The Spring Street Experience – An Urban Journey in Charleston

The Spring Street Experience is an urban shopping, lifestyle and dining experience built on patience and perseverance.? It is a journey that is a number of years in the making.? Spring Street has an eclectic mix of residents and bystanders from all walks of life.? With a melting pot of backgrounds, this street opens the door of possibility for a unique living and shopping experience.? Over the years a number of business has strategically plotted themselves on this evolving street.? Now, Spring Street has found a permanent home for shoppers and lifestyles for all needs.? From yoga, to wedding dress design, to Vietnamese food to vintage clothing, Spring Street has started a grass roots effort to continue expanding the evolution of Charleston.

With a comfortable and safe urban setting built for the upscale shopper, hipster or back packer, Spring Street is becoming one of the most unique and enlightening places to spend a day.

For years, Charleston has relied on a few neighborhoods to sustain its economic growth for locals and tourists.? From the Market to King Street, Charleston created consolidated fronts for shoppers and activity seekers to find refuge.? Now Spring Street is testing the boundaries and inviting you to expand your thinking and territory and experience this new thriving urban shopping and activity center.? Now with thirty plus establishments, Spring Street is thriving.

If you have not taken in the Spring Street Experience, now is the time.

Spring Street Experience Directory

Clothing and Design

Maddison Row Bridal Chic – 171 Spring Street

Innovative Interiors – Interior Design – 139 Spring Street

WED – Wedding Event Design – 123 Spring Street

Carolina Fine Art Framing – 76 Spring Street

Read Brothers – Stereo and Designer Fabric – 593 King Street (Corner of King Street and Spring Street)


Food and Beverage

Wild Flour Pastry – 73 Spring Street

Parlor Deluxe – 207A St. Philips Street

Wine Awesomeness – 94 Spring Street

The Vegetable Bin – 96 Spring Street

Sunrise Bistro Xpress Restaurant – 116 Spring Street

Artisan Meat Share – 33 Spring Street

Bon Bahn Mi – A Vietnamese Sandwich Bar – 162 Spring Street

Cannon Green Restaurant / Wedding Reception Hall – 103 Spring Street

Octobachi – Sushi Bar – 119 Spring Street

Charlie’s Grocery on Spring – 119 Spring Street

Xiao Bao Biscuit – 224 Rutledge Avenue (Corner of Rutledge Avenue and Spring Street)

Sweet and Savory Cafe – 100A Spring Street

Seafood Alley – 35 Spring Street

Toyko Crepes – 62 Spring Street

Warehouse – 45 1/2 Spring Street


Art and Galleries

Sanavandi Art Gallery – 66 Spring Street

Karpeles Manscript Library / Gallery – 68 Spring Street



Not So Hostel – 156 Spring Street



Salon Vari – 101 Spring Street



Mission Yoga – 125 Spring Street

Bikram Yoga Charleston – 137 President Street (Corner of President Street and Spring Street)



?Tiger Lily Florist – 131 Spring Street

Rose Florist – 117 Spring Street


Specialty – Sports / Body Art

Continuum Skate Shop – 49 Spring Street

Museum of Living Arts Body Piercing – 47 Spring Street












The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting Ceremony – December 14 – The Retired Mensch

Imagine a wave of light that spreads across the globe from east to west over 24 hours and it is not the sun. The wave starts at 7:00 PM local time in New Zealand when candles are lit in memory of deceased children. When the candles are extinguished an hour later, more candles are lit in the next time zone for an hour and so on it continues around the globe, 7 PM in every time zone until it ends 24 hours later. That is The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting Ceremony to honor and remember deceased children.

The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting Ceremony (WWCLC) occurs every year on the second Sunday in December at 7 PM local time. This year the second Sunday of December is the 14th of the month.

If you don’t know, The Compassionate Friends (TCF) is an international organization that provides support to bereaved parents, grandparents, and siblings. This annual candle lighting has grown from family or individual observances in the USA to ceremonies at local TCF chapters and other bereavement support groups around the globe.

I had a candle in my window the first year of the ceremony in 1997 and encouraged family and friends to light a candle in memory of my son Brian, and the memory of all other children who have died too soon. I must admit that I have not always been faithful about lighting that candle at 7 and some years the hour slips by before I remember. Of course, I don’t need a candle to remember my son, but it is a good thing to have a ritual that serves as a memorial.

TCF’s website,, has all the information about the WWCLC including a search engine to find a location near you. The TCF website also
will host extended chat room hours on December 14 for families to post tributes on the message board. Last year there were over 4,000 posted messages from all corners of the world.

As of 12/6, there was only one TCF ceremony in the Charleston area. The Compassionate Friends of Dorchester County will have a Candle Lighting at Givhans Ferry State Park, 746 Givhans Ferry Road, Ridgeville, SC.

The program begins at 6:00 PM with the candle lighting at 7:00 PM on December 14. Contact Paula Schaefer at 843-813-9598 or Email: for details.

If you can’t find a ceremony locally, just remember to light your candle at 7:00 PM and extinguish it at 8:00 PM. If you are fortunate enough not to be a bereaved parent, you probably know someone who is. You can support them by telling them about TCF and by participating in the WWCLC. Add the WWCLC to your calendar now and join thousands around the globe in lighting a candle at 7:00 PM on the 14th of December.



Creches are Cribs – The Retired Mensch


The Mensch has learned something new: creches are cribs, that is crèche is the French word crib. The Trappist Monks at Mepkin Abbey are having their annual Creche Festival with over 80 displays of creches and the Mensch is just one of a small army of volunteers who make it happen up there at Monck’s Corner.

Over the years benefactors have donated creches to the Abbey; commissioned artists to create them for the Festival and the monks have bought them so that now their collection numbers over eight hundred. The variety is endless.

Along the path from the Gift Store to the The Clare Booth Luce Library, there are creches made of wood, marble, recycled materials, and copper. In the library, artists have carved juniper and other woods, glued oyster shells, sewn fabric, woven sweet grass baskets, painted papier-maché, and hammered brass into interpretations of a creche.

The creches hail from Poland, Lithuania, Italy, North Carolina, Beaufort, New Mexico, Haiti, Ethiopia, and many other foreign places. One of the fun things about the festival is the vote for a favorite. Visitors are asked for their ONE favorite creche at the end of the tour. It is always a tough choice. The Mensch’s volunteer job was to record the votes of visitors. Good thing it was pencil and paper and a big eraser. Some folks had no problem choosing a favorite: number 75, number 8, number 14. Others had a tough time: Not sure, it is between 14, 75 and 80, can I pick three?


When the festival is over the Monks will tally the votes and the top three vote getters will be announced on the web site, Next year the winners are guaranteed a spot in the festival. A little competition is good for all.

There is no politically correct way to say this so I’ll just blurt it out: this is a festival for shoppers who are mostly women. Based on the Mensch’s observations, most of the visitors were women, retirees, and gray-haired guys who carried shopping bags for their wives. The gift store and the creche store are shoppers’ paradise for those who have Christian religious gifts on their gift list. And, yes there is fruitcake baked by the Monks for your giving pleasure.


The Festival ends December 6th and if you can’t make it, here are a few photos of what you missed.