Thursday, January 31, 2013

pluff mud kids new marker map

We have added a new map of SC to the blog that contains markers for each of our posted locations! You can access it by clicking on the 'Pluff Mud Markers Map' link at the top of this page or on the link at the top of the column on the left.You can now zoom in and click on a yellow pin for details on that location and a link to the corresponding post.

View Pluffmudkids markers in a larger map

Pluff Mud Kids People - Queen Bee

" People do not decide to become extraordinary. They decide to accomplish extraordinary things."
- Sir Edmund Hillary,  " unassuming" beekeeper and first man to summit Mt. Everest.

I'm jump-up-and-down excited to tell you about Caroline Lowry. Even though she's less than half my age, I look up to her and admire her for her sense of self and passion for life.

Currently a freshman at UNC Chapel Hill, Caroline discovered a keen desire to learn the craft of beekeeping and spent her final year at Ashley Hall in Charleston chronicling this journey in her fantastic blog becoming queen bee. It was one of the first blogs I ever read and I was blown away by her abilities at such a young age. I encourage you to sit down for a quiet moment and have a look at her blog. You will be enriched.

Caroline has carried her skills as a beekeeper with her to UNC and has secured a community garden beehive through a contest she entered and won sponsored by Toxic Free NC.

Here, Caroline talks about Charleston...

Pluff Mud Kids is devoted to discovering Charleston and South Carolina with kids. Caroline, what is your favorite outdoor space in or around Charleston?

"This is a hard one... Charleston Harbor, the Battery, or Marion Square."

As a kid, where was your favorite place to go in Charleston or SC?

"Hmmm, also a tough one... maybe White Point Gardens, or more affectionately known as Cannon Ball Park! I used to go every week to feed the birds and chase squirrels with my dog."

We wish you continued success with your bees, Caroline! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and beautiful photos with us.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

patriots point nature trail

Do you ever feel the need to monkey around for a while to blow off steam after a long day at school?

This one mile round trip nature walk is easy to get to and a quick adventure. Look for the sign below in a little dirt parking lot next to the C of C baseball field in Mt. Pleasant as you head toward the York Town on Patriots Point Blvd.

"If we're really quiet, we can listen to the birds", my son said as we walked. And you can.

Soak in some history...

and one of my favorite views of Charleston...

Patriots Point Nature Trail - 1 mile walk click here for map
Parking: Free. Lot is opposite the Omar Shrine Temple
pmk tip- you will follow the wooded trail and, near the end, you cross over Patriot's Point Blvd. to continue the trail again to the water's edge and the marsh lookout (pictured above). This reentry point is where you see the Hog Island sign.
Hours- dawn til dusk

Winston approves. Dogs on lead welcome and bags are provided.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


At the start of each summer, my boys and I make a fresh list of all the parks we hope to get to over the summer and throughout the year. Some are out-of-sight, out-of mind and this one falls into that category. We just forget about it. It rests on Lockwood Blvd, in downtown Charleston along the bank of the Ashley River and it's worth remembering.

The breeze across the water here is heavenly in the summer months...

Run to the end of the fishing pier and admire the view...

There is a fantastic open field for off-lead dog play or to stretch out with a picnic. There are benches and picnic tables under the pines and great swings and slides.

Brittlebank Park click here for map
Lockwood Drive, Charleston, SC
The park is located on your left along the river before you reach the Charleston Riverdogs Joe Riley Stadium. Free parking
No restrooms or amenities

Dogs welcome - there is an area right next to the park where you can let your dog off the leash
Crabbing and fishing permitted on the pier

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Calhoun St. Library

"I am young enough, I am old enough" - Peter Heller, The Dog Stars

I am the best part of 44 and never tire of the children's library in the Main Library of downtown Charleston. At 9, my boys still enjoy every aspect of it too; from the row of old Hardy Boy mysteries, to the rotating rack of Spanish story books they pretend to understand, to the summers filled with free movies, story times, and music.

We stroll to it...

and choose a bag full of books, each and every week, year after year. Are you ever too young or too old for a good book?

This week for them...

A great book and post note to the Birds of Prey Center. Also...

Did you know crows are clever and inventive? (this ones for you A.H.!)

And for you and I...

Loving it. (if you read it, post a comment here or email me and let me know what you think!)

Grab a bag and fill it at the Main Library
68 Calhoun St.
Charleston, SC 29401
Hours: Mon-Thurs 9-8; Fri-Sat 9-6; Sunday 2-5
Parking: garage on ground flour. Free first hour and $1 each additional. Take your ticket in with you to pay at the desk in the lobby.
Computers available in the children's library.
Restroom in the children's library.
pmk tip- there's a great little gallery adjacent to the check out desk that features local artists and photographers!

