Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Restaurant- Cypress Lowcountry Grille

Not to be outdone by Circa 1886, Cypress Lowcountry Grille is also offering a prix fixe dining experience.

Every night in December and January, except Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, Cypress is offering a three course meal for $39.00.

To start off your dining experience at Cypress, your choice of appetizers include crab cake, lobster bisque, or caesar salad. Entree choices include snapper and beef filet. To round out your meal, try choosing between carrot cake, black forest brownie, or creme brulee.

View the winter special menu by visiting: Cypress Lowcountry Grille's website.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Restaurant- Circa 1886

Charleston's award winning restaurant, Circa 1886, is helping guests save a little green.

From January 2-31, 2009, Circa 1886 is offering guests any four courses from its winter menu for just $49 per person, excluding tax, gratuity and beverages.

Help Circa 1886, located behind the Wentworth Mansion, celebrate its ninth year in business and save yourself some money all while enjoying terrific food.

To view the menu, visit Circa 1886's website.

Restaurant Update-Red Sky

**2016 Update--Red Sky is closed**

Red Sky, located on Seabrook Island, is now open for Sunday brunch from 10:30 am until 2 pm.

I'm a huge brunch fan and can't wait to sample Red Sky's offerings on my next trip to SI (too bad I have to wait until February!).

To learn more about Red Sky (and to get a foodie fix), visit its website by clicking here.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

More Holiday Happenings-Parade of Boats

Saturday, December 6, 2008 is the date for the 29th Annual Parade of Boats.

The boat parade begins approximately 5:00 pm (depending on wind and current conditions) near Mt. Pleasant and ends in the Ashley River at approximately 7:30 pm. Viewing from the Charleston peninsula begins about 6:30 pm.

Don't miss your chance to see boats decked out in holiday lights!

Holiday Candlelight Tour at the Edmondston-Alston House

Make this holiday season even more special! Purchase a ticket for the Holiday Candlelight Tour at the Edmondston-Alston House. This special tour will occur on Friday, December 5 and Friday, December 12, 2008 from 6-8 pm.

The Edmondston-Alston House was one of the first dwellings built on Charleston’s High Battery. Tours will be conducted by costumed interpreters.

Don't miss Christmas 1860...A Candlelight Tour of the Edmondston-Alston House! For ticket information and prices, call 843-722-7171.

Holiday Festival of Lights

Load up the family truckster and drive on out to the James Island County Park for some holiday fun. Charleston County Parks and Rec. puts on a spectacular drive-thru lights festival here every year.

The Holiday Festival of Lights runs through January 4, 2009. Hours are Sunday through Thursday nights 5:30-10 pm; Friday and Saturday nights 5:30-11 pm. Gate fee per vehicle starts at $10.

After you've toured the lights, be sure and visit Winter Wonderland to see the "Big Guy", Mr. Santa Claus, himself. To round out your night, stop by and see what all is happening in Santa's Village.

For all the scoop on the Holiday Festival of Lights, click here.

Holiday Happenings

Charleston’s Reindeer Run is this Saturday, December 6, 2008. Runners go off at 9 a.m. Walkers start at 9:05 a.m. You’ll want to get there early as over 2,500 people participated in 2007.

Reindeer Run is fun for the entire family, even Fido. The 5k course winds through the lower peninsula of downtown Charleston.

What a great way to get the holiday season started! Bring out your family for some fun and exercise, all for a good cause (Proceeds benefit MUSC Children’s Hospital and the Charitable Society of Charleston).

For more info, visit the Reindeer Run website.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Countdown Begins!

Well, if you're a runner the countdown started about 18 weeks ago. :-)

Saturday, December 6, 2008 is the 31st annual Kiawah Island Marathon (and half marathon). This is a great course--flat, fast, and scenic (my husband and I used parts of the course when training for the Disney Marathon back in 2002).

Because the Kiawah Island Marathon is a qualifier for the Boston Marathon it fills up quickly. Click here for 2008 spectator information and to view forthcoming race photos.

Friday, November 21, 2008

They'rrrre Back...

But how long will they stay? Right whales, a near extinct whale, have been making the Charleston area their winter home for the past several years.

