11/17/2023 0 Comments
According to Travel and Leisure Magazine, Christmas lights just don’t get any better than this in South Carolina. USA Today says that the light show is in the TOP 10 of the Best Botanical Garden Holiday light shows in the entire country!
It’s that time of year again, when Brookgreen Gardens comes alive for the annual “Nights of a Thousand Candles.”
The annual event kicks off on November 25.
It’s quite an endeavor. The staff has been working 10-hour shifts since Labor Day. The show includes millions of lights, and of course, plenty of candles. Over 3,000 candles are lit every night, and each of those candles is switched out every day, according to show organizers.
Many think that the time and attention spent lighting the candles is what sets this show apart.
Since 1999, people have come to the “Lowcountry” from all over the world to see the lights.
The facility conducted a zip code study in 2022 and learned they had visitors from every state in the country, including Alaska. The ONLY state missing was Hawaii. More than 80,000 people attended last year, and Brookgreen Gardens is prepping for just as many to enter the gates and experience the event this year.
Tickets went on sale during the summer and they have been going fast. As of Thursday morning, they are completely sold out except for New Year’s Eve.
Photo Credit: Eric Alter, Facebook
How glorious that SIX different Photographers captured the sunrise this morning! Now, let's go out and see it with or own eyes!
Left to Right Top Row:
Left to Right Bottom Row:
Living near the beach often comes with a high price tag, but there are still plenty of towns that you can call home without breaking the bank too much. GOBankingRates compiled a list of the 35 most affordable beach towns you can afford to living in right now, and one in South Carolina made the list:
Myrtle Beach is one of the cheapest beach towns that you can afford to call home. According to the site, the median cost for a home in this coastal town is $299,700, while the overall cost of living index is 87.4.
Here is how the list was compiled:
"To find the cheapest beach towns you can afford to live in, GOBankingRates gathered a list of beach towns from across the United States, and for each city, a number of factors were found from Sperlings BestPlaces, including cost of living indexes for groceries, healthcare, housing, utilities, transportation and miscellaneous expenses. Each index was multiplied by its respective national average expenditure cost from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey for all consumers. GOBankingRates calculated the total annual expenditure cost for each city, sorting them to show the cheapest beach towns you can afford to live in."
Check out GOBankingRate 's full report to see more of the most affordable beach towns to live in around the U.S.
Photo Credit: Robbie Bischoff
For the first time in four years, El Niño is in place as we head towards winter.
El Niño is a climate pattern in the Pacific Ocean that often stirs changes in global weather patterns.
In South Carolina, some of these impacts may be favorable, while others... not so much! Changes can vary in precipitation levels, temperature fluctuations, and sometimes storm chances. It all depends how much cold air is around when a particular storm visits the southeast.
El Niño can lead to wet conditions in South Carolina.
Even though a rainy season may not be pleasant, rainfall is much needed right now.
I met Tim and Lisa D. at our mutual Subaru dealership in Conway one early morning this Spring. We started chatting. They are from New Hampshire, so am I. We are all New England transplants to the Grand Strand of South Carolina. We share many sensibilities and can easily contrast the things we love about living here. There was only ONE problem. Lisa was unhappy. She did not care for the home they had purchased last year. And the longer she lived in it, the more disgruntled she became. Sometimes it happens. You purchase... but the fit is not quite right. Technically, there is nothing wrong with the home. It just wasn't Lisa's forever house.
Fast forward. I am their licensed agent and we spend two full days touring. Day ONE we spent looking at neighborhoods in the South Strand. Day TWO we spent our day in North Myrtle Beach and Little River. A good tree line and a yard big enough for a pool are key features we are seeking.
Then it happens.
We walk in and out of new homes that are in some phase of completion. The second home we tour... the mood shifts. You can feel the excitement of the exploration. We walk into the kitchen of this new home which is still under construction. We open the sliders and walk out onto the patio to check out the back yard. With tears in her eyes Lisa looks at us. "I'm Home" she says.
The Mungo Model Home was outstanding...
Tim and Lisa are under contract and on their way. They will be living in their new home by Labor Day Weekend 2023 and Lisa is already planning her pool party for Summer 2024. I could NOT be happier for this couple of Granite State transplants!
The 27th Blessing of the Fleet took place at the Belin Memorial United Methodist Church parking lot. This is one of the inlet's favorite spring gatherings. The entire street was closed down in front of the church. The service was lovely. This year, young and old, people from every corner of the country visiting Murrells Inlet said the Pledge of Allegiance and sang with a lot of enthusiasm this year. The food was abundant, the kids were playing, vendors were selling their wares... the "Fleet" was not the only thing feeling blessed.
Here are six farmers markets in the Myrtle Beach area, run by the non-profit Waccamaw Market Cooperative . Live local, Eat Local!
Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Next to the Surfside Beach Library, Surfside Drive and North Willow Drive
Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Valor Park, 1120 Farrow Parkway, Myrtle Beach
North Myrtle Beach
Fridays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Starts May 5
925 1st Ave. South, North Myrtle Beach
Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Starts May 6
Under the Main Street Bridge, Conway, SC
Last Sunday of the month, 10 a.m, to 2 p.m.: April 30, May 28, June 25, July 30, August 27
Lee’s Kitchen parking lot, 4460 Highway 17 Business, Murrells Inlet
Some Sundays from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.: April 23, May 7, May 21, June 4, June 18, July 2, July 16, August 6, August 20, September 24, October 29, November 26
Hammock Shops, 10880 Ocean Highway, Pawleys Island
Alrighty! Out my kitchen window I see signs of hope. My Loquat tree has borne two fruit. Whoo Hoo! Now... that's not much, but it IS a start. The first image is from the "FastGrowingTrees.com" website. That is what I am hoping for... someday. The tree is known for its fruit AND its leaves.
Loquats are unusual among fruit trees in that the flowers appear in the autumn or early winter, (lovely fragrance) and the fruits are ripe at any time from early spring to early summer. So I guess mine are right on track. BUT we had an extended and unseasonably COLD snap this past winter which killed off many of the buds.
More from Wikipedia:
"The tree is native to China and has been cultivated there for over a thousand years. It has also become naturalised in Georgia, Armenia, Afghanistan, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bermuda, Chile, Kenya, Lebanon, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, South Africa, the whole Mediterranean Basin, Pakistan, New Zealand, Réunion, Tonga, Central America, Mexico, South America, and warmer parts of the United States (Hawaii, California, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina)."
I also saw Loquat trees on a recent visit to South Korea to visit my daughter and Loquat fruit in the 5-Day Market on the island of Jeju.
Now I am on a mission to try Loquat Jam and tea!
The 5th Annual Art Under the Oaks Art Show and Fundraiser provided for a nice afternoon. Canvas art of all types, jewelry, musicians and FOOD! The event was a fundraiser for All 4 Paws Animal Rescue. I have never seen so many gourmet dog treat vendors. The Hammock Coast LOVES animals. I love all of the "crafty stuff." Click on the thumbnail image to check out a full size image of the fairy garden stakes and the wreaths all made from your grandmother's old pins and jewelry. Wow.
One of the things I LOVE to do when friends come to visit is to go into Charleston for a day. It s such a thrilling, historic and cultural city. From that first moment we cross over the bridge... I can't wait to get downtown to walk around. We took a private carriage ride and our guide lectured us about different facets of the city both from a historical and modern day point-of-view. We popped into a bar on Broad Street... the walls were covered with dollar bills. Our luncheon was at S.N.O.B. Slightly North of Broad. Only 90-minutes from the Hammock Coast... it's an easy day trip.
It seems the world has had a long love affair with the camellia flower. My journey began in the Spring of 2018. As a native New Englander, for as long as I can remember, my February flowers were usually nestled in deep slumber under a blanket of snow over a foot thick. I could hardly wait until the snowdrops appeared, or the daffodils of a warm March. I always associated Spring flowers with Easter.
But here in South Carolina, everything begins to pop in February!
Along the Hammock Coast, I could not help but marvel at the prolifically colorful blossoms with a medium thick, creamy petal texture much like a gardenia. They came in all shades of red, coral and pink at the golf courses and around neighboring homes. The petals are a deep green and they launch on the landscape as early as January after a very warm spell. But February is when nature gives us the greatest eye-full of color. Last year, we decided to plant our own. We planted two double pink and a double coral/raspberry. in person, the buds of the latter look lie they are on fire. I am afraid my camera does not do the incredible color of the petals justice. But suffice it to say... I am a fan.
