Monday, May 25, 2015

Five Charleston Lowcountry Events You Want To Experience Before July

As the "number one tourist destination in America", Charleston embraces its lofty claim to fame by providing an endless summer of things to do. Its sun-drenched beaches, beautiful parks, historic landmarks, and hospitable communities are its pride and joy. From the heart of its Old City Market to all points of its surrounding Lowcountry, it is a multifaceted topography jam packed with interesting tours, yearly festivals, tasty cuisine, fashionable shopping, rooftop bars, and an active nightlife to fill your days and evenings.

From Charleston's expansive catalog of things to do, I have picked five events you will want to do before July arrives.

Spoleto Festival Finale
Internationally recognized as America’s premier performing arts festival, the 17-day Spoleto Festival is a celebration dedicated to showcasing and honoring the artists and performers while providing high caliber entertainment from beginning to end for all its patrons.

Beautiful, historic Middleton Place Plantation, home of "the oldest gardens in America", is the host and the backdrop for the finale. The setting is unmatched, the music is entertaining, and the fireworks at the close are spectacular. This is one of my top must-do events.

The 3rd Annual Beer Garden begins at 3:30 p.m. with local craft beers, gourmet picnic fare, and music from the best local and regional bands--4:15pm - 5:00pm Johnny Delaware, and 5:15pm - 6:00pm Steven Fiore. At dusk, the attention turns toward the main stage performance featuring the Alabama-based seven-piece soul band, St. Paul and The Broken Bones, at 8:30pm.

Patrons are welcome to bring their own chairs, blankets, and picnics; food and beverage will also be available for purchase until 7:30pm. Adult Advance ($35.00), Senior ($31.50), Military ($31.50), Child ($15.00). Video of fireworks from 2014. Purchase tickets.

Party at the Point
Charleston Harbor Resort on Patriots Point hosts this beach party every Friday from April to July. You can kick off whatever foot wear you are wearing and sink your toes into its soft, cool sand while listening to the tunes of local bands--one of the top ten on my list of things to do.

Connected to the beach, a long walking pier provides you with a great view of the whole harbor while its balmy breezes wash over you with a splash of salt water scent. It is the only beach in Charleston where you can drink a brew.

The schedule--Seven Handle Circus with The Kenny George Band - May 29th, Banana Pancakes - June 5th, Sol Driven Train with Jordan Igoe June 12th, Reggae Night with The Dubplates - June 19th, and Season Finale with The Dave Matthews Tribute Band - June 26th. Party begins at 5:30pm with a cover charge of $7. More pictures.

Party in the Park
With a stunning view of the Ravenel Bridge towering over the pier at beautiful Memorial Waterfront Park, the Party in the Park offers free music concerts featuring national country music recording artists every Tuesday evening in June at 6:30pm to 8:30pm. The Firefly red pick-up truck is always a welcome sight for me. I always enjoy Firefly's Sweet Tea Vodkas and Moonshine mixes.

The complete lineup: JUNE 2ND--Dan and Shay, JUNE 9TH--Kelsea Ballerini and John King, JUNE 16TH--Canaan Smith and Mo Pitney, JUNE 23RD--Chase Bryant and Craig Wayne Boyd, JUNE 30TH--Kristian Bush and Mickey Guyton.

It is highly recommended you park offsite and hop on a Lowcountry Loop Trolley for a free ride. No coolers allowed; food and beverage are available for purchase.

Wednesday Wine Stroll
The weather and the setting were perfect. There was but a whisper of a breeze playing on the long branches of the old oaks. The fading sun cast a tranquil shade of pleasant over the beautified gardens. The numerous reflective ponds, alive with the chatter of its amphibious residents, were one with the surroundings. Their mirror like surfaces disturbed only by the watchful eyes of the long-toothed reptiles common to these Lowcountry waters.

Beyond the gated ruins and overlooking the Ashley, the four strategically placed tables were elegantly set, two bottles of vino on each, servers in place. Friends, relatives, acquaintances, and couples with cups in hand soaked in the ambiance and engaged in light conversation as they walked from table to table and strolled the numerous intertwined paths of the plantation landscape. All this is courtesy of Middleton Place and its Wednesday Wine Stroll--More pictures. Purchase tickets.

