Charleston Loses a Centenarian but leaves behind a storied past

By Mark A. Leon

On Friday, November 20, 2015, one month short of his 101st birthday celebration, Hardin King Davis left us.? A fourteen year Mount Pleasant resident, eighty-seven year Long Island, New York resident and a centenarian who touched the lives of many.

Born on December 26, 1914, the day after Christmas in Brooklyn, New York, Hardin, like many, found solace and comfort in the Charleston area.? A graduate of Colgate University in 1937 and Penn Dental School in 1941, Mr. Davis had a successful dental career of 36 years following in his fathers footsteps.? His practice was a strong throw from the famous Belmont Racetrack, home of one of the three legs of the Triple Crown.

Along with recognition of his parents, Harden was respected among his colleagues receiving the Nassau County Dental Society’s highest award, The Herbert L. Taub Distinguished Service Award.? If dentistry didn’t keep him busy enough, Hardin was on the Health Planning Board for Nassau and Suffolk Counties, the Board of Managers of the Nassau County Medical Center and the School Board of Floral Park Schools. He was also on Fidelity Bank of New York Board of Directors for 41 years and served as Board Chairman for 5 years.

In 1932, 83 years ago, Hardin and his good friend Ned Scott, in a 1928 Model A Ford (after his parents approved the trip), drove from New York to Los Angeles to attend the Summer Olympic Games.? The only stipulation was that they could not exceed 35 MPH at any time.? This was a round trip of almost 11,000 relying on a very early and rustic highway system.? They camped the entire way both there and back.? On one memorable morning, they woke to a giant bear on their camp site.? Fortunately, the bear did not attack and walked away quietly.? On another fateful morning, a group of men on horses stood over them as they woke and told them to move on thinking they were “vagrants”.? After the Olympics and a short trip into Mexico, they headed to Washington State and then back east through Chicago.? This was a trip that defined his passion for sports, commitment to a challenge and willingness to take on the unknown abyss of life with risk and abandon.

hardin1Just 20 days after Pearl Harbor and the day after his birthday on December 27, 1941, he married his first wife Margaret “Meg” Washburn.? In 1958, the couple built a tennis court which became a meeting ground for singles and doubles, drinks and snacks with neighboring friends.? Almost like a Long Island version of Gatsby.? He also drove one of the very first cars to cross the George Washington Bridge upon completion.

Along with his three children and four grandchildren, Hardin leaves a legacy of compassion, dedication and love that stretches from coast to coast.? He was a citizen of Charleston and one we were proud to call a neighbor and a friend.

Hardin King Davis – Obituary / Legacy – Provided by the Post and Courier

*Thank you Len Fries, The Palms of Mount Pleasant Reporter and The Post and Courier for providing wonderful anecdotes of a gentleman with a storied legacy.

2015 Mepkin Abbey Creche Festival – A Visual Entrance to the Holiday Season

By Paul Brustowicz - Retired Mensch
By Paul Brustowicz – Retired Mensch

There is an eclectic mix of art at the 2015 Mepkin Abbey Creche Festival in Moncks Corner. The depictions of the Christ child’s crib and surroundings are portrayed in ceramics, wood, clay, recycled car parts, a soda can, hammered copper, even oyster shells as seen in this photo.

Visitors to the festival are asked to vote for their favorite creche at the end of the tour. It is like picking your favorite child or favorite song. Near on to impossible.

Of the fifty-six artworks on display, this year’s festival has forty exhibits on loan from the University of Dayton’s International Marian Research Center. These interpretations of the Nativity were created throughout the world. France, Japan, Ecuador, Canada, Egypt and Ghana are just some of the thirty-two countries represented at the Festival.

In addition to the University of Dayton collection, there are two very special exhibits. The Monks commissioned artist Janet McKenzie from Vermont to create a new and inclusive interpretation of the Nativity Scene. In McKenzie’s own words she was “instantly inspired” after having learned of the events at Mother Emanuel AME Church. McKenzie’s work, The Night Visitors, is the invitational piece on the cover of the 2015 program and the first work a visitor sees on entering the Clare Booth Luce Memorial Library where the majority of the exhibits are housed.

As usual the tour is self-paced. The Mensch volunteered at the Abbey welcome center to hand out programs and direct guests down the path where nine of the exhibits are outdoors.

Last year the hammered copper nativity scene in the breezeway was my favorite. This year the handcrafted “Presepio” won my heart. It is the other special exhibit.

