History & Waffles...

After brunch with our friend, Sharon, we headed out for a long day of having fun.

We are delighting in all the beaches Charleston offers. Today's was on the Isle of Palm.
There are names in this town that are everywhere. Our curiosity has been piqued with the name, Pinckney. The day's history lesson focused on the "Forgotten Founder" Charles Pinckney (1757-1824).
Due to some of his controversial ideals, this talented and important man was forgotten by early historians. This site is here to remind us. Charles Pinckney is most noted for his role as a drafter and signer of the U.S. Constitution. He was among the first to call to amend the ineffective Articles of the Confederation. His arguments were important and historians have confirmed that he, as a leader at the convention, helped resolve problems that arose during the debates and contributed significantly.
Prior to a devastating fire in Charleston, Charles Pinckney had a library of over 20,000 books. In each, he signed them and documented where they were purchased. Only 80 books remain. I loved this book of poetry, bought in New York, May 20, 1786 (230 years ago).
Nick and Deb met us in Mt. Pleasant at an awesome restaurant called Page's Okra Grill.
You might be seeing a trend in us sharing our dining experiences a bit more. There is such a diverse and unique cuisine here, we can't help ourselves. Our dinner choice was shared Chicken and Waffles. Sausage, roasted corn, cheddar cheese and diced jalapenos cooked into a buttermilk Belgian waffle, topped with honey butter and a crispy fried chicken breast- all this tantalizing food for only $11.
Deb knew we'd have to get on Page's ginormous Adirondack for a photo op.
The sun setting on the Ravenel Bridge was a wonderful end to a wonderful day.

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Little Free Libraries...Oh My

I have written about Little Free Libraries before. I'm especially excited about them now because when we return home, I will have my very own waiting for me (thank you so much Mike and Kim).

 I cannot wait to fill this when I'm home! So exciting.
These little bird feeders for humans began in 2009 by Todd Bol and Rick Brooks. Together, they saw opportunities to achieve a variety of goals for the common good. They were inspired by many different ideas, one of which was Andrew Carnegie’s support of 2,509 free public libraries around the turn of the 19th to 20th century. Todd and Rick's goal was to build 2,510 Little Free Libraries—as many as Andrew Carnegie—and keep going. Their goal was reached a year and a half before their original target date. By January of this year, the total number of registered Little Free Libraries in the world was conservatively estimated to be over 36,000.
The first Little Free Library in Charleston was this one, installed in 2012 by Fred Herrmann. Part of his motivation was that his house had become overrun with books. In no time, his books were jumping off the shelves. Then his neighbors started coming by to leave their books to help keep the idea sustainable.
This one was started by Sherry, a retired elementary school librarian. The English phone booth was inspired by her many trips to England, leading student tours into the world of Harry Potter. I took a book and left a book at this library. The next day we walked by just as a couple was withdrawing the book I actually left. How cool is that!?
Today's find was at Grace Church. This library was a donation of a parishioner. Its colors greatly resemble the church it is next to. 
So of all the Little Free Libraries we have seen, this has to be my favorite. Not only is it huge, but each genre is stored in a mailbox, thus combining two of my loves- mail and books. How totally ingenious and awesome. The mission of the Little Free Libraries is to promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges, worldwide, and to build a sense of community as they share skills, creativity and wisdom across generations. I have witnessed this firsthand here in Charleston. I can't wait to see what my own Little Free Library generates.
"Whenever you read a good book,
somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light."
–Vera Nazarian

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Jails, Graves & Bologna Sandwiches

Every day we try to discover something new and today's 'score' was the Old Jail building (1802),the County Jail from its construction until 1939.

The Old Jail housed a great variety of inmates including some of the last 19th-century high-sea pirates who were imprisoned here in 1822 while they awaited hanging. It is one of more than 1400 historically significant buildings within the Charleston Old and Historic District.
Like a great deal of buildings here, it is in a state of repair. We were enthralled to discover workers crafting handmade, sun-baked, bricks to make it thoroughly authentic.

The park-like setting, rich history and ornate tombstones made Magnolia Cemetery a destination for us. It first opened in 1850 and is on the land of a former rice plantation. The property was designed during a new rural cemetery movement that crossed from Europe to America in the mid-19th century. With lovingly landscaped paths and ponds, trees and green space, Charlestonians would come to Magnolia to picnic and play, as well as visit lost loved ones.
South Carolina ranks third in lives lost on the Confederate side. It has been said as many men died in captivity during the Civil War as were killed in the whole of the Vietnam War. They estimate that over 3,000 Confederate soldiers are buried within the Soldier's Ground and privately owned family lots. In 1871, a women's group arranged for soldiers buried in Gettysburg to be returned home and interred here.
Again, we had a cemetery first with seeing this, the oldest building on the site (1850). The Receiving Tomb, just at the banks of the Cooper River marsh, was a building designed as a holding area for the deceased while a permanent grave was being prepared A receiving tomb was an important building in any graveyard that was subject to harsh winters. The bodies of those who died in the winter were stored here so that they could be buried in the spring when the ground was softer.

Everyone here knows of the H.L. Hunley. Its crew died in an age of horse-drawn simplicity. Here eight Confederate sailors rode to their fates in the H.L. Hunley, a technological marvel that changed the world. They made history when this Civil War submarine attached a torpedo to the hull of the U.S.S. Housatonic and detonated it. The Housatonic sank just off of Charleston, and the crew of the Hunley became the first submariners in history to sink an enemy ship. But for some reason, the Hunley also sank to the bottom and didn't come up. It wasn't until the year 2000 that the sub was finally found and it was until four years later that the crew was laid to rest. Oh the history here.

Dinner was at The Alley. This cool space is the first bowling alley in downtown since the 60s. On the calendar for tonight was the showing of the movie "Kingpin". The movie never happened but a delicious dinner did.
Described as, "The Alley Charleston is really one-of-a-kind not only for Charleston but the country. It’s not just a bowling alley; it’s a one-stop entertainment hub that has excellent food and beverage options. The space is bright, open and expansive and has whimsical design elements that add to the flavor and entertainment already offered." You have to love the whimsy.
This is not your usual alley food. We had loaded tater tots, ranch mac & cheese and a fried bologna sandwich. While we could hear our arteries hardening with each bite, we loved it all.
Just another great and diverse Charleston day.

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Erwin Redl: Rational Exuberance Exhibit

We spent our afternoon enveloped in art at the Halsey Institute.

The title of this exhibition is a play on the famous phrase “irrational exuberance” used by former Federal Reserve Board chairman Alan Greenspan, in a speech to the American Enterprise Institute during the Dot-com bubble of the 1990s. The phrase was interpreted as a warning that the market might be somewhat overvalued. In this case the title is the program. It refers to the artist’s strict methodologies which employ binary logic as well as tropes of minimalism to exuberant extremes. As demonstrated in his light installations and most recent kinetic works, a very restrained vocabulary due to the scale, repetition, and variations leads to a sense of deep corporeality. The meaning oscillates between the purely abstract and profound sensuality.
We began our lesson with a presentation by the artist Erwin Redl who investigates the process of “reverse engineering” by (re-)translating the abstract aesthetic language of virtual reality and 3D computer modeling into architectural environments by means of large-scale light installations. Yes, I too was confused by the description but his talk made it understandable.

After a very thorough lecture on what and how, Mr. Redl walked us to the Gallery and discussed each piece in person. The photos just don't do the installation justice. The movement, which makes it mesmerizing, is missing.
He machined his pieces on a CNC router and when done, he realized the base table's design was an incredible 'woodblock' and made these prints on it. Very, very cool. 

Mr. Redl described his art as a "system". This probably was the most unique, and quite interesting exhibit we have attended. I felt it was extra special because the artist himself was there to share and explain. Learning how it was all accomplished was almost as amazing as the finished works.

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Riverdogs Baseball...A Grand Slam Night

When Deb suggested ending the week at The Joe for a baseball game, we were so in.

Pro baseball can be traced in Charleston back to 1886 when the Charleston Seagulls played. The Riverdogs got their start  in 1980 and are now a minor league affiliate of the New York Yankees.
Local boy, the actor Bill Murray, is part owner of the team and is on the staff roster with the very important job of Director of Fun.
The team name originates from an urban legend that sailors in Charleston would notice large rats, on the banks of the nearby Cooper and Ashley rivers, and would call them "river dogs", and was chosen in a name-the-team contest held at local Piggly Wiggly outlets in 1994. So very small town.

Deb was pretty excited when she spotted Shep from Bravo's "Southern Charm". The show reveals a world of exclusivity, money and scandal dating back through generations of families in Charleston. The docuseries follows several Charleston singles as they pursue their personal and professional lives while trying to preserve their family names because just one social faux pas can taint a family's name for generations.
We also ran into Landon. This is what is written about the two of them. "But not everyone is eager to settle down. Shep, the resident bachelor and ladies' man, finds a new partner-in-leisure in Landon, who's just as dedicated to riding the waves of life. However, Landon has a revelation that could change their decade-long friendship forever." Guess what I'm watching this Monday at 9 PM?
Star sightings, great stadium food, fun friends AND our team won! Woo hoo.

The night ended with an amazing fireworks display. Day #20 in Charleston was absolutely fabulous!

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"Stranger than Fiction" @ PULP

On our explores of Charleston, we have passed this storefront numerous times, always looking in but never stopping.

PULP is an interesting place specializing in new and unique art, photography and popular culture books & zines. Along with vintage and contemporary photographs, signed prints and other multiples & ephemera, it is a space that was perfect for the exhibit we came for- "Stranger than Fiction".
All true!  All shocking!! Over 80 vintage circus sideshow, medical, crime and tabloid photographs from the 1880s -1950s.  Meet Lionel the Lion-Faced Man, Priscilla the Monkey Girl and General Tom Thumb.  Witness cruel fates and deadly consequences. Free opening night event featuring live music, drinks and a first-look at this amazing collection.  Must be 21 or over.  All works will be for sale.
Upon first glance, the images of life's genetic cruelties were difficult to look at, however Will Eiseman, owner and curator, went an extra step by telling the human stories of these "performers". While some were tragic, many were happy with love being found and a 'happily-ever-after' ending. I liked that.
Wine flowed, live Jazz filled the air and images intrigued.
Discreetly, there was a room, in the back, that held photos of various images that were less intriguing and some quite disturbing but isn't that indicative of life? I thought this was a great summation from a review I read, " It’s all naked truth and ugly beauty captured from behind the unflinching eye of the camera’s lens."

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