Founders Ball, Charleston

Last night was a big party at Hibernian Hall downtown to celebrate the annual Founders Ball.

It was the perfect start to the holiday social season here in Charleston, with a magnificent Christmas tree bedecked in festive tinsel.

Founders Ball Christmas TreeFounders Ball DancingFounders Ball BandFounders Ball PortraitFounders Ball Group PhotoFounders Ball StageFounders Ball Silly

We mingled with friends, threw some shapes on the dance floor, nibbled on some Southern food, and wound down the evening in Chucktown style!

 

Garden & Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast

Garden & Gun is a southern lifestyle magazine which hosts an annual Jubilee outside of Charleston. The weekend of events kicked off last night with the hotly anticipated oyster roast at Charles Towne Landing.

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast entrance

We arrived after dark to the wooded winter wonderland, with bluegrass singers greeting us at the gates.

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast Reindeer

Garden Gun Jubliee Oyster Roast entrance walkway

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast entrance bluegrass

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast view

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast beer

We snagged some drinks and had a wander round.

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast drinks

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast roaming

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast Steamed Oysters

Rappahannock Oyster Co. out of Richmond, VA was was churning out heaps of steamed oysters.

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast Shucking

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast Shucked

Once you manage to shuck them from their shells, they are a tremendous salty, juicy treat!

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast sign

The Jubilee is a festive seasonal marketplace showcasing some brilliant vendors and designs that represent the best of the south.

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast Vendor Sara Grimshaw Designs

Sara York Grimshaw Designs

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast Vendor Goat Sheep Cow

Goat.Sheep.Cow.

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast Farmshed

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast Swing

The catering was deliciously southern.

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast Chile Verde Merroir Tasting Room

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast Tuna

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast Tuna plate

Tuna with kimchi & black rice | Rappahannock Oyster Co., Richmond, VA

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast Weiner fixins

Toward the end of the evening, Wild Weiners of Charleston was providing hot dogs with all the fixin’s.

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast Vendor Weiners

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast Hot Dog

A nice bite before carriages!

It definitely looks to be a wonderful weekend at the Jubilee. Get your tickets and go!

Savannah Food & Wine Festival

Taste of Savannah was held this year at the Georgia State Railroad Museum. Hundreds of food, wine, and spirits vendors participated in the festival, doling out their goodies to eager foodies and oenophiles.

Any excuse to get back to beautiful Savannah, right?

Savannah Food Wine Festival Park Backdrop

Savannah Food Wine Festival Atlanta Train

What an amazing outdoor venue! I felt like a kid, stupefied by all the big trains, and couldn’t resist the childish urge to clamber up onto some of the carriages to get a better view of the festival grounds.

Savannah Food Wine Festival Train 30

Savannah Food Wine Festival Atlanta Train 2715

There were scads of vendor tents, lots of barbecue grills being fired up, cookbooks being signed, and numerous live demonstrations taking place.

Savannah Food Wine Festival Cooking Demo

But we were careful to prioritize our time – tasting some of the incredible wines on offer…

Savannah Food Wine Festival Wine Tasting

And sampling some southern delicacies, such as honey barbecue grilled chicken wings.

Savannah Food Wine Festival Big Green Egg Chicken Wings

Savannah Food Wine Festival BBQ Wings

Savannah Food Wine Festival Couple

Savannah Food Wine Festival Berkeley's Mill Grits

Other Southern favorites were available to sample. These astounding grits were made with heavy cream and packed quite a punch – ooomf!

Savannah Food Wine Festival Barkley's Mill Grits

Savannah Food Wine Festival Naan Indian restaurant Savannah

We had our first taste of Indian food since leaving London, and it was sweet, spicy relief at long last. Oh, how we miss our old local curry house!

Savannah Food Wine Festival Naan Indian Food Savannah

Savannah Food Wine Festival Naan Indian restaurant Savannah Food

Savannah Food Wine Festival Nicolas Feuillatte Ste Michelle Wine Estates Sparkling Rose

Savannah Food Wine Festival Nicolas Feuillatte Ste Michelle Wine Estates Sparkling Rose Bottle

Savannah Food Wine Festival Sip Nicolas Feuillatte Ste Michelle Wine Estates Sparkling Rose Bottle

Savannah Food Wine Festival Samples

After a glass of bubbles and some pickled crudités, we swung round the tents one more time to try out some new and exciting drinks.

I am going to be filling my shopping cart with a huge supply of this toasted almond coconut sake when it makes its debut at my local Publix grocery store soon – it’s incredible!

Savannah Food Wine Festival Social Coconut Almond Sake

I don’t go for the hard stuff, but there was plenty of it around.

Savannah Food Wine Festival Serpents Bite Apple Cider

And even the most discerning drinker can’t resist a little sip of southern moonshine when it’s offered…

Savannah Food Wine Festival Moonshine shooter

Savannah Food Wine Festival Bill Elliott Dawsonville Moonshine

Savannah Food Wine Festival SoHo South Combo Shooter with Petit Crabcake

SoHo Combo Shooter with Petit Crabcake with mini grilled cheese & tomato bisque

Savannah Food Wine Festival Buffalo Wild Wings Slider

Wild Wing Cafe’s BBQ Pulled Pork Sliders with fried jalepenos

Savannah Food Wine Festival Georgia Peach Balsamic Vinegar

Lowcountry Gourmet Georgia Peach Balsamic Vinegar over ice cream

Savannah Food Wine Festival Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie with Toasted Marshmallow and Raspberry

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie with toasted marshmallow and raspberry

Savannah Food Wine Festival Red Train

We finally came to the end of our tour, and took our caboose right back into Savannah to call it a day!

Charleston Cup

The Charleston Cup was established in 1786 and has been a highlight of the lowcountry racing season ever since. The event was not blessed with perfect weather this year, but we slipped on our wellies, slung on our field jackets, and made the most of it!

Charleston Cup 2015 Tent Picnic Basket

Charleston Cup 2015 Wellies

Charleston Cup 2015 Wellies Picnic

Charleston Cup 2015 Picnic

First order of business was to find our friends in the infield to drop our basket, grab and drink, and go for a wander round the grounds.

Charleston Cup 2015 Race Goers Tents

Charleston Cup 2015 Chevy Tent Catering Food Service

Charleston Cup 2015 Chevy Tent Open Bar

Charleston Cup 2015 Tent Catering Food Flowers

Charleston Cup 2015 Tent Mimosa

Charleston Cup 2015 Race Goers

Despite the mud and intermittent drizzle, there were lots of equestrian enthusiasts out to support the races!

Charleston Cup 2015 Chevy Tent Shirt

Charleston Cup 2015 Lady with Equestrian Skirt

Including a few of the canine variety!

Charleston Cup 2015 Puppy

Charleston Cup 2015 Puppy Dog

Charleston Cup 2015 Puppy Dog Pet

Charleston Cup 2015 race Marshall Red Jacket

We headed to the paddock to eye up the race contenders.

Charleston Cup 2015 Paddock Race Horses_

Charleston Cup 2015 Paddock Race Horse 5

Charleston Cup 2015 Paddock Race Horse 1

And got a little sneak preview of the big prize!

Charleston Cup 2015 Silver Trophy

Then it was time to find a prime spot to get close to the action, before the start of the first running.

Charleston Cup 2015 Races Cheer Sideline

And, finally, they were off!

Charleston Cup 2015 Race Horses Flag

Charleston Cup 2015 Race Horses Start

Charleston Cup 2015 Race Horses Run

Charleston Cup 2015 Race Horses Jump Early

Charleston Cup 2015 Race Horses Jump

The crowd went wild with excitement, as you can see…

Charleston Cup 2015 Races Cheer

Between races, everyone freshens up their beverages and socializes while waiting for the next contest.

