Poogan’s Porch

 What Does Poogan’s Porch Offer?

Poogan’s Porch sits on Queen Street in an area filled with great restaurants housed in old historic homes. The carefully restored Victorian house offers the perfect spot for lunch, dinner or a weekend brunch.
I especially like their warm homemade buttermilk biscuits and the she-crab soup! The buttermilk fried Chicken dinner is one of their signature dishes and it does not disappoint!

Fried Chicken Poogan's Porch
The restaurant has a variety of options for seating. There are private rooms for small groups as well as quaint, quiet, romantic tables of two. In good weather, the porch is available for dining. Well- mannered dogs are welcome to dine with the owners on the porch.

Buttermilk Biscuits Poogan's Porch

How Poogan’s Porch Got Its Name?

The house was built in 1888 and lived in as a single family home for nearly a century. By 1976, the neighborhood had become more suitable to restaurants and the house was sold. The owners moved, but legend has it, Poogan, the family pet, stayed behind. He became the official porch greeter as he wondered the porch searching for scraps and a good back scratch. In 1979, Poogan died of natural causes but his porch and restaurant live on.

Is Poogan’s Porch Haunted?

Poogan's Marker

Plenty of local guides tell stories of Poogan’s Porch being one of Charleston’s famous haunted houses. Of course, one ghost often referred to is Poogan himself.
But there is another ghost that reportedly walks the halls of this old Victorian house. Her name is Zoe. She lived at 72 Queen with her sister, Elizabeth in the early 1900’s. The sisters were very close and largely kept to themselves. Elizabeth died in 1945 and Zoe slipped into a deep depression. Neighbors claimed Zoe walked the streets at night, calling for her sister. She eventually was sent to a mental hospital where she died.
Many stories circulate the ghost tour routes about people in the hotel across the street, sighting Zoe’s ghost moving through the house at night. Staff of the restaurant also report encounters with her. You can read more entertaining ghost stories about the house here: Ghosts

Dessert on Poogan's Porch

The Essentials:

Poogan's Porch at nightPoogan's porch at night

 

Poogan’s Porch is a very popular place so be sure you have a reservation!

Address: 72 Queen Street Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Phone: 843-577-2337
Hours: Lunch 11-2:30pm    Dinner 5pm-closing    Brunch 9am-2:30pm
Reviews: Trip Advisor      Yelp

Parking: There is a deck across the street. Poogan’s Porch is a long block walk from the Charleston Market.

 

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Sweetgrass Baskets

sweetgrass basket Charleston, SCsweetgrass basket of Charleston

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sweetgrass baskets are a long standing part of the Charleston, South Carolina history and landscape. You can walk through the Charleston City Market and discover over 50 basket stalls. Seven days a week, artisans are making  and selling these highly unique heirlooms. Drive down US 17 (also known as “Sweetgrass Basket Makers Highway”) between Charleston and Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. The highway is dotted with roadside stands of families selling their baskets.

Many of these talented artisans are 4th and 5th generation weavers who learned their trade as young children. Techniques and designs are passed down from generation to generation throughout the area.

History of Sweetgrass Baskets

Sweetgrass baskets are a part of the rich Gullah culture in South Carolina. They date back to the 17th century and the West African slaves. Gullah is the term used for the unique linguistic characteristics and culture attributed to the local descendants from Africa. Gullah does not only refer to their linguistic differences. It also encompasses specialized Low Country foods and spices as well as these handcrafted, artistically woven sweetgrass baskets.

Originally, these baskets were used by slaves on rice plantations. Slaves placed rice in the tightly woven baskets and threw it into the air. This allowed the wind to blow away impurities off the grain, freeing it from the chaff, dirt and insects. The process is called winnowing. The baskets were also used for holding vegetables, shellfish and cotton. Over decades, these baskets have evolved and become highly desired works of art. The Smithsonian Institute has a display of baskets from Charleston and Mount Pleasant.

Early baskets were made mostly from bulrush rather than sweetgrass. Bulrush is a tall, dark marsh grass that grows best in muddy marsh waters. It creates a darker, browner color.

In the early 1900’s other plant material became popular to add to the baskets. These materials are more flexible allowing the use of sewing bones and adding a variety of green colors and a more pleasant, fresh hay smell. Sweetgrass grows in the sandy marshes and near oceans. In the fall, it turns a beautiful purple and then fades to white. The grass is harvested in the spring and summer and laid out in the sun to dry.

On plantations, basket making was often left to the older slaves, usually females, who could no longer work in the fields.

The Making of the Baskets

The Gullah procedure for making the baskets is called sewing rather than weaving. It uses a sewing bone (sharpened meta spoons) or a nail bone (metal picks made by flattening nails or carving rib bones from animals). No pattern is used but intricate designs are created and learned by experience.

Baskets Today

Charleston sweetgrass baskets

Photo Courtesy of the Charleston Area CVB, ExploreCharleston.com.

Sweetgrass baskets are not inexpensive, however when you realize the intricate work and unique designs of these highly coveted works of art, you understand why the cost is high.

My Personal Favorite

Charleston sweetgrass basket weaver

Corey Alston (photo courtesy of the Charleston Area CVB, ExploreCharleston.com)

The basket pictured at the top of the page is one that I had the honor of acquiring through a contest! It was designed and created by Corey Alston. Corey and his amazing work can be found in the Charleston City Market. Corey is taking the tradition a step further. He now has an app that allows customers to design their own baskets! He also has a Facebook page at Gullah Woven Photo where he is combining his basket sewing skills with photography for even more memorable Charleston gems!

More Information

If you want to learn more about this amazing art form, read the book Sweetgrass Baskets and the Gullah Tradition by Joyce V. Coakley

For children, Circle Unbroken by Margot Theis Raven, is a delightful read.

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The Story of the DeSaussure House on the Battery

DeSaussure House Charleston, South CarolinaMy Obsession

As I have told you before, I greatly enjoy meandering up and down the streets around the battery (Kathy’s Blog Walking the Battery) and gazing at the huge antebellum houses. Truth is, I am just a bit obsessed with them! It seems I see something new every time I go. I also enjoy seeing if I can find information about the history of some of the houses.

1 East Battery is one of those houses I have walked past for years and wondered what stories it might have to tell! This house is also known as The DeSaussure House. It sits on the corner of East Battery and South Battery with three piazzas looking out over White Point Garden (Kathy’s Blog White Point Garden). While it may look like the front of the house actually sits on South Battery, this is the classic Charleston style. Look at the picture below and you will see the front door on the side facing East Battery allowing the piazzas to take full advantage of the breezy Charleston Harbor.

History

Thomas Coffin (1795-1863), owner of the Coffin Point Plantation, a well known cotton plantation on the coast in Beaufort County, originally owned the lot a 1 East Battery. In 1858, Coffin deeded the lot to Louis DeSaussure (1824-1888), a highly successful business man. DeSaussure constructed the three story stuccoed brick mansion with triple-tiered piazzas between 1858 and 1861. Unfortunately, in February of 1865, the house was damaged when a large gun exploded at the corner of East and South Battery. There was also severe damage done to the home in the famous 1886 Charleston earthquake.

The original design was a much more simple exterior especially with the window details. After the earthquake, the house was rehabilitated by a new owner, Bernard O’Neil. He added the ornate iron balconies seen today beneath the windows and more details to the window and door trim. In addition, he added an elaborate cornice and a roof balustrade (later removed).

The O’Neil family kept the house until 1926. The house was purchased by Mrs Robert E.Lee, III for a time. During World War II, it was used to house Navy officers.

 1 East Battery The DeSaussure House Charleston, South Carolina

(Photo By ProfReader – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29393116)

Today

Currently, the DeSaussure house is no longer a single family home. It has been divided into three condos. Unit A is a 2 bedroom, 1.5 bath, 1900 sq.ft. condo that is valued around $1,200,000! Unit C is 2 bedrooms, 3 baths 2100 sq.ft. and valued around $1,200,000 as well. The carriage house beside the mansion was subdivided into a separate house and given the address 2 South Battery. It is a 5 bedroom, 5 bath 4500 sq.ft. home worth over $3,000,000!