The final stroll is May 27th beginning at 6:00pm to 8:00pm.

Record Smashing Tea Party
The annual celebration of National Iced Tea Day occurs on June 10th. The day is set aside to celebrate the summer drink that has become one of the most popular ways to quench one's thirst in the United States. As an alternative to carbonated soft drinks, iced tea makes up about 85% of all tea consumed. It can be enjoyed sweetened or unsweetened, but here, in the South, sweetened is infused, and the historical concoction is proudly called sweet tea.

On June 10th, the Birthplace of Sweet Tea is going to celebrate the day by attempting to set a new World Record for the World's Largest Glass of Iced Tea, and you are invited to participate. Summerville will be making from scratch a single 1,400 gallon glass of sweet tea, brewed with local tea leaves from America's only tea grower, the Charleston Tea Plantation, and the brew will be sweetened by Dixie Crystals--the sugar of the south.

An Adjudicator from the Guinness Book of World Records will be on hand to oversee, verify and present the record for the 'World's Largest Iced Tea'. It all takes place at 5:00pm - 8:00pm at the southern end of Hutchinson Square in front of Town Hall.

Friday, May 15, 2015

"Little Shop Of Horrors" Is One Bloody Good Show--Now Showing At The James F. Dean Theatre

What does the 1980's musical spoof Little Shop of Horrors strangely have in common with the classic fairy tale story of Sleeping Beauty. Well, for one, the plot eerily includes someone pricking their finger, which in turn changes their life. Second, the script contains a boy falls in love with girl element, a cranky, demanding shop owner who adopts the boy to benefit himself, and a malevolent character with evil designs. But despite these similarities, the two diverge at their climax. There is no happily-ever-after for the Little Shop of Horrors. Although, the final analysis can be dependent on one's point of view. Whatever way you may see it in the end, you will be happy you came to the James F. Dean Theatre in Summerville because Little Shop of Horrors is a bloody good show.

With a story line loosely taken from a B-rated film of the 1960's bearing the same name, the musical Little Shop of Horrors is a wacky combination of comedy horror and rock musical--lyrics by Howard Ashman and music by Alan Menken; Alan Menken ironically has a Disney connection, but Sleeping Beauty was not one of his works. Ashman and Menken use a combination of rock and roll, doo-wop and early Motown music sang by a trio of street urchins to set the scenes and tell their story.

Set in the 1960's with a Skid Row backdrop, the character who pricks their finger is a down-and-out, socially inept employee of the run-down Mushnik's Skid Row Florists by the name of Seymour. Perplexed over the dire condition of a mysterious plant he had been caring for since coming into possession of it, he accidentally pricks his finger and in the process discovers what the plant craves--blood. The realization changes his life profoundly. Audrey II, named after a fellow employee Seymour has been secretly in love with, flourishes on Seymour's finger pricking's. As it grows, so does its appetite and its demands. Mushnik's flower shop also flourishes due to the plants fame and fearful of losing Seymour and the monetary benefits to other suitors, offers to adopt Seymour. With the help of Audrey II, Seymour gets the girl and unwittingly a whole lot more. In the end, the malevolent plant's evil design is revealed.

Director Jean Gaston and Company successfully synchronize a true winner. The plays eye-popping set and props are beautifully constructed and functionally serve the scene changes well. The sound system delivered the lines and numerous musical scores with a rich clarity.

The four Doo-wop Girls, Allison Brower, Tiffany Eliason, Chanel Mariette, and Alex Shanko, delivered their harmonies in Supreme style. In his usual high energy fashion, David McLaughlin showed his musical talent and was spot-on convincing as the nebbish Seymour. In her first production as a Flowertown Player, Elissa Horrell as Audrey will win you over with her quirky Jersey girl accent and affectionate smile--loved her delivery and vocals in Somewhere That's Green. Danny Jones was a dead ringer for a Mushnik and Tyler Reed was a gas as the obnoxious, abusive dentist, Orin. Tyler also played a host of other characters in the play.