Several recent articles in Charleston's Post & Courier newspaper tell the story of the "tumultuous" waters these whales are swimming into. To read about these magnificent creatures and their plight, click here and here.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Restaurant reminder-Stono Farm Market

How many times have you passed by Stono Farm Market (842 Main Road, Johns Island) on your way to Seabrook Island or Kiawah?

I've been known to zip right by it too. On one occasion where I did stop, I found the most delicious ravioli! Turns out these delectable little morsels are handmade by Brian Bertolini and are served at over 60 of Charleston's finest restaurants. Bring your cooler and load it up with Rio Bertolini's Handmade Pasta.

For those who want to do more than "grab and go" at the Stono Farm Market, pull up a chair and have a meal at the Tomato Shed Cafe. Lunch, consisting of in season produce, is served Monday-Saturday 11AM-2:30PM.

Even better, I discovered Tomato Shed Cafe can prepare holiday meal! Great! This gets you out of the kitchen and enjoying the company of your friends and family.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Charleston Symphony Orchestra League's Home Tour

Round up your girlfriends and come spend the day in the Lowcountry!

Saturday, November 8, 2008, Kiawah Island plays host to the CSOL's 2008 Home Tour. Six private homes will be open for touring from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. As a finale, the symphony orchestra will present a concert at The Sanctuary at 5 p.m.

Tickets are $40.00 in advance; $45.00 day of the event. For more info visit the Charleston Symphony Orchestra League's website .

Charleston self-guided walking tour

Calling all iPhone and Touch iPod owners! There is a great new app for you--Charleston City Slickers.

The walking tour application is available from iTunes for $9.99. What a great price!

Now if only I had an iPhone or iPod...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Golf and the Lowcountry

If you plan on visiting the Charleston area in 2009 AND you intend to play golf, here's your chance to play some great courses for great prices!

The Charleston Tee Times Golf Passbook is now on sale. These passbooks are $159.00 per book plus handling and mailing fees and are good for play from December 2008-December 2009.

One round of golf is included in the passbook for some of the following courses:
  • Charleston National Country Club
  • Coosaw Creek Country Club
  • Dunes West Golf Club
  • Legend Oaks Golf Club
  • The Links at Stono Ferry
  • Patriots Point Links
  • RiverTowne Country Club
  • Wild Dunes Links and Harbor Courses
  • Kiawah Island Golf Resort

Passbooks are available in a limited supply. Be sure and check out the restrictions.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fall "Spooktacular" Fun!

Fall really is the perfect time to visit the Lowcountry. Bring the family 'cuz there is lots of fall fun for all. Below are just a few of the family events taking place over the next couple of weeks. All the events are within driving distance of Seabrook Island.

  • Charleston Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch - Legare Farms on John’s Island invites you to “get lost in its amazing maze of maize!” Open weekends during October, Legare Farms plays host to an assortment of fall family fun activities including a pumpkin patch and hayrides. To see a schedule of activities with prices, visit here. Gate admission is $1.00/person (a discount coupon can be found here). Haunted hayrides will be Oct. 24-25 from 8 p.m.-midnight for $5. Legare Farms, 2620 Hanscombe Point Road, (Johns Island), (843) 559-0763,
  • The Scarecrow Festival- Boone Hall Plantation, Sept 27- Nov. 1, 2008. This family friendly event is held daily, Monday-Saturday,9 am to 6 pm, and Sundays, noon to 6 pm. Admission is $5.00/person and includes activities such as pumpkin shoot, tic-tac-toe, pumpkin checkers, a rope maze and more. Visit Boone Hall for more information.
  • Coinciding with the Scarecrow Festival is the Scarecrow Corn Maze. This eight acre corn maze is cut in the shape of a scarecrow and is ready for you to navigate! A separate fee of $10.00 applies if you want to tackle this maze.
  • For those with a need to be “scared,” don’t miss Saw's Scream Farm, two haunted houses, or Saw's Haunted Hayride. For ticket information,visit Boone Hall. *Note: “Saw’s” events are not recommended for children under 12.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Yippee!! Peet's Coffee arrives in S.C.

There is nothing better than an early morning stroll on the beach with a mug of steaming coffee in hand. My morning routine for the past couple of years on Seabrook Island has been such.

Today while ordering my Peet's coffee beans online, I discovered that Peet's is now being sold in grocery stores in parts of the U.S. As luck would have it, South Carolina is one of the states!

Yippee! Now I can buy my Peet's at Publix. The Publix located on Sam Rittenberg appears to be the closest store to Seabrook Island selling Peet's coffee.

For those of you who may be unaware of Peet's coffee, it was started in 1966 by Alfred Peet in Berkley, CA. Mr. Peet actually started importing tea before he got into coffee beans (a fact told to me this past weekend by a barista at the Evanston, IL Peet's coffee shop).

Peet's is the originator of "designer" coffee. Mr. Peet trained the fellows who went on to start Starbuck's.

For more information on Peet's coffee, click here. To order Peet's and have it shipped to your home, click here.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Chez Fish--closed!

It's sad day in the Lowcountry restaurant world. Chez Fish has closed its doors.

There had been speculation for a couple of weeks that Chez Fish might be the next restaurant to close. Its closure was confirmed earlier this morning.

I suspect this will not be the last Seabrook Island area restaurant to close due to the economy.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Vacation travel tip-Grocery shopping online

Want to spend more time actually on vacation and less time getting ready for vacation?

Piggly Wiggly Carolina recently announced online grocery shopping. Just imagine placing your order in the comfort of your own home (before you leave home) and picking up your groceries on the way to your vacation destination!

No more mad frenzy rushing around a grocery store you're unfamiliar with (And, don't get me started on how difficult grocery shopping is to do with kids in tow). Simply view the available products, click to order, and then pull up to the store. Your groceries will be waiting on you.

For those visiting Kiawah and Seabrook Islands, the closest Piggly Wiggly to offer online shopping is the "BIG" Pig located at 3575 Maybank Hwy, Johns Island.

Here's how to shop at the Pig online:

  1. Click:
  2. Click the "Shop Online Now" at most convenient Pig.
  3. Choose your grocery items from the list.
  4. Reserve a time to pick up the groceries.
  5. Drive to your chosen Pig to pick up and pay for your groceries.
  6. Now, RELAX! You're on vacaaaation!

**Please note: There is a $5.00 service fee for shopping online. Only a limited number of orders are allowed per each pick up or delivery time slot. Once a time slot is full, you will no longer be able to select it during checkout. Reserve your time slot before placing your order.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Red Sky Grill--Reopens!

**2016 Update--Red Sky is closed**

After months and months of anticipation, Red Sky Grill on Seabrook Island has finally re-opened. Early reviews sound promising! New menu, new decor, new dining hours (currently only serving dinner).

Chef Matt Bolus has taken over the helm not only of the kitchen but as owner of the restaurant. You can catch up with Matt on his blog : Thyme for Food.

To learn about Red Sky and its menu, be sure to check out its

I can't wait to make my dinner reservation. I'll be sure to post a restaurant review.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A "Two-fer" Weekend-Oct 11-12, 2008

Two great events make for one awesome weekend in the Lowcountry!  

Spend Saturday, October 11 at the Lowcountry Bounty Festival on Seabrook Island.  See what life is all about in the Lowcountry (*hint--there'll be food, festivities, and fun!)  For ticket info and a schedule of events, click here.

On Sunday, October 12, you'll want to load up the car and head up to Boone Hall Plantation.  It's time for "Taste of Charleston".  This event is sponsored by the Greater Charleston Restaurant Association and is in its 28th year of tantalizing and tempting visitors with dishes from over 40 of Charleston's restaurants.  To purchase tickets, visit the Boone Hall website.

Charleston Garden Festival at Middleton Place

The Charleston Garden Festival will take place October 17-19, 2008 at Middleton Place.

Come explore the gardens of Middleton Place. Take advantage of the demonstrations, lectures by renown gardeners, and special events for children.

The theme for this year's festival is: "Metamorphosis" - celebrating the preservation of the natural world through the life cycle of change by focusing on environmentally sound gardening techniques, designs, and tools.

Be sure and check out the schedule of events by clicking here.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Alan Fleming Tennis Tournament

It's coming to Seabrook Island October 1-6, 2008...the Alan Fleming Senior Clay Court Tennis Tournament.

For over two decades, Seabrook Island has hosted this senior clay court tournament. Originally called "Senior Island Clay Court Tournament on Seabrook Island," this tourney was renamed in 1999 when the founding tournament organizer, Alan Fleming passed away.

