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School’s out for Summer! Now What?

We talk a lot about retiring to the Lowcountry — and it’s true. The Charleston area is a wonderful place for retirement and investment property purchases. But is it a good place for families with children? Maybe you’ve vacationed here once or twice or many times … your kids probably loved Charleston as much as you did, but is the area desirable for raising a family? In short — yes, it is. If you look at crime rates, cost of living, family entertainment options and education opportunities, you’ll see again and again that raising children in Charleston makes sense, especially when you consider how close to the beach you are. With the close of Memorial Day weekend comes the end of the school year for many school districts around the Lowcountry. If you’re thinking about moving to the Charleston area and you have kids, you’re probably interested in the schools here. Below is a snapshot of Charleston County School District and the five other districts within an hour and a half or so of Charleston. When does the school year begin and end? When does the school day start and finish? And what towns and cities do the different districts serve? Check out the graphics below to learn more. For comprehensive information on school performance, district demographics and other details, visit school district webpages or the South Carolina Department of Education. If you’re interested in Charleston-area private schools, please see our comprehensive list of private schools in the area. The list can be found by following this link. We cover everything from preschools to high schools. Included in the...

Family Circle Cup 2012

Got away on Monday to catch a few hours of women’s tennis at the Family Circle Cup, which is taking place on Daniel Island this week. The day was warm, clear, sunny and absolutely perfect with a slight breeze. If you’ve never been to a Family Circle Cup match before, rest assured that the whole event is very well organized. Parking is free and just a short walk from the stadium. Every type of food imaginable is available for purchase — from Chick-Fil-A to kettle corn, plenty of alcoholic beverages and even a coffee shop. The whole thing really felt more like an outdoor festival than a tennis match, and each staff member and volunteer we interacted with was unbelievably friendly and helpful. We were worried that we forgot to bring cash, but all the vendors seemed to be taking cards, rendering our cashless blunder a non-issue (after all, it is 2012). Because we went early on in the cup, it was very quiet at the stadium, but as we are getting closer to the championship matches on Sunday, the crowds will be out in full force this weekend. ESPN 3 broadcast some of the action today and will be broadcasting the event for the rest of the weekend. Each day, spectator activities are planned and include plenty of shopping opportunities (from FCC merchandise to tennis accessories and apparel to unique, Charleston-inspired boutique items), a chance to get a video analysis of your tennis game, inflatable tennis courts for the youngsters (jump castle meets tennis) and happy hour specials and entertainment. There will even be an Easter egg hunt...

BBC Coming to Area Beach

Vacationers aren’t the only ones attracted to Charleston area beaches. On April 1-4, 2012, the British Broadcast Company (BBC) will be visiting Kiawah Island to film an episode of the wildlife series entitled Deadly 60. The show follows naturalist Steve Backshall to different countries as he seeks out and studies the world’s 60 top predators. It is set to air in the United Kingdom on CBBC, the BBC’s channel for children, later this summer and is also slated to air on BBC1 and BBC2. The show is in its third season, and episodes are sometimes aired in the United States on Animal Planet and Nat Geo Wild. The half-hour program is geared toward the 6-12 age group. During the show’s first season, Backshall visits South Africa, Australia, India, Malaysia and the United Kingdom before coming over to the United States and spending time in Alaska, Arizona and Louisiana. The first season finishes in the Bahamas and Brazil. During the second season, Backshall visits Mexico, British Columbia, Vancouver, Costa Rica, Panama, Mozambique, South Africa, Namibia, Madagascar, Uganda, Thailand, the Philippines, Romania, Norway, the United Kingdom, Argentina and Peru. Backshall is visiting Kiawah to check out the island’s bobcat population. Bobcats can weigh up to 25 pounds and are considered important for rodent control. They also prey on deer fawns, helping to keep down their numbers as well. The bobcat population on Kiawah Island is about twice as dense as it is in mainland South Carolina, making Kiawah a favorite spot for research on these predators. Here is a video clip from a past Deadly 60 episode in which Backshall tracks...

