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Men’s College Soccer: College of Charleston vs University of South Carolina

A record crowd of 2,931 fans witnessed the College of Charleston Cougars defeat the USC Gamecocks 3-2 in the season opener soccer match held at Patriots Point Sunday evening. I was able to concentrate on getting some shots in the first half while at the same time dodging both fans and security for being where I wasn’t supposed to be with my camera. I love a good challenge. By the way…is everyone aware there are two, yes TWO, Dutchies on the College of Charleston team this year? Sophomore goalie (#1) Kees Heemskerk and freshman defenseman (#6) Daan Brinkman both come to Charleston by way of the Ajax Youth Academy (and yes, I DO happen to be an Ajax fan, sorry all you Feyenoord people!) Hup Holland Hup! My Opa (grandfather) Wim Roetert was a striker for the Dutch National team in the 1920s. Anyway, here are some faves of the evening:

Governor’s Cup Surfing Contest on Folly Beach, SC

We went out on Saturday to check out a few hours of the Governor’s Cup Surfing contest on Folly Beach. The sun finally came out just around the time we were ready to go find some lunch, and we missed all but two of the “open rounds” in which the best surfers take part. There were some good waves to be had, and both contest surfers and “soul surfers” were having a great time catching the waves.

In another life, I spent quite a few hours in the water on my body board. I’ve done a previous blog post about it and you can check that out here. Enjoy!

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The Marsh by Season

Last February I took a drive around Sullivans Island and Isle of Palms with my camera and I came up with the following image of the marsh as seen from the Isle of Palms Connector. I love the warm orange tones of the marsh in the wintertime.

Toward the end of July I set out to capture the marsh as it looks in the summer. This image is taken about 1/2 mile east of the image taken in February, both of them toward the north:

Quite a difference, right?

Firefly Distillery on Wadmalaw Island, SC

A few weeks ago we went for our second visit (the first time they were closed) to Firefly Distillery on Wadmalaw Island, SC, this time with a sweet Groupon in hand for a discounted tour and tasting at the distillery. Though initially we were most excited about finally getting to sample a few tastes of South Carolina’s own Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka, it wasn’t until we walked around the grounds and through the Muscadine grape vineyards that we discovered there was much more to see than just the bottoms of our empty Firefly shotglasses. Of course, it helps that I’m a bit of a nature girl who can get lost for hours walking through vineyards and vegetable gardens while making new friends with the many goats, chickens, hogs and bull that were on display, but, I’d venture to say anyone with a thirst for sweet tea vodka or wine, and an appreciation of nature, can while away a few happy hours wandering the grounds of the distillery on a lazy afternoon.

The Firefly Distillery actually shares its grounds with Irvin House Vineyards, growers of about 4 (of 140 known) varieties of domesticated Muscadine grapes. Though the grapes taste great as a snack straight off the vine, Irvin House uses them to create some great tasting wines which are available for tasting right across the courtyard from the Firefly tasting room. On approach to the grounds, visitors are greeted with a view of this (watch out for gators!) lovely pond, with the vineyards in the background:

Having lived in California for 22 years and visiting Charleston nearly every summer, the scenic drive out to the winery was a nostalgic reminder of all those vacation days spent driving around the lowcountry with the windows down and the music turned up; in this case we drove up with the perfect musical backdrop of Darius Rucker’s “Charleston 1966” and were ready to whet our whistles with some downhome South Carolina moonshin…errr…legally distilled vodka after the drive from Mount Pleasant. I love the style of the barn that houses the distillery’s tasting room, not to mention it being surrounded by oak trees draped with Spanish moss. And, that little outhouse to the right just makes the whole scene perfect.

Inside the tasting room you’ll find a few relics of time past, as well as an assortment of Firefly beverages and products. Behind the bar you’ll find friendly Firefly tenders who take time to pour and explain the nuances of each Firefly beverage.

The Muscadine grape vineyards make for a great little walk to regain your sea legs after the tasting:

The other side of the property houses the vegetable gardens and petting zoo. Our hands sure were itching after walking through the gardens…our backyard is just screaming to get this kind of makeover (on a much smaller scale, of course):

We happened upon this goat standing atop the spiral staircase leading to nowhere…or was it?

Upon closer inspection we clued into what was going on, with the goat looking on to make sure we were doing things right:

Success!!!

The other goat on the ground got some loving (and kibble) from us too. Though their coats look kind of wiry, they are actually pretty soft, and their nuzzles are too!

“Hey! What are you doing taking a bath in my water bowl?!?!?”

We can’t wait to go back later this summer to taste some of the Irving House wines and check out the ripe Muscadine grapes and take another walk through the vineyards and gardens. Last year Firefly also held a large gathering with live music, so I sure hope they repeat that this summer…we’ll be there for sure!

You can check out more information about Firefly vodka, and get directions to the distillery at their website, http://www.fireflyvodka.com/

Cheers!