Wine, Vodka, Bourbon, Roosters and a Goat Oh My – Only in Charleston

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You stare directly into the eyes of a goat. Nicely settled on the top of the his castle, ten steps up from the garden wilting away for the winter. A few minutes earlier, in your pursuit to make friends with a chicken, you are pecked on the hand. Maybe a sign of love or maybe he didn’t like his feathers ruffled. Now for the reason, we came in, wine, vodka and moonshine. Step through the gift shop and experience Charleston’s winery experience.

This is the home of Irvin House Vineyards. Starting as a retirement project over a decade ago, this unique experience just outside of Charleston, James Island and John’s Island is a haven for wine enthusiasts, vodka lovers, animal fans and so much more. Only 25 minutes outside of the city, this is one attraction that keeps you coming back for more.

What makes this experience so unique and wonderful and a perfect addition to the Charleston landscape?

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  • For five dollars, you get to sample each of their five wines produced and take the glass home with you (Types of Wines)
  • For six dollars, you can sample six flavored vodka, bourbon or moonshine offerings from the Firefly Distillery. There are selections you can only purchase here and not in the stores.
  • Walk through the vineyard and taste the muscadine grapes.
  • Play corn hole or play on the tire swing in the back.
  • Have a picnic on the grass with the family or a loved one.
  • Take your picture with your face in a batch of grapes.
  • Play with the free roaming animals.
  • Walk through the magic garden area.
  • Watch the process of wine making take place.
  • Find unique gifts in the gift shop.

Have we convinced you yet?

Here is a little more to whet your appetite. On special weekends, you will find live music from bluegrass to blues making it the perfect setting for a day out of the crazy downtown life including the 11th Annual Blessing of the Vines Festival on November 9th, 2013.

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The vineyard is open for tastings Tuesday through Saturday from 10 AM to 5 PM EST. They are also available for special events as well (Schedule of Available Tastings)

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The driveway is a little rough and rugged so don’t bring the good family car.

This is a fun and playful place for adults and children alike. If you have not been to the vineyard, schedule a half a day. If you have, come back again for another round.

Where is it located?

Address
Irvin-House Vineyards
6775 Bears Bluff Rd.
Wadmalaw Island, SC 29487
843-559-6867

Email if you have any questions:

info@charlestonwine.com

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Mudd Pie Girl Bakery – Deliciously Delightful Treat in Charleston, SC

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Meet Tina, the passion behind Mudd Pie Girl Bakery, a true culinary gift to Charleston.

Let us for a moment take a trip down memory lane, when young Tina was no more than two years old, curious and full of wonder. She would sit under the willow tree telling stories formulating in her head to the neighborhood dog, Pokey and make Mudd Pies. Coming from a long lineage of bakers, baking has always been a happy haven for Tina and she is so excited about sharing her secrets with all of Charleston.

The opportunity to become a business owner and spend each and every day doing something she loves while seeing the smiles on the patrons faces is a dream come true. Like most business owners, the risk is high, sometimes life hands you signs and you just know. From the first batch of mud to the exquisite treats she prepares for humans and dogs alike, Tina knows what she is doing is important. Her top priority is meeting the needs of her customers. Through her retail business and catering, she understands the customer and develops bakers delights based on their personal needs and preferences.

How did Tina take on this giant leap in her personal and professional career? The only way she knows how, all or nothing. Her advice to aspiring business owners:

  • Save now. It is an expensive endeavor.
  • It isn’t about the experience or the education as it is the belief you can succeed.
  • The business will consume your life. Long hours will become a part of your way of being and should be expected.
  • Never lose sight of the dream that got you there in the first place.
  • Differentiate yourself from your competition. Remember what got you there and make it your own.

How is Mudd Pie Girl Bakery Different?

  • They love baking. Pies, if you couldn’t tell are the true bread and butter, but this business is a full service bakery. There is no request that will go unturned. If an great idea is introduced to Tina, she will find a way to make it delicious and memorable.
  • Think outside the box. Dessert for breakfast, why not. One example is the Orangecicle Muffin. That name speaks for itself.
  • Attention to detail and quality of products. Each and every menu item or personal request for special occasions, catering or retail are developed to the needs and standards of the customer. Whether it is a gluten sensitivity or a sugar restriction, each project is taken on with personal ownership.

