31 May 2016

A patriotic show

Belvedere Hotel, Charleston, SC   
I am a day late but loved this picture of the giant flag draped over the porch. The gorgeous building is the Belvedere Hotel on Rutledge Avenue right across from Colonial Lake. The other flags are from the annual Memorial Day tribute on Lockwood Ave. It is a sight to see along the waterfront. 

I have NOT had a relaxing evening after searching for the source of a dripping noise inside my house. Boo hiss. The drip pan from my air-conditioning unit in the attic had overflowed and was dripping through the ceiling. Climbing around hot attics is not my idea of fun. Blah. Charles, my loyal heat and air repairman from Carolina Climate Masters responded to my plea for help and although I still have a wet ceiling I do have air-conditioning again. 

30 May 2016

Porgy Houses tour continued.....

Philip Simmons House, 30 Blake St., Charleston, SC   
 I did part two of my tour of the decorated Porgy Houses (part one here) and thought I had them all but I realize I still need to get to 103 Church St. Some of these are in neighborhoods that are outside of my usual walking routes. Tonight is the night they were to live broadcast Porgy & Bess at Marion Square but the weather has been so unpredictable. I hope they are able to hold the event.  
The Porgy Houses are a series of Charleston residencies that have been enhanced by West-African design motifs seen in the final act of the Festival’s Porgy and Bess. The featured homes have been chosen for their significance in African-American history. Each installation is site-specific and seeks to draw attention to their importance in the history of this city.
Phili Simmons House, 30 Blake St., Charleston, SC   
 Philip Simmons Museum & House

30 & 30 ½ Blake Street
built ca. 1890s

193-199 Jackson St., Charleston, SC   
Jackson Street Cottages

193-199 Jackson Street
built ca. 1890

100 Queen St, Charleston, SC
 Home of Nathalie Dupree and Jack Bass

100 Queen St
built ca. 1870

The morning after

Red solo cups, Charleston, SC  
Clear evidence that Charleston is a college town. Red solo cup party!

29 May 2016

Teeny, tiny houses of Charleston - Spring St.

Spring St., Charleston, SC   
I had to resist the urge to straighten out this image because this tiny old house on Spring St. isn't straight to begin with. What a fun little cottage.

The rain from tropical storm Bonnie continued today enough to throw off any major long weekend plans. Blah. I actually did some chores, changed my air filter, hung a picture and bought groceries. How boring is that? Luckily the evening ended on a high note with a home cooked Italian dinner with lots of laughter and good friends. 

28 May 2016

The Porgy Houses

42 Vanderhorst St., Charleston, SC  
 Dr. Alonzo McClennan House - built ca. 1840 – 1852
The Porgy Houses are a series of Charleston residencies that have been enhanced by West-African design motifs seen in the final act of the Festival’s Porgy and Bess. The featured homes have been chosen for their significance in African-American history. Each installation is site-specific and seeks to draw attention to their importance in the history of this city.
91 Spring St., Charleston, SC   
The DeCosta House - built ca. 1870s
218 St. Philip St., Charleston, SC  
Former Peoples Federation Bank - built ca. 1849

160 Spring St., Charleston, SC   
Thomas Mayhem Pinckney’s Last Residence - built ca. 1840s

27 May 2016

Westies are Besties! These are a few of my favorite things.

Murals of Avondale, Charleston, SC   
West Ashley. Is it the name of a place or a description of a location? There has been discussion lately about a meaningful sense of place and management of the rapid growth of the area - west of the Ashley River. I live West Ashley. I walk, I snoop, I revisit favorite spots. I am tickled when I happen upon something new, charming or quirky. This entry visits some of my touchstone spots. I am happy to hear about yours. What do you love about West Ashley?

chART Outdoor Gallery, Avondale, Charleston, SC   
The alley of murals behind the shops of Avondale are on my regular walking route. Lining both sides of the narrow drive the chART Outdoor Gallery & Initiative changes frequently and are worth revisiting often. 

Coburg Cow, Avondale, Charleston, SC   
A rotating cow statue has had a presence on Savannah Highway since the 1920's. We don't even have a Coburg Dairy anymore but the current owners - Borden, agreed to maintain our favorite cow. Our cow has a seasonally updated wardrobe that includes Easter bonnets, festive Spoleto wear, graduation robes and Halloween costumes. When the West Of newsletter awards it's prestigious community award, the trophy is nothing less than a golden cow statue

Wood Nymph, Middleton Place, Charleston, SC   
The beloved Wood Nymph statue at Middleton Plantation Gardens was buried in 1865 to save her from marauding Yankee soldiers and survived the Civil War unscathed. She now sits serenely by the Azalea Pool and must be one of the most frequently photographed statues in the country even if that only counts me. I've recently had my eye on this miniature version for sale in their gift shop. 
Birds roosting at Citadel Mall, Charleston, SC  
Every spring flocks of birds swoop in and roost in the wetlands next to Citadel Mall Theater. It is a stunning sight. They don't stay long but make a big impression when they are here. Luckily I go to the movies often enough to usually catch them during their visit. 

The Adventure, Charles Towne Landing, Charleston, SC   

The good ship ADVENTURE is a reproduction of a 17th century coastal trader cargo vessel that would have carried supplies, provisions and livestock between what was then New Amsterdam (now New York) and Barbados in the West Indies. I stop by to say hello every time I visit Charles Towne Landing. 

Ivy covered doors, Meditation Garden, Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital
I may be biased because it is my work location but this is a beautiful and peaceful spot. The doors set under the grand oaks are almost completely overgrown with ivy now. 

Burial spot inside an ancient oak, Magnolia Gardens, Charleston, SC 
When the former owner of Magnolia Gardens John Drayton Hastie passed away he was cremated and his remains were put in a box that was tucked inside the trunk of the ancient oak tree. As the tree grows is it gradually covering the opening and sealing him inside the tree. 

Ms. Rose's Wall of China, Charleston, SC   
I came back to make an addition and may add more! This could turn into a Best of the West entry. When Ms. Rose's restaurant was built they used all the old china and silverware from the previous restaurant to design a wall in the back of the dining area. It is wonderful! I call it Ms. Rose's Fine Wall of China. Order your dinner and then pay a visit to the Wall of China. 

These are some of my favorite West Ashley places and things. What are yours?

24 May 2016

Beleaf it or not

Leaf, Charleston, SC
I may be odd but I find it endlessly fascinating to see what people take the trouble to write in the pavement. You see wet cement, no one is watching, you have a stick or a key, what shall you write?! How shall you leave your mark on this city for years to come.


23 May 2016

Lighthouse Hunting - Hilton Head Harbor Town

Hilton Head Harbor Town Lighthouse, Hilton Head, SC   
We found two lighthouses in one day in the Hilton Head area. Jackpot! The Hilton Head Harbor Town lighthouse is fairy-tale candy-cane pretty and we enjoyed the view as we ate our lunch at an outside diner. You pay $6 cash to go through the gates into Sea Pines and another small charge to climb the lighthouse. There are bits of historical memorabilia and photographs at each landing.
At the heart of his Sea Pines Resort development, Fraser envisioned an “intimate harbor village with low-country ambience seasoned by the influence of the small distinctive ports along the coast of southern France and Italy.” To achieve this affect, Fraser flew his design team over dozens of small Mediterranean harbors so they could capture the unique coastal charm of places like Portofino, Italy. The result is Harbour Town with its marina, shops, restaurants, and striped lighthouse. 
Construction on the octagonal Harbour Town Lighthouse began in 1969 and was completed in the spring of 1970. Those who questioned the effectiveness of building such a structure to attract boaters from the Intracoastal Waterway called the tower “Fraser’s Folly.” Within a decade, however, the lighthouse was acclaimed a “stroke of genius.” Positioned as the backdrop for the final hole of the Harbour Town Golf Links, the tower has made many an appearance on golf telecasts. The red and white lighthouse, seen by millions of tourists, boaters, and golfers, has become a widely recognized landmark and a symbol for all of Hilton Head Island.

22 May 2016

Lighthouse Hunting - Rear Range Lighthouse

Rear Range Lighthouse, Hilton Head, SC   
Having a destination is a good way to spark a day trip and lately I've been checking lighthouses off my list. Along with my good friend Rosie who enjoys a drive, I aim to be the best possible passenger and track down unique sights to see. Last weekend we found the Hunting Island Lighthouse and this weekend we went back in the same general direction with the Hilton Head Harbor lighthouse (photos to follow) in mind. I read about another one rather off the beaten track so jotted down the address thinking we might kill two birds with one stone.

We had a nice lunch in Harbor Town with the candy striped lighthouse behind us and then went in search of the Rear Range or Leamington Lighthouse. Tricky! Luckily I had read directions since we were in a private community and had to stop at two guard gates. The magic words were, "we are looking for the lighthouse" and they opened the gates for us. SCIWAY has some good info here and more below from the Palmetto Dunes web site:
This distinctive structure, now located in the Leamington neighborhood in Palmetto Dunes, was built between 1879 and 1880 as part of a larger system of navigation lights guiding ships into Port Royal Sound. The original lighthouse complex included a keeper’s house, forward beacon and rear lighthouse. Today, only the 94-foot Rear Lighthouse survives, along with a vintage brick oil house and a water cistern located on site. Sheltered by towering pine trees, the main lighthouse structure, which is now inactive, consists of a unique cast iron skeleton, a cylindrical stair tower, a wooden watch room and a cypress lantern room. 
A number of interesting ghost stories and legends surround this historic lighthouse. In 1898, a major hurricane lashed the South Carolina coast. Determined to keep the light burning, lighthouse keeper Adam Fripp died of a heart attack during the storm. At his urging, Fripp’s 21-year-old daughter, Caroline, kept the navigational light burning in the wake of her father’s death, but she passed away only three weeks later, inspiring haunted sightings of a female ghost in a long blue dress on dark, rainy nights. The lighthouse, which originally included a wooden exterior, was deactivated in 1932. During World War II, however, the structure served as an important lookout tower for enemy ships and anchored Camp McDougal, a network of U.S. Marine temporary barracks and ammunition sheds. Greenwood Communities and Resorts, the parent company of Palmetto Dunes, restored this historic structure in 1985 and opened the lighthouse grounds to the public. 
It was a treat to find hidden in the trees and I appreciate the community being so understanding of the lighthouse appeal.

21 May 2016


Daylily, Charleston, SC  
A couple of years ago I took a day trip and landed in fields of blooming day lilies at Brown's Ferry Nursery daylily annual open house. The prices made me gulp - some of them are very expensive - up to $125 for a plant, but they were so beautiful. Luckily they had a bargain section and I went home with a few that are blooming now.

One of my favorite things is the names of flowers - Bonfire Heart, Blonde on the Inside, Boo Nanny, Border Dispute, Bullfrogs & Butterflies - and that is just from the "B" section. I think I want to be a Lily Namer when I grow up.

The farm is above Georgetown on Brown's Ferry Road and the annual open house is coming up on June 4 & 5th. They even served a light lunch the day I was there.

18 May 2016

Before and almost after - Marion Square

Marion Square, Charleston, SC    
When I am in town I often go to the top of the parking deck across from Marion Square and check on the progress of the hotel being built where the old library was. Things are happening!

17 May 2016

Church Photo in Lieu of Attendance - Chapel of St. John the Evangelist

Chapel of St. John the Evangelist, Waccamaw, SC   
Clearly not taken today since it has been pouring rain since early afternoon. When I decided I couldn't go for my usual evening walk I settled into professional level laziness. Now that it is bed time, naturally I will perk up and get a second wind.

I took this picture a few weeks ago on a quick stop at All Saints Parish before exploring Pawley's Island. This little chapel tucked away in the back of the property was a happy surprise. It is comfortably furnished inside with couches and coffee pots for small group meetings and worship next to the larger church building. More information on the SCIway page and on the SC Dept of Archives & History.
Cedar Grove Plantation Chapel – This chapel was built by Dr. Andrew Hassell for his slaves. He had it constructed sometime around 1850. The chapel was given to the All Saints Episcopal Church in 1898 and was moved off the plantation (National Register).

16 May 2016

Mural honoring Reverend Clementa Pinckney

Redux, Charleston, SC   
"Across the south, we have a deep appreciation of history. 
We haven't always had a deep appreciation of each other's history." 
Clementa C. Pinckney

The colorful mural honoring Reverend Clementa Pinckney painted  by artist Trip Barnes on the side of Redux studio was unveiled last week and I paid a visit on Saturday morning.

More info on the artist here: Trip Barnes