Charleston Cup 2015 Mimosa

Charleston Cup 2015 Oak Tree

Charleston Cup 2015 Paddock Dapple Grey

Charleston Cup 2015 Race Spectator

Charleston Cup 2015 Race Horses Track Run

Charleston Cup 2015 Race Horses Race

Charleston Cup 2015 Race Horses Close

Charleston Cup 2015 Oak Tree

Charleston Cup 2015 Race Horses Track

Charleston Cup 2015 Chevy Tent Sarah Eddie

By the end of the day we were certainly a little muddy and chilly, and in need of a hot bath. But two very happy racegoers indeed!

Hilton Head Car Show

Americans love their cars. They pretty much have to. With no thriving rail infrastructure and unreliable public transportation, it’s how most people here get around.

Nowadays most automobiles are imported from abroad, but years ago the United States was the largest and greatest automotive manufacturer in the world. Some of those classic cars are still around, and motorheads across America flock to car shows to get a glimpse of history.

We headed down to Hilton Head, South Carolina for this year’s Motoring Festival & Concours d’Elegance… Arriving by private plane, of course.

hilton Head Car Show Cirrus

Nah, just kidding!

hilton Head Car Show Track View

hilton Head Car Show Track

The event was held on a golf course – of which Hilton Head has many! It was the first day of November and 80 degrees in the shade. I’m still getting used to this whole not-needing-a-jacket thing down south!

We had gorgeous sunny weather to wander around the greens looking at beautiful cars.

hilton Head Car Show Porsche Hybrid

1966 Shelby GT350H

1966 Shelby GT350H

hilton Head Car Show GTO

hilton Head Car Show RR

hilton Head Car Show Dupont

hilton Head Car Show RR Real

hilton Head Car Show RR Silver Side

1968 Mercedes-Benz 280SL Pagoda Style

1968 Mercedes-Benz 280SL Pagoda Style

1963 Ferrari 250 California Spyder SWB

1963 Ferrari 250 California Spyder SWB

The “Ferris Bueller” Ferrari was particularly popular. As he says in the film,” It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.”

Lots of other classics were on show. This VW van made me want to grab a surf board and head for the west coast.

1967 Volkswagen Type 2 21-Window Microbus Deluxe

1967 Volkswagen Type 2 21-Window Microbus Deluxe

But if I could have my pick of any car at the show, it would be this wood-paneled Chrysler Town & Country sedan. Isn’t it a thing of beauty?

1947 Chrysler Town & Country Sedan

1947 Chrysler Town & Country Sedan

1947 Chrysler Town & Country Sedan

1947 Chrysler Town & Country Sedan

hilton Head Car Show 1947 Rolls Royce Silver Wraith

hilton Head Car Show RR Blue Interior

Looking at all these magnificent automobiles just brought to my attention how badly I need to learn how to drive a manual transmission! I’m ashamed I’ve made it this far without having learned. I guess that’s what years of living in big cities with taxicabs and subway systems can do to a gal!

There were also some motorcycles thrown in the mix…

hilton Head Car Show Motorcycles line

1968 Triumph

1968 Triumph

But I think I found something small, sporty, and simply perfect for me – a vintage Borden’s ice cream trike!

hilton Head Car Show Bordens Ice Cream

Since I always brake for ice cream!

It was a great end to a day at the car show.

Hurricane Joaquin, Sullivan’s Island

Hurricane Joaquin was in town for the past few days, and left quite a mess behind.

It hasn’t stopped raining for the past four days!

Sunday morning I’d had enough of being cooped up indoors. So we pulled on our wellies and waterproofs and walked round the neighbourhood.

There wasn’t really anywhere to go that wasn’t under water!

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Station 19 Flooded Water

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Station 19 Walking

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Station 19 Flooded Water Level

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Station Back Yard Garden Flooded Picket Fence

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Station 19 Walking Streets

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Ion Drive

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Flooding Boathouse

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Flooding Boathouse Water

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Ion Lighthouse Flooding

The path to the beach was now a lake!

