crossed travelling Halfway Creek Road to the north.

Maybe you don’t want to explore this one, at least not paddling. The bull shark hole drops somewhere off the end of Long Creek in the Cape Romain Wildlife Refuge, right about where the creek opens to a spectacular view of ocean and distant islands in the mist. “It’s a deep hole,” said Kathie Livingston of Nature Adventure Outfitters. But she won’t take tours there. “We don’t even want people to go there in our rentals. I’ve seen some good 8-foot bull sharks out there.”

Want to know how cool wildlife is in the Lowcountry? You can stumble across something as tiny as a sesame-seed-sized deer tick or something as enormous as a black bear. And you’d be smart to worry more about the little guy, which can carry Lyme disease. Welcome to the coastal swamp. It doesn’t get much better than this for spotting critters. Here’s just a glimpse of how wildlife-rich this place is: An osprey swooping down from a live oak bending from the riverbank, a hovering Mississippi kite, three large gators lifting their heads from the pluff mud, a peregrine falcon, a crow diving to peck at the backs of a pair of gyring red-shouldered hawks, great blue, little blue and tricolored herons, squawking wood ducks. All those were spotted in a single short paddle up the Ashley River outside Summerville. Atlantic sturgeon jump like rockets from the rivers, gators chase dolphins, bald eagles get harried from osprey nests. Deer spook through the ricefields and feral pigs grunt in the bottoms. The ubiquitous dolphins surface as you walk the beach, exhaling breath in a pant that sounds human. There’s rarely seen critters as exotic as the rainbow snake, a docile, 5-feet-long reptile with red stripes running down a black back and a pink or red belly. A few more of those one-of-akind creatures you can find, and where to look: White, fox and black fox squirrels: Longleaf pine savannahs, the Yonges Island area and, oddly enough, golf courses. Swallowtailed kites: Cypress bottoms along rivers, particularly the Black River in Georgetown County. The graceful gliders hunt tree snakes and also have been seen in the suburbs circling large canopies. Wood storks: Pretty much anywhere around coastal waters any more. They roost en masse near ponds, often with ibises and egrets. Like much of the bird life in the Lowcountry, the storks are often seen in the Donnelley Wildlife Management Area near Green Pond. Head for Bear Island.

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Zoe Clowney climbs a big live oak at White Point Garden in Charleston.

MY TOWN When visitors talk about “Charleston,” they’re often referring to a collection of cities, towns and communities, each with unique contributions. Learn what those are and you’ll truly understand “Charleston.”

File/Grace Beahm/The Post and Courier

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In HIS words First of all I really didn’t have any preconceived conceptions of what Charleston could be like. I mean, you think about it, you can’t get much further away in the United States than Seattle and Charleston.

Jack Jones, Boeing

I remembered a little bit of my history, the first shots of the Civil War ... but all I knew about the South is they had good weather down here in the winter. ... What I did find was pretty much validation of what I heard from people who had been working down here. They said the people are wonderful, they’re friendly, they absolutely love Boeing, they support Boeing, and they support all the people who work here. I saw that probably in the first week I got down here. If they saw me with a (Boeing) shirt on they came up and talked to me. Some of them came up and hugged me. And where I’m from, if someone comes up and hugs you, you don’t necessarily, you’re not sure what their agenda is. So coming into a community like that was definitely refreshing, but also new to me. That was one of the other things I was told, other than the people, is you won’t find a bad restaurant in town, and quite frankly I haven’t. Halls, which is a great business environment. Peninsula Grill, great coconut cake, I guess. Charleston Grill, we have a lot of our people stay in Charleston Place. Hank’s, great seafood. And then you’ve got the whole what I call the East Bay Corridor. ... Then you’ve got King street. Brad Nettles/The Post and Courier


By Brendan Kearney

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fter more than 30 years working for Boeing in the Seattle area, Jack Jones came to the Lowcountry in March 2011 to lead the aerospace giant’s North Charleston 787 complex. Jones sat down to talk about his new hometown and the burgeoning local plane-making operation.

