Before the four-decade reign of Joe Riley, the city’s mayor, John Palmer Gaillard Jr. shepherded his namesake auditorium that in 1968 helped to launch Spoleto and the Charleston Symphony Orchestra. Riley, in one of his final moves as mayor, honored his predecessor with a $142-million renovation, including an 1,800-seat performance hall, that debuted in 2015. Although it’s already hosted the likes of ZZ Top and Herbie Hancock, the room’s true sonic design is intended for symphony orchestras. Charleston has one of those, and it’s a very good one, at that. This winter and spring, you can hear the CSO play Beethoven, Bernstein, Brahms, and Gershwin.
You can choose either direction for your coast-to-coast stroll, with the Variety Store on the Ashley River as your pre-embarkation breakfast, or a dark ’n’ stormy at Fleet Landing as your post-journey reward.
Comedy-specific Theatre 99 has held strong for nearly two decades in a changing city, inspiring belly laughs through inspired improv. In addition to a rotating local ensemble of nearly 50 funny folks, the theater hosts touring groups and the Charleston Comedy Festival each January (this year’s ensemble includes Colin Quinn). On Wednesday nights, they still keep their “Laugh for a Lincoln” tradition, where tickets are only $5. There’s no excuse not to yuk it up.
280-B Meeting St., (843) 853-6687, www.theatre99.com
For more than a decade, Eddie White and the good folks at Awendaw Green have hosted weekly Wednesday-night concerts (6-10 p.m., $5 donation) at a barn on the grounds of the Sewee Outpost store on Highway 17. For the full experience, arrive with enough daylight to play a round of Frisbee golf at the on-site 18-hole course. Fill your cooler at the Outpost, order a pizza from the wood-fired clay oven, and grab a front-row bench at the Jam for an eclectic lineup of musicians running the gamut from familiar faces like The Bushels and Danielle Howle to touring artists such as Stephane Wrembel and Sally & George. In 2017, White and crew also began producing the monthly Marsh Jam at The Bend, a free concert at the outdoor event space along the Ashley River in North Charleston.
“Mother Emanuel” is the oldest African Methodist Episcopal congregation in the South. That’s two centuries of Christian love and tradition a million times stronger than any cowardly terrorist. Sunday services are open to the public and streamed live on Facebook. Pay respects to the lives lost and those forever changed on June 17, 2015 and be awed by the resilient, forgiving nature of this parish.
Southerners everywhere eat hoppin’ John for good luck, but the superstition’s roots lie in the Lowcountry. Historians don’t quite agree about why it’s eaten on the first of January, but the one-pot dish of peas, pork, and rice originates from enslaved African-Americans on rice plantations.
Improvisation is encouraged—cook black-eyed peas in a pot with a ham hock, and then stir in rice with onions and spices, along with a heaping side of collard greens. For those in need of further instruction, we recommend this preparation:
1/2 lb. dry black-eyed peas, cow peas, or field peas
2 small smoked ham hocks
6 cups water
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 Tbs. dried thyme
1 1/2 cups rice
Rinse peas with cold water and pick out any stones or bad peas. Soak in warm water for 35 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Combine ham hocks and water. Boil for two hours and 45 minutes. Add peas, onion, black pepper, and thyme. Cook for 45 minutes to an hour, or until tender. Add rice, stir, and simmer over medium heat for 20 to 25 minutes or until rice is tender.
Web Extra! For more fun facts about hoppin’ John, visit http://charlestonmag.com/features/hoppin_john.
In our original Bucket List, we urged you to tackle the Cooper River Bridge Run (April 7, 2018). Now it’s time to take on the other spans: The Isle of Palms and James Island Connector runs are held each October. Proceeds from the IOP event help prevent child abuse, while the JI race benefits disabled students seeking higher education. Each includes 5K and 10K options, and while still popular, offers a lot more elbow room to take in the view while you enjoy a car-free morning over the marsh.