The Presepio, Italian for crib, was created by Karen Loccisano and Michael Palan of New York. They were inspired by the Neapolitan figures on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. It is number thirty-two on the program and I could have spent all day viewing this intricate and lovely work depicting an 18th century village in Italy. It is enclosed in plexiglass and should be viewed from all five sides: left, right, front, back and top. Look for the woman with tomatoes in her basket or the devil in chains trying to escape a dungeon. Pictures will not do it justice, unless of course, you’re Ken Burns and zoom in and zoom out on all the carvings.? Loccisano and Palan are also responsible for the cloth and resin figures of the monks in exhibit number sixteen.

The festival runs from November 16 – 22 and November 27 – December 5. Tours start at 10 with the last tour at 3.

Click to Make Reservations

. The 13th Annual Creche Festival is free and open to the public. Last year over 8000 visitors viewed the creches during the three week festival. Head out to Moncks Corner and to set the mood for Christmas.


Charlie’s Grocery Offers a Memorable Falafel for Charleston

charlieDowntown Charleston is home to several corner stores but few have the rich history that Charlie’s Grocery does. Opened in 1996 by Charlie Dabit, the Jasper Street grocery store has kept nearby residents and college students in stock with the essentials and more. Anyone who has ever experienced Charlie’s knows there is an impressive deli within. Beyond the Boar’s Head and large selection of homemade salads and jumbo pickles, there is one of Charleston’s most delicious treats, falafel. While falafel can be found at a few restaurants downtown and beyond, Charlie’s is arguably the best. The Charleston Daily (CD) sat down with Abe, Charlie’s eldest son who is now at the helm of day to day operations. We talked history, falafel and the future.

CD: Tell me about Charlie’s.

Abe: Charlie’s is our family’s store. We have been in business going on 18 years in April. The Jasper Street store was opened in April of 1996 and we recently opened a second store at the corner of Spring and Rutledge.

CD: Looks like you are running the Jasper Street store now. Where is Mr. Charlie?

Abe: My father is still around. Every morning he is at our Spring Street location. He’s very much a part of the business still. He has given a lot of the responsibility to me and my brother though.

CD: Enough small talk. Tell me about the falafel.

Abe: (laughing) What do you want to know?

CD: What makes it so great? Whose recipe is it?

Abe: It’s just really fresh. The falafel is my mother’s family’s recipe and it hasn’t changed. It’s really simple. There is a basic ratio of chickpeas, onions, cilantro, and spices but there is no real measuring. It’s based on taste.

CD: So it’s a secret…. Would you ever considering opening a restaurant?

Abe: Yeah, especially with Middle Eastern food including falafel. Charleston kind of lacks in that area, but we have a few places around like Tabbuli and Manny’s. We have definitely considered opening a restaurant.

CD: What is the strangest thing a customer has requested?

Abe: That’s a toughie… Actually, pig’s feet! We used to carry them in jars. We had to talk my father into dropping them. People would request them, and there you are, reaching in, grabbing a pig’s foot, stuffing it in a bag and sending them on their merry way. Disgusting.

CD: What is the biggest challenge Charlie’s has experienced?

Abe: Finding trustworthy, good help. My father is very old fashioned. It’s very difficult to walk away and allow someone else to do this job.

CD: What does Charlie’s mean to your family?

Abe: Charlie’s is ours and we take care of it like it is a child. It’s everything to us.

falafelOn that note, I dove into the falafel pita Abe had carefully prepared for me. The pita was generously stuffed with flattened orbs of fried falafel and refreshing cubes of cucumbers, tomatoes and onions. The falafel were crispy on the outside and tender inside. Where so many falafel are dense, these were light and bouncy. The optional hot sauce was no joke, even for me. The creamy hummus was a welcome option and it gave the sandwich a layer of depth that made it a satisfying meal. This falafel, like the many others I have enjoyed from Charlie’s, was perfection.

Charlie’s original corner store and deli is located at 1 Jasper Street. Charlie’s second location is open at Spring and Rutledge. Their hours are Monday – Saturday 9am-8pm and Sunday 10am -6pm. Falafel and other sandwiches can be ordered ahead from the Jasper Street location by calling: (843) 853-0351

Are Grits Good For You? – Charleston Daily Health and Food Tip

By Dr. J.
By Dr. J.

The doctor is in and this time I’ll try to answer the eternal health conundrum: are grits really good for you?

