Tag Archives: lowcountry

Counting Alligator Teeth

Not sleeping and not smiling



Lowcountry in your Pocket

The South Carolina Lowcountry is in your phone.  Things to see and do throughout Beaufort County are covered in our app Hilton Head Essentials, published by Sutro Media this month. It’s available for download from the iTunes app store for iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch devices.

More than 800 images with 130 items showcase the coastal area.

It includes a Google map for each entry; one-touch phone calling to each business; one-touch access to the individual website; immediate access to selected YouTube or user reviews; relevant hours and pricing information. Categories include where to stay, where to eat, shopping, attractions, selected upcoming events plus a bit of history and local culture throughout Hilton Head, Bluffton, Beaufort and the neighboring rural areas and towns.

Authors Liz and Charlie Mitchell, long-time South Carolina coastal residents, created the app in partnership with Sutro Media. Their first app Myrtle Beach’s Best was launched in December with a new version published in January.

Updates of Hilton Head Essentials are planned for additional golf and event coverage. Local businesses are invited to follow the authors on Twitter or the Hilton Head Essentials Facebook page or contact the authors via their website.  Event schedules and updated information may be considered for inclusion in future versions. Businesses do not pay to be listed, and the authors base choices on personal experiences and availability of quality content.

The Mitchells also co-authored two travel books published by Channel Lake in the 2010 Tourist Town series. The books available from major booksellers and from Amazon are Hilton Head: A Guide to the South Carolina Lowcountry and Myrtle Beach: A Guide to South Carolina’s Grand Strand. Both books are sold at Sunset River Marketplace in Calabash where the authors appear for periodic special events.

The Hilton Head guidebook also is available in Beaufort at Cuthbert House Inn and at the Beaufort County Black Chamber of Commerce and in Bluffton at Rose Hill Mansion.

Call for Artist Submissions

The Beaufort County Black Chamber of Commerce announces the Artist Showcase 2011 scheduled for May 27-28 in historic downtown Beaufort, SC. Artists must submit their application by April 1, with exhibit space selection based on date of submission.

The 9th annual event is open to 24 local and visiting exhibitors presenting original and print work in a range of media to include paintings, folk art, basket weaving and mixed media. The show is free to the public, and all work will be for sale.

The objective of the show is to promote the arts as a viable and important economic contribution to life in the Lowcountry and to support emerging and professional artists in pursuing their artistic goals and developing their talents.

The chamber of commerce is pleased to welcome student artists from Broad River Elementary School grades 1-5 as the 2011 showcase feature. Beaufort County working artists are mentoring the students in preparation for the show to encourage their developing talents and to demonstrate the exhibition process.

The Artist Showcase will be open at Sea Island Best Western, 1015 Bay Street, Beaufort, on May 27 from 12 Noon until 8 pm with a reception from 5 pm until 7 pm. The show will be open May 28 from 10 am until 6 pm. Artists and their representatives will be available to meet the public during the entire show.

Artists may obtain an application or additional information via emailed request to BeaufortBlack@gmail.com. See more details and ongoing updates with artist features.

The Oldest Ghost in America?

Pinky is a cute little guy who sometimes plays with children in The Castle at Beaufort, SC. The children may have named him for his pink jester’s outfit. Only the children can see him, as he plays pranks and makes himself scarce when adults are around. His real name is Guernauche, and he’s a French Huguenot dwarf who’s been floating around since the town was settled and then he met with some unfortunate death in 1562. Of course, he’s a ghost, so who’s to say what his real story is!

Guernauche is the most well known and the oldest ghost of Beaufort, and possibly the oldest ghost in America, according to Harper’s Bazaar in 1940. The 1859 home called The Castle is thought to please him because of its resemblance to homes in his native country. How do we know about him? “Well, we just know. Of course we know he’s there,” storytellers will insist.

“Because every family who’s ever lived there has had children tell of seeing him,” says Donnie Beer, a storyteller once a year when she’s off duty from her post as Beaufort City councilwoman.

While the ghosts of Beaufort could possibly be seen, heard or felt any time by those in tune with the supernatural, they are most likely to make their annual appearances during the last two weekends in October when they are eagerly anticipated to entertain guests of the Ghost Tours. For your own look at the rest of the story…and many more…visit Beaufort for a proper celebration of Halloween.

You might learn about the well known bride of Blackbeard, a lovely blonde who could possibly be seen walking the beach along Fripp Island at night. She was reportedly abducted by the nasty pirate, but she was in love with a handsome gentleman in Charleston. When she learned that Blackbeard’s men were sent to kill her true lover, as evidenced by their return showing her young man’s hand as a trophy, she walked into the ocean to drown her tears. This bride’s story is sometimes told by noted storyteller Millie Boyce, looking over the marsh toward Fripp Island and hoping the evidence of the severed hand doesn’t appear to frighten the audience. Some storytellers relate that the young couple still walks the beach together because their love could not be drowned. Of course, they are ghosts, so interpretation may be applied liberally.

Watch for another restless spirit which sometimes is thought to walk back and forth on the upstairs veranda of a house called Little Casino. She was a freed slave who had purchased the house after the Civil War. When the hurricane of 1893 brought flood waters up to the second floor, she was unable to leave.

Union soldiers frequent several homes, and a Confederate soldier crawls out of the marsh to walk away without having feet. Or rather the ghosts of such soldiers might be seen. These occurrences don’t seem surprising to Beaufortonians, who remind visitors that the town was occupied by the Union Army early in the Civil War.

