logo ×

It’s officially spring, which means it’s time to see “behind the iron gates” of Charleston  – aka the Festival of Houses & Gardens.

The clocks have sprung forward, the equinox is in the rear view mirror, and the azaleas and wisteria are starting to pop.  Charleston is awash in hues of bright green, pink and purple.  Spring has indeed arrived.  And there’s one quintessentially Charlestonian way to experience it in all its peak loveliness.

This grand and beloved Charleston tradition has been going on for over seven decades.  The Festival of Houses & Gardens has officially kicked off for the 2019 season.

It’s put on by the fine and dedicated folks of the Historic Charleston Foundation.

The Festival of Houses & Gardens offers the chance to go inside some of the most lush private gardens and beautiful historic homes on the peninsula.  In other words, this is your opportunity to enter some of the best in the country.

Most of the tours take place downtown, South of Broad.  If you’re in one of our Isle of Palms vacation rentals, just head over the Ravenel Bridge and down the peninsula toward the Battery.  You are a short drive from the charm and history of America’s best city.

The Festival runs through Thursday, April 18th.  There are all sorts of terrific options to choose from, located on different charming streets downtown.  Think Wentworth, Legare, Meeting Street, Tradd, Broad, South Battery, all the best addresses in town.  You can concentrate on the historic homes, or take one of the “Glorious Gardens” tours.

Some of what’s offered during the Festival of Houses & Gardens


The festival has grown to offer more than simple house/garden tours.  They offer concerts, luncheon lectures (cleverly entitled, “Food for Thought”), historical harbor boat tours, a gospel brunch, wine and spirit tastings, and morning history walks.

Some of the Food For Thought topics include Myths, Legends and Lore: What You Thought You Knew about Charleston!, Botanical Journeys of “The Camellia Man,” The Culture That Rice Built, and Flavors of the Lowcountry: Reviving Gullah-Geechee Cuisine.

This year they also have a series called “Live like a Local,” with these offerings:

Here is a link to the Festival itself, where you can select events and purchase tickets.

The Festival of Houses and Gardens really is a Charleston must-do.  Thankfully there are so many different dates and sites to choose from, thus you have a good chance at securing tickets.

You won’t be disappointed if you check out this Charleston gem, the Festival of Houses & Gardens.  And when you are in the market for Isle of Palms vacation rentals, be sure to call us here at EP on the IOP.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

The Lowcountry in general is no stranger to world’s best lists.  Seems hardly a week goes by that another ranking has the Holy City near or at the top.

Who can forget when Conde Nast named Charleston as the top destination in the world – higher than Paris, Florence, Rome.  That kind of attention makes people take note and show up from all over the globe.

No wonder our Isle of Palms luxury rentals have seen such strong demand. Our portfolio of continues to grow in number and quality.  They provide an ideal combination – a charming Charleston experience AND a beach vacation.

While here, check out another world’s best – one of the best waterfront bars on the planet


Well, turns out we are near one of the top eight best waterfront bars IN THE WORLD.  This, according to Matador Network.

It’s Tavern & Table, located on Shem Creek in Mount Pleasant.  You’ll pass right by it if you drive on Coleman Boulevard toward Charleston.

Here’s what they had to say about it:

“There’s no better place to catch a sunset in Charleston than overlooking the Shem Creek, and Tavern & Table is the place to be as golden hour approaches. Along with the sky’s deep orange and pink hues, you’ll find one of the best food and drink menus in the area. The bar has 18 beers on tap and a solid wine list, as well as signature twists on classic cocktails and a seasonal barrel-aged cocktail. Try the Sorghum Sour — made with High Wire Sorghum Whiskey, simple syrup, lemon juice, egg white, and a red wine float — or come for happy hour when an Aperol spritz is only $5.”

Tavern & Table joins others located in such scenic spots as St. John’s Antigua, Spain, Australia, the Hamptons, Lake Tahoe, Florida and New York.

Read more from Live 5 News.  And here is the whole list from Matador Network.



Keep an eye peeled for the new Spoleto Poster


Speaking of world’s best  –  one of the best performing arts festivals in the world, Spoleto, is fast approaching.  The powers-that-be have unveiled the official poster for 2019.

It features an untitled painting by Laura Owens, a 49-year old artist based in Los Angeles.  It was created in 2016 with oil and screen printing ink on linen.  Owens recently had a 60-piece retrospective at the Whitney in New York.

Spoleto General Director Nigel Redden had this to say about the image on the poster:  “I think this particular work exemplifies the vibrancy, and also the curiosity, of the festival.  The unusual face within the piece certainly invites a closer look, and Ms. Owens’s layering techniques seem to conjure different ways of looking at things, which is very reflective of the festival’s nature.”

Read more about it in the Post & Courier.

This year’s festival runs from May 24th through June 9th.  Find out all about the festival and get tickets at the official website.