The selection of rooftop bars has, well, shot through the roof in recent years. The Pavilion Bar at the Market Pavilion Hotel, Rooftop at the Vendue, and the Crow’s Nest at the Boathouse (on Isle of Palms) remain go-to standards, but now they’re competing with a host of newer spots. Here are a few to try:
Burwell’s: Late last year, this hidden gem perched above the Market was receiving a makeover. Look for snappy new furnishings, plus dedicated drink and food menus. 14 N. Market St., (843) 737-8700, www.burwellscharleston.com
Élevé: The funky, modern-art vibe of this swanky lounge atop the Grand Bohemian Hotel is best enjoyed after dark, when colorful up-lighting gives the feel of stepping into a big-city hot spot. Sprawl out on the circular couches and order a bowl of Grand Marnier gelato. 55 Wentworth St., (843) 724-4144, www.grandbohemiancharleston.com
Revelry Brewing Co.: This downtown brewery’s Golden Saison is called “Peculiar Paradise,” which doubles as an apt description for its rooftop tasting patio, where NoMo neighbors gather in the evening to take in the sunset at this off-the-beaten-path oasis. 10 Conroy St., (843) 203-6194, www.revelrybrewingco.com
Stars Rooftop: New since our last Bucket List, this large rooftop patio overlooks the action on Upper King. Weekend nights are slammed with revelers, but Sunday brunch is a more relaxed affair if you’re craving a mimosa but don’t want to remove your sunglasses. 495 King St., (843) 577-0100, www.starsrestaurant.com
The Watch Rooftop Kitchen & Spirits: Atop The Restoration hotel, this restaurant and bar would be a culinary destination even without its view, which is one of the best in town. With a soaring scope of King Street, it’s an island of luxury in the sky. 79 Wentworth St., (843) 518-5115, www.therestorationhotel.com
What has long been the most wonderful outdoor event of the year has a surprising change of venue in 2018. Mark June 10 on your calendar for the finale’s debut at Joseph P. Riley Jr. Park. We’re bummed to lose the Middleton Place tradition of bringing comfy chairs, blankets, and coolers packed with bubbly, fine cheeses, and finger sandwiches, but we’re willing to check out The Joe and its promise of “fabulously indulgent concessions.” After all, the commute will be much easier, The Lone Bellow is headlining, and fireworks will still cap off the evening. Let’s hope they continue to synch up the light show with a carefully chosen song (last year’s David Bowie track left many in awe-invoked tears).
Redfish (also called red drum or spottail) are the prize catch of local inshore fishing, and the biggest ones hang out along the rocks at the Charleston Jetties. “Reeling in redfish over three feet at the jetties is common,” says Captain Geoff Bennett of Charleston Charter Fishing [(843) 324-3332, www.charlestoncharterfishing.com]. Whether you charter a trip or take your own boat, follow Bennett’s tips for jetty fishing:
■ Anchor on the outside of the jetties—not inside, where you’ll get crushed by cargo ship wake!
■ Use a heavy rod with a “Fish Finder” rig that includes two to four ounces of weights, an 80-pound test leader, and a size 7/0 circle hook.
■ The most effective baits are menhaden, mullet, and blue crab.
In a decade, the local craft beer scene has exploded from two to 21 breweries. The effect can be seen anywhere you imbibe. If sipping a Lo-Fi Glitter Pony during a concert at the Coliseum doesn’t excite you more than downing a Bud Lite, you may just be cursed with boring taste buds.
Directory of Local Breweries:
1. Charles Towne Fermentory
Avondale’s neighborhood hotspot; specializes in saisons and IPAs. 809 Savannah Hwy., (843) 641-0431, www.chsfermentory.com
2. COAST Brewing Company
Family-owned and -operated, brewing organic beers and offering tastings; look for a major expansion, including a restaurant, in 2018. 1250 2nd St. N., North Charleston, (843) 343-4727, www.coastbrewing.com
3. Cooper River Brewing Co.
A brewhouse on the north end of the peninsula with nine signature beers and a devoted following. 2201-B Mechanic St., (843) 405-7979, www.cooperriverbrewing.com