Fact or Fiction?

According to legend, and several carriage tour drivers who love to pass these legends around, Louis DeSaussure invited guests to come and gather on the roof the piazzas to witness the 1st shots of the Civil War fired on Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861. Supposedly, they cheered from their prime observation spot when the shots were fired. Fact or fiction? I really don’t know but I would guess there would have been a great view from that spot.

 

#CharlestonSouthCarolina #thebattery

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White Point Garden

              White Point Garden 1851

White Point Garden is one of those special places every Charleston, South Carolina visitor must explore!

History of White Point Garden

Did you know that White Point Garden was originally called “Oyster Point” and later the name was changed to “White Point”? The name comes from oyster shells bleached by the sun, found at the edge of the peninsula. A bath house once stood at the end of King Street from 1840-1881. Cake and ice cream was sold in a parlor above the bath house. It was removed in 1881 and the waterfront area was filled in to make the park larger.

White Point Garden with bath house 1872

 

 

 

 

 

Today

The area once covered in oyster shells is now covered in grass. A variety of statues, plaques and canon replicas as well as a gazebo are spread out in the 5.7 acres of this public park. Live oak trees provide abundant shade. Spectacular antebellum homes and a gentle breeze make this a popular place year round.

On a clear day, Fort Sumter and the Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse are visible. Dolphins can often be seen jumping amid the shrimp boats. This is a great place to watch a sunset!

If you plan to visit, make sure you wear good walking shoes since the concrete slabs along the waterfront are uneven. Also be mindful that there are no public washrooms in the area.

White Point Garden Charleston, SC

                     White Point Garden today

 

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Oysters: Love ‘Em or Leave ‘Em!

oyster shell

Oysters…love ’em or leave ’em, there is no in between! These tasty, slimy, expensive delicacies don’t seem to have any middle ground. No one ever says, oysters are just OK. They are best eaten raw with plenty of champagne to wash them down. Sorry, pregnant ladies, but these are off the menu for you.

What are oysters?

Oysters are in the mollusks family. Other two shelled mollusks include clams, scallops and mussels. The shell of the oyster looks almost rocky. It is formed as the animal grows. Successive layers of shell form with each layer projecting a little beyond the last. This creates a series of concentric lines as shown in the picture above. A ligament and various muscles hold the edge of the shells firmly together like a hinge.

Oysters are most prevalent, and best eaten, in colder months. They breed during the summer and are harvested in months which contain an “R” (January, February, March, April, September, October, November and December).

Oysters feed by drawing a current of water between their two shells. Minute food particles pass through the water providing nourishment. Interestingly, oysters can live a long time out of water as long as they are kept cold since they can keep their shells tightly closed so no water escapes. Their biggest natural enemies are starfish and crabs…and of course oyster loving humans!

How to eat oysters?

The first issue for the person desiring to taste an oyster is the rather daunting task of opening the rough, rock hard, tightly sealed shell. But, take heart, there is a tool for that! Some brilliant person invented the oyster knife. But be careful to protect your hands from the rough shell. Watch this video on how to open an oyster shell:

For some people, getting past the gray, slimy, plump body and the strong desire to gag, makes oyster eating impossible. I must confess to being one of the those people! However, I am told that if I could get past my “issues”, I would discover a delicate, rich, salty flavor. Oysters are also high in calcium, iron and protein. But, I stand my ground…they are not for everyone no matter how healthy they are.

The best way to eat oysters, according to my friends, is to “slurp them down”. Most people use a tiny fork and move the oyster around in its liquid making sure it is not attached to the shell. Then, they put down the fork, pick up the shell and “slurp” from the wide end. While the majority of people shallow oysters whole, there are some brave soles who give it a light chew.

What so you do with the shell?

Don’t just throw the shells in the garbage! Because oyster shells have a very high calcium content, using them in your garden can improve the pH balance of the soil and result in more colorful plants.

Oysters being served

Where can you eat raw oysters in the Charleston area?