It is unbelievable, this town and their restaurants. I truly believe they should have a culinary state tour. ... You’d never get out of Charleston. You’d be here for months. And if I go into town, my wife especially enjoys walking in the Market Street area. ... There are no locals, they’re all tourists. It’s always fun to people-watch. If I have guests in town, family,

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In HIS words one area I always like to go to is The Battery. It’s a beautiful view. You see all the rivers converge. It’s the gateway out to the Atlantic. In the Northwest, the most and biggest thing you are worried about when you jump in the water is a maybe a 10-inch trout ... versus an alligator, which you don’t have a lot of in the Northwest – none unless you go to the zoo. Yea, it’s the reptiles in this part of the country. Alligators when you’re playing golf, ball sitting, you know, 10 feet from one, and he’s sort of looking at you like, ‘What’s your intention?’ Summer, it was all about waterskiing and hitting the lakes for me. ... So haven’t done a lot of waterskiing here. Quite frankly, I’m not sure what lake I can get into and which lake I shouldn’t get into because of those gators. And even if somebody told me there’s no alligator in there, there’s absolutely no

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guarantee they’re not in there. … It’s amazing. ‘Oh, don’t worry about that lake,’ and yet there’s a body of water right next to it that’s got alligators in it. What kept that alligator from crawling over into this one? [But] that’s not why I haven’t gone water-skiing. It’s just because I have absolutely no time.

like a baseball bat.’ I said, ‘Well, that’s because I played baseball, I didn’t play golf.’

I am not a golfer, which everybody tells me, ‘What a shame, what a waste that you’re not a golfer when you move to South Carolina.’ But I’ve golfed maybe six times, which is like five more times than I’ve ever golfed in that same period of time in Washington. So I have played a little bit more golf partly because ... we are sponsors to the Heritage (golf tournament in Hilton Head). And they have pro-ams and things that we get spots in. So as the leader of this site, they’ve encouraged me to go golfing ... which is really embarrassing, but it’s a lot of fun. The guys that were helping me were saying, ‘You’re swinging the club

As I tell my team, let’s worry about what’s on our plate today. And we’ll focus on that and absolutely guarantee ‘em that if they take care of what’s on their plate today, there’s probably great opportunity in the future.

The only day trips I’ve taken, and there’s been two, and one of them that was nice, since I’ve heard so much about it, was Kiawah Island. ... Kiawah is really a beautiful place.

There is an aerospace cluster. I think everybody’s well aware that Mobile, (Ala.), Airbus moved in and we’ve moved in to South Carolina. Some suppliers are considering moving in. We’re definitely starting to develop a core. I’d like to fly the LCF (Large Cargo Freighter, the modified 747 that carries 787 components to and

from North Charleston). I’ve always had a desire, and at one time I was considering being a pilot. But I see that big, old, lumbering LCF coming and taking off, I think it would be an absolute kick. You have a bug in this part of the United States, and when it bites, it has a real big effect. And the reason it’s especially effective on somebody that’s not familiar with this bug is because we don’t have anything like this in the Puget Sound, nothing in the Northwest. You’re probably thinking of one of those insects. The bug is called NASCAR. …And it wasn’t me, it was my wife (Karen, also a Boeing employee). ... The South has bit her with the NASCAR bug. ... I think I’ve got to figure out a way if there’s a vaccine. I do enjoy it. It’s fun to watch, and there’s a lot of pomp around it. But after a while how many times can you watch a car go around. ... [But] I know how important NASCAR is. It is a religion.

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The fountains at Waterfront Park

File/The Post aNd Courier

By Glenn Smith


nown as the Holy City for its abundance of churches, Charleston has survived devastating hurricanes, fires, earthquakes and two wars fought on its soil. It has basked in prosperity, endured poverty and reinvented itself several times, morphing from a bawdy port town into a cosmopolitan city that was named Conde Nast Traveler’s best destination in the world for 2012. There is plenty to see on a walk around the peninsular. Here are a few suggestions:

108 My Town

Landmarks Aquarium Wharf area, Calhoun and East Bay streets: Visitors can sample marine life at the S.C. Aquarium or hitch a boat ride — for a fee — to Fort Sumter, where the Civil War began. The Battery: A defensive seawall, series of antebellum mansions and White Point Garden make up the city’s signature landmark. City Hall, 80 Broad St.: Built as a bank, this federal-style landmark serves as the city’s memory room but also a place where its future is decided. City Market, 188 Meeting St.: This tourist attraction once served as the city’s grocery store and an extension of its port. Vendors sell everything from sweetgrass baskets to jewelry. Charleston Museum, 360 Meeting St.: Founded in 1773, making it the oldest museum in the country. College of Charleston, 66 George St.: This picturesque campus serves about 10,000 undergraduates and keeps the city buzzing with youthful energy. Joseph P. Riley Jr. Park: Better known as “The Joe,” it’s home to the Charleston RiverDogs baseball team. King Street: The city’s signature street and center of activity. The lower portion has antiques stores, upscale boutiques and restaurants. Upper King boasts an eclectic mix of trendy restaurants, nightclubs and shops. Marion Square: A popular gathering spot at King and Calhoun streets that plays host to sunbathers, festivals and the popular Farmers Market. Medical University of South Carolina: Founded in 1824, MUSC has grown from a small private college to a massive state university with a medical center. Rainbow Row, East Bay Street: A historic collection of 18th-century townhomes painted in pastel hues. Waterfront Park, Vendue Range and Concord Street: Fountains, a pier, swings and beautiful views make this a popular spot.

Historic sites

Exchange Building, 122 East Bay St.: This building, now a museum, once was the city’s Custom House, City Hall and even a dungeon. It sits

on the Half-Moon Battery and remains of the Court of Guard House, where pirates such as Stede Bonnet were once imprisoned. Dock Street Theatre, 135 Church St.: The original theater was one of the first in America. The current building was created during the Great Depression from several surviving historic buildings, including an old hotel. Old Slave Mart Museum, 6 Chalmers St.: Once a compound where slaves were housed and sold for a short period just before the Civil War. Powder Magazine, 79 Cumberland St.: Considered by many to be the oldest surviving public building in the Carolinas, this small brick building also was one of the first Charlestonians preserved for historical reasons. It celebrated its 300th anniversary this year. Denmark Vesey House, 56 Bull St.: This is the property where Denmark Vesey lived as he plotted a major (though ultimately unsuccessful) slave revolt.

House museums

Nathaniel Russell House, 51 Meeting St.: One of the city’s preeminent Neoclassical homes dating from its period of greatest prosperity. A feast for the eyes, inside and out. Edmondston Alston House, 21 East Battery St.: The view of the harbor from the piazza is worth the price of admission (as is its interior). Joseph Manigault House, 350 Meeting St.: This two-century-old planter’s mansion played a key role in the city’s emerging preservation movement almost a century ago. Aiken Rhett House, 48 Elizabeth St.: The main house is grand, but what’s really special here is its surviving set of outbuildings, including a kitchen, carriage house, slave quarters — even the privies. Heyward Washington House, 87 Church St.: George Washington slept here during his visit. (Its owner at the time, Thomas Heyward, had signed the Declaration of Independence.) Great furniture inside. Calhoun Mansion, 16 Meeting St.: Built in 1876, this Italianate manor house is the city’s largest resiFile/The Post and Courier dence and proves not everyone here The City Market (from top), The Battery and The Old Powder Magazine. was broke after the Civil War.

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east of the Cooper

Standup paddleboarders race up Shem Creek. File/Brad Nettles/The Post and Courier

By Prentiss Findlay


Pleasant eaches, history, shopping and fine dining Mount Once a sleepy village, the town has blend with championship tennis and a grown to a bustling place of 65,000 that touts its low crime rate, national forest in the diverse area east of residents highly rated schools and upscale shopping epitomized by the sprawling the Cooper River.

Surf and sun lovers are drawn to the Isle of Palms with its rental beachfront homes and boardwalk, nightclubs and restaurants. Military history buffs have plenty to enjoy at Fort Moultrie on Sullivan’s Island and the Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum in Mount Pleasant,

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home of the aircraft carrier Yorktown. Further north on U.S. 17, the tempo relaxes into the vast expanses of the Francis Marion National Forest and Cape Romaine National Wildlife Refuge. This is prime country for hunting, fishing, wildlife watching, picnicking, and wilderness hiking and biking.

Towne Centre on U.S. Highway 17. Shrimp boats line Shem Creek, the picture-postcard tidal tributary of Charleston Harbor that is home to restaurants, inns and the town’s Shem Creek Park, where a boardwalk stretches through marsh. The town is home to the Charles Pinckney National Historic Site, the

Palmetto Islands County Park and Boone Hall Plantation, one of America’s oldest working plantations. It has been continuously growing and producing crops for more than 320 years. Memorial Waterfront Park offers stunning views of the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge.