The show stealing character, and rightfully so, was the blood-thirsty, talking Audrey II, which was a collaboration between Robert Venne and Daniel Rich. Robert artfully designed the plant and operated it through its various stages of growth and Daniel provided the deep, booming, voice--at times reminiscent of Otis Redding. Watching the flawless synchronization between the two of them was spellbinding. You are totally persuaded into believing the voice was coming directly from the plant, when in reality, it wasn't. That's how good Robert and Daniel were. Daniel also made a brief appearance in the beginning as a homeless person on Skid Row.

The play is loaded full of musical favorites with a 60's flavor such as Skid Row (Downtown), Mushnik and Son, Sominex/Suppertime, and my play favorite, Suddenly, Seymour.

The Flowertown Players close-out the 2015 season with another blockbuster hit. Little Shop of Horrors was both delightfully entertaining and comically humorous. Just plant yourself in a seat and it will grow on you. I guarantee it.

Purchase tickets at Flowertown Players Little Shop of Horrors.

8PM Shows May 15th, 16th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 28th, 29th, and 30th
3PM Shows May 17th, 24th, and 31st

Director-Jean Gaston, Musical Director-David McLaughlin, Asst. Director-Chrissy Eliason, Choreographer-Karyn Ellis and Tiffany Eliason, Stage Manager-Alex Skipper, Assistant Stage Manager-Adriana Melendez, Run Crew-Sarah Smith and Erik Brower, Set Design-Jason Olson, Set Carpenter-Ernie Eliason, Light Board Operator-Jeff Wolf, Lighting Designer-JC Conway, Costumer-Diana Reeves.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Get That Peaceful Easy Feeling--Wednesday Wine Stroll At Middleton Place

With the Ashley River lazily meandering in the distance, a peaceful easy feeling came over me as I sat on a wooden bench leisurely sipping on a plastic cup of red wine. I was in the company of one of the oldest oak trees in the Charleston Lowcountry. Greyed from age and bearing the scars of a sometimes tumultuous past, the Great Oak's long, broad branches majestically overshadowed the calming waters of the Rice Fields where fish launched themselves into the air like mortar shells and alligators prowled the surface like the H. L. Hunley in search of an unwary prey.

Clinging to the tree's weather-beaten bark, a cardinal curiously watched my every move. We weren't alone. With the Octagonal Garden to the right and the Sundial Garden behind, the soft, intimate chatter and light laughter of fellow strollers navigating the garden's preened pathways filled the warm evening air. The occasion was Wednesday Wine Stroll at Middleton Place.

The Wednesday Wine Strolls were started as a way for visitors to experience the beauty of Middleton Place in the early evening light and a more relaxed atmosphere--no tour guides needed. It is just you, the gardens, and a world renowned vino. The Wine Strolls are an invitation to drink in the incomparable natural beauty of the plantations 274 year old gardens--the oldest landscaped gardens in America. Each week, samples of specially selected wines from around the world are uncorked by the Middleton Place Restaurant for you to savor. A different wine region and beautiful garden location in bloom is chosen for the stroll.

This week's selected location was the southern magnolia-lined walkway along the spring-fed Reflection Pond. The four white-cloth covered tables were evenly spread out under the tall trees the full distance of the pond and strategically located at pathway entrances for easy access into the sprawling gardens. On each table were two bottles of wine--one red and one white. Each setting was accompanied by a basket of crackers for cleansing the palette between tastings.

The wine region selected was South America. At Table One, Tomero Torrontes 2013 from Mendoza, Argentina was the white offering and Malma Malbec 2012 from Patagonia, Argentina was the red. At Table Two, the white offering was Cautivo Chardonnay 2014 from Mendoza and the red was Errazuric Max Reserva Carmenere from the Villa de Aconcagua, Chile 2011. Moving to Table Three, Arido Moscato 2013 from Mendoza was the white and Colonia Las Liebres Bonarda Clasico 2013 from Mendoza was the red. Table Four topped off the selections with a Sangria Blanco and a Sangria Roja.

The correct pronunciations I leave to you to figure out--some Spanish required. The Cautivo Chardonnay was my white wine favorite and the Bonarda Clasico was the red I sipped under the Great Oak. After a few glasses of the South American vino and a dash of imagination, I found myself rubbing shoulders and clinking glasses with Henry and Mary as a guest of their garden party. Blame my whimsical tryst to the past on the wine.

