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Buggin' Out: My Family's Adventure at the Magnolia Gardens Ladybug Release

When you come across a person who uses the words: “summertime in Charleston” and “bugs” in their conversation, you are quick to assume that they are talking about undesirable pests. Admittedly, there are lots of mosquitoes, no-see-ums, or, even worse, the dreaded Palmetto bugs here. Your first thought probably wasn't “ladybugs”… “Wait, ladybugs?” Yes, ladybugs (and to be fair to the ladybug population, there are male ladybugs too…man-bugs.) All bad jokes aside, you can find the biggest gathering of ladybugs that Charleston, SC has to offer on a hot, summer day at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, America’s Oldest Romantic Garden.

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Downhill in Damascus: Biking the Virginia Creeper Trail

 

Have you ever wished you could just bike downhill?

 

Overhearing my friends discuss plans to bike the “Virginia Creeper Trail” while coaxing me to join them on this famous 17-mile ride made me question my sense of adventure. I’ll try anything that does not include running for long stretches: skydiving, petting baby gators, bobbing for apples, inverted roller coasters, climbing Machu Picchu, batting a piñata, sport fencing, even walking a half marathon…but this sounded intimidating. I hadn’t biked in months and probably never topped ten miles in one stretch. I had been informed most of the bike trip was a gradual downhill ride. Still, you hear 17 miles, and you wonder.

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Charleston Music and Sweet Tea Make Happy Days

This blog could have easily been titled: "Have You Tasted the Tea?", "Stop Light Observations Triumphant Return", "Sheryl Crow Makes Us Happy", "Help Send a Kid to Camp", or even "The Tarlatans May Not Be the Tarlatans Anymore". There was so much hearty content wrapped into one Sunday at the 9th Annual First Flush Festival, it's hard not to hit everything, but I'll try to shine a light on some of the highlights.

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McLeod Plantation Opens in Charleston

When I moved to Charleston in 2003, my grandfather drove me all around town pointing out historic sites and areas of interest. When we made our way to James Island, he directed my attention to a row of white cabins just off Folly Road. It was McLeod Plantation. While a notable historical site, he wasn't sure what the status of the property was at the time. A number of years later, I moved to James Island. I passed those cabins on a regular basis, wondering about them often. This past Friday, years worth of curiosity were satisfied, when I got to tour the plantation a day before it officially opened to the public. I can't encourage locals to check this place out enough. It is a treasure trove of Charleston history.

 

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Magnolia Gardens in Springtime

I never need an excuse to head out to Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. It's one of my favorite places in the Lowcountry. But a couple of weeks ago, I had an extra reason to be out there. In a week or so more, I'll have yet another. You see the the azaleas are blooming, and sometime soon, they'll be at their peak. In my opinion, there is simply no better time to visit Magnolia Plantation. It has an awe-inspiring beauty in the spring.

 

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Art and Animal Lovers Enjoy SEWE

When I was a kid, I lived about two hours outside of Orlando, which meant my family made a trip to Sea World occasionally. One of the big shows at the park starred Shamu, an orca, in the ocean tank. One quickly learned that there was a "splash zone" at this show, and if you didn't want to get wet, you stayed out of the first five rows. This weekend at the Southeastern Wildlife Expo (SEWE), I learned there is also a splash zone for Dock Dogs competitions.

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