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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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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Who Visits Charleston, South Carolina in the Winter?

Who visits Charleston, South Carolina in the Winter? I do! And here is why:

So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your winter trip today. Check our calendar for availability Palmetto Beach House Availability and Rates and stay on the beautiful Isle of Palms, which is only 20 minutes from downtown Charleston.

 

Isle of Palms beach in the winter

Isle of Palms beach in the winter

 

 

Bring comfortable shoes, a sweater, sunglasses and a smile!

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Vacation Rental Home Residential Elevator Operation

Residential elevator with gate open

Residential elevator with gate open

One of the most frequent issues guests have at our vacation home rental is mastering the art of the residential elevator! After countless calls from guests saying the elevator was broken, when in fact the problem was the gate had been left open, I decided to do a short video demonstrating how to use the elevator. Hopefully, this will be helpful to you!
The most important thing to remember is that this is a residential elevator and it runs much more slowly than the commercial elevators in hotels.
This was filmed in the garage area beneath the house since most people initially access the elevator through the garage to take up the luggage and groceries.

Calling the Elevator:

  • Press the call button. Notice the button does NOT turn green. It will turn green once the elevator arrives at the stop.
  • It takes a good 40 seconds for the elevator to come from the top level down to the garage. It seems like a long wait. Be patient!
  • You will see a light shine through the small hole near the top of the door as the elevator approaches.
  • When the elevator arrives the call button turns green and you will hear a tick as the safety latch releases on the door.
  • Next, you must enter your code into keypad. This is the same code you use on the front door and garage stairs entry. If you selected a personal code, that code will only work if you entered it into the elevator door lock, otherwise you will have to use the 10 digit code you were given for your reservation.
  • After you enter your code, press the Schlage button above the keypad. You will hear a little ascending series of notes if your code was entered correctly and the button will flash green. You can now open the door.
  • If your code was not entered correctly, the Schlage button will blink red and you will hear a descending series of notes. Try again, but realize you will only be allowed three trials before the lock will time you out for a few minutes.
    **Please do not push on the door, pull on the door or kick the door in an effort to get it open. It is designed to never open if the elevator is not at that level. If it did open, that would be a huge safety issue.

Be patient! Follow the steps carefully. If the elevator fails to come, go back upstairs, find which level the elevator was left at. Open that door and you will most likely find that the gate is open. 90% of the time, that is the problem.

Residential elevator with gate closed

Residential elevator with gate closed

When all else fails, you can always send someone to ride the elevator down and open it that way rather than using the keypad to unlock it.

Riding the Elevator:

  • Enter the elevator and close the door.
  • Close the gate.
  • Press the button for the desired floor
  • Do not jump in the elevator as it will unbalance the sensors and may cause a malfunction. Again this is much different from a commercial elevator.
  • Be careful that you do not put your hands inside the metal gate to touch the door.
  • Once the elevator comes to a complete stop, you will hear a click and you can open the gate and door and step out.
  • ALWAYS CLOSE THE GATE BEFORE SHUTTING THE DOOR WHEN YOU EXIT THE ELEVATOR. If the gate is not shut, the elevator will not move and you will not be able to call it from another level.

Helpful hints:

I like to send the elevator back down to the garage level so it is ready whenever I need it to bring up groceries or luggage. If you are not using it because of physical limitations, then I would suggest you do that as well. Just push the button 1 before closing the gate and it will go down and stop at the bottom.
If for some reason the elevator stops between levels (This rarely happens if someone was jumps while riding the elevator or if your load is very uneven with excessive weight on one side), do not attempt to fix the elevator yourself. Call Stuart. He knows how to troubleshoot many issue. There is an emergency phone in the elevator in case someone gets stuck inside.
It is a nice feature to have this elevator in our home. With patience, following the correct steps and monitoring children at all times, you can enjoy the use of the elevator for the duration of your stay. Our family mostly uses it for luggage and groceries and it is very helpful!

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Book Our Vacation Rental for Your Labor Day Week at the Beach Today!

vacation rental Isle of Palms

Imagine walking the beach on a sunny fall morning

Can you imagine yourself right here, on the Isle of Palms beach this Labor Day!  I can! This certainly doesn’t look like the beach in the summer with crowds of people. I love the Fall on Isle of Palms.

Why Come in the Fall?

  • Less people!
  • Weather – It is still in the mid 70’s and low 80’s during the day in September and some of October. November days are often in the 70’s.
  • Less bugs!
  • Most attractions stay open year round
  • Plenty of special events to keep everyone busy

What is There to Do Besides Go to the Beach?

Here are just a few of the events coming up this Fall in the Charleston, South Carolina area:

This is only a sample. If you go here Charleston Visitor Site, you can put in your dates and see everything going on in the Charleston area for the time you are visiting.

How Do I Book Your Vacation Rental?

Take a look at our availability calendar. You can either call Kathy at 330-618-4893 or put in a booking request for the dates you want and Kathy will get back to you with a quote.

Don’t wait! Book Now! We currently have only about 5 weeks left September – November. One of those weeks is the week of September 5th, Labor Day week. The water will still be plenty warm and the pool won’t need to be heated.

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Farmers’ Markets – Live Like a Local!

Farmers' market

The weather is nice and we are in full vacation season mode at the Palmetto Beach House Rental on the Isle of Palms with bookings set all the way through August! Everyone enjoys living like a local when they come to the island. One way to do that is to visit the local Farmers’ Markets and partake in some delicious locally grown foods.

We have three great options that are not far from our home. Each one has it’s own “flavor” and each one is worthy of a visit while you are in the area.