I took a few minutes to research a bit more about the camellia flower.
"Camellias were cultivated in the gardens of China and Japan for centuries before they were seen in Europe. The German botanist Engelbert Kaempfer reported that the "Japan Rose", as he called it, grew wild in woodland and hedgerow, but that many superior varieties had been selected for gardens. He was told that the plant had 900 names in Japanese.
The first living camellias seen in England were a single red and a single white, grown and flowered in his garden at Thorndon Hall, Essex, by Robert James, Lord Petre, among the keenest gardeners of his generation, in 1739. His gardener James Gordon was the first to introduce camellias to commerce, from the nurseries he established after Lord Petre's premature death in 1743, at Mile End, Essex, near London.
With the expansion of the tea trade in the later 18th century, new varieties began to be seen in England, imported through the British East India Company. The Company's John Slater was responsible for the first of the new camellias, double ones, in white and a striped red, imported in 1792.
The camellia was imported from England to America in 1797 when Colonel John Stevens brought the flower as part of an effort to grow attractions within Elysian Fields in Hoboken, New Jersey.
By 1819, twenty-five camellias had bloomed in England. By the 1840s, the camellia was at the height of its fashion as the luxury flower.
The Camellia in Popular Culture:
Augusta National Golf Club's 10th hole is named "Camellia", one of many references to the plant nursery originally on the site of the course.
In the book To Kill a Mockingbird, Jem destroys Mrs. Dubose's camellia bushes after she insults his family, yet he later receives a camellia bud from the dying woman.
Alexandre Dumas wrote the novel and stage adaptation The Lady of the Camellias, wherein the flower is a symbol of a courtesan's sexual availability.
A white camellia flower is an iconic symbol of Chanel haute couture, a tradition started by Coco Chanel herself who identified with the heroine of Dumas' work.
White camellias became a symbol of the women's suffrage movement in New Zealand and the flower appears on the country's ten-dollar note.
The following cities are nicknamed the "Camellia City" of each state:
Thomson, Georgia is nicknamed the "Camellia City of the South."
The camellia is the state flower of Alabama.
Temple City, California's slogan since 1944 has been "Temple City, Home of Camellias", and the city has become well known for its Camellia Festival."
For nearly a decade, working on the morning news in Connecticut I would often be reminded that those people who slept past sunrise were missing out on HALF of what Mother Nature was gifting us everyday. I try to get out to see the sunrise at Huntington Beach State Park in Murrells Inlet with friends and clients as often as I possibly can. Having a special occasion to celebrate? Let's start our day with a sunrise! The park opens promptly at 6am every day. Luckily, I don't have to twist too many arms.
Horry Georgetown Home Builders Association held its 43rd annual Spring Home Show this past weekend. I was looking for bathroom remodeling and concrete driveway replacement options. What I found was a whole lot more. I brought home a bag full of "stuff" to go through and reconnected with some friends.
The show had more than 150 exhibitors displaying their products and services. It was perfect for me to do some research.
The admission was $5. Worth every penny. Despite the pouring rain outside, I found a few touches of spring and buckets of inspiration.
If you are looking for a “spooky” destination, look no farther than Conway, South Carolina!
Starting October 1, 2022 the town has changed its name to “Halloween, South Carolina." The City of Conway made the big announcement in late September to rename the city Halloween, SC for the “spooky” season.
Conway leaders have been planning for months and working hard to make the city a destination for this Halloween season.
City crews have come out for years to hang pumpkins from the trees in the downtown area.
Mayor Barbara Blain-Bellamy made the big announcement at Conway City Hall.
"If we are right in our predictions, Conway or Halloween will be known nationwide and beyond over the next several years as the place to visit during each October," the mayor said. "There are contests galore, there are events at least every week. Our businesses as I said, just now, and institutions and churches are joining in. There will be something for people to come out to downtown bring their families and their children and have fun the entirety of the month of October."
The ceremonial name change will last throughout the month.
The photos below are something I took on October 27, 2021 on a drive back to Connecticut.
For the last three years, the city has taken its Halloween vibe and street décor very seriously. Coming over the Conway bridge into downtown, drivers can spot pumpkin baskets hanging from the trees lining Main Street. Skeletons creep at the front of city hall, which is covered in cobwebs. And witch hats hang across the breezeway beside city hall.
"We heard, 'the pumpkins make me happy,' ' the pumpkins make me smile,'" she said of the decor.
Sales at local businesses have increased, Blain-Bellamy said, which she attributes, in part, to the decorations.
Personally, I love visiting Conway. The city has some great spirit.
And the home prices aren’t bad either. Get in touch if you would like to look around!
South Carolina Emergency Management is a fantastic resource. They have an app you should have on your phone. The website goes over the language of hurricanes and tropical storms in a very easy to digest manner. Information is available outlining the evacuation process should things develop. The site also has information for evacuating pets and how to build your family emergency kit with a downloadable checklist.
A visit to this site is a MUST for every responsible family living along the Grand Strand.
KNOW YOUR ZONES
Hurricane Ian is about to batter the Florida Gulf Coast in the next week, and the potential for this storm after it makes landfall is still uncertain, but our area could see some heavy rain and wind on the back side from Ian. With that in mind I thought it would be appropriate to show you the South Carolina Emergency Management Evacuation map. Look at the map and decipher where you are in relation to the zone.
This is a great website to learn all you can about hurricane and tropical storm preparedness: hurricane.sc/know
Hurricane Season Preparedness:
1. KNOW YOUR EVACUATION ZONES AND ROUTES.
2. GATHER YOUR EMERGENCY SUPPLIES NOW. DO NOT WAIT FOR A STORM TO BE ON THE WAY.
Sunday, September 18th, 2022 the 2nd Annual First Responder Appreciation Boat Parade will launch.
The outing was founded and spearheaded by Brian Peters, a North MB resident and business executive who is passionate about recognizing the many contributions of our military.
"On 9/11 we promised ourselves we would never forget. This is the fulfillment of my promise."
He goes on to say, "This is our way of honoring the 1st responders and heroes on the 21st anniversary of 9-11, and the heroic 1st responders of today!"
I have a few friends that were on boats for the 2021 kick-off event and they said the passion was exhilarating.
Last year's parade was the inaugural launch. 1600 boats participated in the event. Thousands of residents and visitors showed up to watch the parade from various viewing stations along the 13-mile stretch of waterway..... This year patriotic boaters of the grand strand will have a chance to join in the parade starting at 12 noon 1 mile south of the 501-bridge at the Arrowhead Golf Course proceeding north to the Barefoot Landing resort where the parade will end.
There will be many great viewing spots....
Arrowhead golf course, Boathouse Restaurant, Grand Dunes, Grand Dunes Marina, Anchor Cafe, the public access boat ramp behind Bass Pro Shop, Taco Mundo, Lulu's, Greg Norman's and the Marina Bar and Grill. Not to mention the various subdivisions along the waterway.
The parade ends in front of the flag at Barefoot Landing.
Peters says this is not a political event, "It's all about patriotism, we are all Americans first!"
Decorate your boat as you wish but make sure the American Flag flies the highest!
"Let's show appreciation for today's 1st responders, and all who serve along with active-duty military, and veterans!"
Photo Credit: Brian Peters
Photographer Jim Arnold has done such a splendid job of capturing the afternoon beauty of the Sea Oats in the sand dunes of North Litchfield Beach. This photo was taken by him on July 16, 2022. (To see more of his great work please visit "See Jim Run" Photography on Facebook)
Late summer is when this plant plant really holds court along the South Carolina coast. Many walk right buy the oats, but do not really know why they are so significant to the South Carolina coastal infrastructure. I thought I would fill you in a bit.
For much of the growing season the Sea Oat plant (Uniola paniculata) is a beautiful sea green in color. As summer begins to wind down into autumn, the seed heads begin to show their true splendor. The color turns from green to a deep golden brown. The monochromatic contrast against the sand is breathtaking if you happen to capture it on your camera. The oats are not only recognized for their late summer beauty, it is their very structure in the sand that makes conservationists dedicate hours to their preservation.
As a crucial component of the South Carolina hurricane defense strategy, the oats help deter damage from tropical storms. The plants are used in sand stabilization projects because their long root structure firmly holds loose sand. In fact, these oats play a critical role in hurricane damage mitigation throughout most of the southeastern united states, eastern Mexico and some Caribbean islands.