The tournament begins October 1, 2008 and continues through the weekend. With a field of over 250 players, there will be plenty of tennis to watch.

Thursday night festivities will include a silent auction. Proceeds from the auction benefit the Hospice of Charleston Foundation.

For more information, call or email Mike Kiser, Head Tennis Professional at Seabrook Island(843-768-7543;

**Who was Alan Fleming? Mr. Fleming was the father of Peter Fleming, tennis great John McEnroe’s world champion doubles partner.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Lowcountry Events Calendar

There is a lot going on in the Lowcountry this fall. Check out the updated events calendar.

You won't want to miss Darius Rucker's (of Hootie and the Blowfish fame) concert December 5, 2008 at the North Charleston PAC. It seems Darius is getting back to his South Carolina "southern roots". He's just released a country album!

Tickets go on sale today for comedienne Lily Tomlin's show at North Charleston Performing Arts Center on February 12, 2009.

Restaurant Review: King Street Grille

King Street Grille--Located at Freshfields Village

Quick Lowdown:
  • Sit outside if the weather’s good
  • Chicken Quesadilla appetizer satisfied the entire family
  • Anything with “barbeque” in the name will be messy, but the pretzel buns are good
  • A few troubles with the wraps, but overall, they are satisfying
  • The seasoned french fries were a big hit
  • Bypass if you’re looking for traditional Lowcountry foods.
Over the past few summers, we have watched Freshfields Village grow from a few shops and a grocery store to a marketplace with something for everyone. This summer, one of the new additions was King Street Grille. We had heard good things about it, so we decided to give it a try.

Because of the perfect weather, we opted to sit outside. The interior looked very comfortable, but the mild humidity was rare, so we took advantage of it.

We started off with a quesadilla as an appetizer that was the hit of the meal. There was just the right amount of spice to make it interesting and the “extras” on the side, like sour cream, guacamole, and tomatoes, allowed each of our four-person family to customize to his or her heart’s content.

Our smallest member ended up ordering the largest entree, the barbeque bacon cheeseburger. This monster burger is not for the faint of heart. It has two hamburger patties stacked with bacon and cheese, and then smothered in barbeque sauce. Though only half was eaten and the other half taken home for another meal, it was given two barbeque-sauced thumbs up.

Dad chose the barbeque chicken sandwich. While not as covered in sauce as the burger, it was still a bit messy. When asked how his sandwich was, Dad simply answered, “It was good.”

The favorite part of the sandwiches were the pretzel buns. They are exactly what they sound like: hamburger buns made out of pretzel dough. Because they are made from a denser dough, these buns held up extremely well in the face of all the barbeque sauce.

Mom and I went for a more healthy (or at least we like to tell ourselves that) choice: wraps.

I originally ordered the shrimp sandwich, served on a croissant, but at the recommendation of our waiter, changed it to a shrimp wrap. While this was a good wrap overall, I ordered it for the shrimp and was a bit disappointed. The tomatoes, lettuce, and special seasoned sauce all overpowered the shrimp. All the flavors on their own were good, but when combined, it was hard to taste any one specific element.

Mom selected the prime rib wrap. Again, she was happy with the wrap as a whole, but felt there were some problems with it. The distribution of the “fillings” was uneven, so one bite might be prime rib with a little bit of extras, while the next bite would be a bite expected of a salad wrapped in a tortilla.

We both agree that the tortillas used were a good choice, but noticed that as we got closer and closer to the bottom, our wraps became just tortilla. Though this is to be expected to some extent of any wrap, it seemed to happen faster in King Street Grille’s wraps.

King Street Grille was a good experience. The waitstaff was helpful, the food was good, and the atmosphere and option of sitting outside was delightful. The biggest warning though, is that if you are wanting traditional Lowcountry foods, this is not the place to go. King Street Grille is great for sandwiches, but shrimp, crab, and other seafood don’t seem to be a major part of their menu.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Seabrook Island survives Hanna

Early morning word from Seabrook Island neighbors is our Sealoft neighborhood survived the threat of Tropical Storm Hanna.

All eyes are now on Hurricane Ike. Here is a great hurricane tracking site sent to me by another SI neighbor:

While there are several months remaining in hurricane season, it is still an awesome time to visit the Lowcountry. Crowds are gone from the tourist attractions. Days are cooler. Beaches are void of the tapestry of blankets and towels of the summer months. On Seabrook Island, you might discover you're the only one on the beach!

If you choose to rent a vacation home or villa, remember to ask about severe weather policies (i.e. cancellation policies). Trip insurance can be purchased to protect your Lowcountry vacation.

Y'all come visit us!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Restaurant closing-Cindy's

**2016 Update--Cindy's is closed**

It's a sad day in and around Seabrook Island. I've just received word that Cindy's Shrimp Market and Restaurant (aka "Cindy's Shrimp Shack") has closed.

Apparently the price of fuel caught up with the local shrimpers and fishermen. When the fishermen aren't fishing, Cindy's can't get fresh local seafood.

Nothing's finer than a South Carolina shrimp! And, nothing was fresher than the seafood and produce Cindy's sold.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Restaurant Review: LADLES Homemade Soups

After two weeks of eating succulent Lowcountry shrimp (boiled, steamed, and fried), fried oysters, and thick juicy grilled steaks, a body needs a change. LADLES Homemade Soups was just the change the ladies needed.

It was a hot summer day when we strolled into LADLES in Freshfields Village, located between Kiawah and Seabrook Islands. Sounds crazy—hot soup on a hot day! It was crazy alright…crazy good!!

Based on a recommendation from my neighbor I opted to try a hot soup- Tomato Basil. This creamy soup was delish. It was creamy yet had just the right amount of fresh basil and chunks of tomatoes.

Just because this is a soup restaurant do not pass up the sandwiches and wraps. I choose a southwest chicken wrap, which had a nice kick of spicy.

The BLT on ciabatta bread was reported to be very good with thick slices of bacon, tomato, and fresh leaf lettuce.

Perhaps the best looking (and tasting) sandwich of the day was the LADLES Grilled Cheese. LADLES knows how to make an ordinary sandwich extraordinary. You add bacon of course. The grilled cheese sandwich came laden with a couple of different cheeses, red onion, tomato, and bacon grilled to perfection on hearty grained bread.

I’ll be back this fall and I already have my eye on bowl of beef stew or French onion soup. Better make that a “pot o’ soup” to go!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Life is a highway...

And I've been speeding down the Autobahn!

Remember as a kid watching out the car window as your parents drove down the highway? Things went by in one big blur (especially back when I was a child and there were no speed limits).

That’s how I feel the first half of 2008 has been-one BIG blur. Perhaps it was the 18 hour drive to Seabrook Island that made me realize, yet again, to slow down and enjoy the view!

Yup, that’s right an 18 hour drive. Of course, I do break it up over two days. And, I know that after such a long drive I’ll be richly rewarded with the serene sights and sounds of Seabrook Island.

Stay tuned for a report on my most recent trip to Seabrook Island.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Another Frugal Day at the Beach

Here are some "almost free" ways to spend your day at the beach:

  1. Go Fly a Kite: You could spend a lot of money on some of the fancy kites I've seen flying at the beach. Or you could spend a few bucks and get a simple kite that will fly just as high.
  2. Rent a Bike: Nothing is more fun than riding a bike on the beach. Kids love to ride through the water. If there's no tire guard and you ride through the water, be prepared for splashes of water on your back. **It's always a good idea to rinse a bike off if it has been through ocean water.
  3. Make Masks or Mosaics: Remember all your finds from beachcombing? Put them to good use by making a plaster of paris mask or mosaic. Find out how to make a sand mask here.
  4. Fishing: I've watched many folks fish from the shore. It looks like a relaxing way to spend a day at the beach (I don't know the first thing about fishing).

  5. Crabbing: Our family had talked about crabbing for years. Finally last summer, I broke down and bought a collapsible crab pot. The premise is you bait the crab pot, throw it in the water on a line and leave it. It worked great...until someone came along and cut our line. We're back to keeping it simple--a string, scoop net, and yucky chicken parts. Doesn't get any easier than this! There are size restriction on your crab catch depending on what state you're in. Be sure and check.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Frugal Day at the Beach

Here are some ways to enjoy a day at the beach without spending any money.

