February 22, 2018

Good Eats: Juniper, Ridge Spring, South Carolina


Juniper  640 E Main St., Ridge Spring, 17 mi. from Edgefield, (803) 685-7547.  L M-Tu, Thur-Sat, D Thur-Sat, SunBr.  Reservations required.  Though there is little indication either outside or inside that this is an exceptional restaurant, I did get an inkling regarding this fact when I spotted a sign on the front door that stated:  “We will be closed June 18th-24th.  We have been invited to cook at the James Beard House in NYC!!!”  Though the famously delicious South Carolina peaches were damaged by weather last year to the extent that the crop wass only 20% of normal, peaches made it in to some of the dishes and that James Beard dinner was set to be an all-peach menu.  Chef-owner Brandon Velie learned his stuff as a cook in the Marine Corps.  Folks wait in line to be seated and then head to mix-matched tables and chairs in the spacious open interior, where paintings by locals enhance the walls.  We filled Mason jars with cold sweet tea ourselves and then headed back to our table for a peach-themed multi-course lunch served on mix-matched plates.  First I dug into the best biscuits short of my own topped with peach-basil butter (my biscuit recipe).  Then came a refreshing gazpacho-like peach soup, which the chef described as a “liquid salad.”  The main course was a delectable skillet-fried quail from a local farm served with grits and flash-fried collards drizzled with a peach barbecue sauce.  Dessert was housemade corn cake with fresh peaches and moonshine sauce.  Nothing is over $8 on this lunch menu.  For the evening meal, the place is transformed with the addition of tablecloths, and Mason jars are replaced by wine glasses.  For sure, this destination restaurant is worth the long drive from Charleston. 


exterior of Juniper restaurant in Ridge Spring, South Carolina
exterior of Juniper restaurant in Ridge Spring, South Carolina



sign on door of Juniper restaurant in Ridge Spring, South Carolina
sign on door of Juniper restaurant in Ridge Spring, South Carolina



daily menu board at Juniper restaurant in Ridge Spring, South Carolina
daily menu board at Juniper restaurant in Ridge Spring, South Carolina

  
chef-owner Brandon Velie at Juniper restaurant in Ridge Spring, South Carolina
chef-owner Brandon Velie at Juniper restaurant in Ridge Spring, South Carolina


interior of Juniper restaurant in Ridge Spring, South Carolina
interior of Juniper restaurant in Ridge Spring, South Carolina


interior of Juniper restaurant in Ridge Spring, South Carolina
interior of Juniper restaurant in Ridge Spring, South Carolina


tea bar at Juniper restaurant in Ridge Spring, South Carolina
tea bar at Juniper restaurant in Ridge Spring, South Carolina


biscuits at Juniper restaurant in Ridge Spring, South Carolina
biscuits at Juniper restaurant in Ridge Spring, South Carolina


peach soup at Juniper restaurant in Ridge Spring, South Carolina
peach soup at Juniper restaurant in Ridge Spring, South Carolina


skillet-fried quail at Juniper restaurant in Ridge Spring, South Carolina
skillet-fried quail at Juniper restaurant in Ridge Spring, South Carolina


dessert corn cake with peaches and moonshine sauce at Juniper restaurant in Ridge Spring, South Carolina
dessert corn cake with peaches and moonshine sauce at Juniper restaurant in Ridge Spring, South Carolina
Juniper Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 


Things to do in nearby Edgefield, South Carolina.

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images ©2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers


February 20, 2018

Things to Do: pottery, moonshine, and ice cream; Edgefield, South Carolina


EDGEFIELD, SOUTH CAROLINA

This modest town with a formal square is located about 3 hours northwest of Charleston and is home to the headquarters for the National Wild Turkey Federation.  It is also home to the largest peach grower outside of California, Titan Farms.  And in 1997 it was transformed into the fictional town of Edgefield, Massachusetts in the Disney movie “That Darn Cat.”  Nowadays, the area is making culinary waves at nearby Juniper restaurant in Ridge Spring.

Old Edgefield Pottery  230 Simkins St., (803) 634-1634.  Thur-Sat 10am-4pm.  Master potter Justin Guy works here making the town’s namesake pottery, which range in color from olive green to pumpkin brown.  The fine stoneware style dates to the early 1800 and is highly collectible.  Several pieces are in the Smithsonian.  A tour and demonstration can be scheduled during which you’ll learn the history of one of South Carolina’s most memorable art forms (the others being Catawba Indian pottery and sweetgrass baskets).  At other times you can view an informal collection of pots--a sort of small museum--that Guy uses for inspiration.  “I love the pots,” he says.  “They all tell stories.”

Master Potter Justin Guy in front of historic pottery collection in Old Edgefield Pottery in Edgefield, South Carolina
Master Potter Justin Guy in front of historic pottery collection in Old Edgefield Pottery in Edgefield, South Carolina


face jugs from Africa at Old Edgefield Pottery in Edgefield, South Carolina
face jugs from Africa at Old Edgefield Pottery in Edgefield, South Carolina


Edgefield General Store  102 Courthouse Square, (803) 637-3100.  Tu-Sat 10am-6pm.  Just around the corner from the pottery shop, this old fashioned general store has its original soda fountain and serves up hand-dipped ice cream.  I chose butter pecan.

ice cream sample at Edgefield General Store in Edgefield, South Carolina
ice cream sample at Edgefield General Store in Edgefield, South Carolina


Carolina Moon Distillery  116 Courthouse Square, (609) 510-7465.  Tu-Sat 11am-5pm.  $3/taste.  Must be age 21+.  Step inside here to sample some of South Carolina’s famous moonshine, which nowadays is totally legal, still local, and handcrafted.  In fact, this shop is located just across from the county courthouse.  Here they use local corn and other fresh produce--even the area’s famous peaches--to make memorable 100% corn moonshine whiskeys, bourbons, vodkas, and rums.  You can see the stills and sample the wares, including blends--don’t miss trying the smooth Rabbit Spit (116-proof moonshine that is “mean enough to make a rabbit spit in a bulldog’s face”) and blackberry moonshine, which is particularly popular because it is good in lemonade.  Production takes place both upstairs--known as the “fun level,” where the stills are--and in the dank dark downstairs, where the mashing, which entails enzymes and yeast and fermentation, is done “low and slow.”  They use old recipes in what is described as a “pretty primitive process,” and use an old-time pot still.  “There’s nothing new with what we do,” says owner David Long.   “We got into this business because we like to weld and build stuff.” 
still tour with David Long at Carolina Moon Distillery in Edgefield, South Carolina
still tour with David Long at Carolina Moon Distillery in Edgefield, South Carolina


David Long in packing area at Carolina Moon Distillery in Edgefield, South Carolina
David Long in packing area at Carolina Moon Distillery in Edgefield, South Carolina


peach moonshine in Mason jar at Carolina Moon Distillery in Edgefield, South Carolina
peach moonshine in Mason jar at Carolina Moon Distillery in Edgefield, South Carolina


Rabbit Spit moonshine at Carolina Moon Distillery in Edgefield, South Carolina
Rabbit Spit moonshine at Carolina Moon Distillery in Edgefield, South Carolina


Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular getaways.

images ©2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers


February 17, 2018

Sights to See: Firewalkers, Coral Coast, Fiji


Once the firewalking ritual in which Fijians walk on white-hot stones was performed only on special occasions in Navakaisese Village on Beqa Island. Nowadays, the Fijians perform the ritual at hotels on Viti Levu and on the island of Beqa, where according to legend they were first given this gift. Firewalkers are men only; they are not permitted to have sex or to eat any coconut product for two weeks prior to a performance.  Learn more.


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video c2011 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

February 15, 2018

Great Sleeps + Good Eats: Wentworth Mansion+Circa 1886, Charleston, South Carolina


Wentworth Mansion  149 Wentworth St., in Historic District, (843) 853-1886.  21 rooms.  Restaurant; full breakfast; afternoon wine and hors d'oeuvres; evening port, sherry, and brandy.  Complimentary access to a nearby athletic club; health spa.  Pets ok.  What do Reese Witherspoon and Diana Ross have in common?  They both have stayed in this spectacular historic mansion!  Situated in a neighborhood in the downtown historic district, this splendid lodging features large guest rooms with 14 ½-foot-ceilings and Italian crystal chandeliers, plus luxury amenities such as oversize whirlpool bathtubs, nighty turndown with housemade chocolates, and triple-sheeted beds.  A special treat is the 360-degree view of the city available from the mansion-topping cupola.

exterior of Wentworth Mansion lodging in Charleston, South Carolina
exterior of Wentworth Mansion lodging in Charleston, South Carolina


love seat in Wentworth Mansion lodging in Charleston, South Carolina
love seat in Wentworth Mansion lodging in Charleston, South Carolina


guest room in Wentworth Mansion lodging in Charleston, South Carolina
guest room in Wentworth Mansion lodging in Charleston, South Carolina


guest bathroom in Wentworth Mansion lodging in Charleston, South Carolina
guest bathroom in Wentworth Mansion lodging in Charleston, South Carolina