Coming from a hash-brown father and a polenta mother, grits were infrequently on our Missouri table. After moving to South Carolina, I tried my first taste of properly prepared grits at the late Anson Street Café. Those bites changed my world. The creamy, buttery warmth made me suddenly happy. There is solid medical evidence that happiness improves one’s sense of well-being and mental health. Logic follows that grits are, at least somewhat, good for you.

However, the nutritional content of grits is relatively dismal. I will spare you the details of the individual packets of cheese- or butter-flavored instant grits. Don’t eat those. Ever. The word “instant” means place directly in a trash can.

The two other types of grits found in grocery stores are quick grits and slow-cook grits. They are both available in canisters in the cereal aisle. Among the slow-cook grits are packages of stone-ground and heirloom varieties from purveyors such as Anson Mills and Adluh. These products have larger grit size, and for reasons I explain below, are healthier than fine grain quick or slow-cook grits.

If you are familiar with the movie My Cousin Vinny, you know that, simply put, grits are corn. Corn is mostly carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are sugar. And sugar is bad, right? We are raised to believe sugar rots the teeth, causes obesity and contributes to diabetes. All true. However, carbohydrates are a ready source of energy for the brain. They can be used immediately by neurons and keep the brain mentally sharp unlike the slow release of energy that occurs while in ketosis, i.e. in a state of starvation or while on a low carbohydrate diet. What I am saying is, my patients are in better hands when I have grits for breakfast as opposed to a hard-boiled egg and sausage. Thus, grits are good for the mind.


Finally, while calories matter, a phenomenon known as the Glycemic Index is important as well. I have personally read and referred my patients to read the Glycemic Load Diet, by Cardiologist Dr. ?Rob Thompson. This diet plan has yielded great results in weight loss and diabetes management for many of my patients. The rationale is that the quicker carbohydrates are broken down from food into glucose, the faster and higher the resultant insulin spike is produced by the pancreas. High and fast insulin spikes leads to insulin resistance, heralding obesity and diabetes. The numerical value measuring the rate at which glucose is released from a food is called the Glycemic Index (GI). The higher the GI, the faster the blood glucose and insulin spike. The GI of pure sugar is 100. White bread is 99. Instant oatmeal is 83. Lettuce is 10. Any food above 69 is considered to have a high GI and should be avoided. Grits prepared with water has a GI of 69.

Fortunately, it is known that the less food is processed and cooked, the lower the GI it retains. Thus the larger the grit size, the lower the GI making course, stone-ground grits preferable. Likewise, cooking foods with fat (i.e. butter and milk) lowers the GI as well. Finally, yellow corn is slighter lower in calories than white corn and thus preferred where health is concerned.

It follows that yellow, stone-ground, slow-cook (less-processed) grits cooked with butter and milk have a lower GI than instant grits prepared with water making these more delicious grits relatively healthier. Make no mistake, they are loaded with calories (up to 300 calories per cup), but they have a moderate GI and they make us happy. That combination is good. Thus, grits are good for you.

So help yourself to a modest helping at your next brunch and until we meet again, be well Charleston.

-Dr. Jay

On Forty-One Takes Mount Pleasant Dining to A Savory Experimental Level

By Mark A. Leon
By Mark A. Leon

On Forty-One sounds initially like the coordinates on a GPS, but this Mount Pleasant Eatery, now one year into its existence, offers a rustic restoration hardware design, open patio seating atmosphere, traditional menu of local favorites, a twist on some traditional entrees and a range of cocktails and wine to compliment any entree or salad selection.? We must include that if you order the s’mores for dessert, you get a personal fire pit at your table.

Welcome to the world of On Forty-One.? As you enter, most guests are won over by the enclosed patio area that is in fact more square footage than the interior, but does house the bar as well.? Our wonderful experience was solidified by the fine service of Heather, whose candidness, patience and charm represented this restaurant very well.

Deviled Eggs
Deviled Eggs

After mulling over the selection of starters that include BBQ shrimp, hush puppies, green tomatoes, ribs and friend oysters, we let our appetite lean us to the deviled eggs.? This appetizer took the classic deviled egg to a new level.? Three of the eggs were topped with diced bacon and three with salmon.? Touched up with capers and brought to a creamy and sweet perfection, this was an ideal beginning to our meal and complimented our Pinot Noir and Cabernet nicely.

Careful consideration when into the entree selections.? Surprisingly, Heather’s top choices were not ours.? She recommended the Smoked Pork Chop and Braised Beef Short Rib.? Both sounded amazing and will most likely be in our future, but we had a specific mission in mind.