  1. Sand, Surf, and Sun: Enjoy your day at the beach for free. Mother Earth charges nothing for you to enjoy her splendor. Kids, young and old, can splash in the surf; boogie board; or just take it easy in a surf chair.
  2. Watch for Fauna: Bird watching at the beach can be a thrill! Pelicans dive-bomb into the ocean to retrieve their meals; seagulls sneak food from unsuspecting tourists (*Be warned, seagulls love potato chips); and plovers scurry about near the water’s edge. If your vacation brings you to one of the Lowcountry’s beaches, keep a watchful eye out for dolphin.
  3. Build a Sandcastle: You can build a simple "drip castle" or an elaborate castle city. Check out these tips on sandcastle building from Sandy Feet. Are you headed to South Padre Island, TX for your vacation? Find out about sandcastle building lessons here.
  4. Beachcombing: Beach combing is not just looking for shells. It’s about exploring and discovering all kinds of washed up sealife. From driftwood to sea urchins, you never know what you might find.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Frugal Accommodations aka the Virtues of Vacation Rentals

I know I've posted before on the virtues of vacation rentals. In my book, renting a vacation home is the #1 way to practice vacation frugality.

Here are some reasons why renting a vacation home makes "cents":

  1. Rent a vacation home with extended family or friends. You can split the cost of a vacation home. If you find a four bedroom home renting for $2000/week, that works out to be around $70/night per bedroom. **Remember you’re renting a home with a full kitchen, washer/dryer, and plenty of space not some little bitty hotel room.
  2. Rent a vacation home directly from the owner. Many people already rent vacation homes choosing to rent through a management company. I say skip the "middleman" and rent directly from the owner. Renting directly from the owner will save you some cash, plus owners are more equipped to personalize your vacation experience.
  3. Stay home, eat in. Eating out every meal can take a huge chunk of change. Why not eat some of your meals at your vacation home. Again, being frugal is not about deprivation. You can still eat out at restaurants, just not every meal. **Cooking at home allows you the opportunity to sample local produce.

Where to find a vacation rental? Google your chosen destination + "vacation rentals". There are big listing sites like ,, Many owners now have their own personal websites for their homes.

Here are a couple of individual websites to get you dreaming about your next vacation:

Frugal is not a "bad" word!

There’s no denying, the housing boom is a bust, the economy is in shambles, and a recession is close at hand.

It’s time to tighten our belts, folks! It's time to be FRUGAL! Oh, no! Frugal is NOT a bad word. It's NOT about deprivation. It's NOT about starvation.

Frugal is about being economical. It is about being thrifty and managing your money wisely. Being frugal means cutting back where you can.

will be the focus on Lowcountry Lowdown this week. I'll show you ways to cut costs on this year's vacation regardless of where you're traveling, be it the Lowcountry or a trek to Disneyworld.

Upcoming posts: how to find cheaper accommodations, free beach fun, almost free beach fun, and saving on souvenirs.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Charleston's Museum Mile--new website

Charleston's Museum Mile, the one mile section of Meeting Street, is the most concentrated area in the city of historic and cultural places open to the public.

A new website for Charleston's Museum Mile has just gone live. Visit Charleston's Museum Mile's website to discover the "mile" of museums and historic sites, historic places of worship, hotels, dining, shopping, and many other places of interest.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Post & Courier presents its 2008 Dining Guide

Charleston's local newspaper, The Post and Courier, has just released its restaurant guide for 2008. A team of reporters was given the assignment to follow their noses or, in this case, their stomachs throughout the Lowcountry. See the top picks by clicking here.

In addition, Post & Courier readers were asked for their opinions for favorite restaurant in some of the restaurant categories. Look for "People's Choice." These are the top three results for the given category.

If you have a favorite restaurant, let us hear from you!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Family reunions

If the idea of a family reunion has always intrigued you, the Charleston area is a great family destination.

History buffs can discover the multitude of plantations and other historical sites in the Lowcountry. Foodies will go nuts exploring all the restaurants in the Culinary Capital of the South. The shoppers in your family will delight in the search for everything from fine antiques to high fashion.

Rent several homes on one of the islands or one big home, depending on how well you and your extended family get along.

Consider having tee shirts custom made to commemorate the family reunion. A great company and website is We used them for our family reunion.

T-Shirt Design at

Discount Dining Booklets

If you're planning a trip to the Lowcountry this year, you might want to check out the dining booklets.

