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A Lovely Little Summer Afternoon…

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” -Henry James

As the early afternoons of summer get underway, Little Lovely and I are settling into a new routine with a little less structure and a little more time for fun. At 21 months old, Eloise is a busy toddler with plenty of energy and curiosity, so I’m constantly on the lookout for outings and activities to keep us both happy.

Of course the pool is a popular destination (in fact, the first thing Eloise asks about when she wakes up lately is if we’re going to the pool). We’re lucky that our local pool has a designated baby pool that is the perfect size for Eloise to play with her toys and splash around with friends. She’s also quite fond of the snack bar.Our city is fortunate to be home to Riverbanks Zoo, considered one of the best zoos in the country, and last year we purchased a family membership making it a go-to for a #zooplaydate. Right now Eloise gets excited to feed the giraffes and visit some of the animals we read about in one of her favorite books, Pat the Zoo.On rainy days, a trip to the children’s section of our local library branch is a good spot to color, play and peruse books.

Another indoor option we are planning is to catch a family flick at Regal Cinemas as part of its #SummerMovieExpress. Starting this week, participating theaters will show popular kids’ movies at 10 a.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings for $1, and proceeds go towards the Will Rogers Institute. 

For something a little out of the box try family “happy hour” at River Rat Brewery. The outdoor space features a playhouse, toys and games for all ages. There is a relaxed vibe, and the summer menu now includes Prosecco and popsicles from King of Pops. đźŤľ


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A Lovely Little New Year…

“Should old acquaintance be forgot,

and never brought to mind?

Should old acquaintance be forgot,

and old lang syne?” – Auld Lang Syne, Robert Burns, 1778

Did you sing the classic song above when the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve? According to history, the tradition began in Scotland where people would gather and sing together bidding adieu to the past and ushering in the new year. 

Since our Little Lovely was so young last year Jody and I stayed in and had a quiet New Year’s Eve, barely making it to the ball drop. So this year we were excited to plan a fun little parents’ getaway to Charleston to ring in the New Year.

We feel lucky to live so close to a city  which is consistently listed as one of the best and beautiful in the country. Each time we visit the downtown corridor we notice more change and development. While we have our favorite go-to hotels and restaurants, this quick trip was the perfect chance to try something new.

Our first stop was checking into The Dewberry, the newly opened hotel on Marion Square located in the renovated and repurposed L. Mendel Rivers Federal Building. I must admit that I have probably driven by this building many times before and never noticed it. It’s been transformed into a stylish, mid-century modern showpiece with immaculate attention to detail. Marble was found to match the building’s marker and lighting and fixtures were chosen to accentuate the 1960s vibe while offering a modern twist.  Our room was well appointed with a nice view of Marion Square, and I was impressed with how quiet it was considering our location. 

Another interesting feature in the lobby is Garden and Gun Magazine’s first Field Shop offering a variety of curated, southern goods for purchase. The perfect spot to browse or grab a souvenir. After an early check-in, we set out for some shopping on King Street and took our time meandering through shops. We made our way to The Thoroughbred Club inside of The Charleston Place for an afternoon cocktail- it was National Champagne Day after all.  A little rest and then time to get ready for our New Year’s Eve dinner at Chez Nous, an intimate and authentic French restaurant nestled in a charming house so you feel as if you are a guest. Charleston’s restaurant scene is booming, and Chez Nous has been on our list for a while to try, however; they just recently began taking reservations. The New Year’s eve menu was Prix Fixe and included some decadent and classic dishes.   The night was still young, so we ventured to The Belmont, a chic watering hole creating innovative and classic cocktails on Upper King, for a drink before returning to our hotel that was hosting a party for guests.   A big band crooned standards as we danced and counted down to midnight, and as a surprising treat, Charleston local, Darius Rucker, took the microphone right before midnight to serenade the crowd.  

 A memorable night to be sure.  Wishing you a healthy and happy new year! 

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A Lovely Little Bite…

Ever since Little Lovely arrived we’ve been eating in regularly; however, this weekend we dined out at some delicious spots around town.

For a fun girls’ dinner on Friday night it was Terra directly over the Gervais Street Bridge in West Columbia with a sweeping view of the city. Its name literally means “land,” and Chef Mike Davis features the freshest local ingredients on his daily changing menu. An heirloom tomato salad and sea scallops were among the favorites at our table.

We decided to take Eloise out on Saturday for an early dinner at the new Main Street Public House. While the official opening is this Friday, August 5, the restaurant is already up and running at the corner of Main and Taylor Streets. The space features high ceilings, a polished wooden bar and plenty of seating along with a center stage for future musical acts, and the menu offers a mix of small plates and entrees highlighting local ingredients. The lively atmosphere is representative  of the positive momentum in our downtown corridor and especially on Main Street. I can’t wait to return possibly for a quick bite before a flick at The Nick.

We closed out our weekend of eating with a family brunch, including my brothers visiting from Charleston, at one of our standbys, Za’s on Devine Street. Brunch is new for the restaurant, and we were able to be seated right away, which is important when dining with impatient babies. The special, seasonal menu includes new small plates like charred okra, prosciutto and melon, Panzanella salad, California caprese and more. Of course the brick oven pizzas are always a crowd pleaser.

Take note that this Friday through Sunday, Aug. 5-7, Za’s will celebrate the Devine Street and Five Points Summer Sidewalk Sale by hosting live, local music on Friday, Aug. 5 from 5 to 10 p.m. and offering their Wine Wednesday discount of $4 glasses of select wine and 2 for $9 mimosas all weekend. 

Cheers to dining local!

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