"do not disturb" door hanger Wentworth Mansion lodging in Charleston, South Carolina
"do not disturb" door hanger Wentworth Mansion lodging in Charleston, South Carolina


Circa 1886  149 Wentworth St., Harleston Village, (843) 853-7828.  Considered by many to be the best restaurant in Charleston, this sophisticated and charming restaurant is in the former carriage house that is behind the stately Wentworth Mansion inn.  It is romantic to the core, and food is inventive and service superb.  The chef often sends out an amuse bouche to get things started--perhaps a pureed green soup.  Among the appetizers are Broccoli Ricotta Gnudi (black truffles, saffron squash, and petite basil).  I adored the simple Greens & Veggies with crispy corn, garlic, and pepitos.  For my main I selected a beautifully presented Chimichurri Beef enhanced with parsnip potato mousseline, sweet little baby carrots, and coffee oil, while my husband chose the chef’s special Jerk Brined Antelope from Texas, enhanced with key lime grits, red cabbage and yam hash, and coconut curd.  It is hard to imagine passing up a Peach Crisp Souffle for dessert, but other choices included a tempting Crispy Black Forest Bread Pudding and Strawberry Shortcake.  Throughout, we enjoyed an exceptional Pinot Noir from Ken Wright Cellars in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.  This dinner was absolute perfection.

exterior of Circa 1886 restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina
exterior of Circa 1886 restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina


service at Circa 1886 restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina
service at Circa 1886 restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina


veggie salad at Circa 1886 restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina
veggie salad at Circa 1886 restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina


Chimichurri Beef at Circa 1886 restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina
Chimichurri Beef at Circa 1886 restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina

Circa 1886 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 


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images ©2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

February 13, 2018

Sights to See: Middleton Place plantation, Charleston, South Carolina


Middleton Place  4300 Ashley River Road, 14 mi. from town, (843) 556-6020 or (800) 782-3608.  Daily 9am–5pm.  $25, 7-15 $5.  Dating back to 1741, the immense Middleton rice plantation is a National Historic Landmark District that holds an inn, restaurant, and house museum, plus a stable yard that presents demonstrations of 18th-century life.  It fronts the Ashley River and additionally is home to America's oldest landscaped gardens and South Carolina’s constitution tree.  One member of the family was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.  It is interesting to know that the Britisher's ball scene for the movie “The Patriot” was shot here in 1999.

costumed guide at Middleton Place plantation in Charleston, South Carolina
costumed guide at Middleton Place plantation in Charleston, South Carolina


The Gardens at Middleton Place  Though the 65 acres of English-style terraced gardens here are  magnificent throughout the year, the gardens are planned so that bloom occurs year-round:  centuries-old camellias in winter; azaleas in spring, and magnolias, crepe myrtles, and roses in summer.  The massive 1,000-year-old live oak tree known as the Middleton Oak, or Great Oak, has a trunk measuring more than 10 feet in diameter.



The Gardens at Middleton Place plantation in Charleston, South Carolina
The Gardens at Middleton Place plantation in Charleston, South Carolina


The Gardens at Middleton Place plantation in Charleston, South Carolina
The Gardens at Middleton Place plantation in Charleston, South Carolina

 
Wood Nymph statue in The Gardens at Middleton Place plantation in Charleston, South Carolina
Wood Nymph statue in The Gardens at Middleton Place plantation in Charleston, South Carolina


Middleton Oak in The Gardens at Middleton Place plantation in Charleston, South Carolina
Middleton Oak in The Gardens at Middleton Place plantation in Charleston, South Carolina


House Museum  Built in 1755 as three buildings, the Middleton Place House is now the only remaining structure.  It has remained under family stewardship for more than 320 years and contains original family belongings that include furniture, silver, porcelain, rare books, and family portraits.


exterior of House Museum at Middleton Place plantation in Charleston, South Carolina
exterior of House Museum at Middleton Place plantation in Charleston, South Carolina


scenic expanse at Middleton Place plantation in Charleston, South Carolina
scenic expanse at Middleton Place plantation in Charleston, South Carolina


Plantation Stableyards  The newly rejuvenated 18th- and 19th-century stableyards are brought to life by costumed interpreters who also demonstrate barnyard skills.  Craft artisans include a weaver, blacksmith, potter, and cooper/carpenter.  Heritage breeds raised here include Cashmere goats, guinea hogs, river water buffalo, brown Swiss and Jersey cows, and Dominique and Rhode Island red chickens.

water buffalo in Plantation Stableyards at Middleton Place plantation in Charleston, South Carolina
water buffalo in Plantation Stableyards at Middleton Place plantation in Charleston, South Carolina



Eliza’s House is a two-family 1870 freedman’s house that has been restored to its original appearance.  Displays tell about the lives of freedmen. 

exterior of Eliza's House at Middleton Place plantation in Charleston, South Carolina
exterior of Eliza's House at Middleton Place plantation in Charleston, South Carolina


interior of Eliza's House at Middleton Place plantation in Charleston, South Carolina
interior of Eliza's House at Middleton Place plantation in Charleston, South Carolina


slave history in Eliza's House at Middleton Place plantation in Charleston, South Carolina
slave history in Eliza's House at Middleton Place plantation in Charleston, South Carolina


 ●Middleton Place Restaurant specializes in Low Country cuisine of the plantation era.

The Inn at Middleton Place is secluded and offers 55 guest rooms. 

Spoleto Festival USA Finale is an annual Charleston event that traditionally ends here with a spectacular finale.

Spoleto Festival at Middleton Place plantation in Charleston, South Carolina
Spoleto Festival at Middleton Place plantation in Charleston, South Carolina


More things to do in Charleston, South Carolina.

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images ©2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

February 8, 2018

Sights to See: downtown itinerary, Charleston, South Carolina


Follow this itinerary for a delightful morning-through-afternoon visit to downtown Charleston.

The Gibbes Museum of Art  135 Meeting St., (843) 722-2706.  Tu 10am-5pm, W 10am-8pm, Thur-Sat 10am5pm, Sun 1-5pm.  One of the oldest art museum’s in the south, this vintage building features many architectural delights, including floors with tiny tiles.  The collection centers on Charleston and the southeastern section of the U.S.  It features many portraits of locals--including a collection of more than 250 miniatures--plus frames and furniture made in town.  Personal favorites from the collection include “Carolina Paroquet” by Anna Heyward Taylor, a 1935 woodblock; and “Magnolia Gardens” by Alfred Hutty, a 1920 oil.  I also really enjoyed “Betwixt & Between” by Patrick Dougherty, which was constructed in three weeks on site in 2017 of red maple and sweet grass. 
exterior of The Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, South Carolina
exterior of The Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, South Carolina


interior of The Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, South Carolina
interior of The Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, South Carolina


"Magnolia Gardens" at The Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, South Carolina
"Magnolia Gardens" at The Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, South Carolina


“Carolina Paroquet” at The Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, South Carolina
“Carolina Paroquet” at The Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, South Carolina


“Betwixt & Between” at The Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, South Carolina
“Betwixt & Between” at The Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, South Carolina


miniature portraits at The Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, South Carolina
miniature portraits at The Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, South Carolina


Directly across the street, the charming 1681 Circular Congregational Church is built in the round and has the city’s oldest graveyard, which dates from 1696. 
exterior of Circular Congregational Church in Charleston, South Carolina
exterior of Circular Congregational Church in Charleston, South Carolina


interior of Circular Congregational Church in Charleston, South Carolina
interior of Circular Congregational Church in Charleston, South Carolina


A sign marks the spot across the street where secession from the Union was declared
sign marks the spot where secession from the Union was declared in Charleston, South Carolina
sign marks the spot where secession from the Union was declared in Charleston, South Carolina


Just down the street, Washington Square park opened in 1818.  In the center is a memorial to the Washington Light Infantry made of Carolina gray granite; it is a 42-foot-high miniature of the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C. and was unveiled in 1891.
Washington Square park in Charleston, South Carolina
Washington Square park in Charleston, South Carolina


Washington Square park in Charleston, South Carolina
Washington Square park in Charleston, South Carolina


Just around the corner, Poogan’s Porch at 72 Queen St., makes the perfect lunch stop.  Dining in the cozy, low-key atmosphere of this repurposed home is a treat in itself.  Outside, the sheltered front patio beckons, and inside, the small spaces--including the bar--as well as the very large former drawing room with fireplace, oversize mirrors, and tapestries are all delightful.  But the delicious Southern cuisine cinches the deal.  Items not to miss include plantation fried chicken (ask for spicy sauce on the side), fried alligator, pimento cheese fritters, chicken and waffles, sweet tea-glazed salmon, shrimp and grits with Andouille sausage and ham gravy, and some excellent biscuits. 
exterior of Poogan's Porch in Charleston, South Carolina
exterior of Poogan's Porch in Charleston, South Carolina


bar at Poogan's Porch in Charleston, South Carolina
bar at Poogan's Porch in Charleston, South Carolina


pecan pie logs at Poogan's Porch in Charleston, South Carolina
pecan pie logs at Poogan's Porch in Charleston, South Carolina


More things to do in Charleston, South Carolina.

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images ©2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers