30 October 2015

Meet my Minions

Charleston, SC  
Halloween is like a national holiday for the volunteer team at my hospital. They brought in bag after bag of candy treats, planned their costume, in some cases knitted their own hats and made their goggles and came dressed as minions.

I don't have grandchildren so I am out of the minion loop but apparently they are most beloved characters and everyone wanted their picture taken with the happy gang. It was a fun day. Happy halloween!

29 October 2015

Hospital Pumpkin Decorating Contest

Ms. M & M, Pumpkin Decorating Contest, Charleston, SC   
I try to make sure we continue our pumpkin decorating contest no matter how busy we are because I work with some incredibly creative folks. It is a popular choice contest and there is another chance to cast a vote tomorrow so we can't announce winners yet. Thanks to my volunteers who came in today to staff the table. Ms. M & M is bringing in a lot of votes so far. 

One of my favorites below is by the Engineering Department who did a portrait of their boss and the most frequent word they hear coming out of his mouth. Luckily he does have a sense of humor and posed with his namesake. Heheheh. Thanks to everyone who participated! 

28 October 2015

Summerville Fall Festival

Happy Halloween, Summerville, SC 
I happened on this fun family fall festival in downtown Summerville this weekend after a delicious lunch at Graze. Yum.

I love creative people and to know they went to this much trouble to make me smile. Thank you Summerville!

27 October 2015

History Tour - Governor Thomas Bennett House

History tour of the Governor Thomas Bennett House, Charleston, SC   
One of the most active local facebook groups is a Charleston History group and I am fortunate to be a member even if I can't rhyme off generations of my lowcountry ancestors. Members of the group share photos and bits of history and figure out puzzles. It is fascinating. Last year we took a field trip to explore Daufuskie Island. This time I had something up my own sleeve to offer.

Roper Hospital owns and manages one of the most beautiful homes in Charleston. The Governor Thomas Bennett House is across the street from the hospital and stays solidly booked as an event and wedding location. The garden is as beautiful as the house. The hospital kindly agreed to open the house yesterday evening for a history tour of the property and we had such a lovely time. A few of our physicians joined us to share stories of years past (thank you Dr. Shapiro and Dr. Sanders!) and group members had their own memories to tell.

The building has incredible detailed wood work, chandeliers and marble fireplace mantels and almost everyone had a camera to capture structural details. Linda McCormick was a wonderful tour guide and even let us explore the attic floor.
The Governor Thomas Bennett House, circa 1825, is one of the most magnificent homes in Charleston, South Carolina. The home is of tremendous architectural importance, with exceptional ornamentation plasterwork. Of particular note is the free-flying staircase, which is only one of two in the entire city. The house has been handsomely restored, providing an elegant backdrop to events and parties. The gracious interior of the house is extended and enhanced by a spacious piazza overlooking the garden. The garden is one of the most beautiful traditional gardens in Charleston. With a large brick courtyard and fountain, it is the perfect setting for distinctive and elegant functions.
Of course we asked about ghosts - and then I found one!

25 October 2015

Camp meeting time!

Cypress Methodist Campground, Ridgeville, SC  
Back in August I posted this entry which included pictures of the wooden tent cabins at Cypress Methodist campgrounds. The next day I went to work and two of my volunteers invited to me to join their family at the upcoming camp meeting!

This was very exciting. I had seen the grounds when they were completely empty and they were peaceful spots but to be included in the annual event was a real honor.
Cypress Methodist Camp Ground is one of only a few campgrounds in South Carolina which, up until the time of its nomination, continues to host annual week-long camp meetings—a vestige of the Great Awakening in American religious life in the nineteenth century. Cypress is significant for its association with Francis Asbury, pioneer of American Methodism, and for its long, uninterrupted use as a site of revivalism for almost 200 years. The campground is in the general shape of a rectangle of 34 tents, or cabins, made of rough-hewn lumber. These cabins, rectangular shaped, are generally 1½ stories and contain earthen floors. The typical floor plan features a hall extending the length of the cabin with as many as three rooms on the opposite side. The second story is accessible by a small stairway or ladder. In the center of the rectangle is the tabernacle, an open-sided wooden structure that is the focal point of these revival meetings. Serving crowds too large for church buildings or homes, the campground responded to both religious and social needs. The tents allowed people to stay overnight, and the campground term remained even though tents were gradually replaced by the current rough-hewn cabins. Cypress Camp Ground was functional as early as 1794, and an adjacent cemetery contains graves from the early 1800s. Listed in the National Register April 26, 1978.
We wandered the property where everyone seemed to be enjoying family reunion events and preparing for dinner. Packs of children ran free and volleyball and bean bag toss games were in progress.

The large tabernacle is in the center of the field and has a time capsule buried. Our hosts - the Vaughan family have owned their tent for close to 200 years. Some of the families have cooks who come for the week to prepare meals but we ate potluck with main dishes assigned. Large tables were laden with delicious treats. Service was called at 7:30 by blowing on a large conch shell kept securely in a special box. That evening's service consisted of a group playing gospel music and we walked back to our can by the light of an almost full moon.