Hospice of Charleston is offering dining booklets filled with restaurant coupons. The booklets can be ordered online here. Cost for one booklet is $45.00. With 2 for 1 entree coupons for over 40 area restaurants, it's a fabulous deal! And, you'll be supporting a great cause.

Bon Appetit!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Restaurant review: Cindy's Seafood & Country Market

**2016 Update--Cindy's is closed**

Second stop on our "eat and drink" trip to the Lowcountry was Cindy's Seafood (aka Cindy's Shrimp Shack). We picked a warm sunny February afternoon for our late lunch at Cindy's.

After studying the menu and placing our order, we headed out to the front porch to grab a table and chairs in the sun. The waitress quickly brought our basket lunches. My husband had ordered the fried shrimp (locally caught shrimp) and I had the fried oyster roll. Both lunches were served with hand cut french fries (I told you the diet was out the window!).

I found the food to be very good. Everything was freshly prepared. While we were given ample portions for lunch, this is not a place for a cheap, quick bite. Our two meals, soda and a glass of water cost around $25.00. Regardless of price, I enjoyed the food and atmosphere. I'll be back for another lunch.

Cindy's does carry organic produce, fresh fish, and prepared food items to carry out. To ready another review of Cindy's , click here.

Here's a preview of choices offered at Cindy's Seafood Market:

Friday, February 29, 2008

Need a reason to visit Charleston?

3 Doors Down is coming to the North Charleston Performing Arts Center, March 27, 2008 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets go on sale to the general public on March 1st.

Pre-sale tickets are available on Friday, February 29 starting at 10:00 a.m. from

Pre-sale password: Doors

Pre-sale will run from 10:00am to 10:00pm and is only available via internet.

Ticket limit of 6 tickets per purchase

Tickets $49.50 & $36.50 plus applicable fees

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Getting your luggage to your destination.

So you don’t want to pay the $25 fee for a second checked bag on United or US Air. Maybe you’re just tired of standing in line to check luggage and then waiting at the baggage carousel hoping your bags made the connection.

Avoid the hassles and ship your luggage, golf clubs, skis, and/or bikes to your destination. Several specialty shipping companies now offer door-to-door shipping of luggage, etc. Here are just a few:
Happy travels!

US Airways' New Baggage Policy

It didn't take long for US Airways to follow the lead of United Airlines. Beginning May 5, 2008, US Airways will begin assessing a $25 fee for a passenger’s second checked bag. Passengers can continue to check one bag free of charge. The policy applies to all flights within the U.S., to and from Canada, Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe.

Apparently charging $25 for a second bag will not affect many of US Air's customers (it claims only eight percent of its customers check two or more bags) but will save the company money on rising fuel costs.

To read more about US Airways new baggage policy, click here.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Restaurant review-JB's Smoke Shack

Just back from a trip to the Lowcountry. This trip was dedicated to sampling Lowcountry foods.

First stop-JB’s Smoke Shack, 3406 Maybank Hwy, John’s Island.

I confess. We’ve driven by this place for years without so much as blinking. The non-descript building does not draw much attention. Once inside the restaurant, I thought I’d made a huge mistake (it was my idea to stop, not my husband’s). Mismatched chairs, vinyl gingham –clothed tables, paper plates and napkins, and plastic utensils were all I saw. No grandmother’s china or silver here.

I knew folks had been visiting JB’s Smoke Shack for years just for the $7.98 buffet! After surveying the buffet which had smoked bbq, chicken, and all the southern sides and desserts, we opted to order from the menu. My hubby decided on the combo plate choosing ribs, brisket, and bbq pork with a side of green beans and a side of collard greens. Knowing I had a week of “diet reprieve”, I settled on a small pork bbq sandwich topped with slaw and a side of collard greens.

While we waited for our food, I had a chance to check out the customers. What an eclectic group of diners! There were construction workers, a young couple and a single ‘business suit” type gentleman. Once our food arrived, I understood why these other folks were here—the portions were huge and the price was right.

All the meats come “dry”, unlike some restaurants where you get a lot of sauce with your meat. JB’s Smoke Shack believes in the flavor being in the meat and the sauce on the side. If you want sauce, there are at least four different kinds to choose. I picked a spicy tomato based sauce for my pork sandwich. Next time I’ll probably skip the slaw as it was a little dry for my taste. I like my bbq sandwiches dripping in sauce and slaw.