If you want to get that peaceful easy feeling, Middleton's Wednesday Wine Stroll is where you want to be. It is a perfect blend of fine wine and floral gardens accented with the aroma of magnolias and oaks interlaced with a tremendous concentration of gentle sunlight. With a long finish, this event is elegant and well-balanced...Enjoy the pictures.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Sandy Side Of The Charleston Lowcountry Experience--World Class

There are a boat load of reasons why people choose Charleston, SC as their vacation destination. For one, it's the accolades. The readers of Conde Nast Traveller have named the Holy City the top tourist destination in the U.S. three years running. That is momentous. However, the preeminent reasons that have people raving about it is its illustrious history and distinctive character. Its world class restaurant's are sumptuous. Its Lowcountry cuisine is scrumptious. Its Southern hospitality is courteous. Its antebellum charm is gracious. Its American history is glorious. This is the brick and mortar side of Charleston.

But there is more, another side to Charleston. For a cohesive aggregate, you need water and sand. And Charleston is richly blessed with an abundance of the wet and grainy stuff. The Charleston Lowcountry is beautifully framed by water soaked, sandy beaches, all of which are located on nine different barrier islands fronted by the Atlantic Ocean from Edisto to Awendaw. Some have easy access by way of bridges, some are private, and some are remote, uninhabited sanctuaries that can only be reached by boat or ferry.

Grab your beach towels, spread your blankets, place your chairs, stick your toes in the water or take a tour. Here are some of my pictures that showcase the beautiful beaches of the Charleston Lowcountry.

Edisto Beach and the Pavillion Restaurant and Lounge--Looking for a nice vacation rental on Edisto try the Sea Island Cotton Cottage.

Beachwalker Park on Kiawah Island--The Trials And Triumphs Of A Lowcountry Walkabout

Edingsville Beach is located between Botany Bay Beach and Edisto Beach. It is private, but has a great story--Now Barely A Whisper In The Wind With A Ghost Of A Story, Edingsville Beach Was A Haven Of Grandeur And Extravagance

At the present time, I do not have pictures of Bulls Island. I plan on taking the beach drop tour this spring. The island can only be reached by ferry or kayak. It is part of the Cape Romain National Wildlife Preserve. If you want to learn more about Bulls Island go to Bulls Island Ferry, Charters and Kayaking. Dewees Island is private and can only be reached by ferry. You can rent homes on Dewees Island. For more information, go to Dewees Renntals. Seabrook Island is also private. For more information on rentals, go to Seabrook Island Vacation Rentals.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

This Beauty Of A Play Is No Sleeper

Sleeping Beauty is opening at the James F. Dean Theatre on Saturday, April 18th for a two day run. A "not so classic of a tale" adaptation of the famous Disney classic, this beauty of a play is no sleeper. You don't want to miss it.

In this children's musical version of the classic fairy tale by Bob Hammond, Queen Bea and King Bumble the Seventy Second give birth to Princess Beauty. In desperate need of money, the royal couple make plans to marry their daughter to a rich prince when she becomes of age at eighteen, but the rhyming evil witch, Carabosse, has other plans for the princess when that time arrives and plans to put a curse on Beauty. The evil witch's Zsa Zsa Gabor-like counterpart, the Good Fairy, is asked by the royal couple to counter Carabosse's evil intentions, but says, "Nothing I can do, sweetie. I mean, if I knew what spell she is going to use, well...possibly. But otherwise...look, why don't you give me a little tinkle in eighteen years?" And so, the drama begins. Among the contenders for the princess's hand are the constantly quarreling Prince Eric and Prince Henry and the not-so-rich Prince Braveheart. A spell, a spinning wheel, and lots of singing and dancing follow.

Heather Pallay steps out from behind the front box office to collaborate with "Sound of Music" standout Sarah Farra as the plays directors. Working with Bob Hammonds open script, together they masterfully personalized it with their own blend of frivolity utilizing knock-knock jokes, popular songs of the past such as "I'm a Believer" by the Monkeys and bringing it home by inserting local names like Lincolnville, Knightsville and yours truly. Thank you for the mention Flowertown Players.

Patti Kelly once again did an artful job on the colorful array of costumes and the simple set worked well with the scene changes.

The hard working cast of local young actors pooled from the Youth Theater for this production of the Flowertown Players work their magic on you with their enchanting enthusiasm and energy. Each cast member projected the personalities of their characters skillfully. Their execution of the dance choreography was near flawless and delivery of the punch lines timeless. The climatic song and dance routine is well worth a standing ovation in itself and a $10 ticket.

Honorable mentions include King Bumble the Seventy Second(Trevor Bierdz), Queen Bea(Riley Hatch), Princess Beauty(Julia Maguire), Prince Braveheart(Jackson Barnard), The Lord High Chamberlain(Bailey Dorman), Chip(Grey Hohn), Kate(Caelan Barlow), Prince Henry(Andrew Hebert), Prince Eric(Logan Farless), Carabosse(Kyra Wood), the Good Fairy(Drew Janine), and Hobgoblins 1 and 2(Alanna Campbell and Caitlyn Campbell). Fairy Dance Troupe(Elizabeth Aylward-Jahn, Eloira Carls, Mia Helm, Tanner Spencer, and Alexa Tringali).

If you are looking for some quality family entertainment this weekend, the James F. Dean Theatre is where you want to be. This fairy funny version of Sleeping Beauty will lift your spirits. It will knock your silk bloomers off and royally enrich your hearts.

Ensemble Cast Members: Audrey Campbell, Julie Cox, Chandler Schaffer, Savannah Davis, Jada Gilbert, Tyler Hanson, John Moore IV, and Sydney Reich. Backstage Crew: Gia Darconte, Emma Maguire, and Reese Addison.

$10 Adults, $7 Children under 12
Sat, Apr 18th at 1PM and 5PM
Sun, Apr 19th at 1PM
Call Box Office for tickets (843) 875-9251

Friday, April 10, 2015

A Charleston Barrier Island Tour Highly Worth A Trip To The Past

Eagerly anticipating the arrival of this day, I woke to the sounds of the whelk singing in my ears and for this sort of occasion, the wished for weather was perfectly arranged--not by my hand. With a quick breakfast and implementation of the necessary preparations, I exited my home with camera in-hand and entered my heavily dew-covered truck. The anxious drive to my anticipated destination was marred with the typical nerve racking hustle and bustle of the early morning rush hour commute. Where I was going, such things are unheard of.

With only two minutes to spare, I arrived at the Isle of Palms Marina where the 49 passenger Caretta patiently awaited my presence--by now fully loaded with its precious sightseeing cargo. The last to board, I took a seat on the pontoon boat next to a couple from Murrells Inlet, David and Sharon, whom I bonded with on the excursion.

The Captain throttled the engine and we slowly pulled away from the weatherworn docks into the salty tidal waters of Morgan Creek. The high water marks on the wooden piles perched by pelicans and egrets indicated it was low tide. After entering the nutrient rich Intracoastal Waterway lined with boat docks and island homes, we steadily crept along the no wake zone and our tour guide began his enlightening narration.

Our first stop was an area in the Copahee Sound known to locals as the Shark Hole--a ninety foot deep backwater fish bowl scoured out by the surging tidal currents spilling through Dewees Inlet from the Atlantic Ocean. The open stretch of water is an excellent feeding ground for sharks and an ideal location for bottlenose dolphin sightings. The Captain's dog named Moses, a proficient dolphin spotter, barked wildly when he located a surfacing dolphin to alert the eager passengers attempting to get that one picture-perfect shot.

It was also an appropriate time for our barefooted guide to dispel the first of the many myths people have about marine life, such as, sharks and dolphins do hang out in close proximity to one another when feeding and yes, it is safe to swim in the ocean. Jessen rattled off a long list of things more deadly to us than sharks, like sticking a fork into a toaster or simply stepping off your porch. Mostly, it is a matter of mistaken identity.

After cruising the sun soaked waters of the inlet and satisfied we had seen all the dolphin we were going to see, Courtney accelerated the Caretta to top cruising speed and we headed toward the estuaries of Capers Island and our second stop, Eco Tours crab trap. The waterway was skirted by thick stands of salt grass, oyster mounds, and the occasional fallen tree. It was an idyllic time to absorb the peaceful beauty of the unspoiled surroundings.

With a buoy marking the location of the submerged crab trap now in sight, the captain brought the Caretta to a stop. The guide grabbed a long hook and with the assistance of some of the younger passengers, pulled it onto the deck of the boat. From the trap, he chose three specimens, two blue crabs and one stone crab. He spoke extensively about their habits and place in the estuaries diverse ecosystem. Holding up the blue crab, he asked, "How can you tell which one is the male and which is the female?" With a blue crab in each hand, he continued, "The male is marked by Washington's Monument and the female is marked by the dome of the Capitol Building." He paused and then revealed the punch line. With a grin, he continued, "Men go around doing monumental things, but we all know the female is in charge." Much of Jessen's narration was accented with well placed levity.

It was now time to move on to our final destination. At this point, a course change was made. Instead of proceeding to the southern tip of Capers Island, we headed for the northern tip through the winding and narrow Santee Pass to Price Inlet. With Bulls Island across the way and an eagle perched high above on a pole keeping a watchful eye, the Caretta slid onto the quietly tranquil sands of Capers Island and one by one we disembarked for an hour and a half self-guided exploration of the island.

With each step, the soft, water-soaked sand oozed through my toes and over my feet. I could feel and smell the fresh, salty island air as it encompassed me. Adding to the feeling of remoteness, I navigated around scattered piles of reddish-brown seaweed beached by the ocean's relentless waves. Undisturbed and protected, highly prized trinkets of the beachcomber bleached by the southern sun were randomly strewn about, among them the South Carolina lettered olive. A few pieces of old driftwood laid partially buried near where the sand met the grassy dunes and increased in frequency as I continued up the front beach towards the foremost reason I came to Caper's Island. About a half mile down the beach, I could faintly see the relics of past island erosion rising out of the intruding surf, shimmering in the bright sunlight--the monarchs of Bone-yard Beach. As I stood among the weathered and fallen wooded wonders, I was filled with a sense of fascination and awe. Seeing is believing and a picture truly paints a thousand colorful words.

A trip to Capers Island is like stepping back in time to an era before the colonizing tall ships of the early settlers came to this land and called their new home South Carolina. Barrier Island Eco Tours provides a relaxing and comfortable way to experience it, if you don't mind a little salt spray on a breezy day. Our naturalist guide and Captain for the excursion, Jessen and Courtney, were superb hosts. Jessen knowledgeably shared a balanced mix of information and humor that made it interesting and fun for young and old alike, Courtney handled the pontoon boat skillfully, and Moses kept eager little ones preoccupied. At $42 a person and children 12 and under $32, I highly recommend this tour for the whole family. You will come away with a greater appreciation and understanding for Charleston's versatile and delicate barrier island estuaries--a living wonder.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Nine Places In Changing Summerville You Will Want To Visit And Photograph

With a highly celebrated historical landscape, Summerville has plenty to offer the discerning amateur photographer looking for that cherished photo memento. As you stroll Hutchinson Square and beyond, surviving remnants from the town's past are there for you to discover and capture with the click of your camera. Don't hesitate, as quick as the shutter blinks, the scene of Summerville is changing, as it has and as it will. That is the nature of things. Freeze framing the moments are imperative.

Just imagine, if you dare, even the long-standing Angel Oak will eventually succumb to the powers to be. It will be a sad day when that happens, but for those who have preserved their visit to the oldest living thing east of the Rockies with a photo, its place in time will always be remembered. What will take its place in history, only time will tell.

Summerville has been richly graced with thick groves of tall pines and old oaks. Their cooling touch and healing scent was what enticed early plantation owners to take up residence on its sandy hills. From those very same trees, they constructed their simple homes. The community grew and the trees were declared sacred. In time, some of the trees bowed to the Pine Forest Inn and an era of prosperity was ushered in. Of the trees still around today, longtime residents nurture fond memories and tell stories of playing below their broad branches.

Located near the corner where W Richardson meets Central Ave and considered the oldest tree in Summerville, the old pine is scheduled for an appointment with the axman to make way for the highly contested Dorchester Hotel project. Ragged from time and weather, the trees glory days have past. People no longer come to Summerville for health, they come for the charm, the hospitality, and the history.