 

Pearlz Oyster Bar – West Ashley
9 Magnolia Rd
Charleston, SC 29407
(843) 573-2277

Pearlz Oyster Bar
9 Magnolia Rd
Charleston, SC 29407
(843) 573-2277

Pearlz Oyster Bar

Oyster House and O-Bar (Formerly A.W. Shucks)
5 S Market St
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 723-1151

Oyster House

Amen Street Fish and Raw Bar
205 E Bay St
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 853-8600

Amen Street

Victor Social Club
39-F John St.
Charleston, SC

 

Victor Social Club

Coast Bar & Grill
39 John St
Charleston, SC 29403
(843) 722-8838

Coast Bar & Grill

Prohibition
547 King St
Charleston, SC 29403
(843) 793-2964

Prohibition

The Darling Oyster Bar
513 King St
Charleston, SC 29403

The Darling Oyster Bar

The Ordinary
544 King St
Charleston, SC 29403

The Ordinary

Red’s Ice House
98 Church St
Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
(843) 388-0003

Red’s Ice House


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Hurricane Matthew: Before, During and After

Before the Storm

Hurricane Matthew paid us a visit in early October. Jim and I were at the Palmetto Beach House doing our post season maintenance. It was an unexpected experience for us Ohioans! We are much more accustomed to dealing with winter snow and ice.

The week prior to our scheduled maintenance was my annual beach girls trip! We had glorious weather and we thoroughly enjoyed the beach, the pool and Charleston dining all week.

The Beach Girls!

The Beach Girls!

crab-on-isle-of-palms-beach

Crab on the Beach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shortly after Jim arrived, talk of the approaching storm began. Hurricane Matthew formed late in September 2016 and grew to a category 5 strength with 160mph winds by September 30th. It made landfall in Haiti and Cuba on October 4th as a category 4. Matthew hit the Bahamas hard October 5th as a category 3 and 4 hurricane and then moved up the east coast of the United States finally making landfall on October 8th.

All that to say, we had time to prepare.

Preparing for the Storm

Jumping into action, we moved whatever outdoor furniture we could, inside. Those pieces that were too big to fit through the doors were strapped to the poles by the pool. Propane tanks were turned off and latched down. Our front door is actually an old salvage door. Because of the age of the door and the fact that it opens in, we decided tboarded-upo board it up. hurricane-prep

 

Having done all we could, we stayed through Friday afternoon. Then we heeded the evacuation warnings and went inland to Columbia to spend the night with our son and daughter-in-law. We left knowing full well that the outcome of this storm was not in our hands. This home has been a tremendous blessing to us and the many people we have hosted.  It never belonged to us and if God chose to blow it away or flood it under a massive tidal surge, it was not up to us. Before we left, we took a walk to watch the angry waves rolling in as the storm approached.before-hurricane-matthew-iop-beach

 

During the Storm

Reportedly, peak wind gusts reached 69mph and total rainfall was about 10 inches the day of the storm. Storm surge was less than expected. Water came up only as far as the end of our sidewalk and stopped. We never had any flooding in the garage!

After the Storm

Saturday, we took our time leaving Columbia and monitored road closure reports. Route 26 was open by mid-afternoon but was littered with many fallen trees. Our travel app, WAZE, came in really handy as it alerted us to “object in the road ahead”.

As property owners on the island, we received hurricane re-entry stickers several years ago, so we were able to get back on the island Saturday when we arrived. I cannot even begin to describe the joy and relief we felt as we drove up to the house and saw that there was no damage. We didn’t even lose a shingle. There was plenty of debris in the yard and the pool was a mess. But using the net and running our little pool robot , we got it cleaned up nicely.

isle-of-palms-pool-after-matthew

iop-pool-cleaned-upGetting everything put back into place took us awhile but once it was done, we headed out to the see the beach. The 25th street access was flooded so we walked down to the curve and used the boardwalk at 21st street. Again, we were amazed! The beach took a battering and there were many access piers  lost but for the most part, very little damage to homes.

emmas-shell

Emma’s Shell

A surprise benefit of the storm was the huge display of fairly large and intact shells all along the beach. We were able to collect some great ones to bring back for our granddaughter, Emma.

