This year is the 25th edition of the Mount Pleasant South Carolina Christmas Light Parade, also called the holiday parade. On December 13th at 5:30 on West Coleman Boulevard, the parade begins at Live Oak Drive and will proceed along Coleman Boulevard to Patriots Point where it ends. This is the only local parade that takes place at night. All floats are festooned with strings of glowing lights.
Local leaders such as Rob Fowler Chief Meteorologist at WCBD News 2 are often grand marshals for the parade. The parade concludes with Santa riding high on the town fire engine.
What an honor to be the Grand Marshal for the Mount Pleasant Christmas Light Parade Tonight! Thanks Mayor Will Haynie…
Brightly decorated floats, bands, community groups and more enter and take part. The best spots along Coleman will quickly be reserved by groups who want to enjoy the color and pageantry of this seasonal spectacle.
If you’re at the Mount Pleasant Christmas Light Parade tonight, keep an eye out for us and say hello!
The craft beer industry in the United States, and particularly South Carolina, is continuing to boom. Whether from a desire to drink local, craft brews or a desire to know the people, ingredients and methods which go into one’s beer, or from a desire to be trendy, the consumption of local beers is exploding. The greatest increase in sales has come from on-premise consumption at the breweries themselves.
South Carolina has, since 2008, continued to create an environment which is favorable to the sales and growth of the industry, though the state’s distribution system is still a hindrance to many. The pandemic has had a strong impact on craft breweries which have experienced closures due to government mandates, and limits on numbers allowed on premise. Though as of this article’s publication, some pandemic sales and gathering restrictions have been loosened.
Down South Biergartens and Taprooms Thriving
The European concept of beer gardens is thriving in the state of South Carolina. Often referred to as taprooms, these casual gathering places where you can sip suds, get a bite to eat, play cornhole, horseshoes, darts, or Jenga are now the neighborhood haunt.
You can often hear a local singer-songwriter crooning and strumming their latest compositions or get a nosh from a popular food truck when visiting these faves. It’s not at all uncommon on a daily basis to find friends and family groups — often with pups and kids in tow — at one of Mount Pleasant’s local taprooms.
If you want to head out to visit the locals, plan ahead. Given the pandemic, it’s wise to call or visit each taproom’s website to find out their current hours, requirements and changes.
Map of Mt. Pleasant’s Breweries
Locals Near Longpoint
Several breweries as in the Long Point Road area making it easy to organize a tour from location to location, though you’ll need a designated driver or a Lyft or Uber.
Two Blokes Brewing
According to their website, Two Blokes goal is “to produce solid, unpretentious, and approachable beers.” When it comes to types of brews you’ll find there, they offer “hoppy IPAs to sessionable pub ales and fruity saisons.” Regarding the styles of their beers, they say, “Our beers feature unique hop and grain combinations, along with some intriguing ingredients found locally and from the other side of the planet (our original founder and head brewer hailed from Australia!).”
This creatively named enterprise gained the moniker, according to their website, from the tale of one of the owner’s “personal experience of being robbed by a ghost-like monkey with quick speed.” Their beers range from lagers, to wheat beers, to stouts as well as ales and IPAs.
This popular watering hole has a sense of humor. They welcome both dogs and kids, and note on their website, “Dogs (outside only) and kids are both welcome; leashes on dogs are mandatory but optional on children.” Their Hobclaw hard seltzer plays off a famous brand and is further indication of their wittiness.
This long-established brewery is known for their many popular beers. They offer tours “on the hour” when open and do not require reservations according to their website. Their Mexican Cake brew is highly sought after and frequently sells out upon release. (I know, I’ve tried to snag some.) They are very civic minded and will donate to charitable events and have this awesome collab which benefits the S.C. Aquarium.
Not a brewery, Crafty Draught is a gathering spot with 26 craft beers on tap. Located in Seaside Farms just off the Isle of Palms Connecter, this local beer garden has a flexible policy where they allow you to BYOF to enjoy with one of the craft beers that they have on tap.
This local watering hole claims to have the largest selection of beers in the area. They specialize “in bottled and canned craft beer from all over the world, including 8 rotating hard-to-find beers on draft that can be enjoyed on premise or taken home in a growler.” Their location on Ben Sawyer Boulevard near the Sullivan’s Island bridge means you have a convenient location to snag some suds for quaffing while enjoying the sun. Who knows when you visit, you might see some of the talent from Southern Charm, or even a charming pup or two.
South Carolina’s favorite crustaceans are known for their sweet flavor. Chefs like Kardea Brown put them on pizza, in rolls, in Lowcountry boils and many more recipes. And of course there is everybody’s favorite, shrimp and grits.
There are several different shrimping seasons — which include both commercial and recreational — in South Carolina, but most recreational shrimpers pay attention to the shrimp baiting season. Get all the details on the 2020 shrimp baiting season.
South Carolina’s Department of Natural Resources website notes:
“The recreational harvest of brown shrimp by cast nets and seines takes place in the state’s tidal creeks, usually starting in early June. White shrimp are first caught in the creeks in late July or early August and have usually moved into the ocean by late October. The shrimp baiting fishery, which targets white shrimp, is set by law to last 60 days and opens at noon on the last Friday on or before September 15. Shrimp are also harvested recreationally by drop nets from docks and seawalls during the fall as larger white shrimp are moving seaward. Unlike seines and cast nets, drop nets require bait.”
In 2020 the season opened in September and closes on November 10th.
There is a permit required and there are limits. Individuals who want to go shrimping generally make bait balls and put those out in the shallow Coastal Waters around the Lowcountry. Individuals mark off where they’re fishing with poles that are tagged with their ID information. At night, shrimpers head out to attract shrimp with lights shined over their baited location.
Not interested in doing your own casting for shrimp?
Local sources like Tarvin Seafood and Mt. Pleasant Seafood are great sources of local, sweet, fresh shrimp! But no matter whether you catch them yourself or buy them from a local seafood shop, you will be happy knowing your shrimp are the finest, sweetest, and most tasty you can get, because they are from our local waters.
Getting out on the water in and around Mt. Pleasant is one of the most wonderful ways to experience the natural environment of the Lowcountry’s marshes.
Salt marshes are the birthplace of many ocean creatures like shrimp and crabs.
SC Department of Natural Resources writes, “Marshes provide highly productive nursery grounds for numerous commercially and recreationally important species, and serve as filters to remove sediments and toxins from the water. Marshes also buffer the mainland by slowing and absorbing storm surges, thereby reducing erosion of the coastline.”
Marshes need our care
Run off pollution, construction and humans pose a danger to the health of the marsh. When you do go out paddling, keep your debris and trash with you and dispose of it after coming back ashore. Marshes have been stressed with pollution, and a lot of insults from ancient septic tanks and even the use of fertilizers on our lawns.
Things have improved due to South Carolina’s protections for the marsh. It is important to know that “Outright destruction of salt marshes has been greatly minimized due to federal and state laws. Yet, a number of threats to salt marsh habitats still exist. Over half of the nation’s people now live and work within coastal counties. The cumulative impact through water flow modifications and pollution within the watershed surrounding salt marshes can be significant. “
Birds and marsh wildlife
Photo by Alex Shutin on Unsplash
Black rails and marsh hens, snowy egrets, great blue herons, dolphin and even an alligator or two can be spotted from your SUP or kayak. Or your canoe if you’re going to paddle old school.
Ways to get out there
There are a number of ways to get out there. Companies like Charleston Kayak Tours will provide you with everything you need to enjoy time on the water. This means you don’t have to own your own equipment.
Coastal Expeditions has been around for many years and they are highly rated. They have tours to the amazing Bull Island as well as paddling excursions onto Shem Creek too. Who knows, you might see one of the amazing dolphins who frolic near the shrimp boats at dock.
Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow. It’s what sunflowers do.”
– Helen Keller
I want to be like a sunflower so that even on the darkest days I will stand tall and find the sunlight.”
I dare you to not grin from ear to ear when visiting a sunflower field!
Everybody loves a sunflower field. SCDNR has reported the fields that they planted to attract doves during the hunting season, this summer hosted many family groups and bloggers snapping their faces next to the beaming flowers.
Sunflower fields popular with bloggers, families
Charleston’s Post and Courier wrote “While both doves and hunters depend on the fields, it’s brides-to-be, couples and families who are taking advantage of the yellow and green backgrounds as growing season backdrops for lasting memories. “
Mount Pleasant’s Boone Hall’s sunflower fields will make you say “Wow!”