Friday, January 25, 2013

owl, snow, foodies, and rose colored glasses

the owl...
Earlier in the week, I posted this little face. It inspired three readers to head straight for the Birds of Prey center. They all loved it as much as we did and I am thrilled... who could resist the draw of this guy?

the snow...
I have no idea what this will be like, but it looks interesting and a portion of the proceeds go to Carolina Children's Charity. This Saturday!!

the foodies...
Some months ago, I spoke of the food truck invasion. Now's your chance to catch them all in a herd! Perfect for kids who like to sample different types of food (we have one sweet twin and one savory twin; what do you have?) I recommend the quality and variety of Charleston's great food trucks. Next Saturday!!

rose colored glasses...
I leave you this week with a photo. My nine year old has become quite taken with photography. When we stood in awe of the massive swamp at Dungannon (see earlier post), he asked to borrow my sunglasses and took this picture through the polarized lens. 10 points for creativity!

Thursday, January 24, 2013





Winter Sheepshead Challenge
Mt. Pleasant Fishing Pier click here for map
Now through February 28th, 2013
Parking: onsite 50 cents per hour (pay and display ticket)
Purchase a daily fishing pass and weigh in at the River Watch Cafe

No pets allowed on the pier
Snacks and restrooms available on the pier

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Ever wonder why you see so many pineapples around Charleston? Plain and simply, they are a symbol of welcome and hospitality. A most "excellent fruit", the pineapple has long been treasured for it's sweet, decorative allure by host and hostess wanting to welcome visitors with a superb presentation. Hard to grow and therefore hard to find, in times past, a hostess was even known to rent a pineapple as they were often expensive.

And so, you will see them everywhere here. Could there be a more hospitable city than Charleston?

Pick a sunny day and make a run for the pineapple fountain downtown!

The Pineapple Fountain
Waterfront Park, Concord Street, Charleston, SC

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


* Now read Pluff Mud Kids special feature every third Monday at!

This picture pretty much sums up the beauty we discovered at Dungannon Plantation Heritage Preserve in Hollywood, SC. We stumbled on this new adventure completely by chance through a recommendation from a local, and I can't wait to share it with you.

Venture to Hollywood and you will spot this sign from the road (162), but you have to look carefully. There is a small pine needle parking area. Dungannon is a massive 643 acre property that provides a natural haven to many species of local birds. The wood stork is a key focus here as they have begun to nest here in the last few decades due to a pressing need for precious wetland areas.

Once you park, you will immediately discover the conveniently posted map of the trails. Take a copy and be sure to also take along some water, snacks, and bug spray.

The trail out to the boardwalk overlooking the water is easy to follow and is about 4 miles round-trip.

There are some incredible trees and your children will be amazed by the towering limbs that seem to stretch like massive arms reaching out and upward. The day we hiked this trail was one of the Lowcountry's finest with a warm breeze rushing through the tops of the loblolly  pine trees.

Rounding a bend in the trail, you will discover the most amazing sight - there is an astounding 320 acres of bald cypress-tupelo swamp here. I can't describe how eerie and still it is and seemly frozen in time.

When you arrive at the boardwalk, there are posted warnings regarding alligators. As you can see, they are very content in this habitat.

Dungannon is well worth putting on your list of places to hike and is a perfect spot for guests who want to experience a truly beautiful southern swamp. Allow 2 to 3 hours to take it all in!

Dungannon Plantation Heritage Preserve click here for map
Hollywood, SC
Parking: free
No ammenities, no restrooms
Food and Drink- there is a Subway and a Publix nearby in Hollywood
Pets welcome, bring your own bag for waste
PMK tip- I would not recommend this walk for a mother alone with her children as it is very secluded.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

We salute the Charleston Marathon event for kids

Over the holiday weekend, the 3rd annual Charleston Marathon and youth modified marathon event were held in North Charleston, SC. The event also includes a half marathon, youth 5k, and bike ride.

The children's event is a modified marathon that encourages children to keep a log of miles run and walked leading up to the day prior to the actual marathon. The participants submit their miles ( which must total 25) and the final mile is run together with all the participants (as shown above) on part of the marathon course.
I like the fact that you can jog the 1 mile course with your child (our boys were the tender age of 7 when they first ran this event). It's an elating feeling for them to run with the pack and hear the cheers, but a little daunting the first time they throw themselves into a major organized running event. I am grateful to the organizers of the Charleston Marathon for providing a safe, fun atmosphere to introduce young runners to the sport.

The event benefits the Youth Endowment for the Arts (YEA), supporting fine arts programs in Charleston County Schools. In 2012, the Charleston Marathon donated $60,000 to YEA!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Life and Art in Charleston 106

At the Sullivan's Island, SC lighthouse yesterday we felt the temperatures plummet from a summery Charleston beach to a cool winter beach.

Bundle up...

and race the wind on winter beaches!

Thursday, January 17, 2013


I've been asked for a profile picture a time or two. To date, I don't have one. I am always behind the camera, never the subject matter. So, I went straight to the best local source I know...

She can work some kind of magic...

She is very creative with light and locale...

Kathleen's warmth and calm, easy control of the session time make for an ideal way to capture unforgettable moments with your family; preserving ages and stages in time.

A big thank you to Kathleen for her beautiful work with Pluff Mud Kids!

Contact Kathleen to arrange a session time: