Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Roam free?

A woman puts her nine year old son on an NYC subway with some money and a map for a solo journey through the city.

Sound crazy? That's the premise of a book in my pile of "must reads", recommended by a friend. Entitled, Free Range Kids - How to Raise, Safe, Self-reliant Children ( Without Going Nuts with Worry), the book seeks to promote freedom, choice, and independence.

My initial reaction is to put that subway ride on my list of top 10 things my children will never do! My idea of a safe yet challenging independent adventure was to send my two nine year olds into the corn maze at Boone Hall Farm. It's all relative, right?!

If you kneel down to their level, you'll realize it's a totally different experience for children- they can't see above the height of the corn and therefore can't get their bearings in the thick of the maze.

There were times when I couldn't see or hear them at all... they spent 40 minutes racing around the maze and had an absolute blast; delighting in the freedom.

Confession time: my boys had walkie talkies, a map, and had to stay together (oh, and I could see them from the observation bridge!)

Baby steps... this is plenty far enough away from me for now.

Boone Hall Farm Corn Maze- open until October 31st
Hwy 17 N, Mt. Pleasant, SC
1/2 mile north of Long Point Rd.
Hours: Mon, Tues, Wed 9am-6pm
Admission - $8 per person ( two for one on Tuesdays) Includes all the activities at the Pumpkin Patch
for more information and a complete list of activities, go to www.boonehallpumpkinpatch.com

PMK tip- there's a layer of fine dirt blanketing the entire Boone Hall site. Wear flip flops or old shoes and plan to head home for a shower - you will be filthy!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Post Sandy, Pre Halloween

Sandy blew through and left the beach sky ablaze...

and a wet pre Halloween weekend. There is still time for a few last minute fun Halloween activites before the 31st. Here's one I think you will love.

Even if you've already picked your pumpkin...
There's still a lot to see and do at Boone Hall Pumpkin Patch...
My boys spent 30 minutes on the giant jumping pillow - great exercise, fresh air, and tons of fun. Guaranteed to make kids sleep deeply!
Boone Hall Plantation Pumpkin Patch
Open until October 31st
visit www.boonehallplantation.com for a complete list of activities

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Charm of Summerville, SC - (Part I)

Guerin's and Eva's

A dear old friend and resident of Summerville invited me to experience a walking tour of the old historic area of town today. She promised that it was steeped in old southern charm, and it certainly was. Prepare to have the pants charmed off you! If you're pining for a slower pace and face-to-face hospitality, this is the place to head to. We started at Guerin's pharmacy and I was immediately bewitched by this incredibly preserved historic gem. Established in 1871, this is the oldest pharmacy in South Carolina and has been passed along through time to the current phamacist, the lovely Barbara Dunning.

So much of the interior is original - it truly is like stepping back in time. Your children will love the old soda fountain, sweet little tables, hotdogs, and old fashoined candies. They also carry Yardley of London products including Baby Gentle soap that's hard to find anywhere else.
This is a great time of year to visit as the long lawn out front is decorated with scarecrows - be sure to vote for your favorite in the pharmacy!
If you cross the street, you will find Eva's restaurant. It's a perfect spot to enjoy with children; cheap and cheerful, as my mother would say. Great grits, an egg cooked just how you like it, and a piping hot cup of good coffee... what more could you ask for? The place is just...cool.
With a sweeping view of the main street, you can relax and let time slip away.
PMK tidbit- Miss Eva worked in the restaurant right up until her passing a year ago at the age of 96.  Arrive super early and you may spot the former mayor of Summerville (served 1972-2011), Berlin Myers, having his breakfast.
Guerin's Pharmacy
140 South Main Street
Summerville, SC
Since 1871!
Eva's Restaurant
129 South Main Street
Summerville, SC

Thursday, October 25, 2012

a break from the grind

It was 8am and I turned around to see this warm morning glow. This little hidden treasure in the heart of Ion in Mt. Pleasant is a treat if you are in need of a boost... be it a caffeine fix or a cold smoothie. This is a very child friendly space - quiet and inviting. I love that they made me a cup of earl grey tea with loose leaf tea, a warm cup, and even warmed the milk.

The Holy Kale smoothie is soooo good and full of goodness.

They have mastered the art of creating something special in the tiniest of spaces!

Run don't walk to Grind and Squeeze
357/1A N. Shelmore Blvd., Mt. Pleasant SC
Hours: Mon- Sat7am-4pm, Sunday 8am-4pm

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Colonial Lake Run

Whenever we have a chance to wander downtown Charleston, it's a breath of fresh air and a time for a slower pace... time to reflect. Did you know this land was set aside for public use only in 1768? It used to be known as the Rutledge Street Pond.
This is a great little 5k at Colonial Lake in downtown Charleston, SC. One lap around is .5 mile, so you can really make it as long as you like. For little kids, I recommend using scooters instead of bikes because it's a straight drop off the edge of the lip around the lake if they get going too fast! Ride, walk, or run and enjoy the reflections along the way.

Colonial Lake
Broad Street, downtown Charleston, SC
Parking: on street parking all around the lake
Park benches surround the lake and water is available

Click here for map

Winston approves - a great place for dog walking!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Andrew Jackson State Park (Part II)

There's more to see at this state park then you may first realize. I recommend the trail walk around the lake (1 mile) and exploring the museum dedicated to our 7th president.

Find a park ranger and they will supply you with paddles and life jackets for use with these boats.

Unfortunatley, there is no tent camping on this site although there is an RV area near the lake. Pack a picnic and enjoy the trails and various playgrounds.

Andrew Jackson State Park
196 Andrew Jackson Park Rd.
Lancaster, SC 29720

Admission: $2 adults; $1.25 SC seniors, 15 and younger free
Hours: 8am-6pm daily Nov. 1 - March 31
9am-9pm daily April 1- October 31
Museum hours- Sat and Sunday 1pm-5pm

Winston approves! This is a great park for dogs on a lead and they are permitted to swim in the lake.

No food or drinks available, so you will need to plan ahead and pack for the day.
Public restrooms throughout the park

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Waxhaw trail - Andrew Jackson state park (part I)

Bring back memories from your days in school? (while on this walk, I discovered that my husband's school desk in England actually had an inkwell and pen ala Harry Potter Hogwarts! What?!) Nestled in amoungst walking trails within the Andrew Jackson state park, is this amazing little one room school house - worth a look if you are there to ramble on a fall walk. Back in the days when our nation was new, this area was known as the Carolina Waxhaw region (named for the Waxhaw Indian tribe). This park honors our 7th president, Andrew Jackson, and is simple and sprawling and quiet.

There are two gradual trails - perfect for children to hike. This is a great place to walk year-round, and especially beautiful in the cooler fall air.

Andrew Jackson State Park
Little Schoolhouse
196 Andrew Jackson Park Rd.
Lancaster, SC 29720 (near Rock Hill)
open mid-March - October. Hosted by Lancaster County Retired Educators
Hours: Sat 1pm-5pm, Sunday 2pm-5pm
for more information, visit www.southcarolinaparks.com

(171 miles from Charleston, SC) Click on here for map

Friday, October 19, 2012

Wander to Tom's

Stolls Alley, Downtown Charleston, SC

Ever find yourself downtown with tired little feet in tow? There is a great spot to head to for refuge from the heat, sightseeing, shopping, or just... wandering. Grab a coffee and head to Tom's Toys off King St. It's a perfect place to sit and listen to quiet music and build for a while. Once your children are immersed in a pile of blocks, there's nothing but focused silence...ahhhh. Part museum, part creative play space, Tom's specializes in Kapla blocks. Created by Tom van der Bruggen, they are simple, flat wooden blocks perfect for constructing with.

Completely consumed in parallel play - what you don't get from this picture is the zen-like background music and the 3 moms slumped in the corner with coffee in hand!

Inspiration for future projects. I recommend these blocks for any age as they are ideal for tower building and very resilient. Invest in a big 250 count starter pack and build your collection... the bigger the pile, the longer the play date.

We have the big box 4th shelf down and added the colored set ( stop shelf ).

Tom's Toys
125 Market St.
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 720- 8943
FREE visit and play
Hours: Mon - Sat, 10am-6pm

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pick a patch (part II)

As we reflect on the passage of summer and enjoy the varied colors in the turning leaves...

We think about the time it took for the warmth of the summer sun to turn out crop upon crop of pumpkins, now ready to ponder and pick.

If you're West of the Ashley in the coming weeks, this simple spot is a great place to buy a pumpkin and the proceeds benefit a Native American reservation in New Mexico and the church ministries. The John Wesley United Methodist Church has big selection this year, with prices ranging from 50 cents up to $30.

John Wesley United Methodist Church Pumpkin Patch
626 Savannah Hwy
Charleston, SC 29407
Parking: ample and free
Hours: Mon - Sat 10am-7pm
Sunday 12:30-6pm

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A pick, a pastel, and a pie

A girlfriend of mine brought me back a yummy little jar of apple butter from her picking adventure with her children at Sky Top Orchard in North Carolina. She highly recommends it if your'e up that way next season!

Sky Top Orchard
Pinnacle Mountain Rd
off US 225
Flat Rock, NC 28731

This harvest season inspired a pastel...

...and a pie that little hands helped to create. These are "old fashioned" apples from Windy Hill orchard in York, SC. They were new to me and recommended as good apples for pies. Sweet, tart, and delicious.

And lastly, I couldn't live without this apple peeler. It peels and cores the apple creating an "apple slinky" from the peel - a great after school snack!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The best of the season... is over.

"Erratic weather" has been blamed nationwide for smaller apple harvests than normal. This past weekend en route to Virginia, we visited the Windy Hill Orchard and Cider Mill in York, SC prepared to pick the very last of this season's apples but were thwarted by an orchard that had been picked bare. We missed it by one week! This season, the fruit couldn't stretch into October, but there were plenty of pre-picked apples, cider, apple butter, and other apple products to purchase. A good bet for next year is to plan a picking trip during the month of September in South Carolina to pick the best the season has to offer.

 These fellas were very entertaining though...

There's a great apple festival here this weekend - a beautiful orchard with lots to see!

Windy Hill Orchard
1860 Black Highway
York, SC 29745
Apple Harvest Festival
October 20th, 2012
for more information, visit www.windyhillorchard.com
public restrooms on site
large covered picnic table area with chickens roaming free!