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American Craft Week

September 28th, 2014

Crafty people everywhere are getting excited for American Craft Week on Edisto Island.

With These Hands gallery, one of Edisto’s most treasured stores, has joined the Craft Retailers and Artists for Tomorrow (CRAFT), to participate in its 10-day campaign. The campaign promotes American artists and crafters by dedicating 10 days for displaying, promoting, and selling handmade items.

American Craft Week begins Oct. 3. On that day, With These Hands will introduce the Charleston Tea Plantation tea line to its product line.  A representative from the tea plantation will be on hand serving up free samples from North America’s only tea plantation.

On Saturday the gallery will display paintings by a new artist out of nearby Yonges Island. The artist, Alice Steward Grimsley, specializes in watercolors and oils. Her paintings will be available for purchase.

Check out some of the other artwork in the gallery, much of which captures Edisto’s unparalleled beauty.

The gallery will continue Craft Week on Sunday even though the store is typically closed on Sundays. It will be open from noon to 4 p.m. to celebrate the kick-off weekend of American Craft Week.

Craft Week will continue throughout the week and into the following weekend. By Friday, Oct. 10, a representative from the Charleston Tea Plantation will be on hand again with free samples.

On Saturday, Oct. 11, there will be free samples of Sallie’s Famous Dips along with sweets made from Elin’s Edisto Local Honey and Kinloch Plantation Peanut Oil.

Sunday, Oct. 12 marks the end of the Craft Week, and With These Hands will be open from noon to 4 p.m.

Come out to support Edisto’s gallery and local artisans during Craft Week! Door prizes will be given out each day of the celebration.

The gallery has been open for 30 years. It’s located right on the bank of Store Creek and is a favorite among Edisto’s locals and visitors. Many people consider it one of the island’s most historic landmarks.

Visit the gallery if you’re in town and help support a local business and local artisans. If you’ve never been to With These Hands before, you will find that it has some of the best artwork around along with the most unique gifts.

With These Hands is located at 1444 Highway 174.

For more information about the store or Craft Week, call 843-869-3509 or visit americancraftweek.com to see what stores are participating all throughout the area.

Brookland Plantation and Edisto in the Limelight

March 25th, 2014

It’s not every day that Edisto Island is mentioned in pop culture, but thanks to Bravo’s new reality show “Southern Charm” the island is getting a little screen time.

The show is about Charleston’s elite young residents and focuses on their filthy-rich lifestyles and moments of debauchery. Depending on who you talk to, the show is either the epitome of a guilty pleasure or the worst thing on the planet. For this blog’s purposes, the only part that matters is that one of the characters, Thomas Ravenel, owns Brookland Plantation on Edisto Island.

 

The Early Days

Like all of the old homes and plantations on the island, Brookland Plantation has quite the story behind it.

The original plantation house was built in the mid-1700s and was given as a wedding gift to Joseph Jenkins and his wife. Jenkins’ father owned the plantation at that time and had a home constructed upon the land so that it would be a suitable gift for his son and his bride. The weather-worn graves of Joseph Jenkins, his wife, and their infant son can still be scene on the grounds of the plantation.

During the early days of Brookland’s history, back in the mid-1700s, indigo crops flourished on the property. Around the time of the Civil War, the indigo crops were replaced with sea island cotton, which brought incredible wealth to the island.

In addition to the crops, a variety of structures have been constructed on the property over the years. The first main home on the grounds – the one built as a wedding gift – was lost in a fire. The current house on the property was built sometime between the years 1800 and 1807.

Changing Hands

Over the decades, the plantation was sold a handful of times. During that time, it served as a private residence, home for wayward boys, and working plantation.

In 1958, the property was purchased by Rev. Ralph Wentling, who turned it into the Brookland Home for Boys. A decade later, the school for boys moved upstate, but remnants of the structure that served as the school can still be seen on the grounds.

After the school relocated, Brookland Plantation became a private residence again and fell into disrepair over time. In 2001, it was sold to a group of investors who restored the home. A few years later, Ravenel, a Charleston resident, purchased all 16.7 acres of the plantation and made it into his home away from home.

Live the Life of Rhett Butler (in weekly increments)

While most people will never get the chance to visit a private plantation, let alone stay in a home located on one, Brookland Plantation is available for weekly rentals and events.

The home features three bedrooms, four and a half bathrooms, and sleeps eight. It features two kitchens, a basement-level recreation/television room, two docks that provide access to area creeks and the Atlantic Ocean, and acres of beautiful land that only Edisto can provide.

Rates vary, but Brookland Plantation can be rented through vrbo.com.

Southern Charm

As for the reality show on Bravo, check it out to see scenes of Charleston, Brookland Plantation, and Edisto’s marshland. If you watch the show on mute (wink, wink), you’ll be sure to take in every element of southern charm the natural beauty that Edisto and Charleston have to offer.

 

 

Pralines: A Sweet Taste of the South

January 17th, 2014

Every year around the holidays, my grandmother makes pralines. She sends them out to everyone far and wide and includes a note that reads: A Sweet Taste of the South.

While the sugary snack doesn’t necessarily have concrete ties to Edisto, it’s huge in Charleston and is one of the best southern treats around. The best thing about them is that they’re really easy to make, which is good considering you’ll almost definitely need to make a second batch after devouring the first.

In the past, I’ve made pralines with my grandmother during the holidays spent at the beach. This year, I had to wait for a bag to be sent to me since we were not together. She must have finally considered me worthy of knowing what goes into the treats because she also sent along her recipe.

Here’s what you’ll need:

5 cups of chopped pecans

4 cups of sugar

1 cup of cream (light)

1 tsp of salt

Boil three cups of sugar with the cream until it becomes a soft ball of creamy sugar. Caramelize the remaining cup of sugar in an iron skillet. Then combine the sugar and cream that has been boiled with the caramelized sugar. Make sure the pot is large as the caramelized sugar foams up when it’s combined with the cream and sugar.

Add in the nuts and salt and beat until creamy. Spoon onto buttered paper.

That’s it!  Share with family and friends or nosh on them to your heart’s content. It’s a perfect snack to remind you of the south no matter where you are.

5 Ways to Enjoy a Beach Workout

January 9th, 2014

It’s the time of year when people everywhere think about getting fit…. and some even get around to actually working out. All of us here at the beach are no different.

However, unlike most places that are freezing cold this time of year, most of the time temperatures here stay fairly mild all throughout the year, which makes it the perfect place for outdoor physical fitness. So, whether you live in the area or plan on visiting sometime soon, try to incorporate Edisto into your plans to get physically fit.

Here are some of the best ways to take advantage of all that Edisto has to offer for your fitness needs:

 

  1. Run or walk on the beach. Because the surface isn’t hard like running on a track or the street, all of the muscles below the knee get more of a work out. Your arches, ankles, calves, and muscles you probably forgot you even have will thank you for it.

 

 

  1. Biking all over the island is possible as well. The bike trail throughout the town of Edisto Beach brings riders down paved paths that wind throughout the town’s streets. The trail provides unique views of Edisto Beach that can’t be seen by vehicle.

    Even if you forget to bring your own bike to the beach, there are plenty of companies that rent bikes for the whole family to enjoy.

 

  1. Speaking of trails, the bike trail can also be enjoyed by those looking to hit the pavement. The best thing is that the paved trail means that it is accessible by virtually everyone, including those traveling in strollers or even wheelchairs. (There are sandy streets the path crosses and sometimes debris from the natural landscape of the island can be found on the path, so be forewarned that there could be obstacles along the way).

 

  1. Head out to the state park and enjoy the ample trails the parks have to offer. Both parks require a small admittance fee to use the trails (and other services), but the fee is totally worth it if you really want to experience some of Edisto’s beauty.

 

  1. Even though temperatures right now are at their lowest, swimming is always on option at the beach. Step into a wetsuit and take to the water to get the best workout around. Just remember there are no lifeguards on Edisto Beach and the currents and undertow can make for dangerous swimming conditions.

 

No matter what you decide to do, remember to enjoy yourself. After all, even when you’re working out, Edisto’s still the best place on earth.

 

Lending a Helping Hand this Christmas Season

December 6th, 2013

Sometimes with all of the hoopla surrounding the holiday season it is easy to forget that giving to others is what is most important.

There are numerous ways to help out the people, animals, and island itself this time of year.

Helping People

  • The food pantry on the island provides many struggling families on the island with food that they might not have had otherwise. The pantry is always in need of canned meat and other non-perishable items especially canned vegetables and fruit along with boxed or bagged food items. Financial donations also are accepted. The food pantry is located at Trinity Episcopal Church, 1589, Highway 174. Call 843-869-3568 for more information.
  • Visit With These Hands Gallery by December 20th to purchase handmade ornaments from the holiday giving tree. All proceeds generated from the sales of the ornaments will go toward helping those in need in the community.

Helping Animals

  • The animals living on the island could also use a helping hand. Currently, seven adult dogs and seven puppies are calling Animal Lovers of Edisto K9 Rescue home. The organization exists solely on donations and they are always in need of monetary donations, foster homes, and forever homes. More than 60 dogs have found their forever homes in 2013 thanks to this rescue group. To donate to the group, send checks to Animal Lovers of Edisto K9 Rescue, 8112 Palmetto Road, Edisto Island, SC 29438. Online contributions can be made at animalloversofedisto.com.
  • Edisto Spay/Neuter is another organization on the island that works to help end the homeless pet population through low-cost spaying and neutering. This group is responsible for helping several of the stray cats on the island. They also help low-income families with the financial costs of spay and neuter surgeries. Contact Edisto Spay/Neuter at edistospayneuter.com or call 843-869-3164 for more information or to donate.

 

Helping the Island

  • Preserving the Edisto way of life means that the very place we all know and love has to be protected. Contributions to preserve the natural beauty along Highway 174 and the surrounding marshland and forests can be made to the Edisto Island Preservation Alliance. Find out more information about this organization by visiting preserveedisto.org. Make a one-time donation, join the organization, or just learn about what the group does to guarantee Edisto stays as naturally unspoiled as possible.

 

 

 

Weekend Events {November 2-3, 2013}

November 2nd, 2013

Today’s another big day on Edisto.

At 2:30 p.m., the Beach Notes will perform a song to say goodbye to the Piggly Wiggly as it closes its doors for the final time. The store will re-open Nov. 8 at 3 p.m. as the Bi-Lo. Gather in the Piggly Wiggly parking lot to pay respects to the iconic grocery store.

Today also marks the second showing of The Edisto Art Guild’s performance of Robert Harling’s play “Steel Magnolias.” The play will go on at 7:30 p.m. at the Edisto Beach Civic Center. There will be a final performance at 3 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $12 at the door.

If you’re not familiar with “Steel Magnolias” (which seems impossible in my mind) it’s the story of a group of women dealing with the ups and downs of marriage, parenting, and friendship. While many people are familiar with the screen version of the story starring Dolly Parton, Julia Roberts, Olympia Dukakis, Sally Field, Shirley Maclaine, and Daryl Hannah, the stage version is slightly different.

It first debuted in the late 1980s in New York City. Harling wrote the play after witnessing his mother’s relationship with his sister who died from complications relating to diabetes. The entirety of the play takes place at Truvy’s Beauty Spot, a salon where the friends all gather.

Since its first performance, “Steel Magnolias” has been performed in community theaters throughout the world, and was even featured on Broadway in 2005. There was also a remake of the film in 2012, which was featured on the Lifetime channel.

Needless to say, the story is a favorite among women (and men, even if they won’t admit it) everywhere. Be sure to check out the Edisto Art Guild’s performance this weekend.

Last but not least, the Edisto Island Open Land Trust is hosting its annual oyster roast and meeting at 2 p.m. Sunday. The event will take place at Sunnyside Plantation, located on Peters Point Road. The Edisto Gumbo band will perform. Plus, Charleston Oyster Machine will provide the oysters for the event.

Get tickets online at edisto.org or call 869-9004.

All in all, it looks like this weekend will be a memorable one here on the island.