Now Boone Hall’s fields are putting on a show and according to Mt. Pleasant’s own ABC News 4.
In the shadow of the Bridge is one of Mount Pleasant’s fave destinations
All are possible at Mount Pleasant’s distinctive Waterfront Park which sits in the shadow of the Ravenel Bridge, itself remarkable as the third largest cable-stayed bridge in the Western Hemisphere. The park is complete with paved walkways that are accessible for all residents, an event space and fishing spots this popular park serves as a destination for many events.
From weddings to family picnics to reunions you can find all kinds of activities taking place in this incredible location. Open daily from 6 a.m. to 11 pm. It is located at 99 Harry Hallman Boulevard in Mount Pleasant.
The Mount Pleasant Pier at the Waterfront Park is a Charleston County Park facility. According to their website, the Pier is a “Part of the Memorial Waterfront Park complex.” It is 1,250 feet long and “stretches out into Charleston Harbor under the foot of the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge. The pier’s foundation was created from pared-down pilings from the old Silas N. Pearman Bridge.” Located on site is the River Watch Cafe, waterfront swings and rocking chairs and picnic tables for relaxation, and you may even rent rods and reels. The park is free to visit, but there is a fee for fishing. Be advised, no dogs or leashed animals other than service animals are allowed.
Charleston County Parks also holds a Cheers on the Pier series at the Park. The series is billed as a way to “Wrap up your workday on the Mount Pleasant Pier with live music, craft beer, good friends, and a gorgeous sunset.”
If you have a wedding coming up in your family, you might want to check out two amazing venues at the park. The Cooper River Room and the Sweet Grass Pavillion at The Park both boast amazing views of the Cooper River.
The oysters are especially good from the waters in the Carolina Lowcountry. Why? Some say it has to do with the salinity of the estuaries in our region. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I do love oysters cooked over an open flame, while cloaked in a soaking wet “croaker sack” — what you might call a burlap bag. Oysters cooked this way, in essence, steam. They are served just as the pop open, leaving them wallowing in their brine. Slurped from the shell or served up on an old-fashioned saltine cracker and graced with just a tad of cocktail sauce, they are to die for.
When September comes, and the temperature of the water falls, oyster harvesting can begin. Only those areas open to recreational harvesting are open to the public. Check out the page Shellfish Grounds: Bulls Bay to Charleston on the SC Department of Natural Resources website to be sure that you know where it is safe and permitted to harvest local oysters. There is even a special web app page where you can see the map overlay on the harvest areas.
If you don’t want to rake your own oysters, you can purchase them at local favorites like Mount Pleasant Seafood.
What exactly is an oyster roast?
Locals use either a simple set up with an iron plate supported by cement blocks over a wood fire and shovel oysters onto the metal or they may use specialized oyster cookers designed for the task. I prefer my oysters roasted over a wood fire, not a gas fire, but I’ll take them any way I can get them.
When the cool fall comes around, folks set up long tables of plywood supported by saw horses. Most times they cut a large hole in the center of the board and under that put a large trash barrel, to sweep the shells into. Did you know: Shells get recycled to build new oyster communities. Soon the cry of “hot oysters” parts guests as the crew totes a bounty to each table. Oyster roast attendees gather ‘round the table as the cooking crew shovels oysters on to the table. They grab the steaming hot oysters with mitts or towels and pries them open with oyster knives. Hosts serve cold beer, saltines, cocktail sauce and lemon wedges to complete the feast.
Non oyster lovers often nosh out on chili or hotdogs that kind hosts provide for these non-shellfish eating guests.
Attire for an oyster roast is very casual. Most people wear warm clothes like jeans or cords and boots plus jackets, sweaters and hats. Look at the images below and you’ll see a full spectrum of casual wear.
If you like being able to keep the house clean, have fresh seafood and enjoy easy chatting, an oyster roast in your backyard might be just the thing for you in your new home.
Check out these amazing oyster roasts pictured on Instagram.
Long-standing faves such as Tavern and Table on Shem Creek often show up in suggested places to dine. The view from the restaurants on the Creek is divine and sunsets are amazing. You’ll easily capture some Insta worthy moments at the end of the day at one of these locations.
Charleston is usually thought of as the major city to Mount Pleasant’s suburbia, but we’d like to change that around. Charleston is the near-by city that we enjoy for dining out, history and art and culture events.