7 Days and Counting

Last minute information for eclipse-day planning

By Deena C. Bouknight

A full article on the upcoming August 21st total eclipse is featured in the July/August 2017 issue of Columbia Metropolitan Magazine. Visit ColumbiaMetro.com.

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this image of the moon crossing in front of its view of the sun on Jan. 30, 2014, at 10:30 a.m. EST in 171 and 304 angstrom light. The two wavelengths are blended together.

The eclipse is the talk of the town. Hotel occupancy has been reserved for months at 100 percent for the evening of August 20th, and 91 percent the evening following the eclipse. Hundreds of thousands of are expected from all over the world due to Columbia’s unique position in the path of this rare astronomical phenomenon. Some in Columbia are even offering up rooms through AirBNB and VRBO sites. The eclipse will last nearly 3 hours in all — starting a little after 1 p.m. and ending shortly after 4 p.m. The period of totality will last about two and a half minutes just after 2:40 p.m.

The website set up to handle questions and provide information – managed by city leaders – is totaleclipsecolumbiasc.com, and it started receiving at least 2,500 hits daily nearly a month ago. “At 2:41 p.m. on Monday, August 21, 2017, viewers who have gathered in the Greater Columbia, S.C., area will experience the longest period of 100% total eclipse for a metro area on the entire East Coast of the United States — ranging from 2 minutes and 30 seconds to 2 minutes and 36 seconds of total darkness,” it shares. On the site, visitors can view a map of the eclipse route, learn history and details of eclipses, know events, sales, and activities planned for Eclipse Weekend, and find special eclipse glasses, which must be worn to protect eyes.

One location to purchase glasses is the State Museum at only a few dollars a pair. Glasses will also be given out at various events during the eclipse. The City of Columbia expects to distribute at least 100,000 pairs.

One common question is: Where should I be during the eclipse? It is important to decide prior to August 21 where to view the eclipse. Either stay home and plan to watch from the yard, or get to another site early to avoid crowds and secure a viewing spot. Officials are forecasting severe interstate congestion and cautioning travelers to plan for patience.

Here are just some eclipse-planning considerations, provided by Total Eclipse Columbia SC:

Festivals & Entertainment

  • “Soda City Eclipse Viewing Party” and Eclipse Eve Drive-In Movie Night at Historic Columbia Speedway in Cayce, S.C., just across the Congaree River from Columbia, S.C.
  • Columbia Fireflies minor league baseball games all weekend and “Total Eclipse of the Park” game and viewing event during eclipse with iMAGINE STEM Festival
  • Solar 17 at Lake Murray viewing festival with tents, free water and free eclipse glasses at Lake Murray dam & lakefront park sites, 25 minutes from downtown Columbia, S.C.
  • The Lexington County Blowfish baseball team is dedicating their entire 2017 season to the eclipse and will open the Lexington County Baseball Stadium for a free viewing event
  • ECLIPSEFEST 2017 at Music Farm Columbia w/rock ‘n roll tribute bands
  • Viewing event with family-friendly band in the spacious gardens of the Robert Mills House
  • Solar Fest West at the West Columbia riverfront amphitheater with live entertainment

Science & Education

  • The S.C. State Museum (home of the Boeing Observatory) will host ticketed events and educational programming all weekend, with a NASA exhibition and eclipse day viewing event with a personal appearance by S.C. NASA astronaut Charles Duke (one of 12 men to walk on the moon).
  • Astronomy workshops, exhibitions & lectures at University of South Carolina department of Physics and Astronomy and at USC’s Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections’ Robert B. Ariail collection of historical astronomy
  • Eclipse Geocaching Cointrail event at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center
  • Solar Learning Challenge party for families on Aug. 19 at Richland Library
  • Riverbanks Zoo will be open for regular ticketed admission all weekend and on eclipse day
  • Saluda Shoals Park’s family-friendly Eclipse Extravaganza with games & hands-on activities
  • Historic Columbia walking tours of Main St. & the Vista, happy hour water balloon fight
  • Summer Learning Challenge hosted by Richland Library
  • Eddie’s Eyes on the Sky Sleepover with EdVenture, educational indoor camping

Outdoors

  • Paddling on the lower Saluda River at Saluda Shoals Park’s Total Eclipse on the River event
  • “Shadows and Science in the Wilderness” programs & ranger-led hikes to prime viewing locations at Congaree National Park, 20 minutes from downtown Columbia, S.C.
  • Guided outdoor historical walking tours along the paved, riverside forest trails at the 12,000 Year History Park in Cayce, S.C., 10 minutes from downtown Columbia, S.C.
  • Total eclipse viewing event at Sesquicentennial State Park in Northeast Columbia, S.C.
  • Tent camping and eclipse viewing at Siesta Cove Marina & RV Park on Lake Murray
  • Eclipse tailgate party, plus parking and RV parking, at the S.C. State Fairgrounds
  • Picnic and eclipse viewing in the wide-open fields of Camp Discovery