The closest Farmer’s Market is located just down the road on Sullivan’s Island. It also happens to be the new kid on the block having just started this year. The Sullivan’s Island market is located at 1921 I’On Avenue right in front of the Poe Library. It is open every Thursday 2:30 PM – 7:00 PM April 7th – June 30th. You can find a variety of potted plants and flowers including mint and tomato plants, plenty of fresh vegetables, local arts and crafts and even a table for junior vendors. Click here for additional information Sullivan’s Island Farmers’ Market

Over the Connector, is the  Mount Pleasant Farmer’s Market located in the Mount Pleasant Farmers Market Pavilion on Coleman Boulevard (Moultrie Middle School). This market is open every Tuesday 3:30 PM – 7:00 PM April 5th – September 27th. As you meander through the aisle here you will find freshly picked South Carolina fruits and vegetables, colorful flowers, local seafood and a variety of baked goods, canned goods, snacks and even some freshly cooked meals. There is music and family-friendly activities making this a fun afternoon adventure for everyone. Parking is free. Click here for additional information Mount Pleasant Farmers’ Market

Last and furthest away from Isle of Palms is the Charleston Farmers’ Market. This one is an award winner, so don’t miss it! It was founded by Mayor Joe Riley in 1989 and was named “Best Outdoor Event” & “Best Attraction” for 2013, 2014 and 2015. Located in Marion Square right beside the Embassy Suites Hotel in the very heart of Downtown Charleston, this market is open every Saturday 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM April 9th – November 26th. Additional dates are available during holiday seasons and for the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in May and June. Over 100 local vendors and artists participate in this market. Fresh produce, food concession tables, artisans and crafters are in abundance. There is live music, family activities and other community group displays. Click here for additional information Charleston Farmers’ Market 

Whether you are looking for some fresh vegetables to add to your dinner, activities to keep the kids busy, or local crafts to take home, you will not be disappointed when you attend these local markets! Enjoy! And live like a local!

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Vacation Rental Service Fees – How to Avoid Them – Part 2 of 3

computer

In the first part of this series, I told you about the service fees being added to bookings made through popular booking site like VRBO and HomeAway.

Now that you know these fees are being added, how can you avoid them? It will take a little detective work on your part, but you can, in many cases, avoid these added fees.

So, let’s say you have found the perfect vacation rental on VRBO. You go to “details” to get a breakdown of the price for the week you want, and you see that there is a “service fee” that is 6-10% of the total rental price. You love the property, but the fee puts it well over your budget. Here are some things you can do:

  1. Book directly through the owner. Many vacation rental properties have their own web sites. Some have Facebook pages. On many VRBO and HomeAway listings the owner’s phone number is visible if you click on “show phone number” in the owner information box. Ask if they accept payments through their web site, booking software, pay pal or another reputable method of secure payments. Some may even give discounts for payment by check.
  2. Look for a property name in the listing. If contact information such as e-mail address, phone number and links to web sites are not provided by the listing site, do some detective work. Read through the listing to see if the house has a name (in our case the Palmetto Beach House). Then do a Google search for that name including the city you are planning to visit (for us “Palmetto Beach House Isle of Palms”). There is another vacation rental with the same name as ours in another city so including the city in your search will help you get more accurate results.
  3. Do a Google Image search. If there is no house name, right click on a picture in the listing (the lead picture works best). Then select, “search Google for image” in the menu that appears. This will often lead you to their web site or Facebook page or perhaps another listing site that may not have a service/booking fee.

A Caution: Do not contact the owner through the listing site by clicking on the “Book It” button on sites that charge service fees. If you do that and enter your credit card information, you will be charged the service fee as you check out to secure your booking. The owner cannot reduce, remove or refund this fee. It goes directly to the booking site. In most cases, it is non-refundable.

Another option, is to pull away from sites that charge traveler’s a service or booking fee. They are out there. Here are a few:

HomeEscape

Vacation Home Rentals

AVROA

If you are certain that you want to pay the fees for the benefits claimed by the booking site, take the time to carefully read the terms and conditions.

If you missed Part 1 Click here

Watch for Part 3 – Booking Safely Through a Private website/owner

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Vacation Rental Service Fees – Part 1 of 3 – What they are.

Screenshot 2016-02-20 14.14.21

You can click the above image to make it larger.

Vacation rental service fees are cropping up on many listing sites. If you follow the vacation rental market news, you may be aware of a trend that is costing both travelers and owners more money. Booking sites like VRBO, HomeAway and Trip Adviser are jumping on the service fee band wagon following the success of AirBnB. They are beginning to tack on a 4-10% additional fee which is paid by the traveler if you book through their booking site. Be aware HomeAway (which is now owned by Expedia) and Trip Adviser, own a variety of different sites and some may have fees, others may not. You need to check the “details” for a breakdown of the cost to see if the “service fee” is listed. For example, FlipKey (owned by Trip Adviser) charges a service fee while Vacation Home Rentals (also owned by Trip Adviser), does not. That may change if consumers seem to accept the fees.

You might be wondering why I said this is affecting owners. It is costing the traveler more to book, not the owner, right? Well, when the price goes up for the traveler, that does impact bookings for the owner. Remember, the owner does not receive this money, it is going to the booking site but it is making our homes more expensive to rent. We, as owners, have no control over the fees, but you as travelers can find ways to book with us without paying those fees.

HomeAway describes the benefits of their service fee as “This helps VRBO provide a safer and more secure booking experience, coupled with premium 24/7 customer support through out your trip.” If this appeals to you, make sure you check the details of the services provided to see if the fee has any value for you.

So, what can you do? How can you avoid booking site service fees? Watch for Part 2  – Avoiding Vacation Rental Service Fees.

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