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Archive for the ‘Mount P’ Category

Our friends visiting from the frigid Bluegrass realm seemed genuinely baffled by our repeated apologies about the “cold weather”.

“It’s normally not this cold.  It’s normally around 60 degrees,” we stated over and over, attempting to withstand the tundra-like 52 degree temperature settled over Pitt Street Pier in Mount Pleasant.

Our friends looked at us like we were nuts, obviously enjoying what had to feel absolutely balmy in comparison to the snow-wracked region they had just escaped.  Egrets fighting over a shrimp in the marsh below looked at us and told us to stop being ridiculous.

My blood has definitely thinned out.

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Mount Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park, one of the area’s best examples of reuse and enhancement of the public realm, has been rather regrettably one our most ignored (well, not ignored, just somehow easily forgotten) places in the Charleston area.  After an impromptu visit following a trip to Whole Foods last Sunday with our matchmaking friend Whitney, we have made a vow not to let this wonderfully appropriate use of public/private funding to further skirt our ‘favorite haunts’ memory bank.

The park, situated just below the Mount Pleasant side of the Ravenel Bridge, is a real gem of a public space thanks in large part to its attention to the past and present.  Along with an exceptionally large lawn and a fantastic nautical-themed playground which makes me long for the days of being so young my only worry was how my diorama of “Summer of the Monkeys” would be received by my teacher due to the fact that my drawings of said monkeys resembled famished ferrets, the ADC Engineering -designed park sets aside special areas to commemorate Charleston’s and South Carolina’s war heroes, the Lowcountry’s sweetgrass basket culture, and its ever-ubiquitous love affair with the sea.  The latter addition, taking the form of a remarkably long fishing pier complete with ample seating and swings as well as a cafe for visitors to take a load off of their already unloaded leisurely time in a great riverside setting, is particularly interesting to me  due to its position as a great example of reuse:  the pier is built upon the lopped off pilings of the old (horrifying to traverse) Cooper River Bridge.  Mount Pleasant does these sorts of reuse projects very well.

The park is tailor-made for festivals, and we can’t wait to attend our fair share in the near future.  We only have one experience to fall back on thus far:  an attempted attendance at the Blessing of the Fleet festival this past spring which was cancelled due to the threat of inclement weather and was subsequently rescheduled for a later date, minus the fleet the celebration was organized to “bless”, oddly enough.

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With the number of visitors we have had in town since March, Suzanne’s house may actually qualify under the definition of ‘accommodations’ within Charleston city ordinances.  Time to pony up some tax dollars, I guess.  This past weekend, Matt and Erin made a rare trip to Hotel De Wentworth.  Friday night, we were fortunate enough to take in the southern rock stylings of Crowfield, my favorite local band, at the season finale (and subsequently 10th anniversary) of Rockin’ on the Point, an event whose name I can’t for the life of me grow to not find painfully lame.  A great show from a band whose propensity for being better live than on recording makes them definitely worth the price of admission and whose ambiance was only enhanced by the omnipresence of bumping and grinding Taco Bell mascots.

The rest of the weekend, we settled into a typical itinerary of beach, Poe’s, Red’s, dinner downtown, Fat Hen, and lots of walking around while I pointed at things.  This time, however, our trip to Red’s inspired a different outing for Sunday, as instead of just remarking upon how great it would be to kayak Shem Creek, we actually kayaked Shem Creek.  I have been paddling through different waters around Charleston previously but none whose established routes take you near a wildlife refuge sandbar with a decidedly Hitchcockian ominousness (think thousands of birds brawling with each other) or playful dolphins who would nudge the bottom of your hull before blasting out of the deep as you sit for literally an hour watching.

This weekend, we’ll host Harper , in on a pitstop as she returns to Raleigh from a summer in Tampa, and Caroline, whose presence means Fin will actually leave me alone for more than 10 minutes at one time.

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After over a month and a half of non-stop weekend visits from friends, Suzanne’s sister Caroline had the honor of being our final guest for the foreseeable future, a fact that is both exciting and somewhat lamentable.  This weekend was a busy one.  It started off gloriously on Saturday morning with a bit of hilarity.  A man was attempting to ride a bike down Ashley Avenue in front of MUSC while carrying a 12-foot ladder.  What possessed him to even attempt this feat no one can be for certain.  We waited with bated breath for the inevitable tumble, which occurred probably 10 seconds after we first spotted the guy.  After falling face-first into asphalt and monkey-rolling a couple of times as the ladder bounced erratically on the ground next to him, the man ripped off his shirt and flexed his muscles in some sort of weird ‘I’m ok, but I want you to know I’m enraged’ way.  Convinced he wasn’t seriously injured, we sputtered down the road in hyperventilation.

We spent Saturday afternoon at James Island County Park, first attending a cookout and then making our way over to the East Coast Canoe and Kayak Festival.  I spent most of our time at the festival in a state of near salivation, as it was definitely a water-enthusiast’s dream.  Practically any form of water recreation not involving mechanical motion was on display and for a small price, you could try out the myriad of products all afternoon.  If it wasn’t for Finley’s frequent attempts to scream “Help! I’m hot!” by diving underneath the miniscule shade created by beached canoes, we might still be out there paddling away.

Following our return to the peninsula, we fought the crowds to take in the Blue Angels show over the harbor.  I actually wasn’t aware that the show was taking place this weekend until Friday, when three of the jets streaked over Cannon Park at an altitude of 100 feet, leaving me standing completely upright, gawking mouth agape while trembling.  The show was pretty spectacular, and the day as a whole would have been perfect had it not been for the sorry display of a lack of emotional fortitude by the host at Blind Tiger Pub.  After a whopping total of 3 parties of 3 people each converged on the restaurant at the same time, the host threw a conniption fit even though the situation was completely free of anything resembling stress, ordering everyone to ‘return to the front and start over one by one’.  This sadly wasn’t the first instance of this guy failing that we have witnessed.  Needless to say, we left and will probably not be patronizing the place for a while, which is a shame since we are frequent customers.

Our Sunday was spent in a fashion that is becoming a tradition when guests are in town:  lunch at Poe’s Tavern, a simple burger/chicken restaurant located on Sullivan’s Island themed after the famous author and poet who spent time serving his country at nearby Fort Moultrie, followed by an afternoon on the top deck at Red’s at Shem Creek.  From the deck, we were able to see Sunday’s Blue Angels show, a flock of pelicans emulating the jets (poorly), a performance by a family of dolphins, and a beast fight between Finley and a 7 week old Labrador retriever puppy that was observed by a woman in biker chaps who looked horrifyingly similar to the Cryptkeeper from Tales from the Crypt.  It was the first time Finley had employed her new fighting technique of ‘ram my butt into you until you just submit’ and probably the first time I looked at her as being ‘big’.  She’s growing so quickly.

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Pitt Street Pier

Pitt Street Pier, Old Village, Mount Pleasant

Sunday, we took advantage of the continued wonderful weather and spent midday at Pitt Street Pier in the Old Village of Mount Pleasant. The pier is the former site of multiple bridge connections between the Old Village and Sullivan’s Island, the first of which dates back to the Revolutionary War. Use of the bridge was discontinued following the completion of a more modern causeway, resulting in the demolition of the span over the Intracoastal Waterway.

Today, the remaining span of the old bridge has been converted into a grassed linear park surrounded on both sides by salt flats and marshes which stretches a good quarter mile out from the mainland, ultimately terminating at the end of a fishing pier. This protrusion from the mainland allows for some of the most expansive views of Charleston Harbor, the city itself, Fort Sumter, and Sullivan’s Island that can be found. It’s a good place to take it easy and watch local fishermen and oystermen ply their trade or meet the seemingly-always-exuberant Old Village residents, who treat you like long lost sons or daughters. We also saw a 7 year old version of Michael Oher with Cheetos all over his face. Spellbinding.

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