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Archive for the ‘Peninsula’ Category

The birds are chirping.

The bees are buzzing.

The leaves are budding.

The flowers are blooming.

The sand gnats are, unfortunately, emerging, as evidenced by my insanely itchy right forearm.

You can wrestle with the mainsail on a blustery day on the water without raw hands and cumbersome parkas getting in the way.

There are girls in swimsuits sunbathing in open park spaces in 60 degree weather like it isn’t a ridiculous thing to do.

Spring is upon us, Charleston!

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As we took in the exhibits and demonstrations for the SEWE Saturday at Marion Square, I couldn’t help but continuously think of a solitary phrase: “What a difference a year makes.”

A year ago from Saturday, Suzanne and I were standing at the bottom of her entry staircase on Wentworth Street, the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics paused on DVR, as we marveled at a winter wonderland developing outside.  Downtown Charleston was blanketed in 1-2 inches of snowfall in one of those strange scenes you sometimes see at local restaurants that depict such an event occurring in like 1935.  The organizers of SEWE had a little bit of reorganization to contend with, not to mention a few jittery hours of attempting to project how much the cold temperatures would affect attendance.

This Saturday, the sun shone brightly, creating a near-80 degree picture of perfection for throngs of wildlife and outdoor enthusiasts to absorb the products and messages of vendors, interest groups, and magazines enveloped in what basically constituted a zoo considering how many different types of animals were gracing the square.

Speaking of animals, a year ago we stood over a pen at the Grateful Golden’s post, gazing happily and, truth be told, warily, over the…lab…puppies that were crawling around therein.  For some reason, the volunteer organization didn’t have golden retrievers the day we went but the effect was still the same, as we were a mere two weeks from adopting Finley.  I remember feeling particularly antsy that day, carefully observing the behaviors of all the dogs and their owner men/women as they traversed the crowds amidst the intense amount of stimuli that threatened to wrest the dogs from their grasp at any moment.  I was doing my homework.

This Sunday, we took our own wresting dog on an exhibition for attendees to do their homework on how NOT to control your dog in a crazy situation.  To her credit, she’s been worse–way worse.  To our credit, well, we get no credit, besides maybe sympathy points for putting on a free clinic/comedy hour.  She wasn’t the worst behaved hound in the place by a long shot though and even if she was exuberant, it was only in the name of getting an up-close and personal look at the golden/lab mix puppies gracing the large enclosed tent.

She was doing her own mentoring.

 

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What I would do to wake up to this view each morning…on this porch…in this house…ok, stopping before I depress myself. Images like this are the reason my first trip to Biltmore left me feeling both exhilaratingly inspired and extremely poverty-ridden. I had never felt so poor in my life.

We’ll be taking in all that the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition has to offer this weekend, particularly the Dock Dogs competition at Brittlebank Park.  Get out and enjoy a very spring-ish weekend, Charleston!

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I just realized that our photos from Biltmore aren’t yet ready for public viewing (aka I have no idea where they are), so in lieu of Gilded Age Smoky Mountain grandeur, I present to you a filthy mongrel, fresh off of a digging fest in a baseball diamond, enjoying a sunny afternoon.

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Speaking of hearts, valentines, and love in general, I have a new favorite place to add to an ever-growing list of great locales:  the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. Thanks to Suzanne’s wonderful parents, I transformed from never visiting the Biltmore in my life to holding a season pass for 2011. My initiation into the Biltmore fraternity was made official by the snapping of a ridiculously awful photograph of myself to put on my brand spanking new identification card.  I wanted to place my thumb over my face every time I presented it.  If you’re lucky, I’ll post the whole thing on here sometime.  Just know that you will probably be unlucky.  And know that you would ultimately thank me for that.

Being swanky season pass holders afforded us 4 free grounds/house passes through the end of February for guests of our choosing, so we were able to explore the wonders of this great estate with a couple good friends from Kentucky, Jenna and Jon.  A departure from Holy City content for a couple days of Biltmore posts is forthcoming.  The place is worth every minute of the measly 4 hour drive and is a perfect for a short getaway from Charleston.  But more on that later.

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Paris may be ubiquitously known as the City of Love but the Holy City of the South may give its a run for its money.  Even the casual observer strolling through Charleston cannot help but notice the multitude of hearts that are etched into the everyday fabric of the city’s built environment and its creative concoctions.  Many take up residence as elements of the several hundred wrought iron gates that guard the ingresses to many of the spectacular homes in the old walled city and beyond.  In the days leading up to that one holiday that most guys seem to dread and girls say they don’t care about but honestly do, we’ll be demonstrating some of these symbols of love and blood circulation. Meanwhile, I will be sitting here….dreading*.

*Joking, Suz.  I think.

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The front door of the Footlight Players Theatre, for all intents of wishing to see a performance by these local troubadours and actors, resides on Queen Street. However, this isn’t the only “front door” attached to the theatre.  A second more intriguing and much more foreboding front door lies at about the midway point of the similarly mysterious Philadelphia Alley.  The door is as ramshackle as a door could possibly be, dented and scarred with a placard reading “Front Door” hung haphazardly on its surface.  The whole strange assortment of elements is further enhanced in its ghastly appearance by the presence of an odd human figure made of matchsticks beneath the placard.  One immediately thinks of voodoo inclinations or maybe literally just a bunch of matchsticks positioned to look like a man.  I prefer some semblance of the former for imagination purposes.

I’ve always been most interested in this little weird door frame among the multitude of stately door frames in Charleston that garner interest.  It may be nothing more than the cast’s entryway into the theatre or it may be, really, nothing at all.  But I’ve always wondered what significance the matchstick man holds.  I don’t think I have ever really asked about it.  Until now.

Anybody have an inkling into the meaning and purpose of this “front door”?

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