4. Edmund’s Oast Brewing Co.
Upper King’s starring draft selection, known for funky sour beers and creative blends, such as heirloom watermelon ale. 1505 King St. Ext., (843) 718-3224, www.edmundsoast.com/brewing-co
5. Fatty’s Beer Works
A downtown brewery and taproom made for a good time, with a signature IPA, ale, and saison, among others. 1436 Meeting St., (843) 974-5330, www.fattysbeerworks.com
6. Freehouse Brewery
Beers are always organic and crafted from seasonal ingredients. Catch frequent food truck appearances. 2895-B Pringle St., North Charleston, (703) 946-9725, www.freehousebeer.com
7. Frothy Beard Brewing Company
Ecclectic brews by four bearded bros, plus a new taproom. 1401 Sam Rittenberg Blvd., (843) 872-4201, www.frothybeard.com
8. Ghost Monkey Brewery
Taproom and brewery with a variety of stouts, dark sours, and IPAs; look out for live music and pop up food events. 522 Wando Ln., Mount Pleasant, (843) 352-3462, www.ghostmonkeybrewery.com
9. Holy City Brewing
A converted North Charleston warehouse brewing an impressive list of beers with a food menu to match. 4155 Dorchester Rd., North Charleston, (843) 225-5623, www.holycitybrewing.com
10. Lo-Fi Brewing
Beers with hoppy, bold flavors and a trippy aesthetic. 2038 Meeting Street Rd., (828) 582-2175, www.lofibrewing.com
11. Low Tide Brewing
Try a flight (four 4-ounce beers) or fill a growler or two amongst the wide variety of changing selections. 2863 Maybank Hwy., John’s Island, (843) 501-7570, www.lowtidebrewing.com
12. Munkle Brewing Co.
Gravitates towards mostly Belgian and German styles, specifically Trappist and other monastic brews. 1513 Meeting Street Rd., (843) 789-3109, www.munklebrewing.com
13. Palmetto Brewing Co.
Charleston’s oldest brewery, loved for live music, tastings, tours, and a tried-and-true beer menu. 289 Huger St., (843) 937-0903, www.palmettobrewery.com
14. Pawley’s Island Brewing Company
A relaxed atmosphere and a handful of signature ales, IPAs, and stouts. 2668 Industrial Ave., North Charleston, (843) 225-8292, www.pawleysislandbrewing.com
15. Revelry Brewing Co.
A neighborhood hangout with an unbeatable rooftop and a number of award winning brews. 10 Conroy St., (843) 203-6194, www.revelrybrewingco.com
16. Rusty Bull Brewing Co.
Unique lagers, ales, IPAs, and more, in an industrial-chic space. 3005 W. Montague Ave. #110, North Charleston, (843) 225-8600, www.rustybullbrewing.com
17. Snafu Brewing Company
An edgy North Charleston spot known for rowdy events and an impressive year-round tap line up. 3280 Industry Dr., North Charleston, (843) 767-4121, www.snafubrewingcompany.com
18. Tradesman Brewing Co.
A taproom dubbed the “Beer Outreach Education Center” and 10 perfected ales on deck. 1647 King St. Ext., (843) 410-1315, www.tradesmanbrewing.com
19. Twisted Cypress Brewing Co.
Three friends crafting classic beers brewed with a local twist. 1897 Sam Rittenberg Blvd., (843) 608-1899, www.twistedcypressbrewingco.com
20. Two Blokes Brewing
Unpretentious brews for every taste; pouring everything from IPAs to pub ales to saisons. 547 Long Point Rd. #101, Mount Pleasant, (843) 654-4564, www.twoblokesbrewing.com
21. Westbrook Brewing Company
A Charleston standard on a mission to make beer interesting; frequent experimentation with quirky ingredients and brewing techniques (see signature stout “Mexican Cake”). 510 Ridge Rd., Mount Pleasant, (843) 654-9114, www.westbrookbrewing.com
In a town with ample memorials to the Confederate cause, erecting a monument to the accused leader of a slave rebellion originally met resistance. Denmark Vesey was a free man in 1822 when he risked his life to plot an insurrection that would liberate enslaved Africans. His plan was leaked, and he was publicly hanged, along with 34 other accused conspirators. Since 2014, his story has been memorialized through a handsome statue in Hampton Park.
How does naturalist Chris Crowley, who makes his living sharing and protecting the magic of Bulls Island, describe this haven in the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge? “It’s a beach. It’s a forest. It’s a pond. It’s an alligator. It’s a dolphin. It’s where the original settlers landed. It’s where indigenous people thrived for thousands of years. It’s an untouched, wild paradise.”
Intrigued? In season, Crowley’s Bulls Island Ferry makes daily trips to the island from Awendaw, so you can walk the Battery at sunrise and eat lunch in a primordial wonderland.
A drive across rural, moss-draped Wadmalaw Island is a worthy pursuit, made even more memorable by a visit to the 127-acre farm that produces American Classic Tea. Tour options include a trolley ride around the grounds and a full view of the production facility through a glassed-in (and air-conditioned) observation hall. Of course, leave time to sit outside under a live oak and sip a warm cup (or cool glass) of tea, directly from the source.