So check out one of the best bars on the water.  And remember, when you are looking for a great place to stay near Charleston, be sure to call EP.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger


Today, you can score free pancakes, help a great local cause to boot, and see one a top beautiful place in the country.

It’s International House of PancakesFree Pancake Day, going on all day until 7:00 p.m.

Let’s face it, pancakes make the world a better place.  They’re a great way to feed the folks in your Charleston beach house.  They’re perfect for all ages.

Pancakes aren’t just for breakfast, either.  In fact, a pancake lunch or early supper makes a fun vacation outing.


Foodie Freebie Fun


Any guest from 7:00 a.m. till 7:00 p.m. will receive a free short stack of their original buttermilk pancakes.  If you so desire, you can leave a donation to charity.

This offer is good at all iHop restaurants nationwide, where the default charity is Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.  They also like to support local charities, as Live 5 News explains.

Here in the Lowcountry you are encouraged to donate to the new Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital.  It’s a wonderful place being built in downtown Charleston which will provide world-class care to women and children.

This is the 14th Annual National Pancake Day.  Since they began the celebration in 2006, they’ve raised over $30 million for charities across the U.S.

Read more from Count on 2.  Here’s a link to iHop locations.

If you’re here on the Isle of Palms, just cross the Connector.  There’s an iHop near Lowe’s and Towne Centre.  For your GPS, the address is 1787 N. Highway 17 in Mount Pleasant, just “a short hop” from your beach house.


Be sure to check out a Top Beautiful Place near here


The Discoverer Blog recently named the 15 Most Beautiful Places in the United States.  They are places of natural beauty, like the Grand Tetons, Yosemite, the Na Pali Coast in Kauai and Sequoia National Park.

Not surprising to those of us who live here, one special spot in the Lowcountry made the list. It’s one of my favorite places and a real “must do” for folks coming here.

Remarkably, it’s a single tree.  And it’s totally worth the drive out to see it.

Of course I’m talking about Angel Oak.  In fact, it’s believed to be one of the oldest living things in the entire country.  It’s estimated to be twice as old as the United States.  It’s:

This is what they had to say about it:  “The South wouldn’t be complete without its stunning oaks, and this one takes the prize. The 500-year-old tree can be found just outside Charleston. Its knobby arms draped with moss make it a wonder to behold, and you’ll feel like you just stepped out of a southern romance novel.”

For your GPS or smartphone, the street address is 3688 Angel Oak Road, Johns Island.  

Read Discoverer’s whole list of beautiful places here.

So take an afternoon and check out this amazing top beautiful place.  And when you are looking for a Charleston beach house or other great things to do around here, be sure to give EP a call.  

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger





The top tourism event in the state of South Carolina is right in our backyard.

As I blogged about recently, our SC vacation rentals are part of a huge $22.6 billion industry in the state.   The powers-that-be announced the news at a recent statewide tourism conference in Columbia.

The numbers show tourism is big business, indeed.  By staying in here, you and a large group of your friends and family can experience one of the best destinations anywhere  –  Charleston.  Our vacation homes are oceanfront or close to it, so you can also have the experience of a proper beach vacation while you’re at it.

Also coming out of that same conference: the top tourism event/initiative in the entire state of South Carolina is also located right here.

They tapped the Cooper River Bridge Run as big winner of the conference, taking home the Governor’s Cup for the top tourism event of the year.  You can read more from the Post & Courier.


CRBR: the state’s top tourist event 


The Cooper River Bridge Run has been a favorite for decades.  It draws people from across the planet to run across one of Charleston’s great rivers.  It has become the third-largest 10K in the United States.

It’s seen a lot of growth in its lifespan.  The first year saw 7,400 finishers.  2006 saw a whopping 33,700 folks finishing the run/walk.

This year marks the 42nd running of the race, which will take place Saturday, April 6th.  It’s traditionally one of the most popular weekends for tourists in the Charleston and Isle of Palms area.  One of our homes makes a great home base for race weekend, with gourmet kitchens in which to carb up, stretches of beach to warm up on, and expansive decks and pools to relax after the race.

If you are interested in a that weekend, do call us at EP as soon as possible.  That weekend has several other events going on as well.  Summerville’s three-day Flowertown Festival will draw a lot of folks.


Most folks come “from off” to this gigantic top tourism event


The Cooper River Bridge Run is popular with locals.  But get this: 60% of participants come from out of town for the event.  The CRBR and all its ancillary events have an annual economic impact of around $30 million.

You still have time to register online, although you have missed the early registration discounts.  The official CRBR website has all the details.

This year, there are medals for all finishers.  There’s also a nifty Active Experience app which allows you to track race participants, among several other nifty features.

So get those running shoes and muscles ready for the top tourism event in South Carolina.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger