Friday, September 28, 2012

Things That Bring You To The Lowcountry-Taste of Charleston And The Scrumptious Summerville Kitchen Tour

Isle of Palms
When I tell people I am from Ohio, the subsequent response is always, "What brought you to Charleston?" I have to admit, before the first time vacationing on the beautiful Isle of Palms, I didn't give much thought to the idea of leaving Ohio. Well, maybe a passing thought or two. Having lived near Lake Erie all those years, water and the beach were always a part of my life along with the excellent fishing Ohio waters provided. But Ohio summers pass by quickly and the long Northeastern Ohio winters curtail such activities. The sun is seldom seen from November to March due to the Lake Erie affect.

Fall, indisputably, is a pretty time in the North with the patchwork of colorful leaves and pleasant days of Indian Summer, but spells of cooler weather are a reminder of the bone chilling cold not far away in the North Coast lake-effect winter. Leaving for work in the morning was always a chore, hacking the ice off the car and driving the slippery roads. Sometimes my face got so cold my lips could barely move to speak. The melting snow that would freeze on my mustache often left me looking like a walrus. To sum it up, given a choice between frostbite and sweating, I'll take the sweating any day of the week. Frostbite is painful, sweating is not. Stick your fingers or toes into a fire ant mound and you will get a slight hint of just how painful frostbite can be.

So, the obvious answer to the aforementioned question could be, "The weather." Not so fast. The very first time I came to the Charleston area and stuck my feet in the sands of the Wild Dunes beachfront on the Isle of Palms and later set my feet on the rooftop of the Boathouse Restaurant looking out over Breach Inlet, the weather is no longer so obvious of a response. Needless to say, I was won over by the sheer beauty of its beaches, marshes and barrier islands.
Shem Creek
Folly Island
So, the answer now becomes, "The weather and coastal beauty." Not so fast. I took the short trip from the Isle of Palms to the the heart of Charleston, the Old Market. Market Street was crowded and lined with horse drawn carriages. I paid the fee and boarded the carriage assigned by a colored ball to travel through the French Quarter and the Battery along the waterfront. The ride introduced me to the charm and history that permeates every cobblestone, brick and iron gate of Charleston's past. A past that is intricately woven into the present. Love the story about the house designed with an architectural split personality and the one with a mortar shell still in its attic.
Battery house
Charleston has an abundance of everything I like, but there is more. Apart from all the water activities, coastal beauty, and wealth of the kind of history I enjoy, Charleston is a vibrant party town. There are events and festivals scheduled year round, all outfitted for showcasing the best that Charleston has to offer and highlighting why so many Northerners have made it their home. After all, Charleston is the number one destination of choice by vacationers.

This beautiful time of year when the temperatures retreat to a comfortable range offers a grand selection of events that cater to the five senses. Beginning today, The Boone Hall Plantation, America's most photographed plantation, will be hosting one of those yearly events showcasing the Lowcountry's finest restaurants. The Southern Living Taste of Charleston, hosted by the Charleston Restaurant Association is a 3-day event beginning Friday, September 28 and ending on Sunday, September 30. The Main Event on Sunday will feature 50 casual and fine dining restaurants serving sample size portions plus beer and wine. There will be a specialty and imported beer tasting tent, live entertainment, the legendary “Waiters’ Race” and the children’s area. Gates will open 10:30am. For more information go to Taste of Charleston.

Another event highlighting the Lowcountry's superb culinary delights, just down the road from Charleston, is The Tenth Annual Scrumptious Summerville Kitchen Tour scheduled for Sunday, October 7, 2012. The Kitchen Tour has an additional feature. Besides sampling gourmet treats prepared by premiere LowCountry chefs, you will have the unique opportunity to tour some of the grand homes, cottages and gardens in Summerville. Also, local musicians are scheduled to perform in each home or garden and area florists will grace the interior decor with floral arrangements. The homes may be toured from 1:30 to 5:30pm. The proceeds will benefit Children In Crisis, Inc. Tour is along West Carolina Avenue.

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