6617 Maybank Hwy., Wadmalaw Island; (843) 559-0383, www.charlestonteaplantation.com
In the mid-’90s, when the Rev. Robert Parks had a fit-looking Jesus standing atop a rainbow painted on his house adjacent to the Crosstown, he didn’t worry about a permit. The City contested the unregulated public art and its religious statement, but ultimately let it stay. Two decades later, the reverend has climbed the fire escape to heaven, and his rush hour-soothing masterpiece is fading. Before it goes the way of the Folly Boat, park your car on President Street, walk over, and snap a selfie with Muscle Jesus.
James Island’s historic black community of Sol Legare is where Union soldiers bivouacked en route to Folly Beach and the siege of Morris Island. After the war, freed slaves settled and farmed the island, constructing the Sol Legare Seashore Farmers’ Lodge No. 767 in 1915. The building served as the community’s social gathering place, but fell into disrepair after Hurricane Hugo. In 2011, thanks to a collaboration with Flip This House, the lodge was restored. Today, it’s again a community hub and cultural museum that’s open to visitors. Upon arrival, dial the on-call contact posted at the door.
1860 Old Sol Legare Rd.
It seems unlikely that the first private library in the country is also one of its liveliest. But the Charleston Library Society, founded in 1748 to keep Charlestonians informed of recent publications from London, has achieved that feat. It now hosts jazz and classical music, after-school programs and story time for children, and presentations by national authors (Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Stephen Kurkjian visits on March 8). The light-filled space is home to fascinating artifacts and well-aged books, many of which can be checked out by members.
164 King St., (843) 723-9912, www.charlestonlibrarysociety.org
In North Charleston’s Chicora-Cherokee neighborhood between Spruill and Rivers avenues, you could get plenty of fast, fried food, but not an apple or a head of cabbage—that is until Germaine Jenkins launched Fresh Future Farm on a five-acre plot leased by the city. The working farm now plants and harvests organic produce year-round and operates an on-site grocery store in a tiny mobile building. It’s turned a food desert into an urban vegetable paradise.
The farm largely operates on volunteer labor, including workdays on the second and third Saturday mornings of each month, as well as regular opportunities for groups.
The Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count began in 1900 and is now an annual tradition that spans the Americas. During the holiday season, amateur birders report their findings in order to track species’ growth and declines. Nearly 30 counts occur in South Carolina each year, including on Kiawah and Seabrook islands and in McClellanville. Birders spend an entire day tallying sightings in a designated 15-mile diameter circle. To view a map of official counts and contact an administrator about participating, visit www.audubon.org/join-christmas-bird-count .
Simply put, the Lowcountry’s food, music, and culture would be dull and tasteless without the heavy influence of African-American Charlestonians. The importance of Afro and Caribbean dance, writing, visual arts, and music are all celebrated each fall during the MOJA Arts Festival (September 27-October 7, 2018). The finale, held at Hampton Park, puts a resounding exclamation mark on the party, including hip-shaking bands as well as food and craft vendors. Much like Spoleto, it’s an event where lawn chairs and picnic blankets are encouraged. Best of all, it’s free.
When you order an arugula salad or a bowl of Charlestonmade ice cream, there’s a good chance that GrowFood Carolina helped get those ingredients to your plate. Since its inception in 2011, the food hub has become ubiquitous in restaurant kitchens—it’s an integral part of weekly ordering. By serving as a liaison between farmers and chefs, GrowFood has made it easy to source locally.
There’s no better time to visit GrowFood than the Mushroom Gathering, held each October at its warehouse on Morrison Drive. The event challenges chefs and brewers to incorporate fungi into their offerings, making it one of the most unique—and memorably delicious—of Charleston’s dining events. Tickets sell out in advance, but the abundance of obligatory magic mushroom jokes continue until the last “fun guy” heads home.
At 5 p.m. on the first Friday of March, May, October, and December, more than 40 of downtown’s galleries open their doors for an evening of art appreciation, sometimes with a glass of wine. The long-standing event, now sponsored by the Charleston Gallery Association, turns the French Quarter into a festive social soiree. www.charlestongalleryassociation.com
Since 1905, the Gibbes Museum of Art has been a mandatory stop for learning the history of Charleston through the visual art inspired by the city. But in 2016, when a $11.5-million renovation/restoration was completed, it relaunched as a much more accessible arts institution. The first floor is free and open to the public: Visitors can observe classes and resident artists at work, reflect in the classical Lenhardt Garden, and shop the store for cool and quirky finds. Early this year, the in-house café will re-open as The Daily at the Gibbes, an offshoot from the Butcher & Bee folks, making it one of the neighborhood’s hottest new lunch destinations. But don’t forget to visit the upstairs galleries with exhibitions such as “Modernist Photography from the Robert Marks Collection” (through May 20).
