Charleston Hidden Nature Treasure: Dock Street Park

One thing about being a resident of Charleston is that you never stop discovering new and wonderful places if you let your curiosity take you off the beaten path.? We are a complex set of waterways, inlets, peninsulas and park systems that allow us to lose ourselves in wonder.

Just a half a mile off of Folly Road and just 3 1/2 miles from downtown Charleston, there is a small piece of land that will take you away and let you be you.

On an evening just this week, we went to the end of the dock, where there is a picnic bench, enjoyed a bottle of Italian red wine and took photographs of the sunset over the marsh.? In the distance, a teen in a white tee-shirt played guitar, two women shared the dock with us and later as the sun set to the west a couple sat on the rocking bench as their dogs wandered the park.

This small hideaway offers so much in so little space:

  • You can fish off the pier into the marsh
  • View of the sunrise and sunset
  • View of Harbor View Road, James Island Connector and the Cooper River Bridge
  • Romantic rocking bench
  • Swing sets
  • Picnic tables and a small grill
  • Secluded and safe
  • Stunning views

Let us go on a photographic journey together and you too will fall in love.

Welcome to Dock Street Park
Look at the reflection of the clouds in the water
The tree stump adds something special
Who is up for a swing?
The tree stump adds something special
Birdhouse in the marsh
Time for a walk on the pier
Even the clouds are rejoicing
Sunrise moment

If you are looking for a quiet escape, a romantic swing, great photo opportunity, a picnic or some personal serenity time, find your way to Dock Street Park.? It will leave a lasting impression.

Sunrise Bistro Xpress – Start Your Day Right with Fresh Ingredients and a Smile

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By Mark A. Leon

Sunrise Bistro Xpress is located at 116 A Spring Street.? Located in the heart of the re-birth of Spring Street, this is the offspring of one of John’s Island’s favorite dining spots (As well as one in Summerville, SC).? Serving breakfast and lunch Tuesday through Sunday, Sunrise Bistro Xpress offers a uniquely intimate dining experience.? This small and cozy restaurant is donned with fresh vegetable and spice plants in the windows, post modern art on the walls and a fresh aroma of dark roast coffee in the air.? With a beautiful outdoor area on the side of the building, a cozy bar and six indoor tables, you will feel as though you are a family dinner.

Before we delve into some specific menu items, it is important to mention that no breakfast is complete with the fresh herb homemade bread.? These squares of heavenly delight give Sunrise a unique edge.? Prepared with a rich blend of spices including rosemary and complimented with olive oil, the bread alone is enough to make you want to return.

Though it is a side addition to a number of the breakfast items, it can be used to make an exceptional breakfast sandwich.? Though the tomato melt is traditionally served with a bagel, we chose to have it served on the herb bread and it was exceptional.? It was the type of breakfast sandwich you eat in small bites and savor.

Shrimp and grits.? This is a tricky topic as it is a fan favorite in Charleston.? Sunrise, will not disappoint.? I would even be so bold as to place it in the top ten.? Their three meat shrimp and grits is a hearty combination of sausage, ham, bacon, shrimp, onions and peppers in a bed of grits made in a secret house sauce.? Without flaw a breakfast masterpiece.? We shared this memorable dish.? It isn’t an overwhelmingly large portion, but the portion of proteins make it a filling experience.? As you can see from the picture, the shrimp are jumbo and ready to please.

The open face omelets are a special offering from Sunrise.? Why do all omelets have to be folded or wrapped like a blanket?? Sunrise does not feel that way.? All their omelets are served open faced (If you feel passionate, you can get it prepared rolled).? It is like a breakfast pizza and who doesn’t love pizza.? There are seven options or a customized omelet, but we recommend the Jessica Ann and the Smoked Salmon with capers and onions.? With fresh basil, onions, tomato and feta cheese, the Jessica Ann omelet is a mild and delicious way to enjoy breakfast/brunch.? If you love smoked salmon, this omelet will leave you so satisfied.? By going light on the egg and providing a healthy topping of smoked salmon, onions, capers and cheddar cheese, each bite is to be savored.

We want to give a personal acknowledgement to the staff.? Their careful spirit, considerate customer attention and service with a smile was a comforting bonus to our visit.? With such small quarters, that can be tricky to please guests, maintain wait list and keep providing attention with a smile.