Today

It is back to business as usual for us. Our October schedule was full and no one cancelled. Guests arrived October 12th and their only inconvenience was the flooded access to the beach. By now, even that is gone. In fact, we took a last minute booking for a group that booked a house in Wild Dunes, but because of hurricane damage, they were cancelled.

We feel abundantly blessed to have weathered this storm so well. We know it could have turned out very different.  Returning to Ohio, we had many friends ask us about the storm and why we thought our area had been spared any severe damage. We have no answer for that other than yet another blessing!

2-charleston-vacation-rental

 

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Walking the Battery

Walking the Battery in Charleston!

Walking the Battery in Charleston!

Antebellum style houses along the Charleston Battery

Antebellum style houses along the Charleston Battery

Walking the Battery in Charleston South Carolina is one of those activities that must be done almost every trip we make to the Holy City! Why is that?

Perhaps it is the water and view of shrimp boats and the possibility of spotting dophins….

Perhaps it is the picture postcard antebellum southern mansions all along the road…

Perhaps it is a chance to get away from the crowded streets downtown…

Perhaps it is time wandering the historic avenues and peaking through iron gates for glimpses of beautiful urban gardens…

Watching for dolphins and shrimp boats

Watching for dolphins and shrimp boats

Whatever the draw, it is strong for me. I feel as though I am much further away from downtown than we really are. It is a step back in time. A place to let go of my “to do” list and just enjoy the sights and the sounds and the smells.

The scenic promenade that runs along this southern most tip of the Charleston Peninsula allows you to walk without having to worry about traffic. This is the place where the Cooper River and the Ashley River meet. On a clear day, Fort Sumter and Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse can be seen. The furthest point along the promenade is called White or Oyster Point because of the piles of oyster shells there.

In 1737, there was a fort on this site called Broughton’s Battery. The sea wall was built in 1750 to protect the fort. Then, in 1789 the fort was demolished. During the War of 1812, this spot was occupied by Fort Wilkins. In the Civil War, it was a coastal defense artillery battery. Now the area sports a public garden with paved paths, military statues, canons, cannon balls and a gazebo. It is a great place to let the kids run and climb or to have a picnic.

Interesting Houses Along the Battery

In case you want to take yourself on a history walk, here is a list of famous houses along East Battery. There are plenty more, but this is enough to get you started!

Louis DeSaussure House is an antebellum house at 1 East Battery

Robert William Roper House is a historic house at 9 East Battery

William Ravenel House dating back to 1845 at 13 East Battery

Charles Drayton House is a historic Victorian home at 25 East Battery

Edmondston-Alston House is a historic house located at 21 East Battery. This one is a museum and you can tour it. Check here for addition information.

 

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Wine Bars in Charleston, South Carolina

Wine bar

There are any number of tours available in Charleston, South Carolina. You can take historic walking tours of the city, carriage ride tours, ghost tours at night, tours of historic houses, tours of forts, coastal tours…the list goes on and on.

But another idea that might be fun is touring some of the many wine bars in Charleston. This article has a detailed list to get you started. Check out a few next time you visit, but always be responsible. Have a designated driver so everyone stays safe!

Click here for Charleston Wine Bars

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A First Timer’s Guide to Charleston

030031

Visiting Charleston, South Carolina for the very first time can be and exhilarating, but overwhelming experience! There is so much to see and so much to do!

Here is a great guide for the first time visitor that gives some suggestions on things to see and places to eat. Of course, personally, I would say the best place to stay is not listed in the article! That would be our house, the Palmetto Beach House on Isle of Palms.

Did you know that it is only a 20 minute drive to downtown Charleston, from our house?

Here is the guide. I hope you enjoy it! First Timer’s Guide to Charleston

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Events in Charleston for 2016

I love to plan. I especially love to plan vacations! And vacations to areas with plenty of sun and beaches and great restaurants and history! Charleston, South Carolina is that kind of place. Being only a 20 minute drive from the Isle of Palms makes it easy to have a beach vacation combined with all the fun downtown Charleston!

downtown-Charleston-13-200x300

 

 

Here is a great list of activities going on in downtown Charleston during 2016. It is never to early to start planning!

Guide to Fun In Charleston

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