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What inspires your creations?

Menu items are rarely planned. It may be taking a traditional favorite and making it unique or an idea will come up in a conversation that spins off into a magical creation. The true inspiration is the pallets of those that glow each time they eat one of Tina’s treats. Seeing the smiles and satisfied appetites is what keeps her coming in each day to bake before the sun rises.

Mudd Pie is proud of its dog treat line of products that are inspired by her own four legged children. Baker loves crunchy biscuits, so Baker’s Biscuits came to life. Oak is a big husky dog and always preys on leftovers and thus Oak’s Oats was born. Buddy is the elder dog and does not have the strong teeth he used to. He helped develop the soft and easy to eat banana bar.

How can someone enjoy all your wonderful menu offerings?

  • The retail store is currently partnered with How Art Thou Cafe at 1956 Maybank Highway, James Island (Terrance Theater Plaza). You can stop by as early as 6:30 AM and as late as 10 PM but don’t come on Sunday. They will not let you in the door as they are closed.
  • Don’t let that get you down. The bakery is part of the Sunday Brunch Farmers Market on James Island each week and will be part of the James Island County Park annual Harvest Festival on November 2.
  • They are proud to provide full catering options as well. You can email or contact Tina directly for details – Mudd Pie Girl Official Website

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What is next as you reach for the stars?

The long-term goal is to open a second location and then bring the magic back to Tina’s hometown of Newtown, Connecticut. Devastated by one of the most tragic events in our country’s history on December 14, 2012, the shootings in the elementary school, near her hometown has weighed heavy on Tina’s heart. If she can take something that is special to her and bring happiness to a community left with so many unanswered questions, it is the best she can do and a personal goal she would like to fulfill.

Meeting Tina will bring you joy. Her zest for life, passion for baking and ability to understand and connect to her customers it what makes her story so special and what will make her bakery such a stand out in this community. Whether it is a brownie, muffin, pie or cupcake, stop by her bakery. Say hello, take a seat at the bar, have a latte and spend sometime with Tina and her creations.

Meet Market Street Saloon’s Kahlan and Finalist for Charleston’s Hottest Bartender

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Kahlan – Irish origin meaning “Strong Leader”

Behind those soft eyes, long legs and fiery dance moves behind the bar at Market Street Saloon in downtown Charleston, SC lies a beautiful soul with tremendous depth and a mission to achieve greatness. Currently, a finalist in the Charleston Hottest Bartender competition and lead vote getter, Kahlan sees this competition as an important stepping stone toward reaching her dreams and following the wishes of her father who passed away last October. Now a year later, she is on the verge of looking up at the stars and keeping a promise to make him proud.

A recent transplant to Charleston, Kahlan sees the importance of this competition for the city, Market Street Saloon, herself and her childhood.

Charleston has been a special place for Kahlan since she was a young girl. Her family would take her to the beaches of Sullivan’s Island and it was so beautiful that it felt like home.

As she let her feet touch the sand as she ran into the first waves crashing down from the powerful ocean, she recalls a place where “no one judges you because your dreams are too big or small”. Being able to wake up to the sun rising over the ocean is a dream and an inspiration to reach her goals. Being recognized as the Top City in the World and the United States is more motivation to want to represent this city with pride.

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Why is winning this competition important to you and the Market Street Saloon?

  • Kahlan is from Columbia, SC and she wants to show her hometown she can do it and do it with her saloon girls.
  • This competition will have a direct connection to a new MTV show and winning would thrust her closer to her career aspirations.
  • This win would not just be for the Market Street Saloon, but all the businesses on Market Street that support each other each and every day.
  • There is so much support from family and friends that it would mean so much for them to be a part of the excitement in celebration.

Who is Kahlan Michelle Shull?

Kahlan is a spirit fueled by the light and energized by life. She is passionate, caring, warm, playful, talented and would be a wonderful symbol of Charleston and the hospitality industry that serves as such a critical part of the landscape of Charleston.

