Tag Archives: Charleston

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!

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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!

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!

Spoleto Festival Charleston 2015

When I moved from London to a small American city, one thing I was apprehensive about was the cultural scene. So it was with great fortune that we timed our move here to coincide with the opening of the annual Spoleto Festival.

Spoleto is one of the biggest performing arts festivals in the country. It receives generous   government funding through the National Endowment for the Arts to support a programme of a world-class performances across the fields of theatre, music and opera.

Spoleto Festival Charleston Opening Ceremonies Broad Street

We were eager to be on hand for the opening ceremonies, which took place down on Broad Street, on the steps of City Hall. The crowd was packed with a sea of straw-hatted arts enthusiasts as the Mayor of Spoleto, Italy made his remarks to officially open the first day of the festival.

Spoleto Festival Charleston Opening Ceremonies Mayor of Spoleto

Spoleto Festival Opening Ceremonies Broad Street

Spoleto Festival Building Charleston

Spoleto Festival USA 2015

Charleston Riviera Theatre

Before the theatre, we had time to grab a quick bite at a Charleston dining recommendation we’d been chomping at the bit to try. My godmother, Lisa, suggested the Two Boroughs Larder and since we were downtown, this seemed the perfect chance to give it a go.

Two Borroughs Larder Front

Two Boroughs Larder Charleston Outside Sign

Two Boroughs Larder Charleston Communal Table

The communal dining area is lined with shelves stocked with dry goods and kitchen provisions. They carried some wonderful products, from French paring knives to custom dog collars that support rescue pups. I loved browsing that wall for things to line my own pantry!

Two Boroughs Larder Charleston Shop

Two Boroughs Larder Charleston Inside Friends of Walter Sign

We headed around to the other side of the restaurant to a more intimate seating area, and happily grabbed a seat by the window. The waitress slipped us some menus and we began to order a steady stream of small plates.

Two Boroughs Larder Charleston Kitchen

Two Boroughs Larder Charleston Chopsticks

Like many restaurants in Charleston, Two Boroughs Larder strives to serve locally sourced and seasonal ingredients. The dishes are simple, but some of the combinations really blew our minds. Even the most basic dishes, like the seasonal lettuce, had us scraping our plates.

Lettuce, benne seed tahini, meyer lemon, breadcrumbs

Lettuce, benne seed tahini, meyer lemon, breadcrumbs

Asparagus, buttered popcorn, whey

Asparagus, buttered popcorn, whey

Charred English Peas, horseradish, pea Jus, creme fraiche, radish

Charred English Peas, horseradish, pea jus, crème fraîche, radish

Squid Ala Plancha, aioli, wild greens

Squid Ala Plancha, aioli, wild greens

Cuban Sandwich, pork neck, ham, swiss, pickle mustard

Cuban Sandwich, pork neck, ham, swiss, pickle mustard

Things started getting real by the time we polished off the Cuban sandwich. But our favourite by far was the bowl of house noodles. Could it be Charleston’s best ramen?

Bowl-o-Noodles, pork confit, soft egg, pork broth, house noodles, plus kimchi pickled mushrooms

Bowl-o-Noodles, pork confit, soft egg, pork broth, house noodles, plus kimchi pickled mushrooms

We happily put away our bowls and headed to the theatre.

I’m profoundly embarrassed to admit that in five years of living in London I never managed to get to The Globe Theatre to see a performance. I walked by it so many times rambling up Southbank, but the right opportunity just never arose. So how apt that we moved to Charleston and let the merry players come to us!

Spoleto Romeo and Juliet Dock Street Theatre Steps

Spoleto Festival Dock Street Theatre Steps

Opening night performance at the Dock Street Theatre was The Globe’s touring production of Romeo and Juliet. And I couldn’t have been more excited!

Spoleto Festival Charleston Dock Street Theatre

Spoleto Festival Programme Dock Street Theatre

Spoleto Festival Romeo and Juliet Dock Street Theatre Table of Programmes

Dock Street Theatre Courtyard Seating

The Dock Street Theatre first opened in 1736, under the reign of King George II. And despite Charleston’s tricky (to say the least) history with the British, the royal crest still hangs above the Dock Street stage.

We arrived fashionably early, giving us time for a quick apéritif in the beautiful brick courtyard before the show.

Dock Street Theatre Courtyard Table

Dock Street Theatre Courtyard

When the bells chimed, we sought out our seats and were pleased to find the actors milling about the room, tuning their musical instruments and exchanging casual banter with audience members. I can’t deny it was nice to hear the familiar parlance of the English tongue after so many weeks away from London.

Spoleto Festival Charleston Romeo and Juliet Audience Dock Street Theatre

Spoleto Festival Charleston Romeo and Juliet Dock Street Theatre Actors

Spoleto Festival Charleston Romeo and Juliet Dock Street Theatre

The performance was fresh and energetic, and the actors seemed to transcend the pitfalls of such a famous, well-known story. Romeo was played by dad-bod ginger Samuel Valentine, which took a bit of getting used to as my mind kept picturing Mitchell Pritchett from Modern Family up on stage trying to woo Juliet, who was played by Cassie Layton. She actually nailed the part as a callow, pubescent schoolgirl pining after her first crush – after all, the character was only 14 years old.

But the standout performance was definitely Steffan Donnelly, the lanky and incredibly camp Mercutio – his charisma and vigor onstage was magnetic and won the audience over completely.

A wonderful first show in a two-week long lineup of events that are sure to be equally enthralling. It’s a relief to know that the arts are alive and thriving down here in the American South.

Party at the Point

Some friends invited us to hear some live music on the beach, part of Charleston’s weekly happy hour concert series.

“Sorry, did you just say live music, beach and happy hour in the same sentence? Duh! I’m in!”

So we made our way over to the harbor, stopping along the way for a late lunch. After all, rule number one to avoid a smashing hangover is to “carb up” before the party.

Xiao Bao Biscuit Exterior

Xiao Bao Biscuit Lunch Charleston Cabbages and Roses Blue Amos Dress

I was keen to try downtown Charleston’s cult favourite Asian restaurant Xiao Bao Biscuit. Housed in a converted petrol station, I’d heard about these white dudes churning out mind-blowing Korean and Vietnamese food, and was thoroughly intrigued.

Xiao Bao Biscuit Inside Bar

Xiao Bao Biscuit Inside Table Red Chopsticks

Xiao Bao Biscuit Inside Decor

Xiao Bao Biscuit Table Menu Window

The menu was concise, but so authentic I had never heard of half of the dishes… like Mapo Doufu, and Okonomiyaki, let alone could pronounce them! So I just took a wild guess and sat back sipping on my Vietnamese lemonade until our order arrived.

Xiao Bao Biscuit Chanh Muoi Housemade Vietnamese Lemonade

Xiao Bao Biscuit Chanh Muoi Housemade Vietnamese Lemonade Sip

Okonomiyaki - Japanese cabbage pancake topped with pork candy

Okonomiyaki – Japanese cabbage pancake topped with pork candy

The cabbage pancake was golden-fried deliciousness topped with pork candy – kind of fluffy dehydrated meat wool. Strange, but delightful, mixed in with all the flavours of the dish.

Bo Bo Ji - Sichuan style chicken, cilantro, scallion, and peanut salad over rice with a roasted sesame flavored sauce

Bo Bo Ji – Sichuan style chicken, cilantro, scallion, and peanut salad over rice with a roasted sesame flavored sauce

The rice salad was fiery, crunchy and coated in a drastically rich sauce. So fresh and fragrant.. but filling. I couldn’t finish it.

We headed over to Waterfront Park to catch the water taxi across the harbor. While we were waiting, I watched the little kids paddling and splashing in the fountains.

Charleston Palmetto Tree Harbor

Charleston Fountain Kids Paddling Playing

And I couldn’t resist joining in on the fun too!

