Archive for the ‘Play Alfresco’ Category

Resting Gazebo over waterI walk the dockGazebo on GlassPurple Night over Bristol Marina

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The Setting: 100 acres of pluff mud and marsh grass about 30 minutes outside of downtown Charleston.

Marshlands and Pluff MudThe Plot: 5 friends plan to go camping with two mutts and a German Short Haired Pointer. At the last minute, one of the friends decides to dog sit and bring a Golden Retriever, and another friend brings his father’s Chocolate Lab and junkyard dog, along with his sister’s Labra Doodle (did I spell that right? Is that even a real dog? Yes, yes it is.) All are in for a fun filled night of incessant barking. Who knew a dog pack 7 strong would stay up ALL night on constant alert for raccoons and abominable marshmen?

The Characters:

Mutt #1

Mutt #1 - Biscuit

Mutt #2

Mutt #2 - Turkey

A true hunting Dog

The Pointer - Shooter

A dirty golden

The Beast - Linus

Ole Reliable

Ole Reliable - Chip

Mutt Dog

Junkyard Dog - Otto ... No really, see those two leashes hanging from his collar? He bit through them after we leashed him to a tree for causing trouble.

The bountiful Labradoodle

The bountiful Labradoodle - Homer

Here are some of my favorite action shots from the trip

Golden Retriever shaking offWaiting to retrieveDogs looking for a ballChip leads the wayDogs at play

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Something magical happens when daylight savings time ends in Charleston. The sky can shift from baby blue to grapefruit pink to blood orange in a matter of seconds. I’ve never seen such a diverse and ever changing skyscape. On this evening, I was lucky enough to capture some of the beauty.

So the next time I complain about shorter days, I need to remember to look up. And give thanks.

Twilight over the waterDusk in the LowcountryRainbow sunsetNovember SunsetBlood orange sunset

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You would think that Charleston, of all waterfront towns, would be a biker friendly city. With an active urban center built of cobble stoned streets and one way traffic patterns, biking should be an attractive alternative to driving.  Coupled with Charleston’s evident commitment to preserving its precious ecosystem and a passionate college community, the Lowcountry should be a leading example of a southern city on the move.

Is Charleston a biker friendly town?

That's just me and my beach cruiser on the day of purchase. I bought it, put it in the back of my car, drove over 2 bridges and unloaded it on Sullivans...what a waste of gas 😦

But we aren’t. Our biker unfriendly bridge and road system actually isolates riders. Because downtown Charleston is a peninsula, we must cross one of three bridges to reach any of the many residential neighborhoods the area offers. And the only viable option to do so is by car.

A sparse few bike the James Island connector, and even the most experienced put themselves in danger. This past July, Charleston lost one of its beloved residents to a bicycle-vehicle accident on this very bridge (full story Affordabikehere). Crossing the Ashley River bridge is even worse. A narrow, raised sidewalk for pedestrians and bikers is the only means of travel if you decide to leave your car at home.

I wish I could ride my bike a half mile to Publix, but I would not dare leave the Sullivans Island city limits on my beach cruiser.

The painted line that separates the bike lane from the rest of the road is not going to protect me from a texter at the wheel, or a driver who simply gazes from his window at the marsh land and coastal wildlife.

There is light at the end of this tunnel road, however. 2 of them, in fact.

First, Charleston already boasts one AMAZING example of a share-the-road success. The Ravenel Bridge (commonly known as the Cooper River Bridge) is safe for bikers and pedestrians of all ages and experience levels, and gives drivers some added peace of mind. Protected by a 3 foot concrete barrier, riders and walkers can trek the 3 mile suspension bridge without fear. It is extremely well marked, easy to enter and easy to exit.  Battery to Beach Route

The second beam of hope is Charleston Moves, a non-profit organization that is seeking to “change the lives of Charlestonians by promoting bicycling, walking, running and public transportation.” To ignite this effort, the group has created an ambitious plan to build a safe, 24 mile bike route that spans from Isle of Palms through downtown Charleston, all the way to Folly Beach. Coined Battery to Beach, the initiative is raising money by allowing individuals, groups and companies to “rent sections” along the route. The money donated will go toward planning and building a route that is marked with clear signage and protected by more than a painted white line, or a patch of grass.

Watch their video. Get inspired. And then get moving!

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Charleston was voted the Top City in the United States by the 2011 Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards! Congrats Charleston!

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Sullivans Island is a special place…especially for dogs.

Before noon, the beach belongs to dogs. Allowed off leash, the shoreline morphs into a puppy paradise…the mother of all bark parks…an endless tract of territory unmarked. They are free to run, and swim, and dig. All shapes, colors and sizes are welcome…at sunrise, it’s a dog’s beach. Sullivans Island is for dogsIt is Saturday mornings on Sullivans Island when my soul is at ease, and Biscuits’ too. There is something intangibly good about a dog at play. The happiness a dog feels at the beach is contagious. I know this because it is on these mornings when I have met some of the nicest people in the city. And I am convinced it is because our dogs bring out the goodness in our hearts.

Man's Best Friend

So next Saturday, change it up a little. Go for a jog or sip your morning coffee on Sullivans. You and your dog will be equally grateful. (Just make sure to read up on Sullivans Island beach rules before you go…yes, you will get a hefty ticket if you break them.)

Below are photos I took this weekend at the beach with Biscuit. Prepare for utter cuteness.

Yellow Lab on Sullivans Island beachAnxious Yellow Lab patiently awaits beach time!

Beach Dog ParkHappy dogs…happy humans.

Digging DogDigging for fiddlers

Walking golden retrieverA Golden Retriever walks loyally with owner

Happy Biscuit in the surfHappy Biscuit

Pensive Biscuit on the beachPensive Biscuit

Maltese getting warm!

Maltese Dog at the beachA cute Maltese named JJ tries to warm up in owners arms!

Golden Retriever chasing ball in waterMission: Retrieve

Retriever doing her jobJob well done!

Biscuit Portrait 1Biscuit Portrait 2Biscuit Portrait 3Biscuit Closeups

Fast terriors runningCharge!

Exercise class with dogsExercising dogs in a pack

Spaniel on Sullivans IslandDog Rules for Sullivans IslandBiscuit loves Sullivans.

But she is beginning to tire.

Leaving the beachSo it’s time for her mid-morning snooze.

Until next time…

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Early 1960's

Mom (right) with brother David and sister Nancy circa 1960

I have always been attracted to restaurants, shops  and attractions that celebrate American past times and days gone by. When I am worried about letting the children I babysit for play in the front yard by themselves, I envy the environment our parents grew up in. And I romanticize it. I am filled with jealousy when I hear stories of my mom and dad being able to walk to a movie theater with their friends, spend the pennies and dimes they have saved from chores on a soda and watch a summer film to escape the seasonal heat.

Today, we still go to the movies. The difference is, we drive our children to the theater and they wait in the car with us until they get a “we’re here” text from their friends…then they swipe their check cards for a 15 dollar 3D movie, and swipe again for a 12 dollar popcorn that could feed a family and a soda big enough to swim in.

But this past Friday, I got to relish in my romantic ideas of the past at the Terrace Theater, a truly unique The Terrace Theater at sunsetexperience that offers children of Generation Y to morph into Baby Boomers for a night. The Terrace Theater features independent and foreign films, along with local and national documentaries. My discovery of this special place occurred when they offered free admission to a documentary called Waiting For Superman, a heart-wrenching, brutally honest look into our public school system. A must-see. Not for the light-hearted.

I knew I needed to go back to experience the theater in a more free-spirited light. And on Friday, they were running Midnight in Paris for its final night. And without knowing anything about this Woody Allen film, I purchased my ticket.

Without spilling a spoiler, (because this film is also a MUST SEE) I could not have chosen a better movie for the theater atmosphere I wanted to experience. That is all I will say.

Okay. No more gushing about the 1960’s and wish I had been born in a simpler time. Now I will gush about the Terrace Theater.

This special place is a celebration of the vintage. My photos will tell its story.Charleston Terrace TheaterVintage Theater entranceOne for Midnight in Paris!Full bar at the Terrace TheaterGummy Bears!Vintage Candy and ColaMovies at The Terrace TheaterGirls clubhouseTerrace Theater offering alcoholic beverages

Chuck Taylors on a stoop

Not the Terrace. Thats just my dad rocking his Chuck Taylors in August!


5 Things you all must do:

1. Watch Waiting For Superman

2. Stop waiting, and find Superman

3. Go see a movie at the Terrace Theater

4. Redbox Midnight In Paris

5. And then, enjoy the present

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