Food & Drink

  • Lowcountry Boil & Paella Party with live music at City Roots urban sustainable farm
  • VIP Eclipse Viewing Party with open bar & luxe buffet at Motor Supply Co. Bistro in the Vista
  • “The Grape Eclipse” 4-day wine, food and jazz party at Mercer Winery in Lexington, S.C.
  • Two Gals and a Fork Food Tours
  • Taco Monday eclipse viewing specials at Publico Kitchen & Tap in Five Points
  • Cooking class and rooftop eclipse viewing with Let’s Cook Studio
  • Barrel-aged beer release at Old Mill Brewpub in Lexington
  • Enoree River Winery’s crowd and RV friendly viewing event with live music

Arts

  • A large-scale public art/laser light installation at the Congaree River, “Southern Lights”
  • “Star Wars Musiclipse” space-themed concert by S.C. Philharmonic
  • The Jasper Project’s “Syzygy” eclipse-themed plays and poetry events w/two Poet Laureates
  • Nickelodeon Theatre screening of 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • The popular Arts & Draughts party at the Columbia Museum of Art
  • Palmetto Y Luna arts event at Tapp’s Arts Center
  • Film, music, art & dance events across the region
  • “Art in the Dark” family-friendly celebration from Bravo Blythewood
  • Learn how to photograph the eclipse with the Blythewood Chamber of Commerce

The solar eclipse will be here before we know it! To countdown, visit this handy site:
eclipsecountdown.com.

Ex Libris Online: YA Series for Summer Reading

By Margaret Clay

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It is hard to believe that summer is already beginning to wind down when it seems like Memorial Day was only yesterday. Somehow, there is no slowing down the rapid depletion of these slow days. However, the long dog-days of schedule-less freedom are numbered, and that means limited time to finish summer reading logs. Thankfully, if there are still numerous slots to be filled, Young Adult novel series can be a fast and fun way to knock out multiple books while continuing a story that already engages your child. Who knows, you might even add some of these to your own summer reading log!

You may have read about the “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” series in the June issue, and if those books connected with your child, good news — Rick Riordan’s YA writing is prolific as he has created many other mythology series for voracious young readers. Two of these series expose children to two other major cultural traditions — Egyptian mythology and Norse mythology.

The Kane Chronicles

Like Percy Jackson, the protagonists of “The Kane Chronicles” (siblings Carter and Sadie Kane) alternatively narrate their tale of discovering their divine heritage. Descended from the two pharaohs Narmer and Ramses the Great, these siblings discover that they are powerful magicians who must contend with the Egyptian gods and goddesses, who still interact with the real world despite most people’s oblivion of them. These books sport Riordan’s typical fast-paced, action-driven plot that will keep young readers on the edges of their seats … all while receiving a lesson on Egyptian mythology. Once the trilogy is finished, fans have the delightful opportunity to read Demigods and Magicians — a series of short stories where the worlds of Ancient Greece and Egypt collide when the Kanes meet “Percy Jackson” protagonists Percy and Annabeth. These magic-wielding teens find they must team up in order to defeat an ancient enemy who is mixing Greek and Egyptian magic to ultimately rule the world.

As a middle school teacher, Riordan was inspired to write this series after completing “Percy Jackson” and discovering that the only subject in ancient history that his students enjoyed more than Ancient Greece was Ancient Egypt.

By these books here.

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard

In the trilogy “Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard,” the titular hero is actually cousins with Annabeth Chase of “Percy Jackson,” thus linking the two series together. In the first book, Magnus discovers that he is the son of the Norse fertility god Frey and is immediately confronted by a fire giant named Surt, who plans to hasten the end of the world by freeing the Fenris Wolf. Magnus must enlist the help of a valkyrie, a dwarf named Blitz, and an elf named Hearth to attempt to foil the giant.

Norse mythology was a major influence in J. R. R. Tolkien’s creation of Middle Earth, and LOTR fans will enjoy a deeper acquaintance with the original folklore that inspired that beloved series. The third and final book in Riordan’s newest trilogy will release this fall.

By these books here.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

For the sci-fi lover in your household, have you discovered Douglas Adams’ “trilogy in five parts,” The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy? The wit in these books is classically British — dry and somewhat sophisticated while playing with the ludicrous — making this series probably best suited for a slightly older child who appreciates this droll type of humor. Arthur Dent finds himself to be the last surviving man from Earth (following the demolition of the planet by a Vogon constructor fleet to make way for a hyperspace bypass) when he is rescued at the moment of destruction by his friend Ford Prefect, who turns out not to be a human at all. Ford is an alien writer for The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and has been researching the planet Earth for the guide for a number of years. Arthur goes on to explore the galaxy with Ford and learns information such as that the planet Earth was just one big experiment set up by lab rats to study humans, how to use a Babel Fish to interpret other galaxy languages, and the ins and outs of Vogon poetry.

The story combines science fiction with the finest tradition of English humor and was originally broadcast as a radio comedy on the BBC in 1978. Its popularity led to later adaptations into novels, comic books, stage shows, a 1981 TV series, a 1984 computer game, and finally a movie in 2005. The Folio Society has published all five books in their usual fine quality, illustrated by Jonathan Burton.

Buy these books here. 

The Borrowers

For the younger reader, he or she can still enjoy British fantasy storytelling in a more traditional manner with “The Borrowers” series. Have you ever wondered what exactly happens to all the safety pins? Factories keep on manufacturing them, yet there is never one handy when most needed. These five books chronicle the adventures of one small family of “borrowers” — little people who live within the walls and beneath the floors and who “borrow” anything within their grasp. They are a very inventive people as they must cleverly construct human homes and lives for themselves using the over-sized goods that people leave lying about.

The big adventures in which these little people continually find themselves are enthralling, and readers will become enamored with Pod, Homily and young Arrietty… and with the rare few children who are lucky enough to make their acquaintance.

By these books here.

 

Accolades and Reopenings for Richland Library

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Columbia’s local library receives prestigious national medal and renovates the Cooper Branch

By Helen Clay

Summertime offers new opportunities for reading as kids complete summer reading requirements and adults craft literature lists of their own, hoping to relax with new novels during family vacations or downtime. While submersing yourself in a new story is entertaining, the process of choosing which book will become your companion for the next few weeks is equally exciting. Will you revisit historical events, experience thrillers, or re-read your favorite classic?

In Columbia, we are lucky to have a vast book collection at our fingertips through Richland Library. Richland library boasts of an extensive collection that fulfills every reader’s needs — novels, historical fiction, children’s literature, biographies, primary resources, and more! Last year, the Richland Libraries received more than two million visits, a number that does not include the numerous programs Richland Library brings to Cola Town in different venues. Richland Library’s dedication to the local community and its impressive book selection garnered the library a prestigious honor as the winner of the 2017 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. This award is the nation’s highest award given to museums and libraries for service and dedication to their community. We have all reaped benefits as residents of the Midlands from Richland Library’s civic service, and Columbia Metropolitan Magazine joins the community in congratulating them on this elite honor!

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After a nearly $3 million renovation, Richland Library Cooper Branch reopens its doors to the public.

As Richland Library continues its work throughout our community, the organization celebrates yet another milestone in 2017… the GRAND REOPENING of the Richland Library Cooper Branch! After a nearly $3 million renovation, the Copper Branch is flinging open its doors to the public once again. The project included a reconfiguration and renovation of the existing 10,000 square foot structure and a new addition of 1,000 square feet. The branch now includes an expanded children’s area, the addition of two “Makerspaces” (an area that provides hardware supplies, software, and electronics for people to gather to create and learn), a quiet reading room, and a covered book drop.

Richland Library Cooper Branch invites you and your family to come celebrate the grand reopening from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Wednesday, July 19. Come experience the charm of this local library and make new summer memories with your children. My fondest childhood excursions involved a trip to the Richland Library Cooper Branch with my shiny new library card in hand, eager with the anticipation of stuffing my bag full of wonderful literary treasures… It was almost better than Christmas.

Don’t miss your chance to view the newly renovated Richland Library Cooper Branch tomorrow morning! What will be next on your summer reading list?

Richland Library Cooper Branch GRAND REOPENING

Date: July 19, 2017

Time: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Location:  5317 Trenholm Rd, Columbia, SC 29206

 

 

 

Boating Day!

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Plan Ahead for a Primo Day

By Deena C. Bouknight

With a 78-square-mile lake nearby and the coast within a few hours’ drive, there are thousands of boating enthusiasts within the Midlands. A day of boating is tons of fun! Simply allot some time for a little pre-planning.

Avoid throwing a bunch of stuff in bags and coolers the morning of. Make a list, depending on number of people, activities, length of time, etc. To make the boat trip even more enjoyable and memorable, pack some interesting items that are not typically used and consumed at home. Some suggestions are these:

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– GoPro! Film candid videos, as well as activities such as skiing, swimming, snorkeling, and fishing

– Bluetooth speakers and a festive summertime playlist for dancing or impromptu karaoke

– Several floaties… especially if boating on a lake. (There are easy-to-store items called Lazy Bunz, water mats that hold lots of people, and even an inflatable slide for the side of a boat)

– Bag of books

– Food that is easy to eat with fingers or minimal disposable utensils and packs easily in a cooler. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Individual layered salads (fruit or veggie) in plastic cups with lids
  2. A sealable snack tray of cheeses, deli meats, fruit, and cut veggies
  3. Chips and salsa; wrap sandwiches; barbecue on rolls
  4. Baked or fried chicken; and, a tub of cole slaw.

Plus, containers of pre-made salads, such as chicken, egg, tuna, or shrimp, are easy to keep in a cooler and can be eaten on bread, with lettuce, or with crackers. Many restaurants in town sell these salads in varying sized containers. For dessert, bring a range of cookies that will not easily melt or crumble, which will make it easier to keep your boat deck clean!

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Have plenty of individual water bottles, but also diverse and interesting drinks. Make easy to consume drinks that are disposable (pack a giant trash bag the night before). Cut up lemons, limes, and orange slices and store them in a sealable bag so that they can be added to any beverage for a refreshing twist.

A quality cooler, even though pricey, is worth its weight in gold on a boat. No one wants to drink warm beverages or eat food that is sopping from melted ice.

Don’t forget… sunscreen! Avoid frying on the boat all day by making sure a bag with plenty of sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses is on hand.

Boating is loads of fun, but can also be hazardous – especially during summer months when waterways are congested and temperatures soar.  Not to worry. The goal is fun! Just be prepared with a properly stocked ditch bag.

A ditch bag is a compact floating bag designed to hold critical items boaters may need in case of an emergency. Instead of just sticking items here, there, and everywhere on a boat, a ditch bag keeps necessities together to grab and go. Plus, a ditch bag is reassuring to boat owners and passengers alike; emergencies are prepared for, even if they never come.

There are several ditch bag do’s to consider:

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  • Start with a real ditch bag – not any ol’ freebee logo bag will suffice. It needs to float, and have plenty of pockets and storage compartment to keep items organized. It should also seal well. A fully-loaded bag should not sink or take on any water. It should also be a bright color and feature reflective tape. Reflective tape can be purchased separately and attached if necessary. Plus, an adequate ditch bag will have a tether and a clip so that it will not float away.
  • Invest in a quality radio beacon, which alerts the Coast Guard of the boat’s GPS position, especially if planning outings in the ocean.
  • Long-lasting lights, such as clip-on strobes and/or flashlights
  • Flares and/or chemical glow sticks
  • A hand-held GPS device
  • A whistle or other noise-making devices
  • Drinking water pouches that store flat
  • Emergency food rations, most important if boating in the ocean
  • Duck tape
  • Knife
  • First-aid kit.

Depending on the level of recreational boating and location, there are other items boating specialists recommend for a ditch bag. And, what is in the ditch bag does not discount what else should be on the boat for safety purposes, such as plenty of life jackets and a bucket or some sort of bailing device or pump. If a boating novice, it is a smart idea to consult with a local marina and other boating veterans to learn additional ditch-bag and general safety suggestions.

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It is better to be safe than sorry and invest in a well-planned ditch bag that will hopefully never be used.  A primo day of boating enjoyment awaits with just a little forethought and organization. Anchors aweigh!

 

 

Retreat … Without Going Far

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Three Local Inns Provide Unique Experiences 

By Deena C. Bouknight

We may think of staying at a bed and breakfast only when out of town – at some historic destination in another state or perhaps while in the Carolina mountains. Yet, some in Columbia are beginning to seek solace at nearby bed and breakfast inns for one-night or weekend retreats. Although there are several in and around the capitol city, three distinct inns are spotlighted here: Chesnut Cottage, Old McCaskill’s Farm, and Whispering Willows.

Pastoral Old McCaskill’s Farm

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Old McCaskill’s Farm is a farm-to-table bed and breakfast.

The farm-to-table philosophy is alive and well at this bed and breakfast just a few miles from the heart of Camden. Contractor for renovations and historical properties, Lee McCaskill and his farmer wife Kathy rebuilt their home in 2008 after a catastrophic fire. Yet, it was rebuilt to look like a four-over-four plantation style home that has existed on the property for 100-plus years. Various woods, architectural details, accessories, and functional items are actually old finds that have been refurbished. Few elements are shiny new and modern. A few years ago, the couple decided they wanted to share their home and opened the four rooms upstairs to the public.

School children were already taking regular tours of the farm, and their daughter, Ashley Robinson, has been serving a Friday farm-to-table, first-come-first-serve lunch with about 80 percent of selected menu items grown or raised directly on the farm.

Those who stay at Old McCaskill are assured an authentic working farm experience – but without actually getting hands dirty. Kathy will often pop up from picking vegetables in the wide garden, while Ashley is busy canning foods. Guests can rock on the second floor expansive covered porch and admire a pastoral scene dotted with sheep and sometimes lambs. There is a wine bar and mini fridge in the wide hall/sitting area that four spacious bedrooms upstairs share. Each area is a treasure trove of antiques and artifacts.

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The Old McCaskill’s Farm shop features tasty preserves.

Guests can also visit the animals, or shop in the on-site store, which includes blankets woven from a portion of the wool from the McCaskill’s sheep as well as farm and/or local meats, eggs, preserves, jellies, and cheeses. Hand-made soaps are also available for purchase.

Warming in the dutch oven for guests each morning are such specialties as homemade pecan and cinnamon French toast casserole and farm raised, brown-sugar sea-salt cured, nitrate-free bacon; or, another favorite is the special quiches made from the eggs collected on the farm.

Each room is $125 nightly. Rooms are named The Horse Paddock, The Honeymoon Suite, The Colonial, and The Swamp Fox, in honor of local Revolutionary War hero, Francis Marion.

Located just off Interstate 20, Old McCaskill’s Farm is only a few miles from historic a Camden, which boasts many unique shops, restaurants, antique/consignment stores, and a first-rate independent bookseller that attracts best-selling and local authors. Plus, Camden is equestrian country with a full calendar of equestrian events and activities open to the public. Driving in the opposite direction, yet still within a few minutes of the Farm, is the upscale Mill Pond Steakhouse dining experience.

                Location: 377 Cantey Lane in Rembert

                Phone Number: 803-432-9537

                Website: http://www.oldmccaskillsfarm.com.

Historic Chesnut Cottage Bed and Breakfast

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Chestnut Cottage is a historic Bed & Breakfast in the heart of downtown Columbia.

Despite its location on Hampton Street, just a few blocks from Main Street in downtown Columbia, Chesnut Cottage was not burned by General William Tecumsah Sherman’s men in February 1865. Mary Boykin Chesnut, who resided in the home at that time but “escaped” just prior to the Union army’s presence in the then-Confederate state, documented her eye-witness account of the Civil War years in her extensive and vividly descriptive diary. A Diary From Dixie was first published in 1905 and has since undergone several editions. The house, which was spared the burning that destroyed homes just one block away, is steeped in history. Mary’s husband was United States Senator James Chesnut Jr., while her father, Stephen Decatur Miller, was former governor of South Carolina. James became an aid to Confederate President Jefferson Davis, who gave his last speech to Columbia from the porch of their cottage in October 1864.

Screen Shot 2017-07-13 at 2.00.29 PMThe cottage was built in circa 1850 and was Mary’s home off and on just toward the end of the war. Even though much of the south struggled during Reconstruction, Mary’s home was a residence until the 1960s when it was converted into offices for a physician. Diane and Gale Garrett purchased the cottage and turned it into a bed and breakfast in 1991. Diane passed in 1996, but Gale still owns the property; he remarried and assists his wife, Sherwood, on a regular basis.

More than 150 years later, the Chesnut Cottage is on the National Registry of Historic Places and still welcomes politicians as well as everyday citizens and history buffs alike. In fact, Gale says guests expect antebellum and Civil War history as part of their experience. Century-plus-old bottles and jugs found in the dirt around the property are on display as is a 19th century drawing/map of downtown Columbia. About half the guests are staycation locals, but the cottage has also drawn some from as far away as Australia, China, Europe, and South America. Plus, there are plenty of local and out-of-town regulars. Spring and fall see the most activity.

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Guests enjoy a hearty breakfast in their rooms or in the home’s dining area.

As a bed and breakfast, the cottage provides five rooms decorated in antebellum period antiques. Three are named for the historic figures that once graced the cottage’s interiors: Mary Boykin Chesnut Room, General James Chesnut Room, and President Jefferson Davis Room. The other two rooms are named the Carriage House Bridal Suite and the Carriage House Suite. Even though the home is replete with Civil War artifacts and a library, there are plenty of modern amenities to enable guests to rest comfortably. Some include luxurious linens and robes, private baths with whirlpool tubs, and ample breakfasts either in the room or in the home’s dining room in the company of other guests. There is also high speed internet access and televisions in each room. Prices for rooms range from $159 to $179.

The Chesnuts did not have any children, but children and pets are allowed at the Chesnut Cottage Bed and Breakfast “if well behaved”.

Within walking distance of the cottage, guests have access to dozens of restaurants, cooking classes at Let’s Cook Culinary Studio, distinct shops such as The Mast Farm General Store and NEST, and even the Columbia Art Museum. Plus, on Saturday mornings from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. is the increasingly popular Soda City Market on Main Street.

Says Gale, “Very few people take time to be tourists in their own town … take time to see the Capitol and area plantations.” For exercise and weather permitting, there is the popular Riverwalk and the Riverbanks Zoo.

                Location: 1718 Hampton Street in Columbia

                Phone Number: 803-256-1718

               Website: http://www.chesnutcottage.com.

Serene Whispering Willows

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Whispering Willows Bed & Breakfast is a place of quiet and calm.

The peace that pervades this property, just two miles off Hwy 77 at the Ridgeway exit – 29 miles outside Columbia – is evident in the natural pastures and pine groves that line the half-mile driveway to the inn. Situated on a knoll overlooking a hardwood forest where there is a winding trail along a slow-moving stream, is a relatively new home planned specifically as a place of refuge. According to Grace Prichard, who is innkeeper with her husband Bob, the comment most often given about the home is that it is “castle-like”.

The Prichards have been contemplating a sort of respite center for the entirety of their 40-year marriage. Soon after marriage, although they were living on the cliché shoestring, they received a missionary couple whom they welcomed in and proceeded to serve a completely made-from-scratch peach pie. Grace says the experience of enjoying food and fellowship in their tight, but cozy home, instilled in them a desire for ministry through hospitality. In many ways, over the years of him working as a microbiologist and her as a teacher at a Ben Lippen School, as well as raising and parenting four children, Grace and Bob ran an unofficial bed and breakfast.

Then they stayed at a real bed and breakfast in 2003 in the mountains for an anniversary weekend. The ambiance and soothing music provided a serene respite for the couple. They knew they wanted to provide the same for guests in their own bed and breakfast one day. They found 23 acres of land in Fairfield County, just a few miles from Ridgeway’s idyllic and historic main street – with the “famous” Laura’s Tea Room and a hardware store that takes visitors back 100 years as they enter. They spent many months clearing land and building what would serve as home for them, gathering place for their children and families, and rejuvenating getaway for anyone in need of rest and solitude.

Called Whispering Willows – and it is, indeed, a place of quiet and calm – there are five rooms: The Remnant, The Blessing, The Sparrow, The Refuge, and The Radiant. Or, guests can rent the whole house. A substantial made-from-scratch breakfast is served at a guest-selected time in the room, or guests can sit in the sunlit dining room or on the wide decks, weather permitting.

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Guests eat a made-from-scratch breakfast in the sunlit dining room or the decks.

Grace explains why she chose Whispering Willows: “I had always loved weeping willow trees, as they seemed to be reaching out and down for all, carefully desiring to embrace those weary ones sitting under their branches. I was also mindful of the fact that God often uses a gentle whisper to touch hearts…Thus, the name Whispering Willows was born.”

For those truly desiring out-of-town serenity without having to travel far, Whispering Willows is a place of reflection and renewal, points out Grace. She explains that it is more ministry than business.  The couple has to charge to maintain the property, but prices are kept low, from $75-$120, to allow most anyone to enjoy and recharge. Plus, there are no distractions, such as Wi-Fi or televisions. There is also no smoking or alcohol permitted; however, guests talk, read, enjoy a cup of tea or coffee, sleep, write, and walk the trails that meander along a stream, through woods, and along pastures.

For dinner, there are a few local spots, including Old Town Hall Restaurant and Pub and Windmill. Shops attract customers from as far away as Charlotte due to the fact that downtown Ridgeway was the site of a historic depot and is on the route of the old Charlotte highway before Interstate 77 was constructed.

                Location: 2402 East Peach Road in Ridgeway

                Phone Number: 803-608-3280

                Website: http://www.whisperingwillowsbandb.com

SIDEBAR: Where Else?

To learn more about other bed and breakfast inns in the Columbia metropolitan and surrounding areas, visit www.tripadvisor.com as well as other hospitality sites. Each is distinct regarding number of rooms, pricing, services, and ambiance. Some also offer full-house and/or grounds’ rental for special events.

Lighten Up!

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Visit Spartanburg before next March for an interactive art experience

By Deena C. Bouknight

Since it is often difficult to attract non-artsy types inside museums, the Spartanburg Art Museum (SAM) came up with a unique way to bring art literally street level for anyone to enjoy. Lighten Up Spartanburg! involves 28 giant fiberglass light bulbs that were distributed to 36 artists as a blank canvas, so to speak, so they could spend three months transforming them into distinct works of art. Since the unveiling of the light bulb art in downtown Spartanburg, tens of thousands have had a chance to view the art – if not in person then on the museum’s free, easy-to-use tour app, which offers an interactive GPS location map as well as audio recording of each artists explaining the meaning and inspiration of each giant light bulb art.

Mat Duncan, curator of collections at SAM, explained why it was important to offer this art to the public: “We looked around Spartanburg and felt local artists, artists from the Southeast, were conspicuously absent from public spaces. There was plenty of public art, but it had all been done by people from New York, Europe, and so on. We conceived of Lighten Up Spartanburg! as a way for our local artists’ voices to be heard.  And now that they’re in the interactive tour app, that’s literal as well as figurative.”

The project is sponsored by local businesses, and Mat, as well as others, is hopeful that this project will help put the Southeast on the map regarding quality, creative art forms.

So far, more than 60 percent of users of the art app have been from South Carolina. The other significant interest has come from North Carolina and Georgia, yet there have been users in California, New York, and other states. Since Spartanburg is just off Interstate 26, stopping off to see the light bulbs is doable for many traveling up and down the highway.

The interactive tour app is available at artbulbs.oncell.com. On the app, glimpse everything from the light bulb that looks like a giant cactus, by artist Kathy Wofford, to one called “I Breathe” by artist Denise Torrance, who considers her light bulb art a colorful silk mosaic expression of womanhood. There is a light bulb made to resemble a hot air balloon, while another features a pastoral mountain scene within. Each is unique; on display is a myriad of different mediums.

carey_edited-18Lighten Up Spartanburg! ends March 1, 2018. Until then, take a phone or tablet to Spartanburg and find and learn about artistic expressions in outdoor light bulb art that span from the serious to whimsical. Plus, enjoy getting to know the city as there are installations in City Center, Downtown, and Greater Spartanburg.

For more information, visit spartanburgartmuseum.org/publicart.

 

 

From the Editor: July/August 2017

THE GREAT DEBATE

TO USE, OR NOT TO USE, THE OXFORD COMMA

This past March, a $10 million lawsuit hinged on the absence of the Oxford comma (the last comma in a series). The state of Maine requires that all employees who work more than 40 hours per week must be paid overtime, with a few exceptions. These exceptions were stated as workers involved in “the canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, storing, packing for shipment or distribution of perishable foods.” A Maine milkman named Chris O’Connor realized that it was ambiguous as to whether the overtime exclusion applied to workers who just packed perishable foods for shipment or distribution or whether it was intended also to be applied to those who just distributed perishable foods. The judge agreed that it was indeed ambiguous and therefore 75 milk distributors were awarded a total of $10 million in unpaid overtime.

As pedantic as it may seem, the use – or lack thereof – of the Oxford comma is a subject of fierce debate among self-proclaimed grammar nerds, writers, journalists, and publishers alike. I distinctly remember being taught about this grammatical controversy in eighth grade and immediately taking a side in favor of the contended comma. Perhaps in some instances it is, as critics argue, redundant, but in so many cases, it is needed. For example, without the comma, the sentence “I would like to invite my cousins, Katie and Sarah” becomes ambiguous as to whether I am inviting my cousins named Katie and Sarah, or whether I want to invite my cousins plus two other people named Katie and Sarah.

We at CMM primarily, though not fully, follow the Associated Press Stylebook, which is the usage guide created to standardize mass communications in the press. It would shock you to know how many tweaks and changes are made on a yearly basis. In an article title, for example, only prepositions longer than four letters are capitalized one year, while the next year four-letter prepositions, such as “with,” must also be capitalized. AP recently deemed the use of “their” as an acceptable singular gender-ambiguous possessive pronoun. While this has always been considered wrong in proper English, everyone uses it in “their” speech since the English language does not have a proper pronoun of this nature, and “his or her” is exceedingly awkward. So in the absence of creating a new word, I applaud the much needed acceptance of this usage of “their.”

In light of its necessity, thus proven by the Maine milkman’s lawsuit (as well as my eighth grade sworn allegiance), we at CMM are now diverging from AP on this particular point and will be henceforth in league with the controversial comma.

Sincerely,

Margaret Clay

 

Patriotic Parties: How to throw the perfect July 4th bash

By Deena C. Bouknight

Independence Day has a myriad of party planning opportunities.

By the time July 4th hits, summer is in full swing. School is out, graduates have walked, pools are crowded, and gardens grow. People are ready for a good bash. And Independence Day does not disappoint with its myriad of party planning opportunities: a red, white, and blue color scheme, a festive patriotic theme, plenty of fresh produce, and outdoor cooking options.

First think about the venue: backyard, lake, beach, mountains? Where the party takes place helps determine food planning. Many Columbia families congregate in a home or condos at the beach. Designating who will bring what enables members to make dishes ahead of time so the July 4th holiday can be enjoyed instead of spent wilting in a kitchen.

And those planning for a lake celebration might consider the logistics of food hauled into a boat. It is a good idea to cut, marinade, cook, prepare, portion out, etc. as much food as possible into zip-lock baggies or some sort of plastic containers. Keep raw foods separate – if possible in a different cooler – from other foods and drinks. Store food in an adequate cooler that will hold its temperature to ensure nothing spoils. Plus, fill a bag will all kinds of serving and cutting utensils that might be needed.

Bring together friends and family for a festive 4th of July bash!

For a no-fuss, wallet-happy party at home consider these really simple tips from Real Simple:

– Do an email invite (or download a free printable one from various sites) that alerts guests to what will be served by you – and then ask them to bring something specific: drinks, paper products, a side dish, their choice of meat for the grills. If you do not have enough chairs, state on the invitation BYOC – Bring Your Own Chair.

– For backyard party fun for kids, a sprinkler, slip and slide, beach balls, a squirt gun station, and some bubbles do the trick. (All can be purchased at a dollar store.)

– Since our city is “famously hot”, supply home-made accordion-style fans made with red, white, and blue construction paper. Plug in some oscillating fans on the patio or deck, and throw some inexpensive washcloths in a bucket of ice.

July 4th parties are when even the least likely cooks can pull together clever, creative edibles that convey a patriotic theme. Pinterest offers endless ideas. Here are some:

Pull together clever, creative edibles that convey a patriotic theme.

– skewers with strawberries, bananas (or marshmallows), and blueberries

– red, white, and blue frosting dipped pretzels

– thick slices of watermelon from which stars can be cut with a cookie cutter and arranged on a plate

– a flag decorated sheet cake

– a watermelon salad with feta and blueberries

Set up an ice cream bar with red, white, and blue sprinkles and candy stars for a colorful, festive treat that will delight young and older alike.

Light up the grill for tasty 4th of July meals.