It is the large seed heads (oats) and tall leaves that trap windblown sand to help build and protect dunes. Sand dune growth and protection is another chapter I will write about at another time, but suffice it to say, Myrtle Beach takes its dunes pretty seriously. Don't be surprised if a local starts yelling at you if you are caught picking the oats. They are as precious as gold for the Hammock Coast landscape.
Picking or disturbing sea oats is punishable by fines in SC.
Sea Oats are protected by law in South Carolina.
To learn more click the link below.
SC Code § 16-11-590 (2013)
I don't know when my fascination began with blue and white decor. For as long as I can remember, I have devoured the timeless look in every publication and decorating book I could get my hands on. My collections are numerous. I have been thinking about a living room renovation over the next two years and the pictures below from CitrinelLiving by Tamara Anka have become my favorites.
Are you a fan of blue and white?
Each week a new bush comes into full bloom. The other day I opened the front door at about 7 am to go on my morning bike trek and the sweet scent stopped me in full stride on my way to the garage. The air was heavy and the scent was heavenly. I had also never seen a Magnolia flower up close. They were the size of small dinner plates with ivory/cream colored soft petals. Spring along the Grand Strand is spectacular. Take time to breathe it in.
Every city has its quirky architecture. I am going to tell you about one notable structure along the Grand Strand.
With the anniversary of Hurricane Hugo coming up in a few days I thought this story was appropriate to tell.
Imagine you are visiting the Marsh Walk in Murrells Inlet. Looking east, out across Goat Island toward the Gulf Stream Café, you will see this oddly shaped structure. You can’t miss it. It looks like something out of a science fiction movie. Or perhaps, the 20th century embodiment of George Jetson’s cartoon home. Either way, three letters come to mind: U. F. O.
Your eyes are seeing correct. The Garden City, SC peninsula is home to one of the last remaining UFO houses built by Miami Architect Peter Vander Klout in 1976. The visionary builder constructed only a handful of these circular domiciles, but the lore surrounding the homes are numerous.
Owned by the Graham family of Gallivants Ferry, The 1800 square foot home boasts 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.
When originally built, similar homes in Florida were in stark contrast to the mega mansions that lined the shoreline. In Garden City, the structure was a futuristic oddity because it was surrounded by the traditional 50’s and 60’s beach cottages.
Imagine, beach bungalows… and a spaceship.
The locals rolled their eyes.
Thanks to its unique design, the UFO home was built to be able to endure winds as high as 300 mph, as well as Category 5 hurricanes. One of Klout’s structures near Homestead, Florida withstood the ravages of Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Hurricane Andrew hit the area with violent ferocity as a Category 5 hurricane. Enduring sustained wind speeds as high as 165 mph, the home stood the test.
On September 22, 1989, Hurricane Hugo made landfall between Myrtle Beach and Charleston SC. The Category 4 storm with 140 mph winds demolished the South Carolina coastline. Dozens of homes were completely wrecked on The Garden City Peninsula and hundreds more severely damaged. The Garden City UFO home suffered no structural damage.
The locals did not roll their eyes any more. They were crying as their homes were torn to shreds and reduced to rubble. As for the concrete behemoth… barely a scratch. Folks seem to endure the oddity now-a-days and are happy to point it out on a tour.
A July 24, 2020 story in the Orlando Weekly newspaper cited that according to the book “Lost Miami: Stories and Secrets behind Magic City Ruins,” Klout’s homes were surrounded in local lore. “Over the years these saucer-shaped homes inspired quite a few urban legends revolving around everything from mob bosses to nudist colonies, and pretty much always garnered nicknames like "The UFO House," or "The Flying Saucer House."
Klout is not the only architect with an out-of-this-world vision for what homes could look like. On Loveproperty.com you can check out “Amazing” homes that are Out-of-This-World in locations, quite literally, all over the world.
You can visit these web links to learn more about Klout’s hurricane proof “UFO” houses. And DON'T FORGET, when you are visiting the Marsh Walk in Murrells Inlet to look east at the concrete mushroom!
Inside the ‘UFO home’
Glimpse of Abandoned Million Dollar ‘UFO House’ in Florida
The Islamorada UFO House
Homestead UFO House
Islamorada’s UFO House
Robbi Bischoff Photography
Jason Lee Photography (Center image)
Explore Living the South Carolina "Hammock Coast" lifestyle from Myrtle Beach to Georgetown, and Beyond!
1232-B Farrow Parkway
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577