If breakfast isn’t in the cards, enjoy one of the fresh sandwiches that are prepared with fresh local ingredients.? From the Basil Grilled Cheese to the Cajun Shrimp Wrap, Sunrise Bistro offers winning options for lunch as well.

You have many choices when you think about breakfast and lunch in the Charleston area.? If you travel just a bit out of the way, go to Spring Street and take in one of the best small breakfast and lunch spots on the peninsula.

 

Edge of America – A Journey to Morris Island Lighthouse Beach

By Jessica Edwards
By Jessica Edwards

People talk about the edge of the world or a country all of the time. It’s a way to make it sound amazing, this place where something stops existing and becomes something else, something unknown. Well, I’d like to throw a place into the running for the “Edge of America.”
Folly Beach, Charleston has long been known as the party beach in the area, the lower country’s Myrtle: lots of frat boys, screaming families, a higher concentration of drunk people, etc. It’s one of the reasons people go to Folly. It feels like a vacation there. But if you travel, past the washout, you’ll find a secluded stretch of beach, some woods, and few spectators to block your view of the edge of the world, guarded only by the ghost of a lighthouse.
To access this beautiful beach, you have to drive all the way down to the east end of Folly, park, and walk the remaining quarter of a mile along a paved road. Along your walk, you’ll mostly see foliage indigenous to the area, and a graffiti worn cement platform that tells you that you are almost there. Turn the bend, and you finally see the beach access, which consists of a few dozen yards of incredibly hot sand up and over a dune.
Once you’ve reached the beach though, you couldn’t care less about your scalded toes. This is a different place, a quiet one, where there are only a handful of people, some fishing, some relaxing in the sand; maybe even a photographer or two, taking snapshots of the quiet air. No one swims there because of the incredibly strong rip currents and high likelihood of sharks, but it’s safe enough to sit in the surf, to observe the scuttling blue crabs as schools of fish interrogate your legs and toes with small nips.
A pod of pelicans flying overhead draws your eye out of the water to the horizon, towards the Morris Island Lighthouse, standing several hundred feet offshore. The antebellum monolith was decommissioned in the early ‘60s due to a rising shoreline caused by the construction of jetties earlier in the century. It’s an aging monument, one that has a lot of protection around it, mostly locals who sought to insure its place as a permanent fixture of Folly.
One of the aforementioned jetties partitions the beach, adding to its isolated feel. If you don’t mind getting a little scuffed up from the rocks, then they are a wonderful, if slightly hazardous, vantage point from which to observe the shore and ocean, to reflect, or to take a stunning panoramic photograph with your iPhone. I prefer to watch the ocean wash over the boulders in a baptismal wave, hypnotic in their rhythm, soothing in their sound, and cleansing in their purpose.
Despite the beauty of this particular section of beach, it is not a crowded place, for many reasons already stated: it’s quite a hike for the casual beach goer, there is no swimming, dogs aren’t allowed as it is also a nature preserve, etc. Some come to kayak, others go on tours of the lighthouse, and there are almost always a few fishermen. But all in all, this strip of the otherwise heavily populated Folly Beach is empty.
This is part of the beach’s appeal; its loveliness is not imbued with human activity, and it shows. If you went to any other beach that is normally very busy during off season, you can still tell it’s a popular beach. There are signs everywhere: beach houses hugging the shore, bits of paper, cigarette butts, a uniform shore line.
And of course, humanity has left its mark here as well: the lighthouse, the jetty, even giant sandbags in the surf to aid with erosion. But these things are different than cigarette butts and houses. Cigarettes–and all litter, for that matter–are a sign of constant habitation, replenished daily. Houses are lived in or rented, a flurry of feet, caked with stolen sand, march up the wooden steps into the HVAC and on into the shower, where the sand is rinsed down the drain and into the sewers.
But there is no trace of that here. The closest house is a quarter mile behind you. The lighthouse remains, for most of the year, empty, and the jetties have become a part of the shore, with lichen and clams living on the faces of the rocks. The sandbags, perhaps the least romantic addition, have reached a certain spectral elegance as the raggedy bits undulate in the tide. These are abandoned constructions, and nature has had no problem taking them under her wing.
People go to the beach for many reasons whether that is to hang out with friends, to tan, to swim, to picnic, to fish. And you can do most of those things here, but many don’t. Perhaps it is the haunted feeling that places obtain when humanity withdraws. There is a certain discomfort to it, to sit and stare at a ruin, to watch as humanity and nature coalesce into an oddly perfect pairing.
I just know that as I departed, I couldn’t help but snap a few shots on my iPhone. The initial discomfort gave way to something else, and I wanted a picture to remind me that solitude is the key the rejuvenation, and there is solitude a plenty at the Edge of America.