Even the most serious looking off-road vehicles didn’t attempt to drive down it.

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Flooding Land Rover

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Flooding Lighthouse Water

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Lighthouse Flooding

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Flooding

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Flooding Walk

We simply trudged on, determined to get to the beach.

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Flooding Ion Station 19 Beach Path

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Flooding Ion Walk

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Flooding Ion Station 19 Beach Path Water

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Flooding Beach

The sea was a little bit rougher than usual – but the landscape was strikingly serene.

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Flooding Beach View

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Flooding Beach Water

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Flooding Beach Umbrella Wellies

I kicked off my shoes and strolled barefoot alongside some of our neighbours taking the dogs out for a walk.

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Flooding Beach Dog Catch

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Flooding Beach Dogs

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Flooding Beach Sailboat

Eventually the rain began to taper off into the lightest drizzle.

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Flooding Beach Sailboat Water

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Flooding Beach Sailboat view

We are proud survivors of our first coastal hurricane!

Adios, Joaquin!

Fleurie, Charlottesville

Spending one night in Charlottesville, Virginia didn’t leave us much time to explore – so we headed straight downtown to check out the bustling pedestrian mall and see the sights before dinner.

Charlottesville downtown pedestrian mall

Charlottesville downtown founding fathers

Charlottesville chalk

Charlottesville City Hall had installed a huge chalk wall for the public to celebrate the First Amendment of the US Constitution. We took a moment to exercise our freedom of speech – or freedom to doodle!

Charlottesville chalk writing

Then we hit the shops! I was so happy to come across Caspari’s American outpost (the other is in Paris). I used to shop their products at Partridge’s in London – and this was my first visit to their bricks and mortar store.

Where interior design inspiration abounds!

Charlottesville Caspari store

Charlottesville Caspari dining

Charlottesville Caspari showroom

My little head was on a swivel – so many ways to beautify a home!

Charlottesville Caspari dining table setting

Charlottesville Caspari shelving

I had to stop and coo over these preppy dog accessories – and ponder the question ,“Exactly when will we ever get a puppy?”

Charlottesville Caspari dog accessories collars

As the shops shuttered up for the evening, we traipsed down to dinner at a little French bistro called Fleurie.

Charlottesville Fleurie entrance

Fleurie Charlottesville patio terrace outdoor al fresco dining

The perfect quiet little spot to dine al fresco in downtown Charlottesville!

Charlottesville Fleurie cheers drinks

Fleurie Sip Drink Cocktail Final

Chilled Tomato Soup with salmon rillette

Chilled Tomato Soup with salmon rillette

Lobster Bisque with tarragon

Lobster Bisque with tarragon

Gnocchi, Bleu d'Auvergne Fondue, sweet pecans, cherry tomatoes

Gnocchi, Bleu d’Auvergne Fondue, sweet pecans, cherry tomatoes

Herb Crusted Halibut, summer squashes, white wine sauce

Herb Crusted Halibut, summer squashes, white wine sauce

Wolf Creek Grass-fed Beef Sirloin, Gnocchi Parisienne, Leeks, Bordelaise

Wolf Creek Grass-fed Beef Sirloin, Gnocchi Parisienne, leeks, Bordelaise

I’ve been mostly steering clear of sugar and gluten this summer, but when I’m out at a nice restaurant all rules fly out the window.

Not one to be put off by an imminent sugar crash, it was time for dessert…

Vanilla Bean Créme Brulée

Vanilla Bean Créme Brulée

Peach Pithier, Raspherries, Vanilla Ice Cream

Peach Pithier, raspberries, vanilla ice cream

Petit Fours: Chocolate hazelnut truffles, Lemon meringue tarts, Cherry financiers

Petit Fours: Chocolate hazelnut truffles, Lemon meringue tarts, Cherry financiers

lemon_tart

Summer nights like these are the sweetest!