135 Meeting St., (843) 722-2706, www.gibbesmuseum.org
The only thing better than a day of canoeing down the Edisto River is a second day of canoeing down the Edisto River. Extend your trip by taking advantage of the many sandbars hosted in portions of the river with lots of tight turns. Be sure to check water levels—lower is better for finding a perfect sandbar. Once you’ve arrived, anything below the high water line is fair game—just don’t trespass into the woods (although if you do, you’re more likely to be confronted by a venomous snake than a human).
North of Charleston, the Santee River offers its own football field-sized sandbars, just waiting for you to claim them for a weekend. Pick up a Coastal Expeditions map from the local outfitter [514-B Mill St., Mount Pleasant; (843) 884-7684; www.coastalexpeditions.com] to scout your put-in and take-out spots, and peruse Google Earth to find your campsite of choice.
If you have a “Frisbee dog” or a pup who can’t wait to plunge into any water, she might have what it takes to compete in the Southeastern Wildlife Expo’s annual DockDogs event, where pooches of all breeds and sizes leap into a pool in a canine long-jump competition. Registration opens at 9 a.m. on Friday, February 16, and the finals—which attract a huge crowd—are Sunday afternoon.
Web Extra! Watch a DockDogs YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?
The caliber of the exhibits on display at the College of Charleston’s Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art is stunning, thanks to the careful curation of director Mark Sloan and his talented team. An international artist-in-residence program brings news-making artists and projects—such as ecologically focused sculptor Aurora Robson’s vibrant “The Tide Is High” installation fashioned from recycled plastic—to the college, where their work is open to the public Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Cuban artist Roberto Diago exhibits his “La Historia Recordada” from January 19 through March 3.) Although gallery admission is free, patrons inspired by the work should become members to attend artist lectures, curator-led tours, and a lively annual party.
161 Calhoun St., (843) 953-4422, www.halsey.cofc.edu
Web Extra! Meet sculptor Aurora Robson at the Halsey: https://www.youtube.com/watch?
Every Lowcountry kitchen should have a copy of Charleston Receipts, the oldest Junior League cookbook still in print and widely considered the Bible of local cuisine. In our original Bucket List, we implored readers to buy a copy and learn the proper preparation of shrimp and grits. Chef Frank Lee, the now-retired longtime executive chef at SNOB and a vanguard of the city’s culinary renaissance, suggests three more recipes of critical importance to our city’s palate.
Benne Seed Wafers (page 292) The cookbook points out that West African slaves regarded benne (sesame) as a “good luck plant.” Don’t let visitors head home with pre-packaged benne wafers—make them yourself.
Brown Oyster Stew with Benne Seed (page 49) Bacon, oysters, onions, and flour meet in blissful union. “This recipe shows the African connection with Lowcountry cuisine,” notes Lee.
Chicken Country Captain (page 123) This spicy amalgam of peppers and protein takes its name from the seafarers who brought curry to the New World. “There’s a sea captain’s international intrigue, and it tastes great too,” says Lee.
Marion Square hosts the mother of all Lowcountry farmers markets on Saturday mornings (in season), but smaller versions are found around town most every day of the week
Monday - Folly Beach: Live music, lots of crafts and eclectic art vendors, food trucks, and some produce. 4-8 p.m. at the Folly River Park; search Facebook for @FollyBeachFarmers Market.
Tuesday - Mount Pleasant: Produce, seafood, and packaged foods; live music; and activities for kids. 3:30-7 p.m. at Moultrie Middle School; www.experiencemountpleasant.com/events/farmers-market/
Wednesday - West Ashley: Produce, food products and concessions, flowers, and live music. 3-7 p.m. at Ackerman Park (55 Sycamore Ave.) from April through October; www.charlestonfarmersmarket.com/westashley/
Thursday - North Charleston: Produce, food trucks, craft vendors, and live music. 3-7 p.m. at the Felix Davis Community Center in Park Circle; www.northcharleston.org/farmersmarket.aspx
Saturday - John’s Island: Open year-round with live music, produce, craft vendors, and easy parking. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Charleston Collegiate School; www.johnsislandfarmersmarket.com
Sunday - Sunday Brunch on James Island: First-class live music, produce, art vendors, and food trucks. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. behind The Pour House; www.sundaybrunchfarmersmarket.com
This peaceful escape at the Four Corners of Law puts you in earshot of church bells from at least five parishes that date back centuries. Take it all in on a cool spring morning, then head to the pew or brunch spot of your choice.