edge2

French Dining Escape in Mount Pleasant – Bistro Toulouse

soup1The evening began with a Super Tuscan red which complimented the palate with an explosion of flavors swimming down the throat.? Overall, the wine and bubbly selections are wonderful sectioned off by the boldness of the wines.

Before I go further, it is critical now that we have experienced breakfast and dinner to give a special recognition to the exceptional service provided.? From the articulation and polite demeanor of the servers, to the careful placement of plates and silverware, the servers are a big part of the whole dining experience.

Your dining journey will feel like a five star restaurant without the price.? Hidden deep in the heart of one of the many strip malls on Coleman Blvd, it is easy to get lost among the neon lights panning across end to end, but make no mistake, as you enter, you will have a memorable time.

We began with a warm asparagus salad that was topped with peas, peppers and a lemon vinaigrette.? The portion was just right for one or two to share.

Bistro Toulouse has a bit of a reputation for mussels, so we had to indulge in Mussels and Frites.? There are two options and a special to select from.? It wasn’t difficult to know we wanted the Mussels and Frites with truffles and a truffle cream sauce.? This dish comes with bacon, but we chose to eliminate that ingredient.? At $14.00, this was a tremendous bargain.

This two course meal took up well past closing time as the conversation flowed nicely throughout the evening.? Therefore we had to pass on dessert.

The mussels were exceptionally light, but when complimented with the truffles and cream sauce, it made for a filling entree.? One cannot resist dipping the bread in the truffle cream sauce.? A must if you are going to enjoy this entree.

The mussel dish is very comfortable for two and can even squeeze in a third.

If you have not heard of Bistro Toulouse or have been hesitant to go, make a reservation and enjoy a relaxing breakfast/brunch or dinner.

If you have the time, enjoy one of the profiteroles, sorbet, souffle or creme brulee desserts along with fresh cup of coffee.

Hours of Operation:

Serving Dinner

Tuesday – Sunday
5:00 PM – 9:30 PM

Serving Champagne Brunch

Saturday & Sunday
11:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Serving Lunch

Tuesday -Friday

11:30 AM – 2:30 PM

The Break: Where Charleston Adults come to eat and play

Between the Peninsula and Folly Beach are a rich traditional of restaurants, bars, an adventure course, great fresh seafood, county parks, a gym, thrift shops and more.? Just to the left as you head to the beach, there is a restaurant that provides all the necessary elements of a man cave than would even make a woman smile.

The Break on Folly Road is the perfect escape to play, drink and eat.

A few reasons you need to spend some quality time here:

  • Monday Night is Live Trivia – Starts promptly at 7:00 PM
  • A series of large screen televisions including a ridiculously large one as you enter
  • Outdoor patio seating when it isn’t 110 degrees outside
  • Plenty of parking lot space to park or play cornhole
  • At the corner of the strip mall is Badd Kitty (Adult shop for couples and more)
  • Pool Tables
  • Dart Boards
  • Regulation Air Hockey
  • Beer Pong Video Game
  • Basketball Video Shoot
  • Competition Racing Game
  • NBA Jam ’94 (Yes Old School)
  • Pinball
  • Tater Tot Nachos (Oh Baby good)
  • A fun and friendly staff
  • Craft Beer, a few wines and full service bar

If sixteen reasons aren’t enough, I give up.

For $25.00 and a dream, you can play games, drink some good craft beer and catch a game on the big screen.

The bar is spacious offering table, bar and booth seating with separation points for the video games and pool area.

Sometimes you don’t always see what is right in front of you.? The Break is no exception.? From the street, it looks like a nice stop in bar, but once you walk in you will see it is so much more.

This is a treat for Charleston/James Island and one that will not bore you.

The Break is located at 778 Folly Road, James, Island, SC

Hours:

Sunday – Thursday – 4:00 PM – Till

Friday – 4:00 PM – 1:30 AM

Saturday – Sunday – 1:00 PM – 1:30 AM


Happy Birthday Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge – The Big 10!

