Outdoor living spaces offer 'staycation,' boost home value
By BOB FLEMING
President, Classic Remodeling & Construction, Inc.
Special to CharlestonCurrents.com
18, 2010 -- With the economy lingering in the doldrums, many families
are holding off on spending thousands of dollars to take a vacation
abroad. Instead, consider the alternative of creating a personal
oasis in the comfort and convenience of your own backyard. For a
fraction of the cost of a journey abroad, a remodel or addition
can help turn your travel dreams into a staycation reality. Best
of all, the benefits of your outdoor space remodel can be enjoyed
long after the normal duration of a one- to two-week vacation.
more than ever before, homeowners are validating the significance
of the home place, where the backyard and patio are clearly enhancements
of the living area inside the house. The economy has motivated people
to choose to stay home, staycation, and spend their money on their
investment through a remodel or addition of an outdoor living space
where the family can spend time together in the comfort of their
own home, essentially taking the indoors out.
In today's sluggish real estate market, the second most likely home-remodeling
project is outdoor entertaining space. According to Consumer Reports,
by creating an inviting outdoor living space, people can easily
increase their home's value. Many outdoor spaces are also designed
to be the focal point of a home.
living spaces, such as this one by Classic Remodeling &
Construction, are among the top remodeling projects in today's
economy. Bringing the indoors out provides a custom-made escape
that's still close to home. (Photo by Tripp Smith)
stone fireplaces for cozy gatherings; pergolas and gazebos to resemble
a faraway oasis; flat-screen televisions seamlessly incorporated
into outdoor surroundings; weatherized dining tables suitable for
family-style meals or an intimate dinner for two; and elite, gourmet
grills containing storage, sinks and refrigerators.
Today's remodeling project is tilting toward a more environmentally
conscious lifestyle, and it's fitting that another requirement for
these remodels is to incorporate a nice flow between the inside
and the out. With the help of a professional design-build remodeling
company, you can transform your backyard into a soothing outdoor
space conducive to relaxation and entertainment, while maintaining
the natural elements that make the outdoors so appealing.
never leaving the comfort of your home to experience the gratifying
effects of a staycation in your beautifully remodeled outdoor space.
Take that staycation, and create a space that is the hub of your
family's social life.
Fleming is president of Classic
Remodeling & Construction, Inc., a Johns Island based company
that specializes exclusively in residential remodeling and restoration.
The company, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year,
is an underwriting partner of CharlestonCurrents.com.
guide focuses on kid-oriented fun in tri-county area
ANN THRASH, editor
18, 2010 -- Guides for what to do in Charleston aren't hard to come
by. You can organize activities around our military history, our
historic plantations, our golf courses, our historic homes and gardens,
just about any theme you like. But there hasn't been a go-to guide
that's organized around kids - until now. Parents, say thank you
to Mary Middleton.
who lives on Wadmalaw Island, just released "Go Local Charleston:
A Parent's Guide for Children's Activities in Charleston, S.C."
Chock full of activities, local knowledge, facts and guides for
both residents of the area and visitors, "Go Local Charleston"
is all about family-oriented, kid-friendly activities. It's a real
departure from most guidebooks, which have just a few pages at most
on things kids will enjoy.
says the idea for the book grew out of her own family trips - ones
she took as a child and the ones she's taken recently with her husband
and their daughter and son, ages 3 and 1. The family takes a trip
to Maine annually and were always on the hunt for kid-oriented activities,
she says. After seeing a book there that focused on things to do
with the kids, Middleton started looking around for a comparable
guide when she got back to Charleston, but there really wasn't one
- nothing that pulled together a lot of information on diverse activities
and attractions, all in one place.
guides that were out there really kind of glazed over the activities
for children," she says.
Middleton, daughter Cassie (left) and son Connor set out on
a hike in the Lowcountry.
(Photo provided by Mary Middleton)
book seems like a natural extension of Middleton's recent work in
the education and nonprofit communities. She was formerly a teacher
at Friends School and the O'Quinn School, a former education coordinator
with the Charleston Museum, and former chairperson of the Heritage
my years of work as a teacher and museum educator, I was often approached
by locals and visitors looking for activities that were geared toward
kids' interests and activity levels," says Middleton. "
'Go Local Charleston' is born out of what I saw as a void between
lack of activity advertising, local know-how, and my years of experience
with children and families."
Local Charleston" covers a wide range of activities and attractions
in the tri-county area, everything from plantations and historic
sites to the House of Bounce. Activities are further broken down
according to how much time parents will need to allow (for example,
"On the Fly" activities will take two hours or less, with
the "Pack a Lunch" and "Make A Day of It" options
taking longer). Activities are also rated for affordability, Middleton
activity highlights include lists of paved, off-road, and interpretive
trails for hiking or bike-riding, ongoing and daily events around
town, places to "u-pick" local produce, farmers markets,
and sites where you can rent kayaks, surfboards, boats and more.
also has established her own publishing company, Backroads Publishing,
with "Go Local Charleston" as the first title. The next
one - a field-trip guide for teachers and home schoolers - is already
taking shape in Middleton's mind. She's also started a blog as a
companion to "Go Local Charleston." She hopes it will
be a central location that might eventually offer some reviews,
as well as a continually updated calendar of events and a place
where local families can connect. "I really hope it will be
something that helps us promote all the great things about the Lowcountry,
and all the local people and shops and the nonprofits that put on
such great events to help make this such a wonderful place to live,"
Local Charleston" costs $14.95 and is available online
or at a number of local shops and sites, including Wonder Works,
Indigo Books, Blue Bicycle Books, Hollipops, the Charleston Museum
gift shop and the Middleton Place gift shop.
Thrash, editor of CharlestonCurrents.com, can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
time lost when schools decided to close early
agree with you 100 percent (on schools
unnecessarily closing early for last week's snow)! Other ramifications
of them closing early is the unproductive time in discussions before
reaching this decision and the issues surrounding after-school care
and parents' work schedules. If educators spent more time focused
on educating kids, maybe our kids would learn what they are supposed
to when they are supposed to learn it.
Joanne B. Milkereit, Charleston, S.C.
a comment or want to vent? If you have something to
say about leadership in South Carolina, the state of baseball
today, good barbecue or something about your community's government,
drop us a line to: email@example.com.
Please send no more than 200 words and include contact information
(phone number, hometown) so we can get in touch with you.
public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring CharlestonCurrents
to you at no cost. In this issue, we turn the spotlight on the South
Carolina Aquarium, the #1 attraction in Charleston. The aquarium
offers interactive excitement and value for visitors of all ages.
A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, the South Carolina Aquarium
aims to inspire conservation of the natural world by exhibiting
and caring for animals, by excelling in education and research,
and by providing an exceptional visitor experience. Guests can explore
exhibits such as Penguin Planet with four Magellanic penguins, the
Touch Tank featuring Atlantic stingrays, the 385,000-gallon Great
Ocean Tank featuring sharks and moray eels as well as exclusive
behind-the-scenes looks at the extraordinary care that is provided
to rescued sea turtles in the Sea Turtle Hospital. Starting in March
2010, the Aquarium will feature a rare ghost of the swamp, an albino
alligator, in the renovated Blackwater Swamp exhibit. Check out
the daily educational programs with animal feedings and dive shows.
Start planning a visit to the South Carolina Aquarium today at www.scaquarium.org.
of Fleet leaves Alhambra Hall for town's new park
town of Mount Pleasant's 23rd Annual Blessing of the Fleet and Seafood
Festival will leave its longtime home at Alhambra Hall this year
to move to the town's new Memorial Waterfront Park at the base of
the Ravenel Bridge. Town officials say the popular event, planned
for April 25 this year, has simply outgrown the Old Village.
Blessing of the Fleet at Alhambra Hall and Park has attracted an
increasingly larger crowd over the years," Mayor Billy Swails
said in a town press release. "Its popularity has overwhelmed
vehicle and pedestrian routes in the Old Village and has posed a
serious challenge to public safety, thus prompting the need for
a new home. Our Memorial Waterfront Park will provide an unmatched
panoramic view of the fleet, a state-of-the-art playground, and
sprawling lawns for our chefs, our crafters and our artist guild.
Handicapped parking and handicapped access will be greatly enhanced,
and ample parking will accommodate the more than 12,000 people who
attend the festival each year. This is a perfect fit."
just a one-day activity, the Blessing of the Fleet and Seafood Festival
now features a week of events centered on the importance of the
shrimping industry. Activities will include lectures, cooking demonstrations,
a dance on the pier, and a reading by local author Mary Alice Monroe,
a nationally known novelist whose book "Last Light over Carolina"
focuses on the shrimping tradition in McClellanville.
more information about festival events, call Su McManus-Frost at
884-8517 or go
Yah' documentary to be shown at gallery, on ETV
documentary about the loss of historic Gullah communities in Mount
Pleasant will get a screening at the City Gallery at Waterfront
Park tonight prior to airing on SCETV's "Southern Lens"
Yah: There's No Place Like Home" explores the culture, history
and importance of the land and the concept of home through the eyes
of black residents of communities that have been threatened by suburban
sprawl east of the Cooper. Many of the people featured in the film,
which was directed by Justin Nathanson, live in close-knit neighborhoods
that were established by freed slaves and have been home to the
same families for generations. The residents include a number of
sweetgrass basket makers.
Yah" will be screened at 6 p.m. today at City Gallery. A panel
discussion on land development and cultural preservation will follow.
On Feb. 25, the "Southern Lens" episode featuring the
film will air at 10 p.m. on ETV.
more information or to see clips from the film, go to http://binyahfilm.org.
changes name to Blue Water Benefits
a local employee benefits consulting firm, has changed its name
to Blue Water
Benefits. The company, one of the largest employee benefits
agencies in the Southeast, offers products and services to help
businesses navigate the insurance industry. Approximately 200 companies
work with BWB, including Piggly Wiggly Carolina, Heritage Trust,
Stella Nova, Jupiter Holdings, Porter-Gaud, Carolina Health Specialists,
the Gibbes Museum of Art, Global Aeronautica and Orient Express.
The company is also an underwriting partner of CharlestonCurrents.com.
company opened its doors in 1980 under the leadership of Dick Horne.
Current President and Lead Consultant Brandon Guest has 21 years
of experience in the insurance industry and is a Certified Employee
Benefit Specialist and Registered Health Underwriter. The company,
which has 28 employees, has its headquarters on e-Wall Street in
us your reviews
If you have a review or recommendation of a book, movie, restaurant
or local arts endeavor, please send no more than 150 words to
editor Ann Thrash.
Make sure to include your name and full contact information.
lightning, a white whiskey made surreptitiously and illegally, was
once produced in great quantities in South Carolina. It got its
name from its color and the kick it delivers when consumed.
beverage achieved popularity in South Carolina and the rest of the
South largely because of the high taxes on legal whiskey, the ready
availability of the major raw material-traditionally corn-and the
region's poverty, which made moonshining an attractive industry
for many farmers. Production mushroomed between 1915, when South
Carolina went legally dry, and 1933, when national prohibition ended.
White lightning became part of the culture of some rural areas,
including parts of southern Appalachia.
potable, often referred to as "moonshine" because it was
usually produced at night, is often made under conditions so primitive
that it has proved lethal. But its "proper" manufacture
is considered an art form by some backwoods connoisseurs. The whiskey
is produced from mash, which is a mixture of grain, sugar, water,
and yeast that ferments to produce the alcohol. Lack of aging leaves
the whiskey with a clean "white" look. Distilleries are
commonly made of copper for the most part, which, the producers
think, helps maintain the flavor. Manufacturers usually make their
from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, humorously called
"revenooers" by the moonshiners, have sharply curtailed
the illegal operations. In 2003 a South Carolina law enforcement
official said the last distillery raid had probably occurred just
three months earlier. But isolated still masters still ply their
art in South Carolina, and many of their customers wax ecstatic
when they are lucky enough to purchase a batch they consider safe
Excerpted from the entry by Robert A. Pierce. To
read more about this or 2,000 other entries about South Carolina,
check out The South Carolina Encyclopedia by USC Press. (Information
used by permission.) To
read more about this or 2,000 other entries about South Carolina,
check out The
South Carolina Encyclopedia by USC Press. (Information used
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Fashion Week is coming up March 16 to March 20, and one of the big
draws this year will be "Project Runway" finalist and
designer Mychael Knight introducing his first full collection since
that Bryant Park show a couple of years ago. We got a newsletter
from the fine folks at Fashion Week with some fun fill-in-the-blank
questions the event staff had posed to Knight. His answers to five
statements are below. To see the full Fashion Week schedule, buy
tickets or sign up for e-mail updates, go
to this Web site.