Beaufort’s ghosts are believed to frequent primarily the Old Point neighborhood along with a few other locations where the oldest of the old can be found, thus lending credence to the founding of their stories.

If you see a ghost, old or young, would you please send us a picture? We would really like to know more about this.

Beaufort history is reviewed in our  book published by Tourist Town — Hilton Head: A Guide to the South Carolina Lowcountry. It’s available on Amazon and at some bed and breakfasts in Beaufort and in Bluffton, which might have ghosts of their own too.

Creme de la Creme of Car Shows

Even if you know only two things about cars, where to put the gas and where to put the air in the tires, car shows are great fun to go and look at old gems. If you come across a car that jogs your memory back to a time long ago, then you can count that time as well spent. Those memories may be of that ‘56 Chevy Bel Air that Dad bought home from the dealer or that ‘69 GTO that you and friends double dated in way-back-when.

Car shows are a staple of almost every festival that comes down the pike, and all of them have more than their share of muscle cars of the 1960’s and ‘70’s. However, there is one car show that is the gold standard of car shows, the Concours D’ Elegance.  The Concours has its share of muscle cars of bygone days of course, but the real treat of attending one of these events is the likelihood that you will see automobiles that you may have only seen in movies or television. Bentleys, Ferraris, Aston Martins and Rolls Royces are almost always on display.

Besides the varied cars shown, one other concept of the Concours D’ Elegance that sets it apart from other car shows is that each car is there by special invitation of the organizers. If someone has a car they would like to enter in the  Concours, they must apply for an invitation and with the application they must also provide pictures and interesting or historical facts about the car.

Concours D’ Elegance is French for “competition of elegance.”  The cars on display more than live up to the name. They are more than just cars in mint condition. Many are in better condition than when they came off the assembly line. The upholstery, paint, and the engine restoration are just a few of the components that make some of these cars better than mint.

Judging is much more strict than in a normal car show. To secure a top award, the car must be perfect or very close to perfect.

There are many categories in which the cars can compete including pre-war and post war, vintage and antique. Some popular models may have their own categories such as the Porsche or the Mercedes Benz. The categories may even extend to hardtops, coupes and convertibles.

The first Concours D’ Elegance was in Pebble Beach, California in 1950, as an add on to the Pebble Beach Road Race. Since that first Concours many organizations have instituted their own Coucours D’ Elegance. Among the most notable is the annual event on Amelia Island. This is a grand affair where the cars are displayed in a wonderful setting, along the cart path of  the Golf Club of Amelia Island at Summer Beach.

Other locales that have competitions are Denver, New York in midtown Manhattan and Hilton Head, SC.

The Hilton Head event is hosted each year at Honey Horn Plantation on the north end of the island. More specifically, it is at Mile Marker 1 on US 278.  As with most of the Concours, the admission proceeds go to local charities, and in this case proceeds go to the Hilton Head Symphony and the Boys and Girls Club of Hilton Head.

This year’s event in Hilton Head will be October 29 through November 7. Each day something special will be going on, from wine dinners on Thursday to the obligatory golf tourney on Friday. Saturday is a great time to view the Club Car Jamboree. The culmination event  is the actual Concours and judging on Sunday November 7.

If you have never been to a Concours this event in Hilton Head is a perfect chance to see some really beautiful cars, talk to their owners and have a good time.

Pancetta, Polenta and Panini in the Lowcountry

Panini’s has been our favorite Beaufort, SC restaurant for years. There’s no better view of the sunset over Waterfront Park and no comparable pizza for sure. Always trying to top their own success, they’re serving new specialties this weekend for the Beaufort Shrimp Festival. The People’s Choice winner for so many years  we all lost count, and we’ll see some serious competition again.

The historic bank is a lovely building, easy to find downtown on the corner of Bay Street and within walking distance from any of the bed and breakfasts and a couple of  hotels. Or walk up from the park to the back  for casual outdoor dining during almost any season .

The pizza and pasta have been my favorites, although the big salad and crusty focaccia have kept me happy for about a hundred lunches. Of course the panini needs no explanation — plenty of varieties on the menu. Hoagies are on the new fall menu, and I’ll be tasting the blackened flounder hoagie with caper remoulade sauce on my next lunch visit.

The new menu features even more local seafoods with Nick’s special touches. His heritage is Italian, and his thinking is Italian albeit with South Carolina lowcountry accents.

My small plate order of peel and eat local shrimp, lager steamed with old bay, was a big meal for me. Nothing small about it. Plan on plenty of napkins and cold beverage too! It’s spicy and just right. As an experienced critic of all things shrimp, I can promise the shrimp bisque on the starter menu is some of the best ever. The Italian taste is pepperoni. What a great combination! Any of the seafood tapas are tasty too, with more variety and unique presentation that you will find anywhere in town. Our friends who eat calamari everywhere they go will be right at home with the almond crusted dish and spicy aioli plus fra diavolo sauce.

For dinner, everyone loves the Mediterranean Shrimp and Grits. It’s simply made with pancetta polenta which is an improvement over many traditional recipes. One of my personal favorites is the new Flounder Francaise with lemon butter and almonds, plus pancetta polenta.  If you crave paella, this is the right place — the only place to fall in love!

Know about my favorite dessert? Well, two or three actually, and they’re here! Creme brule, tiramisu or chocolate panini, just for me. Yummmmmm

Guess we’ll be here a lot to sample more new dishes, but never too far from a mac and cheese (5 imported cheeses) or a Mediterranean pizza fresh from this brick oven. Hope we’ll see you too!