McConkey’s First Annual Pumpkin Carving Contest

October 30th, 2013

The gauntlet’s been thrown down on Edisto Beach.

McConkey’s Jungle Shack is hosting the first annual Pumpkin Carving Contest, which starts tonight. Both children and adults will get the chance to try their hands at excellent pumpkin carving to win a gift certificate to McConkey’s.

Here’s what you have to do:

  1. Get a pumpkin. If you don’t have one already, there are still some for sale at King’s Market on Highway 174. As of Tuesday, the pumpkins for sale out there were big, juicy ones. Probably shipped in from up north, so you know they’re full of the Halloween spirit. (No offense to southern pumpkins, but what we can do with watermelons we just can’t master in the world of gourds).

  2. Carve the pumpkin. Use a kit that helps you carve or just free-hand it. The more creative the carving, the better. Maybe integrate something to highlight the great state of South Carolina or stick to the haunted essence of Halloween

  3. Take the pumpkin to McConkey’s before 9 p.m. tonight so that it can be judged on Halloween day and night by diners at the restaurant. More than one entry per child/adult is allowed. Be sure to get it to the restaurant by 9 p.m. so that the pumpkin has ample time to be judged all day and night on Halloween.

The winner will be announced on Nov. 1. For more information give McConkey’s a call at 869-0097.

Don’t forget that McConkey’s will also host the children’s costume contest at 5:30 p.m. on Halloween. The doggie costume contest begins at 4 pm.

Also, drop off old costumes (or new ones) until Nov. 7 at the restaurant. They will be given to children on the island in need.

A Look Back at the “Old” Edisto Island

October 16th, 2013

 

While researching some Edisto ghost stories I came upon one that was truly haunting. It wasn’t the one about the haunted tomb at the Presbyterian Church or the Gray Man, or any of the number of tales that go around about haunted plantations and slave houses. Instead, it was just an article written in 1986 by a journalist with the Chicago Tribune about Edisto Island.

The author suggested that the island was at risk of becoming another ‘glitzy’ coastal town ready to lose all traces of what it was due to development. Things have certainly changed since the late ‘80s, but for the most part, Edisto is very much like it always has been. However, it does seem like memories of what Edisto was linger in the air like happy memories of a time that was long ago swept away by the tides.

The article brought up how visitors can stay at the cabins located in the state park for $30 a night (1986 prices), head out to the Pavilion to play at the arcade and buy soda or a hot dog, and trek out to Cassina Point to go horseback riding.

I remember doing all of those things. We used to go to the arcade at the Pavilion every summer to play games. Well, my brother played games, I didn’t even enter grade school until the tail end of the 80s, so I spent my time tagging along and picking up loose change on the floor.

We also went horseback riding at Cassina Point while I sat with my grandparents in the room they rented when the old plantation house was still being used as a bed and breakfast.

The article went on to say that if visitors wanted to get a taste of the resort life they could head out to what was then Fairfield Ocean Ridge to stay in a condo for up to $300 a week. Tennis and golfing opportunities were the biggest selling points of the resort at that time. Kids got their thrills with the on-site pool and miniature golf course, both of which are still there.

To jazz up the nightlife, renters could even check out VHS tapes to take back to the VCRs that were available in the finer units.

Again, not much has changed, except most units have DVD players in them now.

The author said that Fairfield Ocean Ridge represented the best and worst of what could happen to Edisto. It was the best because it was well-kempt and kept to the natural surroundings. It was the worst because it was a major development on the island.

As we all know, Fairfield Ocean Ridge has grown and was bought out by Wyndham years ago, but it certainly hasn’t taken anything away from Edisto. If anything, it’s just as much a part of the Edisto experience as anything else on the island.

Other than that, the article said there really wasn’t much else to do other than hunt for sharks teeth and enjoy the beach.

What is most haunting about the article is that it seems as though it could have been written today, with just a few minor tweaks (after all, none of us will ever rent a place on this island during high season for just $300 a week and Fairfield was long ago bought out by Wyndham).