Charleston Fountain Cabbages and Roses Amos Dress Blue

Charleston Fountain Cabbages and Roses Blue Amos Dress

Breathless but refreshed, it was time to board the water taxi across to the party.

Charleston Harbor Water Taxi Pier

Charleston Harbor Water Taxi Pier Flag

We hopped on and began making our crossing, spotting a few dolphin friends following alongside us.

Dolphin

We came upon Patriot’s Point, where the USS Yorktown is docked – it’s a naval museum where you can climb aboard a decommissioned aircraft carrier and take a tour of US Naval history.

Charleston Patriots Point USS Yorktown

Charleston Harbor Patriots Point USS Yorktown

We coasted past the big ships and into the quiet waters of the marina, where we disembarked just steps from the party at Charleston Harbor Resort.

Charleston Party at the Point Marina Boats

Charleston Party at the Point Marina

Charleston Party at the Point

Charleston Party at the Point Pier

First call of duty was to kick off our shoes, dig our toes in the sand, and grab a couple of drinks to stave off the early evening heat.

Charleston Party at the Point Sand

As the sun sank, the beach grew more crowded, and local band Blue Dogs hit the stage. Belting out a mix of bluegrass and Southern rock inspired tunes, they got the audience kicking up some sand under their feet!

Charleston Party at the Point Blue Dogs Band

Charleston Party at the Point Blue Dogs Girls Dancing

Charleston Party on the Point Friends

Charleston Party on the Point

Charleston Party at the Point Funny Face

We laughed and boogied throughout the set, and into the night.

It’s fair to say this party was on point!

Leon’s Fine Poultry & Oyster Shop, Charleston

I guess you could say we’ve been doing a lot of taste-testing in Charleston! The foodie scene in this town is remarkable. It seems we can’t turn the corner without running smack-bam into a new restaurant we just have to try.

I had been wanting to pop into Leon’s since the first time I drove by it’s summery patio shaded with lemon yellow canvas parasols. Inside it’s just as charming, which was fortunate since it was too hot to sit outside.

Leon's Charleston Outside Yellow

Leon's Charleston Oyster and Poultry

Leon's Inside Wine Sign Softserve Machine

Leon's Inside Dining Area Bar

Leon's Inside Garage Door Stools

Leon's Charleston Artic Boy Inside

Leon's Charleston Inside White Dress

When it comes to oysters, I normally don’t deviate too far from the raw-on-the-halfshell spectrum. But Leon’s is renowned for the char-grilled variety, so we wagered on an order.

Char-grilled Oysters, lemon, parsley, butter, parmesan

Char-grilled Oysters, lemon, parsley, butter, parmesan

Leon's Charleston Wood Fired Char-Grilled Oyster

Awww, shucks, they were good!

Especially with a dab of southern hot sauce.

Leon's Charleston Red Clay Southern Hot Sauce

We also dabbled in a little fried clams, crispy and wrapped in lettuce…

Fried Clam Lettuce Wraps, pickled vegetables, spicy mayo, fresh herbs

Fried Clam Lettuce Wraps, pickled vegetables, spicy mayo, fresh herbs

… and a corker of a shrimp salad sandwich, sprinkled with crushed potato chips!

Shrimp Roll, horseradish mayo, celery, potato chips, fine herbs

Shrimp Roll, horseradish mayo, celery, potato chips, fine herbs

Leon's Charleston Food Shrimp Roll Potato Chips

But the real main event was the fried chicken, soaked in buttermilk, and then double fried in Crystal’s hot sauce – it was plucking unbelievable!

Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken

After all that, we were totally full and ready for the check. But the waiter mentioned that the special dessert was a soft-serve cone with jimmies, and my inner child screamed for ice cream!

Leon's Charleston Food Soft Serve Vanilla cone with Jimmies

Leon's Charleston Food Soft Serve Ice Cream Cone with Jimmies

We walked home, sharing a cone, through Hampton Park – which originally used to be a race course and jockey club. Now the perimeter is bursting with trees and gardens, and lots and lots of magnolias!

Hampton Park Flower Bed Spanish Moss

Hampton Park Charleston Path Wooded

^^ This guy kept me laughing with a bunch of old school jokes, like “Which knight designed King Arthur’s Round Table?”

Circumference!

Hampton Park Charleston Path Moss

Hampton Park Charleston Path

Hampton Park Charleston Magnolia Bloom

We were blessed with another beautiful day to be out and about, enjoying the sights and weather in this wonderful city.

Magnolia Plantation

Magnolia Plantation is a mere twenty-minute drive outside of Charleston and it’s known for its beautiful gardens.

When you pull up, you coast down a long drive covered in old oak boughs draped with Spanish moss.

Magnolia Plantation Spanish Moss Drive

Magnolia Plantation Spanish Moss Big Tree

Peacocks greet you on the front lawn of an old plantation house.

Magnolia Plantation Peacock

Magnolia Plantation Exterior Front

Magnolia used to be a rice plantation. The property backs up to the Ashley River, which was used to flood the fields to create the standing water needed to grow rice.

Reverend John Drayton inherited the property in the 1840s. It surprised me that he was a man of the cloth. As the tourguide gestured proudly to Drayton’s large Old Testament book commissioned from a London press, I couldn’t help but picture some creepy old villain, hunched over his Bible reading Exodus verses as enslaved labourers were being whipped (or worse) just outside his door.

I really struggled to separate the beauty of this property from its sinister history. I wonder if that’s what Drayton’s wife tried to do when she arrived at Magnolia from her hometown of Philadelphia. Legend has it that John built all the gardens on the property to please his out-of-town bride. There’s really no denying the refined allure of the landscape here.

Magnolia Plantation Exterior Rear Backyard

Magnolia Plantation Porch Bench

Magnolia Plantation Long White Bridge

Magnolia Plantation Long White Bridge Standing

Magnolia Plantation Long White Bridge Path

Magnolia Plantation Long White Bridge Pond

Magnolia Plantation Hedge Garden

The gardens remind me of the kind of Romantic landscapes you’d see in a Pre-Raphaelite painting. The kind of place a melancholy maiden might sulk around in a bohemian gown writing love letters…

Or maybe just prance gaily through a hedge maze!

Magnolia Plantation Garden Maze

The azalea bushes weren’t yet in full bloom, but there were plenty of exquisite flowers peeking out everywhere you looked. We toured down paths in every which direction, getting lost in the extensive grounds.

Magnolia Plantation Flowers

Magnolia Plantation Daisies

Magnolia Plantation Red Bridge Spanish Moss

Magnolia Plantation Red Bridge Gold Sandals

Magnolia Plantation Bag

Magnolia Plantation Peacock Fan

Part of our admission ticket included a walking tour of the swamp. So with some trepidation, we ventured in…

Swamp Tree Bark

Swamp

Magnolia Plantation Swamp

Magnolia Plantation Swamp Path

Magnolia Plantation Swamp View

Magnolia Plantation Swamp Egret in Flight

The swamp is such a fascinating eco-habitat for so many creatures – especially birds. We saw egrets, red-headed woodpeckers, cardinals, and some others that we couldn’t identify. I would love to go back sometime with a pair of binoculars. It’s a bird-watcher’s paradise!

Thankfully, we were able to get close to some cute creatures in the swamp.

Magnolia Plantation Marsh Rabbit

This little marsh rabbit was not afraid to strike a pose for the camera!

Magnolia Plantation Marsh Rabbit Photoshoot

Magnolia Plantation Marsh Rabbit Swamp

By the time we left, it was starting to get very muggy in the swamp – it’s definitely not a forgiving climate in which to live! But this was a truly special place to visit and appreciate nature in one of its most enchanting forms.

Magnolia Plantation Swamp Bench

We left feeling completely swamped with lots of great memories!