- I started
designing when I was: "Eight or 9 years old. 'Soul Train'
was my first reference of inspiration!"
I think about style, I think about: "How it should be
effortless and personal."
- The one
thing I wish I could change about the fashion industry is:
"The lack of representation of African-American designers,
models, and industry insiders."
- My biggest
challenge as a designer is: "Escaping my comfort zone."
- I think
every woman's wardrobe should have: "A nude pump."
out all of your past except that which will help you weather your
William Osler, British physician (1849-1919)
Thursday: Feb. 18, downtown Summerville. The monthly
Third Thursday promotion in historic Flower Town has a February
theme of "Fall in Love with Downtown Summerville." Stores
will be open until 8 p.m. for shopping and strolling, and restaurants
will be offering dinner. More info: Online
"Sickly Season": 7:30 p.m. Feb. 18, Charleston
Museum, 360 Meeting St., downtown. Charleston was the unhealthiest
of the 13 original colonies, and during the 18th and 19th centuries,
diseases of epidemic proportion plagued the city and hampered its
grown. Museum Curator of History Grahame Long will give a presentation
titled "Infections, Afflictions, and Perilous Prescriptions:
Charleston and 'The Sickly Season.' " Free and open to the
10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 20, Gibbes Museum of Art, 135 Meeting
St., downtown. Sponsored quarterly by the Junior League of Charleston,
Community Day gives visitors a chance to enjoy the Gibbes Museum
at no cost. Nature is the theme for the event, which includes art-making
activities for kids. Scheduled activities include a musical performance
by students from Memminger Elementary at 10:30 a.m. and a book reading
by Christi Sanford, author of the "Legare the Lizard"
series, at 11:15 a.m. Beverages will be provided by Rising High
Seafood Dinner: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Feb. 20, Restaurant
at Middleton Place Plantation, 4300 Ashley River Road. The South
Carolina Aquarium's Sustainable Seafood Initiative and the restaurant
will present a dinner featuring sustainable seafood, with a portion
of the proceeds benefitting the Initiative. Reservations (required):
577-FISH (3474). More
Society Oyster Roast: 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Feb. 20, Charleston
Visitor Center Bus Shed, 375 Meeting St., downtown. The Charleston
Charitable Society's 17th annual oyster roast is a benefit for Carolina
Autism and is the Charitable Society's first joint event with the
Palmetto Society. Tickets include oysters, chili, beer and wine;
Soul Function will provide the music. Cost: $20 in advance, $25
at the door; available
online or at South Carolina Bank & Trust branches at 46
Broad St., 315 Folly Road and 1032 Johnnie Dodds Blvd.
ONGOING AND SOON
Game Night: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Feb. 22, Holiday Inn Express,
120 Holiday Drive, Summerville. The American Business Women's Association's
Jessamine Chapter of Summerville will hold a game night fundraiser
and silent auction to benefit women's scholarships. Open to the
public. Guests are invited to bring their favorite game and/or team.
Prizes, food and beverages provided. Cost: $10 ticket donation.
Reservations requested. Contact Shirlie
Taylor, 873-6769 or get
in Crisis Tour: 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Feb. 23, Recital Hall,
Simons Center at the College of Charleston. Michael Kaiser, president
of the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., chose Charleston for
his only South Carolina stop on his 50-state Arts in Crisis Tour.
He will speak about current challenges and opportunities for arts
organizations. The Charleston Concert Association is hosting the
program in partnership with the S.C. Arts Commission, the City of
Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs, and the College of Charleston
School of the Arts. Free and open to the public, but advance registration
is required; e-mail or call
to speak: Noon, Feb. 23, Charleston Music Hall, 37 John
Street. Attorney Ted Sorensen, former key aide to President John
F. Kennedy, will offer reflections to students at the Charleston
School of Law. The public is welcome, but is asked to reserve a
here for more.
Golf Classic: Feb. 23, Wild Dunes Resort's Links and
Harbor Courses, Isle of Palms. Sponsored by the Charleston Metro
Chamber of Commerce to offer businesses five hours of uninterrupted
networking with key clients, customers or contacts. Tournament (captain's
choice format) includes 60 teams on two full courses; each team
gets 18 holes of golf with lunch and beverages, followed by a reception
and dinner at the Sweetgrass Pavilion. Registration begins at 10
a.m.; shotgun start at 11:30. Cost: $800 per team or $200 per individual.
Bouche: 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Feb. 26, Halsey Institute
of Contemporary Art, College of Charleston, 161 Calhoun St. The
event, the unofficial kickoff of the BB&T Charleston Wine +
Food Festival, benefits the Lowcountry Food Bank's Kids Café
and Backpack Buddies Programs and the Halsey Institute. Jim 'N Nick's
Bar-B-Q will "Pork from Around the World" tastings, and
Whole Foods will offer an open wine bar. Cost: $20 per person at
the door; RSVP no later than Feb. 24 to 747-8146 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Angel Get-Together: 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 28, grassy
area near Maritime Center, 10 Wharfside St., downtown. The Charleston
Parks Conservancy will host a social for old and new members to
get acquainted and learn more about the group. Food, games and prizes
along with opportunity to learn about upcoming events and volunteer
needs. The organization works to support local public parks by planting
and maintaining green spaces and promoting the history and beauty
of local gardens. For more info or to register as a Park Angel (it's
this Web site.
Southern Politics: 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. March 3
and 1:45 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. March 5, The Citadel. Author and
former Alabama congressman Glen Browder will speak on race and Southern
politics. The March 3 event is an author presentation and book signing;
Browder is the author of "Stealth Reconstruction: An Untold
Story of Racial Politics in Recent Southern History" and "The
South's New Racial Politics." The March 5 event is a panel
discussion during the Symposium on Southern Politics, an examination
of the 2008 elections. More
Women": 3 p.m. March 7, Gibbes Museum of Art, 135
Meeting St., downtown. The Charleston Chamber Opera and the Gibbes
will present an afternoon of opera in the rotunda, the setting for
the "Whistler's Travels" special exhibition. Soprano Patrice
Tiedemann, mezzo soprano Lara Wilson and baritone Paul Soper will
explore the life and loves of artist James McNeill Whistler (who
was married but had several lovers, one of whom bore him several
children and another of whom raised his son by yet another woman).
The clever mix of art song, opera and theatrical flair will include
the music of Debussy, Saint-Saens, Mahler, Gilbert & Sullivan
and others. Tickets: $10 museum members and students; $20 nonmembers.
online, at the museum store or by calling 722-2706, ext. 18.
Stampede: 10 a.m. March 13, Houston Northcutt Boulevard,
Mount Pleasant. An offbeat 100-yard dash in which contestants must
wear 3-inch heels (both male and female). The top male and female
finishers get $5,000 from Gwynn's of Mount Pleasant, and Charleston
Magazine will give $1,000 to the runner with the best costume. Post-race
food and entertainment offered in the Whole Foods parking lot. Proceeds
from the run benefit MUSC Children's Hospital. Race fee: $30. Entry
for the Parks: 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. March 13, Ashley Avenue
overlooking Colonial Lake, downtown. "Amusement on the Avenue,"
sponsored by the Charleston Parks Conservancy, will feature live
music from the Flatt City bluegrass band, the Plainfield Project
and DJ Trailmix along with roller skaters, breakdancers, jugglers
and hip hop dancers. Food provided by Oak, Muse, the Bagel Shop,
Queen Street Grocery, Taco Boy, Closed for Business and La Fourchette;
there will also be a cappuccino bar by Royal Cup and a tasting for
a new vodka from Firefly. Event is open only to those age 21 or
older. Tickets: $55 in advance, $75 at the event. More
House Furniture Tours: 4 p.m. March 18 and March 19,
and 10 a.m. March 20, Heyward-Washington House, 87 Church
St. downtown. The Charleston Museum's Heyward-Washington House will
host furniture-focused tours with special information on the significant
18th-century English and Charleston-made furniture collection housed
there. Visitors can learn about Charleston cabinetmakers, locally
harvested and imported wood, and the influence of Thomas Chippendale.
Reservations not required. Admission: $10 adults, $5 children (free
for museum members). More info: 722-2996, ext. 235, or visit
Picky Eaters Group
On Jim Fisher
Rural Mission's needs
Fish to buy
guide book for kids
looks at success
all of the cuts
look at summer camps
should get out
at White House
on working with Boeing
library text questions
for King Day