We could dignify the old tree the way the Hopelands Gardens in Aiken honored one of its prominent cedars when a portion of it came down. They carved benches out of the cherished wood and placed them on site for visitors to see.

Eventually, each pine in its time will succumb to the powers to be. The scene of Summerville is changing. Like the first settlers and early town planners, may we seize the opportune moments presented to us and take Summerville into another era of prosperity.

I have picked nine places in and around Summerville's rich-in-history landscape that have become my favorite framed souvenirs. I offer this list as a suggestion of places you may want to check out and photograph on your next visit.

1) Colonial Dorchester State Park was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1969. From 1697 until the beginning of the Revolutionary War, the trading town of Dorchester flourished along the Ashley River, inland from colonial Charleston. Abandoned at the start of the Revolutionary War, the town of Dorchester has all but disappeared, leaving only the remains of a brick bell tower from St. George's Anglican Church, the foundation outline of a colonial home and a the fort made of an oyster-shell concrete called tabby. More pictures.

2) Linwood Bed and Breakfast was built on a two-acre site in 1883 by Julia Drayton Hastie, heiress to Magnolia on the Ashley Plantation. Ancient camellias, azaleas, majestic magnolias and stately palms dominate the properties landscape. Elevated porches offer a panoramic view of the lush, more formal gardens. It has been a bed and breakfast for over 13 years, officially opening in 1995 with elegant guest rooms, private baths, secluded sitting areas, a large swimming pool, and wide porches. More pictures.

3) Guerin's Pharmacy was founded in 1871 by Dr. Henry C. Guerin after buying out Schwettman Drugstore and moving the business to South Main Street and Richardson Ave. The Dunnings later acquired the pharmacy in 1975. When they were remodeling the interior they discovered a white chalk message scrawled on a wall by Joe Guerin in an upstairs office. The message documented the tragic sinking of the Titanic in 1912. It is the oldest operating pharmacy in South Carolina. Today, you can order a float, milkshake, hot dog or lemonade from its fountain.

4) My favorite of the old inns, White Gables was built by the Peake Family somewhere between the 1830's and early 1850's. In the early 1900's, Sara Woodruff developed a fondness for the near 65 year old house located on the corner of Richardson Ave and Palmetto Street. What happened next gave birth to her distinguished story and White Gables fame. Both fascinating and amusing, it is a story unlike any other in Summerville history. More pictures.

5) Middleton Place on the Ashley was settled in the late 17th century with its main family residence constructed in 1705. The estate encompasses America's oldest landscaped gardens called "the most important and most interesting garden in America." The Gardens were started by Henry Middleton in 1741. In 1952, Middleton Place began welcoming visitors to its gardens year-round. Every year Middleton Place host the finale of the Spoleto Festival. In the spring from April to May, on Wednesday, you can enjoy the gardens and sample old and new world wines at the Wine Stroll. More pictures.

6) Arriving and departing guests of the Pine Forest Inn passed through these decorative columns for forty years, beginning in 1891. The inn was world renown and visited by many celebrities, a showcase among Southern inns. It was advertised as being "situated on the outskirts of one of the prettiest villages in the Southland." The columns are all that is left of the Pine Forest Inn.

7) In 1938 Elizabeth Arden bought a summer home in Summerville South Carolina. The house is located at 208 Sumter Ave. It was built in 1891 for Mr. Samuel Lord, a Charleston attorney. The house was built by A. J. Baird, the man who also constructed the Pine Forest Inn. The house is still standing, but the inn was torn down. Elizabeth Arden sold the house in 1954. It had 15 rooms with 12 foot ceiling.

8) The Canada Geese on Hutchinson Square is part of The Birds in Residence Downtown Summerville Project--a collaborative effort by Summerville DREAM, Sculpture in the South, and the Audubon Center at Francis Beidler Forest. The B.I.R.D.S. are located throughout Downtown Summerville for you to search out. Maps are available to assist you.

9) Bell Tower next to Town Hall in Downtown Summerville at sunset. I took this picture during a Third Thursday--Summerville's monthly party.