Lobster Shrimp and Grits and Grilled Salmon were our culinary picks for the evening.

Grilled SalmonThe grilled salmon was prepared medium laying on a bed of butternut squash risotto, sauteed spinach, baked pumpkin seeds and a lobster-thyme butter.? This is a critical piece of information very relevant to this review.? Enjoy each bite with all the ingredients on your fork.? Start with a small end of the salmon, put a tiny dab of the butter and then add the spinach and pumpkin seed.? This multitude of flavor was so cleverly designed that it will linger and then send a message to your brain for more.

I did not mention adding the risotto to that bite.? I want you to just enjoy the top portion of the entree first.? After that, then add the risotto to the mix, but also enjoy side bites of it alone.? It is presented with a mild sweetness and a creaminess.? The portion is healthy and you will enjoy slow bites over great conversation.? Mostly likely, this could become a second meal when you take a portion home.

The decision to go with the lobster shrimp and grits was simple; lobster is a unique ingredient and one not often found in the Lowcountry.? My decision was easy.? The stone ground grits were thicker and creamier that I am traditionally used to experiencing, but this heartiness structured well with the bacon, sweet onions, peppers, lobster and whole local shrimp.? This meal as well, because of the complexity, was one that we recommend enjoying slowly maximizing the ingredients in each fork drop.? This is a very savory and filling meal and it opened up Pandoras Box begging the question, why not more lobster based shrimp and grits.

Don’t get me wrong, I do love a three meat shrimp and grits or a simple shrimp and grits.? The combination of lobster and shrimp provide two distinct flavors and both swim well in a bed of grits.

gritsOn Forty-One is slightly off the beaten path if you dining leads you to downtown Charleston, James Island or West Ashley, but it is worth the 25 minute drive.? Hidden nicely in a plaza situated between Highway 17 and 41, this casual, yet intimate restaurant will offer you a complete and fulfilling dining experience.


Hiking the Blue Ridge Mountains in Asheville – What a getaway!!!

By Mark A. Leon
By Mark A. Leon

We are the Lowcountry.? Not exactly the challenging streets of San Francisco or the mountains of Nepal, but what we do have just four short hours away is one of our favorite getaways, Asheville, North Carolina.? For those that are beloved fans of the outdoors and hiking, Asheville may already be a second home.? For others, who have always said “We should plan a trip to Asheville” but never do, we think this article may get you off your couch and start packing a bag.? We took a weekend excursion to Asheville to do a little hiking (over one mile above sea level) and enjoyed the majestic backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains.? Where else can you get a bird’s eye view of the Biltmore Estate from high above in the clouds?

Enjoy these breathtaking pictures and then start planning for your little escape from the ocean view to the mountain view.

We started our journey 4980 feet above sea level.

That cool mountain air is so refreshing.

The path has seen many footsteps in the past.

Beautiful flowers and berries along the way.

The journey starts to get steep.

Beautiful steps made for children and adults alike.

Between the tip of the mountain peak and the clouds.

Does it get more beautiful?

So high, your prayers can be heard right away.

So close to the top.

We reached the top and enjoyed the scenic overlook and left our mark with these stones.

Can’t get more closer to heaven.

The sun is setting.? Time to make our way down the mountain.

We did stop on the way down to smell the flowers.

Enjoying the setting sun.

While you are in Asheville, make sure you stop at the “Before I Die” wall and put your wish in writing.

There you have it.? The Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville will take away to a place of spiritual cleansing, mental escape and a remarkably memorable experience.? Go soon and enjoy a cool walk before the winter sets in.

Charleston Girl Perfume Goes “Wild” This Holiday Season by Helping Animals in Need

charlestongirlFor Immediate Release Contact: Caroline Capozzi/Susan Sonner
Creative Edge Public Relations, Inc.
(516) 655-1916
Createdge1@aol.comCharleston Girl Perfume Goes “Wild” This Holiday Season
by Helping Animals in NeedCharleston, SC – Charleston Girl Perfume, a “scent-sational” fragrance and body collection, created by Charleston native Kelly Gaskins, that captures the essence of “Southern Charm and Style”, is giving back this holiday season by donating a portion of their sales to Keeper of the Wild.

Beginning on Black Friday, November 27, 2015 through New Year’s Day, January 1, 2016, Charleston Girl Perfume will donate 5% of all online sales to Keeper of the Wild. This non-profit organization cares for sick, injured, orphaned or displaced wildlife with the intention of returning them to appropriate habitats in the wild. “I wanted to choose a charity for our holiday promotion whose cause I strongly believe in and this was the perfect fit. Keeper of the Wild has a special place in my heart as they have helped me rescue injured wildlife,” states Gaskins, a true animal and wildlife lover herself.Charleston Girl Perfume is a sultry, enticing fragrance that opens with a burst of sparkling fruity top notes, weaves a delicate and sensuous floral middle and finishes with a soft, amber and sandalwood dry-down. The Charleston Girl fragrance and body collection consists of Eau De Parfum (1.7 oz $46), the newly launched line extensions, Body Lotion (8 oz.$28), Shower Cream (8 oz. $22), Rollerball ($22) and special holiday gift sets Southern Spa Indulgence ($70 ) and Charleston Charm ($66).

To purchase the Charleston Girl Perfume collection or learn more about the Keeper of the Wild holiday promotion visit

Coming Soon:? Learn about Kelly Gaskins, the visionary behind Charleston Girl Perfume in an upcoming profile story.

Attention Charleston Dog Owners: Are Dogs the Owners of Humans?

By Mark A. Leon
By Mark A. Leon

It dawned on my recently that perhaps us humans have a very inverted perspective on the relationship between man and canine. I suspended reality for a moment and put myself in the shoes or space flip flops of an alien and observed from a distance the daily rituals of the man/woman and dog. The dog walks, we follow. The dog poops, we pick it up. The dog gets hungry, we feed it. The dog is tired, they take the bed, couch or where ever they want. Hmmm, so who owns who?

Let’s break this down and see if we can come up with a logical answer:

1. During a given day, a dog with run, eat, drink, sleep, lounge, bark, cuddle, stick its head out the window and play with other dogs. A human will get up way too early, eat a rushed meal, worked way too hard for little pay, run errands, pay bills, maybe sneak in a beer or two and pass out weak and weary. Judges: 1 – 0 Dogs

2. When a dog has to go, they don’t have to wait on any lines, seek out a rest room or even wash their hands afterward. Even if they try to cover it up with their hind legs, they know their human will be there to pick up the waste. There is another one for the dog.

puppy33. Humans have to court a girl with a courageous opening line, a well planned out and many times expensive dinner and then fingers crossed they get a goodnight kiss. A male dog walks up to female and does the deed. 3 – 0 Dogs.

4. Here is one victory for us humans…We live a lot longer.

5. Everyone wants to pet a dog, rub its belly and give great big warm hugs. Humans, not so much.

6. Dogs always get doggie treats. Humans only get to eat treats until their metabolism starts to slow down and then only on special occasions.

7. The leash. I think this is a plot by the canine community to give us humans the impression that we still have some control. I don’t know that they even need it.

8. Dogs can be naked all the time. Except Halloween when we feel the urge to dress them up in the most embarrassing thing ever. In most places society still shuns on that for humans.

9. Dogs can fall asleep anywhere. I mean anywhere.

10. Dogs are lovers not fighters. Even when they play fight, love always wins at the end. We could learn a lesson from that.

11. Dogs will always be by your side. Not matter what you do, they forgive and remain loyal. Again, something we could learn from.

12. Humans have to bathe every day. At least society puts pressure on us to. Dogs bathe about every week or two.

13. Dogs are so cool, they usually only need one name.

I think it is clear, dogs may be more superior than humans.

One thing is certain, the partnership between humans and canines is very special and one that should never be taken advantage of.

To man’s best friend, we salute you, love you and will always be by your side.

Dog Parks in Charleston –

Oyster Season – Latest Update (Plus Tips on Harvesting and Hosting) – The Retired Mensch

By Paul Brustowicz - The Retired Mensch
By Paul Brustowicz – The Retired Mensch

So, where was I? Oh yes, oyster versus erster…Here’s the latest:

November 3, 2015
DHEC closes some Charleston County shellfish beds

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control has closed some shellfish harvesting beds in Charleston County due to excessive rainfall, the agency announced today.

“This closure affects shellfish harvesting from Captain Sams Inlet north to Garrison Landing and the north point of Bull Island,” said Mike Pearson, manager of DHEC’s Shellfish Sanitation Section. “The affected area will reopen once water quality data indicate that bacteria levels are once again suitable for shellfish harvesting. Previous closures in the Wando River remain in effect.”

For more information on clam and oyster harvesting areas in Charleston County, call DHEC’s Charleston Environmental Health Services Office at (843) 953-0160.

Jim Beasley
Public Information Director
oystersWell, I hope you liked Fred and Ginger dancing on roller skates. Back to oysters and oyster roasts. Why roast them and not boil the little buggers? Here in Low Country the oysters grow in clusters, clumped together. Remember those sticks in the mud where the oysters grow? Despite the washing by your friendly oysterman in the oyster tumbler pictured here, there is still plenty of grit and crud on those bivalves.

If you choose boiling, or berling as my Brooklyn grandma used to say, to bring about the demise of your oysters, the shells will open in the crud-laden water and those formerly tasty morsels of molluscan delight will now be as gritty as #2 sandpaper. That’s why they roast oyster clusters. Okay, now that your oysters are roasted, what do you do?

First of all, stand back because someone will shovel them onto your table and there will be a mild stampede to grab those hot bivalves.

Here is where I admit ignorance. Being new to South Carolina and oyster roasts, I had to seek out the advice of a son of the low country and oyster roast aficionado. While I’m talking to A. Aficionado, here’s video from PBS about oyster harvesting.

This selection offers information on how to host a lowcountry oyster roast:

If you get invited to an oyster roast, remember to bring gloves, oyster knife, hand sanitizer and plenty of of your preferred adult beverage with beer being the beverage of choice.
Happy bivalve season!

Solving Those Charleston Parking Meter Blues The SmartCard Way

By Minta Pavliscsak

With around 1,800 parking meters in downtown Charleston one might think that finding an available one wouldn’t be that difficult. The trick is not so much in finding a meter, yet the trickiness comes in finding the right meter. The right meter being one that is closest to wherever you are going, and vacant at the exact time you need it.

You have made it downtown Charleston with only moments to spare before you have to get to where you need to be. The streets are lined with cars and you begin to feel that pressure of being late, again, because of parking. You circle around for at least 10 minutes before the miracle of an empty spot appears, and lucky for you it is right in front of where you’re going. You check everywhere you keep your meter money, but it’s running low and all you come up with are three dimes and a nickel. With a sigh, you get out of your car, throw the money in the meter, and as you are walking down the sidewalk you say a little prayer to the parking gods asking them to keep the meter maid away from your spot for just a little while longer.
We can’t promise primo parking, but we can solve the dreaded meter money issue with the City of Charleston SmartCard!

What is a SmartCard?
A SmartCard replaces the need of meter money. It is the size of a credit card and adorned with one of Charleston’s beautiful iconic symbols. It can be used at any of the parking meters in downtown Charleston. It works essentially like a gift card. After you pay the onetime fee of $5 for the SmartCard, you can load money onto the card. Once parked at a meter, you insert the card into the meter and be on your way. The meter deducts money from the card in exchange for time.

What makes the SmartCard so awesome?
It’s super convenient! Now I only have to keep a single card in my car. I no longer think of a quarter as being worth 20 minutes of downtown parking. It’s now worth .25 cents just like it should be.
It’s economical. You can actually get back unused time with your SmartCard. You know that feeling you get when you are ready to go but there is still 45 minutes left on your meter? You don’t have to worry about overfeeding the meter anymore. Just insert the card again and it refunds the remaining time right back onto your card.
It makes an awesome gift. We all have that person who’s difficult to buy for. Hook him or her up with some parking time! Trust me, they will be grateful.
It never expires. There is no time frame within which you need to use the money you have loaded onto the SmartCard. You can load up to $300 to your card.

How do I use a SmartCard?20151030_092135 (1)
It’s easy! Just insert the card into the diagonal slot the diagonal just to the left of where those pesky coins go. After a few seconds it will begin adding time to your meter in 20 minute increments, up to the maximum allotted time. When you return to the meter, if you have any time left simply reinsert the card and that money will be put back onto your card. The cards are made so that the meter only accepts yours while it is running. This prevents anyone else from stealing time, and money off of your meter. These cards are specific to Charleston and cannot be used anywhere else.

Where can I purchase a SmartCard?
Cards can be purchased for $5 at the Charleston Visitor Center Gift Shop on Meeting Street, or at the City of Charleston Department of Revenue Collections – Parking Division on Lockwood Drive. When you need to add more money to your card, you have to do so at one of these two places as well.

No more hoarding quarters and other ever coveted meter money. No more running to your car because you were short on change and you know the meter is about to expire. No more parking tickets!*

*You still have to adhere to the time limit of the meter you are parked at. Charleston Daily is not responsible for any parking tickets you may receive. Sorry folks.