24 October 2015

Thanks Joe!

Celebrate 40 years! 
Post & Courier: Everyone is welcome to show their appreciation for Charleston Mayor Joe Riley’s 40 years of service at a celebration in early October.The free event, called “Thanks Joe!,” will be held Oct. 4. It will begin with a family fun gathering from 3 to 7 p.m. at Brittlebank Park and end with a celebration from 7 to 9 p.m. at Joseph P. Riley Jr. Park, which will include music, video tributes and fireworks.The event was spearheaded by David Rawle, founder of the Rawle Murdy public relations firm, and Charleston lawyer Capers Barr, who are longtime friends of Riley. It is being organized by a team of volunteers and paid for with private funds. The entertainment lineup at Brittlebank Park so far includes the Johnny Delaware Band, the Mt. Zion Choir, bagpipes and color guards, a skit by the Have Nots, the Blue Dog and Friends, Charleston Stage and The High Divers.Events at The Joe include the Emanuel AME Church choir, Edwin McCain, the SOA Jazz Band, Dance Lab and Battery Music.Reach Diane Knich at (843) 937-5491 or on Twitter @dianeknich.
More info at. Thanks Joe 

22 October 2015

Progress at Marion Square

Marion Square, Charleston, SC  
This hole in the ground used to be our downtown library. It will be a hotel and will be a big change for the area. I am looking forward to having something lively there after having a closed building and construction site for so long. I go up in the Francis Marion parking garage to keep an eye on the progress.

21 October 2015

Symbol of hospitality

Pineapple gate shadow, Charleston, SC 
From fountains to furniture to gates, the welcoming pineapple symbol shows up on everything. Charleston Magazine had one of the best explanations of it's meaning:

Paradise Found Christopher Columbus is credited with introducing the pineapple to Europeans. In 1493, he and his men came across an Indian village on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe. The natives had disappeared into the jungle, leaving the makings of a feast, including a fruit so delicious they called it “anana,” or “excellent fruit.” Columbus named it “Pine of the Indies” for its resemblance to a pinecone.
Hospitality Sweet The fruit became a sensation in the American colonies. Since fresh pineapple was hard to procure, the hostess who offered it was making a statement of hospitality and affluence. Brokers even rented out fruits for use in decorative centerpieces.
Sea Faring Early New England sea captains returning from trading voyages began spearing a pineapple atop a stick at their home’s entrance. This signified the successful completion of a venture and said, “My door is open to visitors!”
The Real Deal Ananas comosus is an edible member of the bromeliad family. Fruits develop from purple or red flowers growing amidst waxy leaves.
Gate Keeper Perhaps the most notable example of Charleston’s historic pineapple architecture is at the Simmons-Edwards House at 14 Legare Street. Built in 1816, “The Pineapple Gates” welcome visitors with stone fruits atop the pillars.
Bearing Fruit Colonial artisans and architects began using the pineapple as a decorative motif. You’ll find it on bedpost finials, carved into fireplace mantels, and sculpted into doorway lintels.
Still Makin’ A Splash Hospitality’s been at the heart of Waterfront Park since its May 1990 opening, thanks to the bronze and stone Pineapple Fountain that a team led by Stuart O. Dawson of Boston’s Sasaki Associates incorporated into the public space.
Honorable Mention Since its 1985 establishment, the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau has presented annual Golden Pineapple Awards to individuals and organizations who promote positive growth in tourism. Among the 2013 winners: the Cooper River Bridge Run and Isle of Palms Mayor Dick Cronin.

19 October 2015

East Bay Hardware shop assistant

East Bay Hardware, 18 Society St., Charleston, SC   
What a happy treat it is to find yourself inside a store that isn't tied to a major corporation's rules. I popped into East Bay Hardware to see if they could make a copy of my car key. I haven't had a spare key for a couple of years and it's been on my mental to do list. They had an entire key shop set up and easily took care of me.

In front of the key kiosk was a "take one, leave one" library and movie book shelf. They have racks of clothes for sale, a mix of handmade and vintage items and a fund raiser for breast cancer going on. The shop assistant cat was eager to recommend the best potting mix.
Yelp Reviews:  
I was walking past and saw a sign beckoning me to check out their baby chicks....it pulled me in like a chick magnet.  The hardware store is located right downtown, and it was my first stop in my exploration of downtown.  The chick-a-dees were uber cute in their fluffy chirping yellow glory.  Oh, how I wanted to hold one....somehow I restrained...or maybe I restrained because their habitat had a secure top on it and I did not want to get bounced out of True Value.  Other than the adorable baby animals, they had other items that really sets them apart from your average hardware...like stone Buddha's for your garden, live orchids and other live plants.  It was a nice garden shop combined with a hardware.
I love that the woman there puts the pretty things she loves right out there with the pipe wrenches and WD40. Last time I was there I bought a saw blade, spackle, anchor bolts and an adorable mulit-colored scarf that's perfect for parties.  This is a great place. Never die East Bay Hardware. You rock.