At the age of twenty-one, most of us are still trying to figure out what to have for breakfast and what major to focus on in college. Not Kahlan who has:

  • Been awarded Miss North Charleston Teen 2007
  • Auditioned for American Idol
  • Ran track for seven years, volleyball for four and worked for 93.5 radio
  • Attended modeling school for a year while she was thirteen (13)
  • Is an entertainer from head to toe: Contemporary singer, runaway model, hula hoopist, dancer and actress
  • Won a competition senior year in high school for developing and presenting an international business model to a panel of business CEO’s

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To meet Kahlan is to love the her. She is and ambitious, driven independent woman; a little girl that wants to play; a talented entertainer; a daughter, a friend and a lover.

It is is this love for Charleston coupled with her natural beauty that will put her center stage to represent Market Street Saloon, Charleston and the wonderful culture this city offers.

Next time you see Kahlan on the street or at work behind the bar, give her a hug. Not because she lost her father, not because she is a warm cuddly sweetheart, but because she represents all that is good in Charleston. It is her genuine happiness that is an insignia of what Charleston represents.

Vote Today for Charleston’s Hottest Bartender

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Linda Page for Mayor of Mount Pleasant – The Right Choice

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  • Yesterday: “I was educated here, raised a family here, and run businesses here. I have strong roots in our community, and I will respect our past while building our future.”
  • Today: “I understand the issues we face today, and I will take a proactive role with crowded schools, traffic and road improvements, and rapid growth and development.”
  • Tomorrow: “I have a vision of a community that encourages citizen engagement, education, work opportunity, quality public services and recreational opportunities.” – Linda Page, candidate for 2013 Mayor of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina

On Tuesday, November 5, 2013, the citizens of Mount Pleasant will be electing a mayor. With global and national acclaim, highway infrastructure changes, a new waterfront pier, extensions in housing, business development and an evolving community driven by expansion and change, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina is a focal point in the growth of the Charleston community. It needs a leader with local roots that values tradition and history, one that defines courage, understands business and believes in family, community, education and safety.

Linda Page wants to be the new voice of Mount Pleasant. As a successful business woman, mother and council woman, her preparation for the next step in her political journey is finalized. She is ready to embark on a new stage in public service and lead the town forward into the future so that current and future generations have a town to be proud of.

Linda is a single mom with two beautiful children, loves to garden, cook, research, engage in great conversation and enjoy an occasional glass of wine when she has a moment to unwind. Yes, each and every morning morning, her focus is on the community.

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On a shoestring budget of $550 in 2009 and a single goal to improve a playground that was wasting away, Linda not only gained a seat on the council but won with a record 4400 votes. As a women with no political background, this was a moment that set the stage for a future in public service. During her tenure, her team has worked hard to facilitate infrastructure improvements, new business development and improving the over crowding of the schools, as well as forecast changes in the future. As the area continues to receive global recognition, population increases will become part of the future and necessary changes will need to happen. Currently, proposals are in place for more efficient education, better mass transit and road improvements to promote harmony with all vehicles including bikes, walkers, drivers and motorcycles.

Linda knows that the city needs to be proactive, partner with other municipalities and continue to focus on the people and the community. Linda vision is creating a town that built on strong education, charitable partnerships, health and wellness, safety and social engagement for today and future generations.

The warmth in her voice, the dedication to the community and her focus on positive change make her a strong candidate for Mayor of Mount Pleasant.

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Linda and her family have been active in the community since 1959 and there are no signs of slowing down.

Linda Page for Mayor

Pint of Hope Zombie Pub Crawl – An Apocolyptic Disaster in Park Circle

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The marketing plug was in place and the sponsors were ready:

“Warning. The quarantine was breached for a race against time. Join Holy City Brewing, Lowcountry AIDS Services (LAS) and the walking dead for a pub crawl like no other in Park Circle on Saturday, October 5th from 5-11 pm. The apocalyptic 3rd annual “Pint of Hope” Zombie Pub Crawl will feature discounted Holy City brews ordinarily unavailable to the public, live music by DJ Big Hair Dave, a costume contest & much more.

Dress like the undead and battle for a chance to win a private tasting for you and 9 of your favorite living corpses at Holy City Brewing.”