The things people did back in 1986 are the same things we do today. Plus, many people, just like the journalist in 1986, still worry that the fundamental feeling of Edisto will somehow get destroyed somewhere down the line.

Luckily, it seems as though whatever ghosts there are on Edisto have managed to prevent that from happening all these years, and they don’t show any signs of stopping.

Lovebug Invasion on Edisto

September 8th, 2013

For the next couple of weeks there will be some epic cuddling going on here at the beach.

The cuddling will not involve people spooning, at least not in this case. Instead, all of the coupling will be done by lovebugs, which are also known by their formal name of Plecia nearctica.

These bugs spend most of their life as larvae living in and around decayed vegetation, which is what they eat. Then they emerge as amorous adults looking for love. Generally, female lovebugs are swarmed by males all looking to get lucky. But only one bug wins and gets the girl.

Once the male lovebug successfully mates with the female, they remain connected for hours or days afterwards. During this time, the male lovebug actually transfers nutrients to the female so that she lays healthy eggs. Once she lays her eggs (up to 600 at a time), the female lovebug dies. The male goes on to impregnate more lovebugs, which sounds more like an episode of Maury Povich than something that happens in the bug world.

As for what it’s like to experience the bugs, well, they’re kind of fun to look at for about a minute until they swarm all around your head and get dangerously near your mouth. Then they need to be swatted at. Today, while standing in the surf, I noticed tons of lovebug corpses swirling around my ankles. It was pretty gross, but my dog loved biting at them.

If you’re visiting the area and annoyed by the mating insects, try going out early in the morning or during the twilight hours. Apparently, the bugs rest throughout the night after spending the entire day together.

Luckily, the bugs will only stick around for a couple of weeks before they die off. But don’t worry, they’ll have created a new generation to crop up again next year.

First Annual Bluegrass Festival Set for October 2013

July 13th, 2013

Imagine a sunset on Edisto Island 100 years ago. There were no electronics, no television shows, no video games; nothing to interrupt the natural beauty and serenity of island life. This was a time when kicking back to relax meant sitting out by the water’s edge and listening to music with friends and family.

Get ready to go back to that time this October.

The island’s first Bluegrass Festival will kick off at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 26 at Point of Pines Plantation located on Point of Pines Road on Edisto Island. The festival will feature acoustic bluegrass and Americana music played by both regional and national musicians.

Headliners for the event include The Lonesome River Band, which has been around for more than 30 years and has had several number one hits on the Bluegrass Top 30 charts.

They will play along with Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen. This West Coast band plays both traditional and contemporary bluegrass music.

Shovels and Rope, a Charleston based bluegrass band, will also headline the event. This husband and wife team has been compared to Johnny Cash and his wife, June Carter. They play a lot of their own songs and use kick drums, keyboards, harmonicas, and guitars.

In addition to the headliners, Blue Plantation, The Bluestone Ramblers, Flatt City, and Southern Flavor Bluegrass, all of which are Lowcountry bands, will take the stage.

Along with the music, there will also be local food and beverage vendors. Craft beer and wine will also be available.

Some of the food provided for purchase will be from Flowers Seafood, McConkey’s Jungle Shack, and Po Pigs Bo-B-Q. There will also be a yogurt and dessert vendor.

The event is open to the whole family – even the dogs – and is for a good cause. Proceeds will benefit the preservation projects of the Edisto Island Preservation Alliance, which is dedicated to the protection of the island’s natural beauty provided by the area’s land and waterways.

While the music, vendors, and good old fashioned fun provided by the event are sure to bring out a crowd, what is most interesting is that the event takes place on the site of an old plantation.

Point of Pines was a major plantation during Edisto’s earliest years. It’s possible that throughout history several of Edisto’s ancestral residents spent many days listening to music in the very location where the event takes place. The ruins of the first structure ever built on the property are still visible to this day.

To get to Point of Pines, travel down Highway 174 and cross over the McKinley Washington Bridge onto Edisto Island. Then drive about 8.5 miles until coming to Point of Pines Road. Turn left on Point of Pines Road and drive until the pavement ends. Signs for the venue will be posted to direct guests the remainder of the way.

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