18 October 2015

Church Photo in Lieu of Attendance

Eutawville, SC  
I only had my little pocket camera with me but had to stop to get this shot of the church in the field of cotton.

Bonus joke this evening (snitched from reddit.com):
So, my Irish friend decided to tell his community that he is an atheist.  
One man in the crowd yelled, "Yes, but is it the Catholic God you don't believe in or the Protestant one?"

Rescue 911 Squirrel

Goorin Brothers, King St., Charleston, SC  
I spotted a flurry of interested folks laughing and looking in the King St. door of Goorin Bro.s hat shop and suspected it wasn't a new bonnet that had caught their eye. A disoriented baby squirrel has scampered in the door and couldn't find it's way out. I lingered in my spot across the street waiting for the action.

Sure enough he was captured in a hat box and carried to Marion Square to be released under the trees. It was the squirrel's lucky day!

Nice website by the way. Take a look. Buy a hat.

17 October 2015

Big John's feeling blue

Big John's Tavern, East Bay St., Charleston, SC   
What?! In Charleston those paint swatches are usually samples for the Board of Architectural Review folks to drive by and approve or disapprove. Big John's has been billed as the oldest tavern in Charleston and has been orange as long as I can remember.

Charleston’s oldest and best dive "Big John’s Tavern" has been the last shabang for many local's entertaining nights in Charleston, SC. Lingerie strategically hanging around, Pabst, live tunes, and scandalously dressed women dancing on the bar and letting it all hang out, wrap this joint up. F&B/locals/Citadel cadets dig “Johnny Biggs” and you can bet you will to.  Bar food is available and ask about the many shots these talented bartenders and mixologists can concoct.  Owner/bartender/father/grand Marnier lover Chris Condon is a hell of a nice guy and will be more than helpful, along with his friendly bar staff, in meeting all of your alcohol "needs". Originally opened in 1954 by “Big John” Canady, an ex-New York Giants Linebacker, Big John's Tavern on East Bay street in Charleston, SC had a popular slogan that stuck...Come as a stranger and leave as a friend.  "Cheers"

Snooping (googling) around it appears that is never reopened after a fire earlier this year. Whatever will be there it looks like it will be blue. 

15 October 2015

An Inn with a view

Charleston over the Ashley River, SC  
I love the view of Charleston from the Riverview Holiday Inn and today was especially crisp and bright even through the restaurant's windows. I had an after work get together with hospital volunteer managers from across the state and we had a grand old time comparing notes.  Although it isn't right on the peninsula I learned that they offer quick running shuttles back and forth.

Okay kids. Y'all behave. I'll be in meetings all day tomorrow but it will be Friday!

13 October 2015

New digs on King St.

Hyatt House & Hyatt Place, King St., Charleston, SC  
New digs on King St. The folks at the shiny new Hyatt House & Hyatt Place Hotels on upper King St. were kind enough to include me in their invitation to the ribbon cutting and opening of the hotel. I couldn't make it since it was in the middle of a work day but it motivated me to wander down and snoop around on my own.

The sign and presence on King st. are very low key so keep your eye out. The two hotels are right next to each other sharing a courtyard and garage. I should have explored further because it looks like they have an event space and ballroom.

There were a lot of Charleston photo prints on the walls but difficult to tell who the photographer was - and you know I looked. I finally found a signature on one of the larger canvases. It looks like "Stewart".

12 October 2015

St. Lawrence Cemetery

St. Lawrence Cemetery, Charleston, SC 
The sky was so bright yesterday I couldn't resist taking a picture of the wrought iron cross at the entrance to St. Lawrence Cemetery. It is a dramatic sight. Some parts of the cemetery were still closed since the flooding and the main gates to Magnolia Cemetery are still closed.

In other news, the new Fargo series just started. Woohoo!

11 October 2015

Charleston Station

Charleston Station, North Charleston, SC  
I do like trains. Sadly our North Charleston train station is a bit of a dump but the vintage sign is pretty cool. The last picture I caught of the sign was in the evening against the sun and only showed as a silhouette so I was pleased to get an earlier afternoon view.

It's been a week since our historical rain storm and I'm still drying out my bits and pieces. I didn't think I had much stored in my shed but it seemed like a lot more soaked in a foot and a half of water and carried out to the curb. I got my exercise workout in although my usual walk is a bit more fun. There have already been a few trucks of scavengers come by to see if I threw out anything worthwhile. I hope they get lucky.

10 October 2015

Avondale 5K

Avondale 5K, Charleston, SC  
After the week we have had, walking down to the Avondale 5K felt oddly normal even if I kept catching myself looking for high water marks on the houses in the neighborhood. They had a great crowd of runners, walkers, strollers and dogs and I extended my walk through the consignment and grocery store while they caught up on their serious beer drinking. Thanks to all the organizers and sponsors!