I spent one weekend in Charleston and decided I wanted to move here.? This was six years ago.

The reasons I decided to move here were countless including the historic quaint city feel, beaches, people, food and more, but what truly sat at the top of the list was the Cooper River Bridge.? I even so much made the bold statement that I would marry the bridge if I could.

Today marks the 10th Anniversary of this iconic symbol of Charleston connecting Mount Pleasant with Charleston.? As we all reflect on our personal memories of driving, jogging, biking, running and soaking in its beauty, we wanted to present some of our favorite images we have taken over the last few years.

 

 

 

 

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Thank you for 10 beautiful years of representing Charleston.

Happy Birthday!!!

Yes Virginia, Santa is Real…Importance of Symbols and what does the flag really mean..

In 1897, 8 year old Virginia O’Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Sun. Newsman Francis Pharcellus Church on September 21st, provided an unsigned response in what is considered one of the greatest editorials in American journalism history.

Virginia wrote:

DEAR EDITOR:

I am 8 years old.
Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
Papa says, ‘If you see it in THE SUN it’s so.’
Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?
VIRGINIA O’HANLON.

115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET.

The response was so poignant that it has continued to have meaning one hundred and eighteen years later.

VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong.

They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Two very important lines remain with me each and every time I read this response:
There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

The question deep down was not the existence of Santa, but the goodness that he stands for. Santa stands for faith and compassion for mankind. Media and commercialism will manifest Santa into a larger than life being, but deep down he is billions of microscopic heartbeats inside each of us that guide us to goodness and provide the path to a life of righteousness. In that respect, Santa is very real.
The key thing we must remember is that Santa is a “symbol” of innocence and virtue. At the heart of it, he is a symbol. The moment he goes from a reality to a fantasy is different for each of us, but his importance in our lives remain.

Much like Santa, the Confederate flag is a symbol. To some it is a reminder of a significant historic period in America’s growth and to others, it is a reminder of racism, slavery and hatred. The question of whether the flag remains visible over government buildings will be decided by the dominant opinion. It won’t change key tragic events in our past. Lives will not come back from the dead, racism won’t fade away and the ignorance that blinds equality will remain.

The flag is on the forefront of our minds, yet we can pick anything and make the argument of removal.

Should George Washington be removed from the $1.00 bill and nation’s capital be renamed because he owned slaves?

Should Robert E. Lee street signs be abolished because he defended something he believed in?

These questions can go on for hours. Where does one draw the line?

I don’t know the answer. I do know that we are exhausting energy on things that should not matter in our lives and we should be putting it on the things that truly do.

My symbols are compassion, love, family, generosity, hope and meaning.

Charleston Shootings – Mood of the Country

Image provided by Star-Telegram
Image provided by Star-Telegram

There has been widespread emotion throughout the country and the world surrounding the tragic events that happened at 110 Calhoun Street on a fateful Wednesday evening.? A rallying cry has been heard from coast to coast from religious leaders to academics to citizens who have been taken back by one unforgivable act.

We would like to share some of the personal thoughts and commentary shared in the last few weeks:

With Charleston Shooting, a Time to Stop Teaching Children about the “History” of Racial Violence – NY Times

What the Aftermath of the Charleston Shootings Looked Like Through the Eyes of a Little Girl – Washington Post

A Bow to Charleston – Peggy Noonan Blog

Dallas coffee shot crafts banner of support for Charleston, SC shooting victims – Dallas Morning News

Cynthia G. Hurd, Librarian, Among Those Killed in Charleston Shooting – Library Journal

The Charleston Shooting – At Half-Mast – The Economist

America’s original sin manifests itself again in Charleston shootings – Catholic News Service

3 survivors of the Charleston church shooting grapple with their grief – The Charlotte Observer

Nancy Ares on Charleston Shooting and Dealing with White Privilege and Inequality – The Warner School of Education, University of Rochester

?Charleston shooting ‘sign of the times’ – Amarillo Globe-News

In South, grace and dignity after Charleston shootings – TribLive Media

These are only a few of the opinion and thoughts coming in throughout the country.? We wanted to share some of the media commentary in the aftermath of this tragic event.

Provided by MSNBC
Provided by MSNBC

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