Sullivan’s Island

The Edgar Allan Poe Library is housed in Battery Gadsden, a former Spanish-American War four-gun battery. The library is named for Poe, who was stationed on Sullivan’s Island as a

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private in the Army in 1827 and 1828. He used the island as the background for his famous story, “The Gold Bug.” This island’s Fort Moultrie bears the name of Col. William Moultrie, who repelled a British attack in 1776. The National Park Service manages the fort as a historic tourist attraction. Middle Street offers an array of bars and restaurants. The beaches are some of the widest and most popular around.

Isle of Palms

File/Grace Beahm/The Post and Courier

Cherish Conyers and Rigel Jessen plant cabbage collards at Cape Romaine Environmental Charter School in McClle-

anville for their school garden.

The island has a full-service marina offering charters for offshore and inshore fishing. Kayaking, parasailing and jet skiing are available. Six miles of beach access for visitors makes the island a popular destination. A boardwalk offers a mix of bars, restaurants and retail outlets selling everything from ice cream to surfboards. Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission operates a beachfront park on the island next to the boardwalk. The Wild Dunes resort occupies 1,500 acres on the northern end of the island and offers two 18-hole Tom Fazio golf courses, 17 tennis courts and numerous pools.

Daniel Island

The new part of Daniel Island is located in Berkeley County, although it’s part of the city of Charleston. It’s a community of landscaped lawns and fresh-faced homes, some of them large and spacious that feature porches and balconies and a uniform look. The Family Circle Cup puts Daniel Island in the women’s tennis spotlight each year. Blackbaud Stadium, also on Daniel Island, is home to the Charleston Battery professional soccer team.


This picturesque village in northern Charleston County on U.S. 17 was ravaged by Hurricane Hugo in 1989 but bounced back to become a self-sufficient community of schools, homes, churches, shops and docking facilities with an economy largely dependent upon the sea. On the way to McClellanville, check out the Sewee Visitor and Environmental Education Center and the Center for Birds of Prey in Awendaw. The center has flight demonstrations featuring hawks, falcons, owls, eagles and vultures. The center, which rehabilitates injured birds of prey, offers tours File/The Post and Courier of aviaries housing more than 30 species Norman Sasnett of Mount Pleasant baits the hook of his son, Alex, during a fishing tournament at Mount Pleas- of eagles, falcons, owls and other birds ant’s waterfront park pier. Sasnett said fishing is the family’s passion. from all parts of the world.

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ther along Highway 17 sits the road to Edisto Island, popular as a quiet family beach getaway, with camp sites at the beach. It’s also the end of the 250-mile-long Edisto River, which is among the nation’s longest free-flowing blackwater rivers and a destination for canoe and kayak enthusiasts.

West of the Ashley

Follow the coast

Angel Oak on Johns Island File/Paul Zoeller/The Post and Courier

The Stono River and Wappoo Creek separate “West Ashley” from other areas on the west side of the Ashley River. Nearest to downtown Charleston, James Island is home to the city’s municipal golf course, and to James Island County Park, which includes a water park and one of the area’s first off-leash dog parks. James Island is where the first shots of the Civil War were fired, from Fort Johnson, now home to a government marine research center. Secession has been an ongoing theme on James Island, where residents who felt strongly about not becoming part of the city of Charleston formed their own town after years of legal battles. Often-congested Folly Road is the main path across James Island to Folly Beach, the favorite of local surfers. A walk up the north end of Folly Beach will afford visitors a good view of scenic Morris Island lighthouse.

Farms and beaches

James Island is also a gateway to Johns Island, one of the largest sea islands on the East Coast. Though t was on the west bank of the Ashley River that English settlers estab- growing, it remains largely rural and known for live-oak-draped scenic lished a colony known as Charles Towne in 1670, and today the neigh- isroadways, such as River Road, and borhoods and subdivisions of West Ashley are home to the majority of working farms. Angel Oak Park, near Main Road and Maybank Highway, is Charleston city residents. home to an immense live oak tree said to be the oldest living thing east of the From the Charleston peninsula, the Keeping with the historic theme, Savannah Highway, running through Mississippi River. bridges heading west across the Ashley residents and visitors can trace the neighborhoods just south of the thorFarm stands with fresh local proRiver are a gateway, not only to bedpath of the Ashley River by taking oughfare. duce are easy to find. For those lookroom communities and shopping cenAshley River Road (S.C. Highway Out past the city limits are the small ing for something different, Trophy ters, but also to historic sites, recreation- 61) to visit the grand plantations that country towns of Ravenel, Hollywood Lakes offers water skiing and wakeal opportunities and working farms. once sent products down the river on and Meggett, and communities inboarding on a man-made freshwater It’s only 30 miles from the heart the tides. cluding Yonge’s Island and Adams lake. And farther along Maybank of the peninsula to the Charleston So long as it’s not rush hour, it doesn’t Run. Rural boat launches and cutHighway, on Wadmalaw Island, the County line at the Edisto River, and take long to travel through the subyour-own Christmas tree farms can Charleston Tea Plantation offers tours there’s much to explore in between. urbs to the broad patchwork of farms, be found there. and public events. swamps and forests that lay beyond. Charleston County’s Caw Caw InterHead toward the ocean across Johns Start at the beginning pretive Center near Ravenel offers an- Island and you’ll find Kiawah Island, a The main strip Charles Towne Landing, where the other glimpse of the area’s past, with gated residential and resort communifirst colonists arrived, is now a 664-acre U.S. Highway 17 (Savannah Highformer plantation rice fields carved ty known for top-quality golf and prisstate historic site where visitors can way) is the main commercial road from Cypress swamps, and wildtine beaches. The southern tip of the learn about the colonial days and tour from Charleston to all points south. A growing tea from a former farm. island is home to public Beachwalker the closest thing the Charleston area has walking and biking trail known as the And for those who find Charleston Park, with access to the entire Kiawah to a zoo, the 22-acre “animal forest.” West Ashley Greenway sits parallel to area beaches too crowded, a bit farbeachfront for a small fee. By David Slade


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North Charleston

Boeing rolls out the first 787 Dreamliner assembled in North Charleston. File/Paul Zoeller/The Post and Courier

By Schuyler Kropf


en minutes north of downtown Charleston is the city of North Charleston, now celebrating its 41st year as a municipality after it was incorporated in 1972 under the driving force of its first mayor, John E. Bourne Jr.

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Rooted in the military history of the former Naval Base and Shipyard, North Charleston has more than 75 different neighborhoods and communities with an estimated 94,000 people, making it one of the three largest municipalities in the state. The city is also considered one of the retail shopping headquarters of the Lowcountry. Among the most popular

venues is the Tanger Outlet Mall, a short ride from Charleston International Airport and close to Interstate 26. More recently, though, the city has gained international fame as the center of the aeronautics industry for all of South Carolina, boasting the assembly plant for Boeing’s massive 787 Dreamliner. The jets built here are

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File/Grace Beahm/The Post and Courier

Chef Robert Irvine (right) with the Food Network places a dish in front of judges during the 2013 Cooking Well Invitational at Trident Technical College’s campus in North Charleston. The college offers one of the region’s largest culinary programs.

File/Grace Beahm/The Post and Courier

This Old House magazine named Park Circle one of the best old-house neighborhoods in the country.

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the first commercial Boeing plane to be built and assembled outside of the West Coast since World War II. After the Charleston Naval Base and Shipyard closed in the 1990s, several of North Charleston’s older neighborhoods have since seen a renaissance, expanding with an emerging social scene centered around the Olde Village of Park Circle. It’s a four-block area of businesses, eateries and bars off East Montague Avenue where sidewalk dining is encouraged. North Charleston’s most focal gathering site, though, is along the water at Riverfront Park, located north of the former Navy shipyard and along the Cooper River. Every year, thousands gather there for the city’s annual Fourth of July celebration that features a day of music, food and fireworks. South of Riverfront Park is the Warren Lasch Conservation Lab, home to the restoration effort of the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley. The vessel became the world’s first successful attack sub when it sank the Union blockade ship Housatonic off Sullivan’s Island on the night of Feb. 17, 1864. It was recovered four miles offshore in 2000 and brought to the new lab. For the immediate term, the Hunley sits in a cold water bath as scientists explore the best methods to preserve the sub and the belongings of the eight men who perished inside that night. For an entrance fee, visitors can view artifacts connected to the sub and climb a raised viewing platform that allows a view down into the sub as it undergoes restoration. Eventually the sub will go on display in North Charleston as part of a permanent museum. Because the Hunley conservation project is a working lab Monday through Friday, public access is limited to only Saturday and Sunday visitations. For information and tour pricing visit, go to or call (843) 722-2333. The city is also home to the North Charleston and American LaFrance Fire Museum and Education Center. The site, near the Tanger Outlet Mall and the North Charleston Coliseum, covers the history of the firefighting industry. It includes 18 restored vehicles, some dating to the 1800s. Call (843) 740-5552 for more info. Phones of Interest: North Charleston City Hall: 740-2504; Tanger Outlet Mall: 529-3095.

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Summerville & more

File/The Post and Courier

Thousands of people pack Summerville’s Main Street during the town’s annual Flowertown Festival. By Bo Petersen AND DAVE MUNDAY


ummerville was Tree City before there were awards like Tree City U.S.A. So it’s no surprise that the town has won the honor for 32 consecutive years and counting. 122 My Town

Nearly two centuries ago, leaders of the newly incorporated municipality made it illegal to cut down big trees. The law was the first of its kind in the still-wide-open country. Today, the motto upon the town’s official seal reads “Sacra Pinus Esto (The Pine is Sacred).” “Flowertown in the Pines” still lives up to its name. In many places, despite

rapid growth, it remains a flowering enclave in the shade. More than 700 of its homes and other buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places. This is a place whose civic groups have launched Birds In Residence in downtown Summerville, a walking Clue game for visitors who follow a set of hints to locate life-sized

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File/Paul Zoeller/The Post and Courier

Boaters put in at Bushy Park Landing in Goose Creek. sculptures of birds set in nooks and crannies through the downtown. The sculptures are pretty realistic — a discretely placed owl gets attacked by a live red shouldered hawk competing for turf. The Dorchester County environs around Summerville are awardwinning in their own right. They boast Four Holes Swamp, the largest remaining virgin tupelo and cypress swamp forest in the world, showcased at Francis Beidler Forest outside Harleyville. The swamp drains into the Edisto River, the world’s longest freeflowing blackwater river. Colonial Dorchester State Historic Site outside Summerville is the site of one of the 1600s “lost towns,” the beginnings of inland settlement in the region. It’s the only one of the “lost towns” where some structures remain above ground — a tabby fort and the bell tower from the St. George Church, one of the oldest standing structures in the Lowcountry. In rural upper Dorchester County, the Koger house is a 200-year-old stagecoach inn still standing on its original, massive black cypress beams. It’s said to have taken 17 years to build. The rapidly growing neighborhoods north of Charleston in Berkeley County are known as bedroom communities, as many who work or play in Charleston live near Goose Creek or Moncks Corner. In fact, Berkeley County is the fastest growing county in the state, according to the most recent census figures. Several of the area’s top tourist attractions are also in Berkeley County. Daniel Island, home of the world-famous Family Circle Cup tennis tournament, is in Berkelely County. Daniel

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Island is also home to the Charleston Battery soccer team. The team’s home field, Blackbaud Stadium, is also a concert arena; The Lumineers performed there this year. Cypress Gardens, a nature preserve around a swamp between Goose Creek and Moncks Corner, draws 55,000 visitors a year, including local school groups coming out to learn more about nature and history. As far as claims to fame, Mel Gibson and Heath Ledger were in the swamp during filming of “The Patriot.” Scenes from “The Notebook” and “The Swamp Thing” also were filmed there. Gertrude Stein wrote about her visit to the gardens at Dean Hall Plantation there in 1935 in “The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas.” The National Garden Club holds a nationally recognized flower show there each spring. Mepkin Abbey, a tranquil community of Trappist monks along the scenic Cooper River near Moncks Corner, is a popular destination for those looking for some quiet reflection under the big oak trees. It’s the burial place of publishing magnate Henry Luce and wife Claire Boothe Luce. Last year the American Bus Association listed the abbey’s annual Creche Festival among its Top 100 events. Visitors can walk among hundreds of unique and creative handmade nativity sets from around the world. Northern Berkeley County has some of the best fishing in the Southeast around Lakes Marion and Moultrie. One of the biggest alligators ever captured was snagged near the lakes File/Paul Zoeller/The Post and Courier three years ago; it was more than 13 feet long and weighed more than half Good schools and family-friendly amenities make Summerville one of a ton. the area’s most popular suburban communities.

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Dorchester 2 and the smaller, rural Dorchester 4. Dorchester 2 is a fastgrowing, excellent-rated district that enrolls more than 23,000 students who live in or near Summerville. Just north of Dorchester 2 is Dorchester 4, which is the county’s smaller district that’s rated average. The district’s five schools enroll about 2,200 students who live in St. George, Harleyville and Ridgeville. For more information, go to or


Where can you find more information about certain schools’ achievement? Every school and district receives a report card from the state, as well as a letter grade, based on different factors, such as test scores and graduation rates. That information is public and available on the state Department of Education website: gov. What’s a charter school? Charter schools are public schools governed by elected boards of parents and community members. Charter schools receive public money and are open to either residents in that county or in the surrounding area. Students must apply to attend, but many don’t have admissions criteria. Charleston is one of the state leaders for its number of charter schools.

File/Grace Beahm/The Post and Courier

Walker Hussey and Charlie Jajuda work together on a spelling exercise in their lower elementary class at East Cooper Montessori School. By Diette Courrégé Casey


hat do you need to know about public schools in the Lowcountry? It’s important to know that you have options, and that where you live doesn’t necessarily dictate where your child goes to school.

What do you need to know about Charleston County schools? It is the second-largest school district in the state, enrolling about 45,000 students in 80 schools. It has similar numbers of black and white children, and 64 percent of its students live in poverty. The good-rated district is home to schools that rank at the top and bot-

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tom of the state. Check them out online at What do you need to know about Berkeley County schools? The county is similar to Charleston in that it encompasses a large geographic area and has a diverse mix of schools. It earned a state report card rating

of good, and it enrolls about 30,000 students in 41 schools. Seventy-two percent live in poverty. They also have a website: What do you need to know about Dorchester County schools? Dorchester County is home to two school districts: the larger, suburban

What’s a magnet school? Magnet schools don’t have a neighborhood attendance zone and many have some sort of theme. Some magnet schools are open to the entire county, while others are open only to certain areas. They sometimes receive additional funding, and most have waiting lists. Are online schools or classes an option? The state has both. The state Department of Education offers a Virtual School Program with dozens of courses for students enrolled in public or private schools. Students also can enroll in one of the state’s virtual charter schools, which offer high school diplomas. What do you need to register your child for school? Every local district requires parents to have their child’s birth certificate, proof of residency and a copy of their immunization records. Check with your child’s school for more information.

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Higher education

File/The Post and Courier

Students paint near the Cistern at the College of Charleston.

American College of the Building Arts

The college is the only school in the country that trains artisans in traditional building arts, such as metalwork and timber framing, within a curriculum that includes business, economics, languages and other traditional college courses. 843-577-5245 or 877-283-5245,

Art Institute of Charleston

A branch of The Art Institute of Atlanta, the downtown college provides an applied learning approach to culinary, design, fashion and media arts programs. 843-727-3500,

Charleston School of Law

Charleston School of Law is one of the few law schools in the country that requires students to complete 30 hours of community service before they graduate. 843-329-1000,

Charleston Southern University

Affiliated with the South Carolina Baptist Convention, the university’s mission is promoting academic excellence in a Christian environment. 843-863-7000,

The Citadel

The military college has many famous alumni including author Pat Conroy; Fritz Hollings, U.S. Senator from 1966-2005 and S.C. governor from 1959-1963; and Charleston Mayor Joe Riley. 843-225-3294,

College of Charleston

Founded in 1770, the college is the oldest educational institution south of Virginia, and the 13th oldest in the United States. 843-805-5507,

Medical University of South Carolina

The university recently opened the James E. Clyburn Research Center for cutting-edge research in bioengineering and drug discovery. 843-792-2300,

Trident Technical College

The college has the largest culinary arts program in the state with offerings that range from a short course in mixing bar drinks to an associate’s degree program in baking and pastry 843-574-6111,

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EAT PIZZA! Summerville 2139 North Main St. 832-0909 North Charleston 1929 Remount Rd. 737-5304 North Charleston 3720 Ashley Phosphate 767-0677

1001985.INDD 1

Home of the $5 Hot-N-Ready pizza! COMING SOON! North Charleston Dorchester Rd.

Goose Creek 220 Red Bank 818-1962

Goose Creek 604 St. James Ave. 572-1577

West Ashley 11367 Ashley River Rd. 556-3536 Mt. Pleasant 1545 Johnnie Dodds 606-2204 James Island 861 Folly Rd. 718-1056

Moncks Corner 102 Rembert Dennis Blvd. 761-6980


Summerville 1001 Bacons Bridge 821-1220

8/8/2013 8:16:17 AM

08.31.13 My Charleston  
08.31.13 My Charleston