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Top Five Charleston Spring Edition

It's springtime in Charleston. That means virtually perfect weather, blooming azaleas, downtown streets filled with out of town visitors, and the desire to blow off the indoors as much as possible. Here are my Top Five favorite things during this magical time we call spring in Charleston.

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2017 Southeastern Wildlife Expo

The 2017 Southeastern Wildlife Expo (SEWE) kicks off in full fashion tomorrow, February 17th. SEWE is celebrating it's 35th year in Charleston and remains the biggest art and wildlife expo of its kind in the south. The first expo, held in February of 1983, had approximately 100 exhibits including the first featured artist, Lee LeBlanc, and some 5,000 attendees. Now in it's 35th year, SEWE boasts 40,000+ guests annually. Year after year, it's easy to see why it's grown. It is, in my opinion, one of the best bang for your buck events in Charleston.

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Take a Vacation From Your Vacation Plan

For about three months, I've been planning on joining friends, some old and some new, for a trip to the mountains this past weekend. As a travel writer, I have a hard time taking a casual weekend away. This trip was no different. I had called the Chamber of Commerce in Blairsville, GA, where we were headed, long ago looking for suggestions on the best things to do in town. I had called apple orchids, scoped out hiking possibilities and state parks, and even toyed with the idea of going horseback riding on our weekend adventure. Then the last two weeks, life started to unravel a bit.

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Flying into History, Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum and the Servicemen who made her famous.

I found myself sitting in the Wardroom (the Officer's Galley) of the USS Yorktown at Patriots Point on the eve of its 40th Anniversary celebration talking with Rear Admiral James Flatley III, wondering how in the world I got lucky enough to get this interview, and hoping very sincerely I do it justice. Saturday, August 27th, 2016, the Patriot's Point Naval & Maritime Museum celebrated four decades in Charleston, by welcoming nearly 5,000 visitors to roam the decks of the USS Yorktown Aircraft Carrier, the USS Laffey Destroyer, the depths of the USS Clamagore Submarine, and the numerous exhibits on property. There were throngs of people there of all walks of life...everyone from young kids and families, to students, to military veterans in their eighties and nineties wearing their service hats.

The day beforehand the ship had been a bit quieter, hosting a Naval graduation ceremony and a somewhat smaller number of guests, including the Admiral and myself. In the paragraphs that follow I hope you'll get a sense of why I was so excited to be sitting with Rear Admiral (RADM) Flatley learning about his flying days and all about the servicemen who had made the Yorktown famous over the years.

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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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