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Drive safely this weekend

Monday, September 1st, is Labor Day, so this is the last official weekend of the summer season.

This weekend is still technically August, and this particular August is a historic one. As you can see from the above graphic, August 2014 will have had five Fridays, five Saturdays and five Sundays.   This only happens every 823 years, so it’s something special!

If you are coming to one of our rental homes South Carolina, either a Folly Beach house Charleston or a luxury house on Isle of Palms, you officially have all the more reason to celebrate.

This holiday weekend, people will be out in force on the roads and highways.

It’s estimated that 1.5 million people will be traveling in the Carolinas this weekend - the smart ones heading to a Charleston beach house.  That’s up 1.5% from last year and is the highest number in six years. The vast majority will be voyaging by car - actually a whopping 90%.

There’s good news at the gas pump. Prices per gallon have been falling and are now down about 25 cents in South Carolina since the July 4th holiday.

So if you’re coming to our Isle of Palms vacation rentals or Folly Beach house rentals Charleston SC from out of state, fill up that tank. South Carolina has the lowest gas prices in the entire country. The average price per gallon is now $3.14 a gallon; it’s $3.34 in North Carolina… yet another reason to choose SC vacation rentals.

If you are here staying at one of our Isle of Palms luxury rentals or Folly Beach rentals Charleston and you drive around the Lowcountry, you may encounter circular roundabouts instead of standard four-way intersections with traffic lights.

I first encountered a roundabout while driving in Sweden a few decades ago.   I hit the first one cold, never really having learned about them, and it was a bit of a shocker.

They have been quite common in Europe and Australia for quite some time, but recently have become more prevalent in the United States as well.   The reason?   They cut down on traffic time, and once people know how they work, they are safer.

Geometry plays a role.   In a standard four-way right angle intersection, there are 32 possible vehicle collision points. In a roundabout, there are only eight.

According to a recent study by the SC Department of Transportation, roundabouts reduced both accidents and fatalities by 71%. They also move traffic much more efficiently and reduce noxious emissions of cars idling at stoplights.

Here are tips for drivers going through a roundabout:

  • Look to the left, as traffic in the roundabout has the right-of-way.
  • When approaching the roundabout, slow down and yield to pedestrians.
  • Enter when it is safe and there is an adequate gap in the circulating traffic flow.
  • Keep your speed low within the roundabout.
  • As you approach your exit, turn on your turn signal.
  • Exit carefully to your destination, yielding to pedestrians.

Engineers from Beaufort County have put together an informative online brochure with tips and diagrams to better explain roundabouts.

Check it out:

One last thing - after Labor Day is when our seasonal rates drop… so you can get some great deals on our luxury beach house rentals SC

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

It’s hatching season!


…so watch out for baby loggerheads.

It’s that magical time of the year when small baby turtles break out of their eggs, dig up through the sand and make their way to the ocean.

If you are here in a Charleston beach house, be it one of our Isle of Palms vacation rentals or Folly Beach house rentals Charleston SC, you may have noticed loggerhead nests cordoned off and marked with orange signs.   If you happen to be out on the beach at night, you might even witness the miracle of the eggs hatching.

Loggerheads are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, and they need our help to survive and thrive. Island turtle teams monitor the nests and relocate them as necessary to ensure the survival of these delicate creatures.

One of the preeminent members of the team is Mary Pringle, an IOP resident and fearless champion of turtles, birds, and other creatures great and small.   She recently wrote the following explaining the hatching process for the Island Eye News:

Loggerhead eggs normally take 45 to 60 days to hatch. Our first few nests have produced tiny loggerheads already. There is an amazing process involved from the time they are deposited in the sand by the mother until the hatchlings crawl to the ocean. Many things have to be just right for their successful emergence from the nest.

A good nest site must have an easy access to the ocean, a high enough angle or enough of a setback from the water so that the nest is not routinely inundated by the ocean as well as being high enough so that rising ground water does not enter the egg chamber. The sand must be moist enough to prevent collapse during construction of the egg chamber, and it must be porous enough to allow gas diffusion during incubation. These eggs have tiny pores in them where oxygen enters and carbon dioxide is discharged.

Sea turtle eggs are soft and leathery which helps to cushion them as they are laid and they are filled with a large rich yolk and clear albumen very much like a chicken egg. During incubation the temperature determines the sex of the developing embryos.

The pivotal temperature for loggerhead incubation is 28.74 degrees Celsius or approx.. 85 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature within the nest is above this during the middle weeks of incubation, the result will be female turtles. Below it will produce males.

The hatchlings break out of their leathery shells with a sharp red caruncle or “egg tooth” on their beaks which then disappears. Their shells, which have been curved inside the egg, begin to straighten out, and they absorb a yolk sac that is attached to their umbilical area. This gives them the nutrients they need to make their journey out to sea.

Over a few days more than one hundred hatchlings come out of their shells in an average nest.  They are one to two feet under the ground as they start to climb toward the surface. They work together digging themselves up, normally taking 3 or 4 days to get to the surface. If the sand is soft, it may cave in a little since the turtles take up less space than their eggs did earlier. The air space under the sand moves up with them as they all cooperate and move up as a mass.

As they near the surface the heat of the sand on top has an immobilizing effect on them, keeping them from coming out during the heat of the day, which prevents heat stress and predation. In the evening the sand cools, and this is their cue to come out and make a break for the ocean. Once again being in a large group is beneficial because predators would have a hard time capturing all of them. The lucky ones make it to the ocean where more predators are waiting. The goal is to get to the Gulf Stream where they can find protection in the floating rafts of Sargassum weed where their ocean journey begins.

As I’ve blogged about before, island residents and vacationers staying in beachfront Isle of Palms luxury rentals or Folly Beach rentals Charleston should turn off any exterior lights from May till October, as part of “Lights Out for Loggerheads.”   Artificial lights can confuse the hatchlings and cause them to head toward houses instead of the ocean.

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Marine Turtle Conservation Program has a wealth of knowledge and experience on the subject of loggerheads and keeping them safe.

Program Coordinator Michelle Pate shares these tips of ways you, as a beachgoer staying in one of our SC vacation rentals - either a Folly Beach house Charleston or a luxury house on Isle of Palms - can help loggerheads and other sea turtles:

• Observe from a distance. If you encounter a nesting turtle, do not shine lights on her or take flash photography. Stay behind the turtle so she cannot see you. Lights and human presence can cause her to abandon her nest effort.

• Do not touch or prod an animal to move. Stay out of the way as she crawls back to the water.

• Turn off exterior lights visible from the beach, dusk to dawn, from May through October.

• Close blinds and drapes on windows where interior lights can be seen from the beach or ocean.

• No flashlights, fireworks or bonfires on the beach. (Note: Those last two are Isle of Palms regulations, as well).

• Fill in large holes dug on the beach at the end of the day because adult sea turtles and hatchlings can become trapped in them.

• Remove beach chairs and other items from the beach and dunes at the end of the day that could obstruct a sea turtle when nesting or emerging hatchlings.

If you encounter sea turtle hatchlings on the beach on an emerging nest:

• Do not approach any sea turtle hatchlings. Give them plenty of space.

• Do not carry or help hatchlings to the ocean.

• Do not shine any lights on or take flash photography of the hatchlings.

When you are interested in rental homes South Carolina, call EP for the ultimate in luxury beach house rentals SC.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

Stomp some grapes or sip some brews

Two popular festivals are happening this weekend, and they offer the chance to cool off, or at least quench your thirst.

Tomorrow, Saturday August 23rd from noon till 5:00 is the 11th annual Grape Stomping Festival at Irvin-House Vineyards.

It takes place at 6775 Bears Bluff Road in Wadmalaw Island. The cost is $10 per car, and part of the proceeds will be given to local school programs.

There will be food as well as tastings available for purchase… Home Team BBQ, Coastal Crust, Stono Café, Dulce Truck, King of Pops and Ben & Jerry’s will provide the food. Tastings are just $6 for six of Firefly’s 24 spirits (like their famous sweet tea vodka), or $5 for five wines. They’ll also have their refreshing frozen Wine-a-Ritas ready to sip. The Southern Belles will provide live music.

It’s also appropriate for any kids staying in your Charleston beach house, as there will be face painting, a jump castle and hula hoops.

But the main attraction is the grape stomping contest, inspired by the famous 1956 episode of I Love Lucy.   Teams of two people each (the Stomper and the Swabber) will have three minutes to stomp 20 pounds of fresh grapes with bare feet.   The one that produces the most juice, wins. And of course, you are encouraged to dress like Lucille Ball from the iconic TV scene. In fact, concurrent to the stomping contest will be a Lucy Look-A-Like Contest.

See above pic for costume and hair ideas.

Here are more details, including the rules and parameters:

Wadmalaw Island is a scenic drive from all our SC vacation rentals, both Isle of Palms luxury rentals and Folly Beach house rentals Charleston.   It’s an island known for farms and fresh produce, so while there you can stock up on local, healthy food to bring back to your luxury house on Isle of Palms or Folly Beach house.

Also Saturday evening, from 6:00-9:00 p.m. is the 12th annual Ballpark Festival of Beers.   It’s a 21-and over only event, so leave the kids and teens at home at your beach house Charleston.

This takes place at The Joe, Charleston’s beloved baseball park, and it’s a wildly popular event.   A $30 ticket/wristband allows you to sample some of approximately 100 beers, everything from stouts, pilsners, lagers, you name it, from this country and abroad.  There'll also be $15 designated driver wristbands.  It’s sponsored by The Kickin’ Chicken, which will also provide food, along with Roti Rolls, the Creole Food Truck, Hello My Name is BBQ, and Cast Iron.

There will be live music by The Blue Plantation Band and Midnight City. Oh - and in case this is your first time in one of our Isle of Palms vacation rentals or Folly Beach rentals Charleston, you’ll get to experience one of the Lowcountry’s favorite pastimes: the joy that is cornhole.

Here’s a link with more info:

The Joe is located at 360 Fishburne Street on the downtown peninsula, a pleasant drive from all our luxury beach house rentals SC.

So have fun, stay hydrated, and be safe. And when you’re searching for rental homes South Carolina in the Lowcountry, be sure to call EP.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

Live Music Showcase Each Week

Who says you have to be here during Spoleto to hear great music?   Truth is, it goes on year-round all across the Lowcountry, and popular new venues are popping up all the time.

If you’re staying in one of our rental homes South Carolina, either Isle of Palms luxury rentals or a Folly Beach house Charleston, you don’t even have to head downtown to hear a lineup of live music.  Awendaw Green up Highway 17 is offering an exciting alternative and a chance to hear a great variety of music in a cool, laid-back setting.

It’s a venue for original local and regional music, and it’s drawing some great up-and-coming acts with diverse, global sounds.  The current series of concerts take place in an old barn, but it’s a barn with professional sound equipment and technician.

The Awendaw Green Barn Jams take place year-round on Wednesday evenings from 6:00 p.m. till 10:00 p.m.   Admission is just $5, and it’s a family friendly event, good for all ages of family and friends staying in your Charleston beach house.

Seating is provided or you can bring your own, and you’re encouraged to gather around the bonfire, visit and nosh. It’s BYOB, and food is available for purchase, including wood-fired pizza and fresh grilled oysters in season.

Here’s the musical lineup for the next few Barn Jams:

August 20th - Alex Culbreth solo, The Zealots, Heather Luttrell and the Possumden, PROVERBIAL, Southern Belles

August 27th - The Jason Connelly Band, Cory, Kate and Corey, Ayala Asherov, Minimum Wage

September 3rd - Cane Creek String Band, The Mustache Brothers, Dallas Baker & Friends, Don Merckle & The Blacksmiths

Awendaw Green is located on the grounds of the Sewee Outpost.   It’s not far from any of our SC vacation rentals, both our Folly Beach rentals Charleston and especially our Isle of Palms vacation rentals. If you’re in a luxury house on Isle of Palms, just cross the IOP Connector and head north up Highway 17. It’s located at 4853 Highway 17 North in Awendaw, just north of Mount Pleasant.

Their website has the full schedule as well as video clips of upcoming acts. Here’s a link:

So if you’re in one of our luxury beach house rentals, check them out on a Wednesday.

And remember, as always, to phone EP for the best in beach house rentals Charleston.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger


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