The collard greens were cooked to perfection. I was convinced I was officially out of diet mode until later in the day I found out, JB’s does not cook their vegetables in bacon grease or fatback. I’m still trying to figure out how they got those collard greens so tender.

My hubby tried to wolf down all his ribs, pork and brisket. The two plates of food were too much for him. He barely had room to sample his veggies.

After we pushed ourselves from the table and slowly walked back to the car, we added JB’s Smoke Shack to our restaurant repertoire. We’ll be back.

Monday, February 18, 2008

More events added to the Food & Wine Fest

An online auction has just been added and updated!

BB&T Charleston Food + Wine Festival, 501(c) (3) non-profit organization, raises money for various culinary initiatives and for scholarships for area culinary students. This year the Festival will raise money for its selected signature charity—The Diabetes Center at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC).

There are some fabulous auction items, including a cooking lesson with Natalie Dupree and tickets to Walt Disney World's Food and Wine Festival (If you've never eaten and drunk your way around EPCOT, nows your chance). To preview the auction items, click here.

See ya' at the auction block.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Walgreens + Cosmetics = Vacation Cash!

If you buy a lot of cosmetics, you might want to start buying them at Walgreens at least for the next couple of months.

Revlon and Almay have a promotion going on with Walgreens. You can earn up to $600 in vacation cash just for buying cosmetics. Click here for the rules.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Charleston Food and Wine Festival

Plan your weekend trip for February 28-March 2, 2008. These are the dates for the third annual Charleston Food and Wine Festival.

As an added bonus, I've just received an email announcing Chef Sam Talbot of Bravo's Top Chef will be back again this year. To find out who else is coming, click here.

United Airlines announces new baggage policy

The "nickel and dime-ing" of air passengers continues. Yesterday, United Airlines announced it will begin charging $25.00 for a passenger's second check bag. To read the article, click here.

Learning how to pack in one bag is even more important now. Discover how to pack for a weekend getaway on my post dated November 1, 2007.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Travel accommodations

Accommodations come in all shapes and sizes. Some folks prefer a fully catered hotel. I love vacation rentals.

Here are my top five reasons to pick a vacation rental for your next getaway:
  1. More privacy: You’re not as likely to hear the comings and goings of the guests in the next room.
  2. More space: When renting a home, you have more space to spread out, relax, and enjoy yourself. No more squeezing into a tiny hotel room!
  3. More amenities: Televisions in every room, DVD players, stereos, video and board games, hot tubs, and outdoor grills are just a of the few amenities you might find in a vacation rental.
  4. More economical: Simply put, you get more bang for your buck when renting a vacation home. Hotels charge by the room; vacation rentals charge for a fully stocked home.
  5. More pet friendly: Vacation rental owners understand how important it can be for families to travel with their four-legged “kids”. While not all rentals are pet friendly, you should be able to find owners who’ll welcome you.
How do you find a vacation rental? If you know where you want to visit, I recommend googling "vacation rental" + your chosen destination. This online search should yield a plethora of choices.

Not sure where you want to visit? Head to one of the big online vacation rental listing sites. A few are ,, and

Have fun discovering all the choices!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Lowcountry Events Calendar

I've just added some of the Lowcountry happenings for January to the calendar. Check out all the food, flower, and fun festivals. No better time to visit the Lowcountry.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Dreamin' of warm sunny days?

With most of the country experiencing cold temperatures, who isn't dreaming of a warm tropical vacation!

Now's the time to start planning your Lowcountry beach getaway. Over the past few days, I've had several rental inquiries for my home on Seabrook Island. Folks are ready to book their spring and summer vacations. Don't you be left out!

If you're interested in experiencing the serenity of Seabrook Island, check out You'll find photos of the island, my home, and other information about the Lowcountry.

Have fun planning your next escape! I know I am.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Start 2008 off right!

No better way to start the New Year off on the right foot than to start planning your next getaway. If you've always stayed in hotels, why not make 2008 the year you try renting a home?

Vacation rentals are a great alternative to traditional hotel rooms. With a vacation rental you usually get a full size kitchen, washer and dryer, and separate bedrooms for the kids. In a word--SPACE. Vacation rentals offer you more space to relax.

There are many websites where owners list their vacation homes for rent. A few of rental sites are , and You can always google the location your interested in plus "vacation rentals".