Concerning grilling, it is a matter of preference whether a gas or a charcoal grill provides the best flavor. Clean before guests come, and soak a paper towel in vegetable oil and rub on the grill Pre-heat the grill up for about 15-20 minutes. The temperature of the grill depends on what is being cooked, but the goal is to sear meats and keep the inside moist and juicy. Invest in an instant-read fork thermometer to learn when meat is cooked. Grill baskets are great for vegetables, shrimp, fish, etc. Prevent flames by trimming fats on meats; keep a spray bottle handy if flare-ups occur.

When it comes to decorating for Independence Day, choices span from easy DIY to elaborate and novel. Specialty party retailers as well as discount stores have the party planning in the bag with banners, buntings, and even hats coordinating with tableware and party favors. Or, go all-out with red, white, and blue paper lanterns, candles, flower arrangements with mini flags, pillows, and/or decorative signware. For a bold statement, make a large stencil of a star out of poster board or a flattened box and spray paint red white and blue stars on a freshly mowed lawn.

Drinks are an easy way to present the day’s theme and can serve as decoration for the table. Simply fill a tub or large bowl with red, white, and blue sodas, juices, or sports drinks. Filling bowls with red, white, and blue fruit also decorates a table covered in a simple white table cloth.

For smaller get-togethers, consider offering baskets of party favors; inexpensive patriotic-themed t-shirts, beach towels, handkerchiefs, glow sticks, koozies, and water bottles can be purchased at discount stores.

End your 4th of July celebration with a fireworks finale!

Seriously Though…

No party is enjoyable if there are swarms of mosquitoes and pesky gnats or flies. Prior to an outdoor party at home, have the yard sprayed or make sure to empty any standing water and keep all areas dry for at least a week before the event. Have bug guard towelettes or bug spray available, or go the natural route and mix up some insect-repelling lavender and olive oil for guests to rub on. Rosemary on the barbie – in sprigs or on meat that has marinated in it – mixes with the smoke from the grill and is also considered offensive to mosquitoes.

Avoid glassware; it and parties do not mix well. Instead, use paper, plastic, and Styrofoam. Environmentally conscious-minded hosts can set up both a recyclable trash can and a regular trash can in a prominent area.

With more than 8,000 grill-associated fires annually, according to the National Fire Prevention Association, it is imperative that there be a fire extinguisher nearby while grill is in use. Double check gas grills to make sure gas is turned off when grilling ends. Keep little ones away. Ahead of time, make sure gas lines from tank to grill are secure and that there are no cracks or leaks. Do not spray non-stick spray onto a grill rack.

Finally, always have a first-aid kit handy. Learn prior to parties if any guests are allergic to peanuts, shell-fish, and bees, for examples. If so, make sure they have their EpiPen handy just in case. And, if sparklers are one of the scheduled activities, have a metal tray or bucket handy where extinguished ones can be placed so no bear feet are scorched.

July 4th is a true day of celebration in honor of tremendous fervor for this great country. Enjoy  – no matter where you find yourself this holiday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colla Voce to Perform “Homing” by Celebrated Composer J.A.C. Redford

By Delia Corrigan

“This is the house of your long-exiled soul.” – Homing by J.A.C. Redford   

J.A.C. Redford is a renowned composer, arranger, orchestrator, and conductor of music.

Later this summer Columbians will have a rare opportunity to hear Homing, J.A.C. Redford’s newest oratorio. This is largely due to the personal and professional friendship J.A.C. Redford has with Dr. Larry Wyatt, conductor of Colla Voce.

One may think one is not familiar with Redford’s work, but that is probably not the case. J.A.C. Redford is a composer, arranger, orchestrator, and conductor of music ranging from concert, chamber and orchestral, to film, television, and theatre. His music has been featured on programs at the Kennedy Center, the Lincoln Center, and around the world. Redford has written the scores for more than three dozen feature films, TV movies, and miniseries, and he has composed the music for nearly 500 episodes of series television, such as Coach and St. Elsewhere, for which he received two Emmy nominations. Collaborating with other artists, J.A.C. Redmond has been involved in widely popular projects such as The Little Mermaid, The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Perfect Storm, Avatar, The Help, Skyfall, and others.

J.A.C. Redford explores a theme in literature that he terms “crossing over” literature. He says, “By that I mean prose or poetry that imagines the experience of transition from this life to the next, or that renders more porous the borders between the material world and the world of spirit.” He considers the text of Homing to be responsive poetry to various literary passages that are meaningful to him. These passages may come from authors as varied as J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, George MacDonald, Charles Williams, Dante, George Herbert, and King David. The text and the score of Homing, both written by Redford, explore the human longing, sometimes subtle yet on other occasions sharp, for “home.”

Under the direction of Dr. Larry Wyatt, Colla Voce will perform Homing. Colla Voce is Columbia’s community chamber choir of professional musicians. Mark your calendars for a cool indoor afternoon activity that will stir your heart and mind.

Date: July 30, 2017

Time: 4 p.m.

Location: The Anglican Cathedral Church of the Epiphany. 2512 North Beltline Blvd.

Ticket Price: $10 – purchased in advance. $15 – purchased at the door.

Please call 803-777-5369 to purchase advance tickets.