The only issue with the Pint of Hope Zombie Pub Crawl was that it was a modern day disaster in its execution. The event supported the Lowcountry Aids Foundation with sponsors and participating restaurants including:

Restaurants:

Sponsors:

  • Holy City Brewing (presenting sponsor)
  • Belk
  • Artist & Craftsman
  • Big Hair Productions
  • Gil Shuler Graphic Design
  • The Event Cooperative
  • Kask Creativity
  • Snyder Event Rentals
  • Vive le Rock Productions
  • Robust Energy Drink

Many came out to support the cause and bring out the inner “undead” but a number of things went dramatically wrong during the hours of 5 PM and 1 AM.

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What went wrong!!!

  • All restaurants were supposed to offer participants a different Holy City Beer option for $3.00. Two restaurants charged $2.00, one charged $3.00, one $5.00 and two didn’t even clearly show a Holy City option. In fact none of the 9 restaurants offered the Holy City option to the participants when then entered and sat down. They just gave us menus and asked what we wanted.
  • I asked about the markers to identify stopping at each location and one restaurant manager said he didn’t even know what was going on until the day of the event.
  • One of the sponsors was Yelp who announced there would be a scavenger hunt along with the event. Aside from some koozies, there was no other representation of Yelp and no scavenger hunt. The only resemblance was that each team had to drink at all nine restaurants.
  • Times were not designated for each location so all individual teams signed in and went their own way. The idea of a pub crawl is to migrate together, co-mingle and make new friends. The lack of order made it almost impossible to follow others and branch outside of your individual team. Getting people to Park Circle / North Charleston from outside the community is a challenge enough. This did not make it easier.
  • Service at two of the restaurants was “poor” at best. We even left after waiting seven plus minutes for a single beer.
  • After the event, the organizers were drawing winners from those that completed the crawl. We never heard any announcement at DIG or a gathering place to hear who the winners were being announced.
  • The silent auction had limited participation and no clear directions on how you would be notified if you won.
  • Some people walked the streets with open alcohol including one with a bottle of Corona. We were not sure if that was allowable at all and took a risk to carry open alcohol in the streets.
  • There was a best zombie contest scheduled for the end of the event. We did not know when or where it occurred. It may have been somewhere in DIG in the Park, but no signs or direction was provided.

Overall, there were some very creative, creepy and even a few eye turning costumes and make up applications. For a Saturday night at Park Circle, there was a buzz in the air, but for an important fund raiser supporting a very worthy cause, the organization was a failure.

The Taste of Charleston – In a word “Tasty”

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This weekend was the Annual Taste of Charleston sponsored by Southern Living, highlighted with a parade of restaurants, music and competitions at Boone Hall Plantation. I have been to many “Taste” events around the United States and what differentiates this event from others is that it is not just about food, but hospitality.

The Taste of Charleston is a celebration of all the people involved in the preparation, delivery and experience of dining out. From the wait staff, to the chefs, to the caterers, this was a joyous festival for one and all.

A highlight of Sunday was the annual wait staff obstacle course which involved running through tires and haystacks with a tray of wine delivering checks and filling water. It was quite a crowd pleaser with limited spillage.

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Right next door, we witnessed nine large blocks of ice transformed into a beautiful blue marlin fish.

Add in a thirteen foot tall chef, Ronald McDonald, a walking shark and a princess and we had the makings of a memorable day. The weather could not have been prepped any better hitting a high of about 78 with a few parted clouds.

The Piedmont Boys Band provided most of the musical entertainment playing songs from Johnny Cash to originals focusing on family, our freedom and good old southern dancing. Children and adults alike took to the grass to dance along to the tunes or sit on a blanket sharing some wine or beer provided by Holy City, Blue Moon and Biltmore Wines

Blue Moon Brewing Company not only provided free beer glasses, but set up a table to paint your own glasses. That was such a fun idea.

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The food was endless from north to south, east to west. From The Charleston Crab House, to Social Wine & Bar, to Nigel’s Good Food to Sea Island Grill.

Representatives were there from Mount Pleasant, Charleston, Kiawah Island, West Ashley, North Charleston and beyond. From soul food to Italian, you were not lacking in choices to fill your tummy.

The day would not be complete without a singing princess, a waving giant green floaty and Ronald McDonald entertaining the kids in the children’s play area.

Hats off to the volunteers, chefs, vendors, wait staff, catering specialists and so many more that made this day and weekend of festivities possible and so very special.

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