Throwing a cast net is an essential Lowcountry skill, and hauling one in that’s teeming with juicy white shrimp sets off joy receptors. You’ll need a boat, PVC poles, a cast net, fishing and shrimp baiting licenses, and bait balls (a pungent mixture of clay and fish meal). The poles are used to mark where you drop your bait. Give the shrimp an hour or so to accumulate around your bait during a rising tide, and then cast your net with hopes to “cooler out.”
The season runs from mid-September to early November each year, and hot spots include the North Edisto River near Cherry Point boat landing, the banks of Charleston Harbor, and behind Bulls Island. There’s no shrimp sweeter than the ones you catch.
Come December, ’tis the season for elaborate and beautiful decorations South of Broad. Clark Griswold-style kitschy lights these are not. Take an evening stroll through the neighborhood on Christmas Eve, capping your night with the triumphant bells of St. Michael’s Church and its moving 11 p.m. candlelit service.
For most fans at RiverDogs games, it’s really not about whether the Class A New York Yankees affiliate wins or loses. We all root, root, root for the home team, but after downing duck wing ramen or a burger topped with bacon, cotton candy, and smoked Cracker Jacks and watching the sunset over the Ashley River (and post-game fireworks on Friday nights), most leave smiling regardless of the outcome. The opening game is April 3.
Web Extra! Watch as Bill Murray entertains the RiverDogs crowd during a rain delay:
A city rich in history inspires bountiful writing. The Charleston section at King Street’s Blue Bicycle Books includes a lifetime’s worth of literature about the city, while the newer Buxton Books focuses only on Charleston-related works, including novels, historical accounts, cookbooks, and children’s books by local artists such as illustrator Timothy Banks. Each store hosts signings whenever fresh releases hit the shelves.
Blue Bicycle Books: 420 King St., (843) 722-2666, www.bluebicyclebooks.com
Buxton Books: 2-A Cumberland St., (843) 834-6575, www.buxtonbooks.com
Charleston began in 2008, just as our current cultural renaissance was getting underway. The slate of quick-hit, 20-slide presentations enlightened audience members to the amazing work being done around them. Last year, PK’s management shifted to the Charleston Music Hall, who will continue the tradition four times each year. “Charleston needs to collaborate now more than ever, as our city rapidly changes around us,” says Charles Carmody, director of the Music Hall, lauding PK as an opportunity to “share ideas, inspirations, and stories to encourage each other to continue collaborating.” Pecha Kucha 28 is set for January 9.
When a band or performer takes the stage at College of Charleston’s Cistern Yard, they invariably gaze around them with reverence and wonder. Situated in the heart of the city but draped in natural splendor, it’s a venue like no other, and it inspires artists to play with unbridled joy. Get your tickets early for this Spoleto Festival USA (May 25-June 10, 2018) tradition that draws artists such as Terence Blanchard, Madeleine Peyroux, and Dianne Reeves.
Erosion can be bad news for our beaches, but it brings promise for treasure seekers. After a storm or period of big waves, head out to any local beach on a morning low tide to sift through the eroded banks for shark teeth—you might even get lucky and find a palm-sized prize from a megalodon. The most avid hunters have their secret spots, and they’re not sharing, but here’s a hint: you’ll need a boat or kayak to reach them. Make Google Earth your friend and find a flat beach with steep banks that can only be accessed by water.
While most local barrier island beaches are facing major erosion, Sullivan’s Island enjoys accretion, thanks to the Charleston Jetties that trap sand at the island’s southeast end. The result is an ever-growing maritime forest, now an extremely rare ecosystem on our coast. The 200-acre reserve is protected by a conservation easement, meaning that songbirds and dune-ecosystem mammals have a haven in which they can survive and thrive.
To venture into these beachfront woods, start at Station 16 and Atlantic Avenue. There’s a clear trail that passes through the forest to the beach, with side trails that wander through vegetation and seasonal wetlands.