Charleston’s 2012 Vacation Season: Hotels

Does the time change and the warmer weather have you thinking about vacation? Easter and Spring Break are just around the corner, and the same warm weather that has brought blooms to azaleas and robins and cardinals to yards all over the Charleston area will soon usher in many vacationers and tourists. There is a sense of excitement here as the area prepares for the first vacation season since the 2011 Conde Nast’s Readers’ Choice Awards named Charleston the best city in the United States and the third best city in the world. And just as the season is ramping up, Charleston has recently received even more accolades from past visitors. TripAdvisor.com, which touts itself as the world’s largest travel website with over 50 million unique visitors a month, recently published its 2012 Travelers’ Choice Awards based on millions of vacationer reviews. Charleston appeared three times in the website’s Top 25 Best Hotels in the United States: the French Quarter Inn was ranked No. 7, the Restoration on King was No. 19 and the Wentworth Mansion was No. 24. The Restoration on King was recently in the news for another reason. Owned by Jeffrey R. Anderson Real Estate, an award-winning commercial firm based in the Midwest, the Restoration opened in 2010 as South Carolina’s first boutique hotel and soon earned a AAA Four-Diamond rating. The hotel is situated in Charleston’s Antique District on the corner of King and Wentworth Streets. It boasts 16 luxurious suites that blend top-of-the-line modern amenities with the building’s historic features. Jeffery R. Anderson Real Estate recently purchased the property and has retained DCP International,...

Charleston Fine Dining for Thanksgiving

Well, a cold front has blown into the Lowcountry; temperatures plummeted from 76 degrees this afternoon to a nippy 58 degrees this evening — just in time to get everyone here in the mood for the holidays. … At least for a little while, as it looks like the 70-degree weather will return by the weekend. Whether it’s hot or cold, sunny or dreary, the holidays in the Charleston area are always special. Something that has become a bit of a Lowcountry tradition is taking to the fine restaurants of Charleston for Thanksgiving. For anyone who cooks every year without fail, this might seem a little untraditional, but it is really a great way to make the Thanksgiving holiday special while avoiding a lot of the stress that comes along with the big eating day. One of the hallmarks of fine dining restaurants in Charleston is the use of local ingredients, and our talented chefs pull out all the stops for Thanksgiving, putting their own spin on traditional turkey and stuffing. We’ve been salivating over all the delicious Thanksgiving menus featured by downtown Charleston area restaurants and wanted to share some of the best offerings. Instead of spending the next week preparing for the big meal, give one of these restaurants a call to make a reservation for Turkey Day — you’ll never want to cook for the holiday again! High Cotton is offering a Keegan-Filion Farms free-range turkey dinner with cornbread stuffing, buttermilk mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberry compote and giblet gravy. And they’ll even send you home with turkey sandwich to-go, complete with a cornbread stuffing,...

Charleston, SC: Best City 2011

Charleston gets recognized pretty frequently — friendly people, award-winning chefs, luxurious resorts — but it’s not everyday that the city is singled out as the No. 1 City in the United States. That’s what happened on Monday, October 10, 2011, when the November issue of Condé Nast Traveler came out. It was a first for Charleston, and the city can’t stop smiling — in fact, we’re beaming! These same awards also ranked Charleston as the third best city in the world, behind Sydney, Australia, and Florence, Italy. Each year since 1988, Conde Nast asks its readers to rate their vacation experiences, and this year, more than 28,000 respondents cast 8 million votes. Cities, islands, hotels, resorts, cruise ships and airlines were rated in categories such as atmosphere, ambiance, culture, accommodations, dining and shopping. For all of us living in Charleston, the city’s No. 1 ranking is a no-brainer. Anyone who knows the city holds it as number one in their hearts, but it is quite nice to see ourselves at the top of the list in print as well. According to Charleston’s newspaper the Post and Courier, the Holy City first appeared on Conde Nast’s Reader’s Choice Awards Top Ten U.S. Destinations list in 1993 as the No. 6 city in the United States, and between 2008 and 2010, Charleston held the No. 2 spot, second only to San Francisco, which has held the No. 1 honor for 18 years! Conde Nast’s Readers’ Choice Awards are highly respected and used by travelers all over the world as a resource. Besides Charleston’s No. 1 rating, several other local namesakes made...
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