Friday, July 18, 2014

Fishing the Kiawah River

One of our vacation highlights while we were down at Kiawah during the second week of June was the fishing. The ocean and inter-coastal waterways are teeming with a variety of fish whether it is flounder, reds, trout, shark and so much more. These areas are also plentiful for netting blue crabs and shrimp. For those anxious to shellfish, just remember to bring some cast nets or traps and be familiar with the SC fishing regulations. I am definitely going to give crabbing a try during my next visit.
Our focus during the vacation week was on fish. We managed to do all of our fishing from the pier at Rhetts Bluff on Kiawah Island. The Rhetts bluff area features two piers (only one for fishing), boats launch/landing, and even a gazebo to picnic or seek refuge from the rain.  There is even a portion on both piers that have covered sections. This little roof came in handy when we went fishing on our second day down in Kiawah and experienced a quickly approaching downpour.

With light fishing gear, tackle box, and my two sons and father in law along, we were able to cast some lines from the end of the pier using cut up squid and mullet. The squid is the ideal bait for inter-coastal fishing, as it is rubbery and the dense tissue stays on the hook pretty good in spite of the numerous bites. The fishing pier has a great stainless steel bait station to cut the bait and has a hose to rinse off.


What started out as slow bites for the first hour quickly turned to catching a bunch of croakers. (You’ll know a croaker when you catch one by the noise they make).  We then managed to catch even a few smaller sharks and a ray.  My father in law had a serious fish on his line until the line snapped. That was a painful reminder that we should have been using heavier line, especially when casting heavier baits towards the middle and deeper parts of the river. For those that want to get a little flavor of salt water fishing without going through the exercise of chartering a boat, I highly recommend doing some fishing along this Atlantic inter-coastal spot. It is also a great way to introduce fishing to the younger anglers.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Kiawah Island Vacation 2014 – Dining Options

This year’s June 2014 vacation spent on Kiawah had a slightly better kick to it. This year we had the honor of having extended family from Chicago join us in addition to meeting up with cousins from Atlanta. We got a lot of beach time with family along with other fun outdoor activities each day. The days all concluded with some really great moments of breaking bread with family, friends and good conversation.

I am a foodie by nature so I figured dining stops merited their own post. My play time and other outdoor activities will get written down her at some later time.

Eating Out in the Low Country

During our time in Kiawah, we prepared a little over half of our meals during the week.  We stocked up on groceries at the West Ashley Publix to get us through most breakfasts, lunches, and a few dinners.  Over half of the evening meals were prepared by our parents (my in-laws) as we walked over to their villa just a stone’s throw down tennis club. The in-laws were once again more than gracious with their hospitality. The meal quality and company was second to none.  Aside from Kiawah’s natural beauty, vacationing with extended family is a prime reason we keep coming back to this area. When we did not eat our meals “in house”, we visited the following places to dine.

Reds Ice House (John’s Island - Bohicket) – Our first dining out experience was Monday night at Red’s Ale house at the Bohicket Marina near Seabrook Island. Our group had spent the day at the beach enjoying sand and surf and preferred to keep things close to home. The wait for a table at Red’s was about half hour, but we did score an outside table which was a bonus. The food was decent as usual as table orders included blackened grouper sandwiches, peel and eat shrimp, assorted salads, she-crab soup, fish and chips and crab legs (noted specialty at Red’s). As far as I am concerned they could have served me a cheese quesadilla and I would have ranked the experience as phenomenal simply due to the sunset view over the marina. The view encouraged us to remain for a drink or two more and spot a very large storm cloud out on the horizon that displayed some pretty stellar lightning; though too far to be of any concern.

Vincent’s (John’s Island - Freshfields)
Always a mandatory stop, I brought the kids to Vincent’s for ice cream. The place was hopping with a lunch crowd at two o’clock and very noisy. It wasn’t quite the same experience as with previous drop ins during my walks around Freshfields. The counter help consisted of five teenagers bumping into each other and concerned with discussing their own private lives and telling jokes. Attention to customers seemed secondary.  When it came down to processing orders, there really seemed to be just two people doing all the labor with the other three just standing around. Didn’t quite understand that work flow.  Perhaps it was just a shift change and that stirred some commotion. Regardless, the cones took about ten minutes to prepare for just myself and my three kids! The lack of attention made the tip jar on the counter come off as quite comical.

Lucky Lucianos Pizza (Bohicket)
After another one of our long beach mornings, we returned to the villa for lunch. I ordered two pizzas from Lucky Luciano’s over at Bohicket. Pizza was ready within a half hour. I ordered a plain cheese and an Italian sausage thin crust. The pizzas were pretty decent and the price was fair as it set me back about $30; much cheaper than the Market at Kiawah. The gentleman that rang up the order and handed me the pizzas could not have been any nicer.  In my fourteen or so years of travelling to Kiawah, I have always hoped a good pizza joint would thrive down here. I hope this business lasts a long time.

Bessinger’s  (Charleston)
We did our mandatory Thursday evening stop at Bessingers in Charleston.  Why visit Bessinger’s on Thursday? Well, because kids can eat for $.99. It used to be free, but I will happily pay a buck a kid. It was a great evening of barbecue (Big Joe), sweet onion rings and iced tea. The added benefit of world cup soccer being televised on the flat screens inside the dining room was the cherry on the sundae. I would love to have a Bessinger’s up here in Chicago. As with most restaurants in South Carolina, don’t pass up the banana pudding at this joint!

Sticky Finger’s Barbecue (Charleston)
Like Bessingers, a trip to Sticky Fingers is an annual ritual. We ended up stopping in early Friday afternoon after walking through the Market. The lunch menu was pretty solid and reasonably priced. Just about the whole group ordered some sort of barbecue lunch special whether in the form of ribs, pulled pork, pulled chicken or wings.  The meals tasted good and I was happy to get my fix of sweet potato casserole as a side dish. The food server was a tad irritable and seemed annoyed by the size of our larger group of eleven. He did finally manage a smile, though only when he was paid his tip.

King Street Grill (Freshfield’s)
We ended our week at King Street in the shopping mall. We did our final Friday dip in the ocean at sunset and all had room for some light fare and drinks. The restaurant was bopping as the wait time was close to an hour. Apparently King Street and most of Freshfields is quite busy on Fridays! The influx of customers at King Street was attributed to the lawn entertainment concluding. Overall, the food and service were good, and I did enjoy the sports bar theme with several flat screens located throughout the restaurant. Our group came in with light appetites as we had dined on Sticky Fingers earlier in the day. Everyone went with appetizers and drinks. The food was solid and wait staff seemed attentive to our needs. Our waitress even referred to my twelve year old daughter as “princess” which I mockingly dubbed her the rest of the evening. Doesn’t that make me a King?  I will have to come back here at some point and get a regular sized meal.

Restaurants missed

A week’s time did not allow us to hit our usual favorites. Yes, we got our good fix of barbecue and had some good seafood at Reds, but I have a few I will need to visit next trip. I will have to pay a return visit to Hominy Grill, Mustard Seed and J.B’s smoke shack. Until then, I will be counting down the days until my next visit.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Review of Publix Super Market in West Ashley – Johns Island South Carolina

In my thirteen plus years of vacationing in Kiawah, I have spent most of those visits doing my grocery shopping either at the Newton farms store (now a Harris Teeter) or at the local Piggly Wiggly (Johns Island). Those plans changed when the Publix store was built about five years ago within West Ashley Place shopping center (3642 Savannah Highway). My trip to this Publix from the Kiawah villa takes about twenty to twenty five minutes depending on traffic. 

Not sure if it is due to this store still being somewhat new, but cleanliness appears to be a priority of this Publix store; inside and out. The aisles always appear to be easy to navigate. The check out belts and deli counters are always spotless. Even the parking lot appears to be tidy.

Most store associates are extremely friendly. The deli help is super friendly as they occasionally offer up a shaving of sliced meat to sample. I also find it courteous that the check out attendants will sometimes point out store savings when I could be potentially getting ripped off because I overlooked a sale. Thanks guys.
It is a challenge for me to do any comparison pricing when measuring up Publix against  Johns Island Newton Farms (now a Harris Teeter). The island store price markup makes most items at Publix appear very inexpensive.  The real measurement would be comparing Publix to the local Piggly Wiggly (“The Pig”) or Food Lion. I can’t make that comparison because I do not shop at those other locations. Still, I like Publix prices and find pricing comparable to some of the items I can purchase at my home store in the Chicago suburbs.

Aside from being super clean, I really adore the Publix store brand items. Since first walking into a Publix, I have found most of their labeled goods such as their cheesecake, wheat bread, and cinnamon French toast sticks to be the best. If we could find away to bring home numerous cheesecakes back to Illinois in the dog days of summer, we would do it.


All in all, I would highly recommend those staying anywhere relatively close to West Ashley area (within thirty minute drive) to do their weekly shopping there.  You will save a bundle. Just remember to bring a really well insulated cooler if purchasing perishables.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

How to Prevent Swim Trunk Rash at the Beach


There is nothing better than spending quality summer time with the family on the South Carolina beaches. Sand and surf can be pleasing to the senses until someone gets a bad rash from playing in the ocean and beach. There are plenty of reasons why people get sand rash in the trunks. Some fall victim to exposure to sand lice or sand fleas, though most rash issues are attributed to the salt water and sand and their abrasiveness to legs and groin area. The unpleasantness of such a bad rash can be a vacation game changer. At that point, even the simple activity of walking becomes a miserable experience.  This actually happened to me a few years ago down in Kiawah as my inner thigh became raw from a day at the beach.  A little detective work revealed there are ways to prevent this from happening. Here are a few tips to try and avoid getting rash when spending a day (or week) at the beach.

1.       Remove mesh lining from swim suit to prevent rash. Most people swear that removing the netting or mesh liner inside the suit will go a long way to keeping away unwanted sand. Of course, the removal of the netting will leave potential for possible “exposure” so consider first putting on a layer of cotton briefs before wearing the altered swim trunks. Those that wear the lengthier board shorts can wear tight fitting spandex bike shorts underneath.

2.       Use outdoor beach showers to prevent skin rash. Many beaches have a nearby beach house with showers or even outdoor hoses to rinse off. Take advantage of such amenities whenever possible and rinse all sand and salt water away from the body and suit. This will go along way into preventing sand rash.

3.       Avoid starting the day wearing a damp suit to the beach.  If planning on swimming every day at the beach, then consider packing a second suit. Many rashes are created by wearing yesterday’s swim trunks that have not had adequate time to dry. Kids will run to the beach and the wet suit will soon get a head start on aggravating the skin before they have even set foot into the water. Make sure the suit is entirely dry to start the day or choose the backup trunks.

4.       Apply Protective Skin Barrier to Prevent Rash – Take precautionary measures before putting on swimsuit by applying a protective barrier to your inner thigh and groin area with skin barriers such as Body Glide, Boudreaux’s Butt Paste, or A&D. You might scoff at the idea of walking around smelling “baby fresh”, but you will be re-assured to keep away the rash later on.

If you do fall victim to sand rash, then apply a coating of A&D or Gold Bond medicated powder to the affected area and it should be pretty cleared up the next day. Just remember then to follow the four tips above.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Easter Week Events 2014 in Lowcountry – Charleston and Barrier Islands


 
The warmer temperatures of April will be a welcome to the lowcountry as locals and vacationers get out to enjoy the spring and Easter events happening right here in the Charleston area. There will be a lot of buzz and excitement in the area with numerous egg hunts, spring festivals, and brunch destinations. Those staying in Kiawah will want to check out Easter week events board by visiting the following link: http://www.kiawahresort.com/blog/kiawah-island/2013/03/28/kiawah-island-easter-activities/
 
 
 
April 11th – April 13th
24th Annual Sea and Sand Festival
Where: Folly Beach – Center Street, Folly River Park, and the Beach
Time:    Friday: 7:30 p.m. & Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. & Sunday 8:00 a.m.
Things to Do: The three days of sea and sand festival includes pageant, street party along Center Street, live music, jumpies, face painting, games and a surf competition on Sunday.
Contact: For more information, visit: www.follybeach.com
 
April 14th – April 20th
45th Annual RBC Heritage – PGA Tour Event
Where: Harbour Town Golf Links – Hilton Head
Time:    Daily event 4/14/14 through 4/20/14
Things to Do: PGA tour comes to the lowcountry for Easter week. Order tickets now to see some of your favorite PGA players come out to test the challenges of Harbor town.
Contact: For more information, contact (843) 671-2448 or visit: www.rbcheritage.com/tickets
 
April 17th
Mingo Point Oyster Roast – Kiawah Island
Where: Mingo Point – Kiawah
Time:    6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Things to Do: Inaugural oyster roast of the season featuring oysters, barbecue pork/ribs, chicken and steak with musical entertainment on hand.
Contact: For more information, contact (843) 768 – 2790 or www.kiawahresort.com/dining/mingo-point-oyster-roast-and-bbq
Mt. Pleasant Annual Easter Egg Hunt and Storytime
Where: Village Branch Library – Mount Pleasant
Time:    9:30 a.m.
Things to Do: Come out to the public library for story time, an Easter egg hunt and a special appearance by the Easter Bunny.
Contact: For more information, contact (843) 884-9741 or visit www. www.ccpl.org/
 Freshfields
Where: Freshfields Village Lawn
Time:    6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Things to Do: Grab a blanket or chair and head out to Freshfields on John’s Island for some sunset music courtesy of the Shem Creek Boogie Band.
Contact: For more information, visit: www.freshfieldsvillage.com
April 19th
Eastereggtravaganza
Where: Middleton Place (4300 Ashley River Road, Charleston)
Time:    10:30 a.m.
Things to Do: Come out to Middleton Plantation for Easter egg fun. Aside from the grand Easter egg hunt there will be plenty of games and entertainment.
Contact: For more information, contact (843) 556 – 6020 or www.middletonplace.org
Easter Egg Hunt – Isle of Palms
Where: Isle of Palms Recreation Department (#24 28th Avenue, Isle of Palms)
Time:    10:00 a.m.
Things to Do: Come out to IOP for some Easter egg fun. Aside from the grand Easter egg hunt there will be plenty of games and entertainment which include inflatable jumpies and pony rides and a chance to meet the Easter bunny.
Contact: For more information, contact (843) 886-8294 or visit: www.iop.net/departments/recreation_youth_easteregghunt.aspx
 Easter Festival - Freshfields
Where: Freshfields Village Lawn –Johns Island
Time:    11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Things to Do: Come out to Freshfield’s grand lawn to meet the Easter bunny. Entertainment will include inflatables, face painting, crafts, and live music.
Contact: For more information visit: www.freshfieldsvillage.com
 
 

 
 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

How to Maintain and Protect Beach Cruiser Bicycles


Spending time down in the Carolinas on vacation, I have seen a lot of bicycles suffer tremendous wear and tear due to sand, salt, water, and other elements. The salt air alone can quickly degrade a bicycle to an unusable state if not properly cared for. Most bicycles no matter how much TLC you offer them will eventually show some rust. Given the humidity and the salt air conditions, surface rust can appear in as little as a few weeks after bringing a new bike to the coast.  Rust on the surface will eventually slow down and serve more as an appearance nuisance than hinder your ability to ride the bike. If one is really afraid of getting rust on the bike, then consider rust proofing the bike starting with the inside tubing of the frame. That process involves taking the bike apart. That also is a prime reason why people on the coast ride beach cruisers obtained for a few hundred bucks knowing they will have a shorter life span. Those that have bikes on the coast can follow some of these easy tips to keep the bike in decent shape.

1.       Storage - Even if you don’t ride the beach cruiser on the sand or in the sea, there is a tremendous amount of humidity that can wreak havoc on the bike. Store the bike in a garage when not in use.  Keeping that bike out on the porch all season will expose it to salt spray in the air created by the nearby surf.

2.       Rinsing & Drying - Rinse salt and sand off bike with fresh water hose after going for a seaside ride. The worst thing you can do is leave the salt or sand on the bike for long periods of time which can wear away at the bike. Dry the bike off with towel or compressed air after rinsing.

3.       Tires  - Keep tires properly inflated. Bike tires underinflated can cause damage to rims if the bike manages to hit a deep hole or crack. Pedaling is also much less of a chore when tires are properly inflated.

4.       Chain - After finishing a beach or trail ride, remove any grit or debris attached to chain and relubricate if necessary. Bike chains are usually the first integral bike part to be destroyed by salt. Plan on going through a few chains if you are planning on having the bike for a long time.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Variety of Condominiums on Kiawah Island


 Those that vacation in Kiawah often ask the question, how much does it cost to live there? Well, that all depends on what one is looking for. The accommodation size can range from a one bedroom condominium all the way to twelve bedroom mansion with breathtaking views of the ocean and river marshes. In between these sizes are numerous smaller single family homes and tree house style cottages located all over the island. Condominiums or “Villas” will range in price anywhere from two hundred thousand upwards to over two million dollars depending upon the buyers preferences. Keep in mind these numbers are approximate of market conditions in 2014. Someone that reads this post fifteen years from now may see different numbers. Prospective condo buyers must also consider the HOA monthly assessments, taxes and insurance. This condominium guide for Kiawah is broken out between two groups or locations: East Beach and West Beach. The East Beach area includes immediate area surrounding the Sanctuary, Night Heron Park, and Turtle Point area. The West Beach is the area near the Straw Market and Cougar Point golf course. Regardless of choosing East or West beach locations, all condos are a close walk to the beach with some units having living room/bedroom views of the ocean.


Styles and Comparisons of Kiawah Villas

Tennis Club – East Beach

Every year we visit Kiawah, we rent a two bedroom villa; specifically one of the tennis club villas near the Sanctuary and Roy Barth Tennis Center. These residential buildings contain four condos: two units on first floor and two units above. Those condo units vary in size from one to three bedrooms. The floor plan is sectioned off with separate living room, dining area, kitchen, etc. A listing for a one bedroom villa could go anywhere between low 200’s to low 400’s all depending on condition and extras. The larger two or three bedroom villas go up in price but even that price will vary depending on how updated the unit is. These villas seem to be a good purchase for those looking for a second home without the maintenance headaches. The other factor to consider when shopping for a villa is the views. Most of these villas have relaxing screened in back porches that overlook lagoon, woods, or tennis courts. Expect to pay slightly higher price for lagoon views.

Mariners Watch – East Beach

These units seem lovely, though I have never stayed in one, their listing prices start in the in the low $200’s. These units have an open floor plan where the kitchen, dining, and living room are all open to one another, and only the bedroom and deck/patio are separated. The Mariner’s Watch condos are located in East Beach village.

Parkside Villas – East Beach

These condos are situated along lagoon adjacent to Night Heron Park. The location is perfect for park/pool access with the beach only a short walk away. The Parkside Villas are all two and three bedroom units with several of these units having a decks overhanging lagoon with pier access. The two bedroom units are priced around the mid $300’s.

Turtle Point Villas – East Beach

These condos also located in East beach are a style similar to Tennis club Villa in appearance and price. Most of the Turtle Point villas are situated along Green Dolphin way. Prices for Turtle Point range from $200s to 400’s.

Windswept Villas - East Beach

These condos are located off Sea Forest Drive situated dune side facing the Atlantic (water approximately 75 yards away). Five story condo/townhome style building consisting of 1 through 3 bedroom units with shingle style siding. Close proximity to Night Heron Park. These tree house style units range in prices from $300K upwards to $2 Million. Like the Sanctuary, the height of these condo buildings makes them highly visible when walking along the beach.

Courtside Villas - West Beach

Open efficiency floor plan style layout with screened in porch. Mostly one bedrooms approximately 615 sf. Units are located close proximity to West Beach pool and Straw Market. Prices for one bedroom condos average in $200’s.

Duneside Villas – West Beach

These townhome style units are closest proximity to Ocean in West Beach. Villas located off Duneside drive between boardwalk markers #1 and #2. These villas range in size from three to five bedrooms.

Fairway Oaks Villas – West Beach

Condo units located along Dunelin Court in West Beach situated along Cougar Point golf course. Villas range from two to four bedroom units; with prices ranging from $300K upwards to $700’s.

Inlet Cove - West Beach

These are 3 bedroom “raised cottages” with wide open floor plan that is approximately 1,300 sf. They are raised, meaning you park your vehicle below the unit. These units are within close proximity to beach, pools, and fishing/crabbing pier. Price range from $400 through $900K. I probably should not have included these in a post about condos, but these fun tree house style homes have a unique feature and appearance worthy of mention.

Seascape Villas – West Beach

1 to 4 bedroom condos located in West Beach are a stone’s throw to Ocean with several units having ocean views. Close proximity to West Beach pool. Price ranges are from the low 200’s upwards to over $1.5M for three bedroom units.

Shipwatch Villas – West Beach

Shipwatch includes one and two bedroom units that overlook the Ocean. Each bedroom has its own private balcony. Amenities are very close with pool and children’s playground located across from the condos. Units are currently priced in $300K to $400K range.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Review of Rita's at Folly Beach

While we were down in the Charleston low country back in the later part of June, we had decided to spend a day at Folly Beach. As we have traveled to the Carolina coast for the past twelve years, this was our first time making it out to Folly. As you pull into town, there is a sense of fishing meets surfer meets college spring break atmosphere. We parked in a pay lot close to the pier of which I recall being approximately eight bucks for the afternoon. The downtown shopping district is pretty small and the retailers consist primarily of t-shirt & surf shops, bars and restaurants. It only takes about an hour or so to stroll downtown and cover most stores. I am not a big shopper so after one or two shops of seeing the same thing (t-shirts, shells, sharks teeth, beach toys and towels), I waited outside the stores with my kids while the wife looked at the merchandise.

The highlight to the day was a stroll down the grand pier, checking out Morris Island lighthouse and finally stopping for lunch. As newcomers to Folly, we did not know one restaurant from another thus we chose Rita's (2 Center Street) as it was closest to our car in the nearby lot. Rita's is a very open airy restaurant that has a wall of open doors/windows that can easily open in times of cooperative weather. The day we visited it was pretty hot thus the large doors were down so we appreciated the a/c environment to escape the Carolina heat. We were easily able to find a table as we were only the second group of customers for a later lunch. The menu was to our liking as the main features included burgers, sandwiches and salads. Appetizers had a couple seafood options which include peel and eat shrimp, crab and artichoke dip and several other decent finger food selections. The deep fried pickles caught my eye but I didn’t find any other takers in the group willing to go along and order with me. Overall the menu was pretty small and basic, but I was okay with that as I was looking for a sandwich and a cold drink.
   
The orders from our table included the likes of burgers, sandwiches, salads and kids meals. My choice was the flounder BLT which was a mile high assembly of tasty flounder, bacon, juicy tomatoes, and lettuce on thick “French toast” style bread covered with a pimento mayo. The addition of bacon to this fish themed sandwich was a huge bonus. I didn’t expect it but I never shy away if someone wants to add throw some bacon on my plate. This alternative to a “BLT” was amazing and cured my desire for a quick seafood fix. The other bonus to the meal was the homemade seasoned fries. Delicious. I can’t form an opinion on the others meals, though they looked pretty decent.

RITAS – THE SERVICE -

The young woman that waited our table seemed efficient and prompt with the iced tea refills, though I would have been shocked had she been slow; given there were only two tables occupied at the time. Not sure why there weren’t more patrons, unless they were all at the beach. I would expect the big rush to be during evening hours up through close. This joint appears to have live music and I was even amused to see a cigarette machine next to the restrooms. I can’t remember the last time I had seen one of those!

All in all, in my next stop in Folly, I will most likely pay another visit to Rita's again for a flounder BLT or a pimento burger, delicious fries, and perhaps a frozen cocktail to beat the heat.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Guide to Charleston Coffee Shops

When taking a stroll through Charleston whether it is a walking tour, shopping the market, or people watching; try and find time to make a stop for coffee (and maybe a dessert) along the way. A quick break with a fresh poured coffee and conversation among friends can only make the morning or afternoon get even better. Charleston has its fair share of coffee houses with some located smack dab in the heart of the shopping district, with others found in the local neighborhoods of West Ashley, James Island, and Mount Pleasant. I put together a list of the main coffee houses one might want to visit when in the area. As with most other cities in the states (and globally), the Charleston visitor can surely find a Starbucks for a quick brew on the go, but please take an hour to stop in and relax in the charm and aroma of a traditional coffee house in this city. Some of these java stops have delicious lattes with artistic finishes and a super friendly barista ready to answer your questions. Most of these shops will even offer up options for pour over coffees that may cost a little extra, but it is well worth it the time and effort for the individual brew. Complimentary wifi is usually provided in these stores, so feel free to bring a laptop or tablet but make sure it is charged, as the busy locations may have all the electrical outlets taken.

Eight Good Coffee Houses in Charleston 

Black Tap Coffee – Located at 70 Beaufain Street in Charleston. Simple, modern and plain d├ęcor greet you throughout the store. Before you even get to order that espresso or latte, you may be offered some complimentary cool cucumber water. Don’t overlook the butter and flaky pastries when ordering a very artistic latte. Black Tap makes all syrups on site and offers counter culture coffees.

Charleston Coffee Exchange – Located at 2875 Ashley River Road #1 in Charleston. Charleston Coffee Exchange roasts coffee right on the premises. You can even purchase the beans to take home. This coffee house located in West Ashley neighborhood offers up tasty espressos, lattes, cappuccino, frozen coffees, sandwiches and pastries. For the tourist, a very convenient stop before visiting the nearby plantations.

City Lights Coffee – Located at 141 North Market Street, Charleston. This conveniently located coffee houses sits within the downtown shopping district. This small cozy coffee house serves breakfast and lunch and offers up free wifi. City Lights offers counter culture coffee.

Collective Coffee Company – Located at 766 South Shelmore Blvd, Mount Pleasant (Located in strip mall). So this shop is not in Charleston, but just a quick trip across the bridge into Mount Pleasant and located in a shopping center. Collective is partnered up with the Intelligentsia brand and serves single pour over coffees, espressos and lattes. The breakfast and lunch menu is quite extensive with offerings including egg dishes, bagels, and sandwiches. A good stop for tourists before or after visiting Boone Hall and Patriots Point. 

Elliotborough Mini Coffee Bar. – Located at 18 Percy Street, Charleston. Little corner coffee shop that boasts big coffee selection. Originally set up as bar, recently added coffees to menu with specialty being single pour overs. If espressos and cappuccinos are your thing, might want to move on to the other locations, but don’t overlook this stop for a delicious single cup pour.

Kaminsky’s – Located at 78 N. Market Street. Probably more known for desserts, but the coffees cannot be overlooked. This stop is well suited for those taking a stroll through the downtown market district. Keep this place in mind for coffee and satisfying a sweet tooth craving.

Kudu – Located on 4 Vanderhorst in downtown Charleston. This African influenced coffee house has fresh roasts coffees and also sells craft beer. The lattes can be artistic and the atmosphere quite comfortable. If espresso is your thing, this might be your stop.

Muddy Waters – Located at 1739 Maybank Highway in James Island. Specialties include lattes, mochas, cappuccino, espressos, macchiato, and Counter Culture Coffee. Indoor and outdoor seating with complimentary wifi. Ample parking as Muddy Waters is located in shopping mall. A quieter coffee shop that is usually less congested than the others on this list.        

Friday, November 1, 2013

Kiawah and Charleston Events - November 2013

November 2013 Events in Charleston Lowcountry

The autumn season marches on in the Carolinas with cooler temperatures in the low country.  The fun doesn’t stop with Halloween gatherings. November in Charleston and surrounding area will be abuzz with autumn festivals, great thanksgiving get togethers and holiday fun runs. The holiday season will kick off with the annual Charleston County festival of lights.

November 2rd
Charleston County 12th Annual Harvest Festival
Where: Mullet Hall Equestrian Center – John’s Island County Park
Time: 11 am – 5 pm
Things to Do: Autumn themed crafts, games, concessions, hay rides, and live entertainment.
Contact: (843) 795 – 4386
Charleston Symphony Tour of Homes – Kiawah and Seabrook
Where: Kiawah and Seabrook Islands
Time:  10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Things to Do: Architectural and interior design tour of five distinct homes located on Kiawah and Seabrook Islands. Tour followed up with Charleston Symphony Orchestra performance on Freshfield’s Village green at 5 p.m.
November 8th – December 31st

Holiday Festival of Lights 2013
Where: James Island County Park
Time: 5:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. (Sun – Thurs) & 5:30 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. (Fri – Sat)
Things to do: Three mile stretch of twinkling holiday lights that can be observed by car or train ride (Admission charged for either). Concessions, gift shop, and other entertainment on site.
Contact: (843) 795 – 7275
November 10th & 11th
Re-enactment of Battle of Fort Wagner
Where: Boone Hall Plantation, Mount Pleasant
Time: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Things to do: Observe re-enactment of Union attack on fort that involved two main battles within sixty day besiege of confederate position.
Contact: (843) 884-4371

November 28nd (Thanksgiving)
36th Annual Charleston Turkey Day Run and Gobble Wobble
Where: Marion Square – Charleston
Time: Races begin 9:00 a.m.
Things to do: Runners, joggers, and walkers of all ages can register to participate in the 5K run through historic downtown Charleston and battery. The post race activities include refreshments and entertainment. For more information contact www.turkeydayrun.com