|Issue 1.03 | Monday, Nov. 10, 2008 | Forward to your friends!|
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NOV. 10, 2008 -- When the smell of hot apple cider begins mixing with the aroma of pluff mud, the Charleston holiday season has arrived. The days are as crisp as ginger snaps, and the blue skies and clear, starry nights provide the backdrop for tinsel and lights, Santas and shopping, parties and presents.
The Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau has an entire landing page devoted to the holidays, and the Web site remains active throughout the calendar year. Thousands of curious visitors are logging on to see what Charleston is cooking up for this November and December. The slogan for this landing page -- www.christmasincharleston.com -- is "Sleigh bells ring, children sing and Santa has a tan."
The November issue of Conde' Nast Traveler ranked Charleston the No. 2 destination in America, knocking New York City out of the coveted spot behind San Francisco. This designation, along with the friendliest people (according to a CNN poll and Travel + Leisure) and countless events, lightings, festivals and delicious food, keep visitors returning time and time again.
Traditionally, industry observers suggest that the Charleston area's "tourist season" kicks off in February with the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition, peaking in the spring and fall months. This leaves the month of January when the number of visitors in town is at its lowest. Our Be A Tourist in Your Own Town program was designed to fill this annual void and thank locals for their support during the rest of the year. We sell tickets for the program during November and December, and they are available only to residents of the tri-county area. Individual passes and family passes are available for $20 and $50 respectively.
This year, 37 local attractions and 24 restaurants are participating in the program. It's a great way for locals to stay "in the know" about all that's new and interesting in the Charleston area. The program also gives restaurants a chance to say thank you to their local clientele by offering impressive discounts after the holidays.
These passes make the perfect holiday gift and can be purchased online at www.beatourist.net, by phone at 853-8000, or by visiting any of the official Charleston Area Visitor Centers.
Local events that have become Lowcountry family traditions include the James Island County Park Holiday Festival of Lights. Now in its 19th year, the three-mile driving tour features more than 2 million lights and is open Nov. 14 through Jan. 4. The 29th annual Parade of Boats on Dec. 6 and the Christmas tree lightings and parades in each municipality also bring throngs of locals and visitors to celebrate the holiday season.
Both local residents and visitors can get a glimpse into how Charlestonians celebrated Christmas in generations past at two premier historic house museums -- the Nathaniel Russell House and the Aiken-Rhett House. Indoor exhibits at Nathaniel Russell will portray a typical 1808 Yuletide setting. A Victorian Christmas in the South will be on display at the Aiken-Rhett House beginning Nov. 23.
Area plantations swing into the holiday spirit as well. Magnolia Plantation and Its Gardens invites guests to the Camellia Christmas taking place Dec. 4 through Dec. 31, when America's most extensive outdoor camellia display will be in full bloom. Magnolia, along with its neighboring properties, Drayton Hall and Middleton Place, will dress up in its finest holiday furbelows to celebrate the season. Boone Hall Plantation in Mount Pleasant will also be dressing up in reds and greens. Check out www.christmasincharleston.com for a complete list of local activities and events.
If your family is planning to spend the holidays here in Charleston, rest assured there will be plenty folks from off who will be eager to join you in one of America's top destinations.
NOV. 10, 2008 -- Picture in your mind a couple of cowboys, tall in the saddle, driving a herd of cattle through the dusty countryside. The picture seems to fit naturally in America's Midwest, right?
Now picture this: That very scene was going on right here in Charleston not all that long ago.
Dr. Nic Butler, manager of the Charleston Archive at the Charleston County Public Library, says slaughterhouses, cattle pens and driving the herds to town were a fact of daily life in Charleston for centuries, dating back to the founding of the area in 1670.
Driving cattle to Charleston from the country - we're talking Moncks Corner, the Drayton Hall area, Walterboro, Colleton County - was the first step in the process of getting meat from farm to table. In fact, Butler says that enslaved Africans driving cattle to the slaughterhouses were probably the first "cowboys."
Butler will give a free talk on this fascinating, rarely examined part of Charleston's history on Nov. 12, at 7 p.m. in the auditorium of the main library at 68 Calhoun St. It's called "Butcher Town: A Brief History of the Slaughterhouses of Early Charleston."
"Everyone recognizes it was a foul business but a necessary part of life," Butler tells us, "unless you happened to be a vegetarian."
In his work reconstructing old city records for the archive, Butler has found countless references to the slaughterhouses and "Butcher Town." There were lists of rules and regulations, "not-in-my-backyard" complaints from residents about sanitary conditions, and requests that slaughterhouses be moved out of residential neighborhoods.
"As you might imagine, the citizens who resided anywhere near - or downwind of -- Butcher Town objected strenuously to the noise, stench and waste emanating from the various slaughterhouses, and Charleston's City Council struggled to find a balance between appeasing their complaints and sustaining this necessary business," Butler writes at the Charleston Archive's blog.
"Butcher Town" seems to have been a specific area that would have been known to city residents, says Butler, because he's seen references in 18th- and 19th-century papers to property for sale "in Butcher Town." The designation seemed to migrate as city fathers pushed the slaughterhouses farther and farther north and west of the more heavily populated peninsula.
Butler says people will be surprised to learn that there were once slaughterhouses at the sites where we now see well-known public parks, high-priced homes, hotels and schools.
"Until 1912, all the slaughtering happened right next to some body of water, whether it was the Cooper River or the tidal creeks. Gadsden's Creek was the last one that was used, and that's in the area where Joe Riley Stadium is now," Butler says. "As the various creeks got filled in, the slaughterhouses had to keep moving."
What was slaughtered? In addition to cattle, Butler says, there was another category called "small meats" that included goats, lamb, sheep, calves and hogs.
The city finally shut down the last vestige of Butcher Town -- the City Abattoir -- in 1949.
Butler's talk about this long-forgotten facet of Charleston's public market system is sure to fascinate local history buffs, especially those who relish our culinary traditions. As Butler puts it, he hopes to answer some "sensational, even gruesome questions." The bet here is that we'll also say a silent "thank you" for something we usually take for granted: refrigeration.
Ann Thrash is editor of CharlestonCurrents.com and its statewide sister, SC Statehouse Report. You can reach her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring CharlestonCurrents to you at no cost. This issue's featured underwriter is Southeastern Galleries, a family-owned store that offers the best in upscale furniture in one of the largest showrooms in the state. The store's highly-trained professional interior designers offer complimentary design assistance for customers, including space planning, furniture and fabric selection, window treatments, wall coverings, carpeting and rugs. Design services involve working from architectural plans for new construction and in-home consultations for existing homes. To learn more about the outstanding furniture offerings and design help from Southeastern Galleries, visit the company online at: www.southeasterngalleries.com, or stop by its West Ashley location at 1885 Ashley River road in Charleston. Phone: 556-4663.
The Charleston Center for Photography will feature decorated combat veteran Master Sgt. Andy Dunaway and his photographs at its free Monday Night Lecture Series at 7 p.m. today. The event will honor Veterans Day, which is Tuesday.
Dunaway, who lives in Charleston, has won multiple photography awards and honors in his 20 years as a combat photojournalist, and his work has been featured in National Geographic, Newsweek, The New York Times and Time magazine. He has documented military conflicts in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Africa and Haiti, and he earned a Bronze Star for heroic actions under fire in Iraq, where he served three tours of duty. He also served as former Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld's personal photographer and was a lead editor on the Department of Defense inauguration media team.
During tonight's program, Dunaway will share pictures from his recent trips to Iraq and Afghanistan and talk about his experiences in the line of fire.
"These images provide a deeper understanding of what the armed forces are encountering every day, and it's not all about combat. It's day-to-day living in places one would never imagine calling home," he says.
The Center for Photography is located at 654-D King St., Charleston. More info: http://www.centerforphotography.com.
Trade in campaign signs for some barbecue
Tired of the leftover campaign signs now that Election Day has come and gone? Here's a deal from Sticky Fingers that's hard to beat.
To every person who turns in a campaign sign at a Sticky Fingers restaurant through Nov. 12, Sticky Fingers will offer a coupon for a free barbecue appetizer up to $7.99 with the purchase of any entrée (one coupon per person). The folks at the Charleston-based restaurant group will recycle the signs.
The drive, which started on Nov. 5, is a win-win situation, says Chief Executive Officer Jim Balis. "It's an easy way to help the environment, clean up our neighborhoods and provide a little economic relief to our loyal customers," Balis says.
To find your nearest Sticky Fingers location, visit http://www.stickyfingers.com.
Patriots Point activities to honor veterans
Patriots Point will offer several programs this week to honor veterans of the armed services.
The 14th annual Fifth-Grade Veterans Day program will be held from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Nov. 11 on the USS Yorktown. More than 400 fifth-graders from Charleston County schools will take part in the ceremonies, which will include patriotic music performed by the School of the Arts Concert Band. The Military Magnet Academy Drill Team will present the colors and demonstrate military proficiency skills, and students will get personal tours of the aircraft carrier led by Patriots Point's team of military volunteers.
On Nov. 15, Shuckin' and Shaggin' on the Yorktown, a benefit for the Wounded Warrior Program, will be held from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets are $20 (adults and children).
More info: http://www.patriotspoint.org or 881-5984.
'Dark & Bubbly' tasting to benefit My Sister's House
Dark & Bubbly, a tasting of champagnes and chocolates to benefit My Sister's House, will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Nov. 13 at the Historic Rice Mill, 17 Lockwood Blvd., Charleston.
My Sister's House is a nonprofit organization that provides services and support for tri-county-area victims of domestic violence and their children.
The event will also feature live jazz by Charlton Singleton, a silent auction and a cigar bar. Sissa Green is the survivor speaker.
are $35, cash or check only, and are available at the door or in advance
by calling 747-4069. More info on My Sister's House: http://www.mysistershouse.org.
"This is poetry that one can 'unpack,' and each reading reveals another layer, another surface. It is simultaneously profound and witty while being almost austere in construction."
In 1703 the colonial assembly authorized the construction of a storehouse for gunpowder as part of the defenses of Charleston. The Powder Magazine was built on the northern edge of the walled city by 1713. Currently located at 21 Cumberland Street, it is considered to be the oldest surviving secular building in the Carolinas.
The one-story brick structure has a pyramidal tile roof with cross gables and a single room measuring approximately twenty-seven feet square. The walls are thirty-six inches thick. Proprietary governor Nathaniel Johnson most likely oversaw its construction. Although replaced by a new magazine in 1748, it continued to be used for powder storage through the Revolutionary War.
After 1820 the building reverted to the Izard and Manigault families, the owners of the property before 1703, who used it variously as a livery stable, a printing shop, and a wine cellar. The National Society of the Colonial Dames in South Carolina purchased the building in 1902 to save it from demolition and turned it into a museum.
In 1993 Historic Charleston Foundation obtained a long-term lease from the Colonial Dames, restored the building to its mid-nineteenth-century appearance, and reopened it as a museum of early Charleston history. The Powder Magazine was designated a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1989.
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Tony Bertauski, a horticulture instructor at Trident Technical College, shares his top five winter shrubs for Lowcountry gardens, along with what kind of light they like (sun or shade):
1) Camellias: What blooms in the winter? Sasanqua camellia blooms in fall. Japanese camellia in winter. Shade or sun.
2) Tea olive: Ordinary shrub with exceptional fragrance from innocuous-looking flowers. Repeat bloomer that seems to go all winter long. Mostly sun.
3) Daphne: An unsung hero, this small shrub is extremely fragrant in winter. Prefers some shade.
4) Chinese mahonia: Evergreen shrub resembles an upright fern. Not many blooms this far south, but great form. Shade or sun.
5) Nandina: Red fruit hangs around all winter. Birds eat the fruit. Dwarf varieties, such as Firepower, might not produce berries but offer exceptional red foliage. Shade or sun.
"One cool judgment
is worth a thousand hasty counsels. The thing to be supplied is light,
-- President Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924), who spent part of his boyhood in Columbia
Ballet Flamenco Jose Porcel: 8 p.m. Nov. 11, Gaillard Auditorium, 77 Calhoun St., Charleston. The company from Madrid, Spain, incorporates modern flair with a traditional flamenco repertoire. Cost: $15-$60. Tickets: at the Gaillard, through Ticketmaster at 554-6060, or at http://www.ticketmaster.com.
Preventing Workplace Violence: 7:30 a.m. to noon Nov. 12, Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, 2750 Speissegger Drive, North Charleston. Learn about effective prevention, intervention and responses to a variety of forms of violence in the workplace. See Good News for details.
Butcher Town: 7 p.m. Nov. 12, Charleston County Library Main Branch, 68 Calhoun St., Charleston. Illustrated talk by Dr. Nic Butler, manager of the library's Charleston Archive, on early Charleston's slaughterhouses. See Ann Thrash's column for details.
Dark and Bubbly: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Nov. 13, Historic Rice Mill Building, 17 Lockwood Drive, Charleston. Tasting of champagne and chocolate to benefit My Sister's House. See Good News for details.
Faith Hope and Charity: Nov. 13-29, Circular Congregational Church, 150 Meeting St., Charleston. PURE Theatre production of the play by Odon Von Horvath. Set in the socially and economically oppressed South during the Great Depression, the play tells the story of a young woman's struggle to survive. Tickets: $30. Call 723-4444 or go to More info: http://www.puretheatre.org.
Oyster Roast: 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 16, Bowens Island Restaurant, 1870 Bowens Island Road. Event benefits the outreach ministry of the Rural Mission. Enjoy the traditions of Bowens Island, food, music and a great sunset. Tickets: $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Order through the mission at 768-1720 or by e-mailing email@example.com. More info: www.ruralmission.org.
Holiday Festival of Lights: Nov. 14 through Jan. 4, James Island County Park, 871 Riverland Drive, James Island. Millions of sparkling lights and hundreds of imaginative displays line a 3-mile drive through the park. Also includes marshmallow-roasting and activities for kids, gift shop and walking trail through Winter Wonderland. More info: http://www.holidayfestivaloflights.com.
Grinch in Toe Shoes: Charleston Ballet Theatre's production of "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas." Performances at 7 p.m. Nov. 14; 11 a.m., Nov. 15 and Nov. 22; and 3 p.m., Nov. 16 and Nov. 23 at Charleston Ballet Theatre, 477 King St., Charleston. Part of CBT's Children's Series, sponsored by the Wachovia Foundation, the Henry and Sylvia Yaschik Foundation and the McNair Law Firm. $20 adults, $10 children. More info: 723-7334 or http://www.charlestonballet.org.
Sustainable Design: 6 p.m. Nov. 18, Charleston Visitor's Center Theater, 375 Meeting St., Charleston. Part of the Lulan Sustainable Community Lecture Series. Speaker Nathan Shedroff, chairman of the MBA in Design Strategy program at California College of the Arts in San Francisco, will give a talk titled "Design is the Problem and the Solution: The Future of Design Must Be Sustainable." More info: http://www.lulan.com/lulan/series.php.
"Old Hickory" Talk: 7 p.m. Nov. 18, Holliday Alumni Center, 69 Hagood Ave., Charleston. Jon Meacham, editor of Newsweek magazine, discusses his new book "American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House" as part of the Fulghum Lecture Series at The Citadel. Fundraiser for the S.C. Historical Society. $25. More info: http://www.citadel.edu.
HCF Benefit Rug Sale: Nov. 20-23, Aiken-Rhett House, 48 Elizabeth St., Charleston. Peter Pap, a nationally renowned expert on Oriental rugs who frequently appears on the popular PBS series "Antiques Road Show," will exhibit some of the world's finest rugs at the sale. Portion of proceeds will benefit the Historic Charleston Foundation. Free and open to the public. Preview showing 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 20; show and sale hours 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Nov. 21, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 22; noon to 5 p.m. Nov. 23. More info: 723-1623 or visit http://www.historiccharleston.org.
29th Annual Parade of Boats: 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 6, Charleston Harbor. Lighted boats decorated for the holiday season parade through Charleston Harbor, followed by a fireworks display. View the procession along the waterfront or decorate your own boat and join the fun. Parade begins on the Mount Pleasant side of the harbor; viewing from the peninsula begins at 6:30 p.m. Fireworks at approximately 6:45 p.m. More info: 724-7305.
In this section, we offer a list of good reads that you might want to consider reading:
11/3/08: Kapeluck: Election turnout
11/3/08: Meet CharlestonCurrents.com
11/6/08: Election reflections
We encourage you to check out our sister publications:
SC Statehouse Report -- a weekly legislative forecast that keeps you a step ahead of what happens at the Statehouse. It's free.
SC Clips -- a daily news compilation of South Carolina news from media sources across the state. Delivered by email about the time you get to work every business day. Saves you a lot of money and time. Sign up for a free trial subscription today.
GwinnettForum -- an online community commentary for exploring pragmatic and sensible social, political and economic approaches to improve life in Gwinnett County, Ga. USA.