The Best Places to Take a Stroll in Charleston

 Between the history, warm weather, and charming Southern-town feel, Charleston, South Carolina, is a wonderful place to visit. In fact, it’s been voted the #1 city to travel to in the United States by multiple travel and leisure publications.

If you’ve never been to Charleston or are planning a trip here in the next few weeks, you’re in luck! We’re just about to enter one of the best seasons in Charleston—springtime.

With warm temperatures, beautiful gardens in bloom, and increased amount of water activity on the coastline, the city of Charleston comes alive during the spring months.

There’s so much to do and so much to see that we thought we’d highlight a few of our favorite places to take a stroll in this beautiful city.

Be sure to put at least one of these places on your list during your trip…

Battery & White Point Gardens

Located in Charleston’s historic district, this landmark provides a spectacular view of Fort Sumter and the Charleston Harbor. It was first used as a public garden in 1837. With the outbreak of the Civil War, it became a fortification for the city.

If you’re a history buff, you’ll definitely enjoy checking out the old Civil War cannons located throughout the park along with a gazebo-style bandstand from 1907. Statues and memorials are also located throughout the park and give visitors a chance to learn a little about the history of the area.

Ocean views, large shady oak trees, and oyster shell pathways make this park a beautiful place your entire family can enjoy.

Find out more.

The Old City Market

The Old City Market is known as the cultural heart of the city of Charleston.

As one of the nation’s oldest public markets, this market plays a leading role in the preservation of American history. Bringing your family out to the market to shop for a day is almost like taking a step back into history.

At the market, you can shop, eat, or just enjoy the ambiance of the city as you stroll down the streets.

Find out more.

Folly Beach

Travel 15 miles from downtown Charleston and you’ll find beautiful Folly Beach.

Its large beaches—a hot spot for surfing–eclectic neighborhoods, and community of locally owned restaurants and shops make it the perfect place to explore, unwind, and rest with your family.

If you’re a wildlife enthusiast, we highly recommend you talk a walk on the beach.  There’s a good chance you’ll be able to spot loggerhead turtles, dolphins, bald eagles, and various types of sea birds.

Find out more.

Magnolia Plantation & Gardens

If you love strolling through gardens, smelling the roses, and identifying countless varieties of flowers, trees, and shrubs, Magnolia Plantation & Gardens is the place for you.

Founded in 1676 by the Drayton family, Magnolia Plantation has been around for centuries. This incredible estate has witnessed everything from the American Revolution through the Civil War and beyond.

It’s also the oldest public tourist site in the Lowcountry and the oldest public gardens in America, opening its doors to visitors in 1870. Every day hundreds of people visit to view the thousands of beautiful flowers and plants in its famous gardens.

Find out more.

Do you have a favorite place to stroll around in Charleston?

Share in the comments below!

Charleston’s Holiday Festival of Lights 2016

 

Every year Charleston lights up the town with millions of multicolored lights during the Holiday Festival of Lights.

This sparkling event is something we look forward to each and every year at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction, and we highly recommended adding it to your calendar this holiday season.

There are many ways you can enjoy this fun and festive event. If the weather is cold, or if you’re juggling small children, we suggest taking the driving tour. The tour is 3 miles long and takes you through over 700 light displays.

If you want to really get into the holiday spirit, we recommended parking your car and participating in the festival’s family-friendly activities, shopping, food, entertainment, and more!

Here’s a sneak peak of some of the things you can enjoy at the festival:

  • Magnificent sculpture made from over 50 tons of sand
  • An up-close look at the lights via the holiday train
  • Mouth-watering treats from Santa’s Sweet Shoppe
  • Giant greeting cards created by local students
  • Riding the beautiful Victorian carousel

The Holiday Festival of Lights takes place at James Island County Park, located at 871 Riverland Drive, Charleston, SC 29412. And no need to worry about the weather. It’s open from November 11 to January 1 rain or shine.

Ready to enjoy a trip through the lights? Here’s everything else you need to know to plan your trip!

Festival Hours

  • Sunday – Thursday: 5:30 – 10:00 p.m.
  • Friday and Saturday: 5:30 – 11:00 p.m.

 Admission

  • 1-15 guests: $20 per vehicle, $15 per vehicle Monday-Thursday with donation*
  • 16-30 guests: $40 Monday-Thursday, $50 Friday-Sunday
  • 31+ guests: $100 Monday-Thursday, $150 Friday-Sunday

 *Donations

Monday – Thursday, get into the festival for only $15 per vehicle (1-15 guests) with the donation of a canned food item or dog/cat food to benefit the Lowcountry Food Bank.

 What’s your favorite holiday activity in Charleston? Comment below!

Prevention-Palooza Charleston 2016

Prevention-Palooza is one of our favorite fall events here in Charleston.

This is the 3rd annual event hosted by the Dragon Boat Club, and it takes place on Saturday, November 12, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Arthur W. Christopher Center in downtown Charleston.

Prevention-Palooza is a FREE event held in partnership with Roper Hospital. Be sure to bring all of your friends and family to participate.

During this event, you will have access to health screenings, nutrition, and fitness vendors, and a fabulous keynote speaker.

You will also receive breakfast courtesy of the Dragon Boat Club. (Who can say no to a complimentary breakfast!?!)

The hope is that through education and access to medical screening, people can learn to take preventative health care measures to detect disease and illness, like breast cancer, fast.

We truly hope you’ll join us for a motivating and inspiring day of food and fitness!

Visit the Dragon Boat Charleston website or email melabriola@gmail.com to RSVP.

What’s your favorite part of Prevention-Palooza? Comment below.

Charleston MOJA Arts Festival 2016

 

 

2016 marks Charleston’s 33rd year of hosting the MOJA Arts Festival. This festival was created to celebrate African-American and Caribbean art.

And if you live in the area, or are visiting The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction, we highly suggest that you check it out.

The festival runs from Thursday, September 29, through Sunday, October 9.

If you’re wondering where the festival gets its name, it comes from the word “Moja,” a Swahili word meaning “One.”

And it’s a perfect choice as one of the purposes of the festival is to celebrate harmony in the community.

This festival has a little something for everyone, including:

  • Visual arts
  • Classical music
  • Dance
  • Gospel
  • Jazz
  • Poetry
  • R&B music
  • Storytelling
  • Theatre
  • Children’s activities
  • Traditional crafts
  • Ethnic food

On top of all the events that take place in this festival, MOJA also has an educational outreach component in Charleston that consists of workshops in public schools and senior outreach in senior citizen homes.

Each day of the festival holds new and exciting activities, so be sure to check out the website and event calendar so you can pick a day filled with activities you will love.

Enjoy!

Do you have a favorite yearly event in Charleston? Comment below!

The Best Charleston Parks

 

Nothing beats a nice long walk, picnic, or game of Frisbee in the park on a beautiful sunny day.

And, boy, are we at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction glad to be located in Charleston, a city full of beautiful parks.

Whether you already live here or are planning a visit sometime this year, we hope you’ll take some time to check out a few of our favorite parks in town.

Take a look at our favorites…

Angel Oak Park

 Angel Oak Park is home to one of the most stunning Angel Oak trees you’ll ever see.

This tree is believed to be hundreds of years old. In fact, it’s one of the oldest oaks known in existence.

Aside from its majestic oak tree, this park has plenty of space to go for a walk and has built-in picnic tables. Public restrooms are located on the property.

This park is open Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.

For more info, visit the park’s website here.

Washington Square Park

 Washington Square Park is one of Charleston’s more historic parks. Its historic location is also home to Charleston City Hall.

The park is filled with mature oak trees, which makes it a nice shady place to take a walk or enjoy a good book.

As you walk through the park, you’ll also notice elegant floral displays which are changed throughout the year.

This park is in a public location and is always open to visits. No admission is necessary to visit.

For more info, visit the park’s website here.

Waterfront Park

If you love the water, Waterfront Park is a stop you’ll want to put on your list.

It’s located directly on the harbor, so you can grab a seat on a bench and enjoy the sailboats coming and out of the marina.

On the park property is a beautiful fountain. On hot days, you’ll see children running through the water and having fun.

This 8-acre park is located near the market and other great shopping areas.

Whether you’re shopping, or just stopping by to view the beautiful flower gardens, this is a park you want to make sure you get to.

For more info, visit the park’s website here.

James Island County Park

 If you’re up for an adventure, James Island County Park is the place for you.

It spans over 600 acres and is open for fishing, crabbing, hiking, biking, paddle boarding, kayaking, and more.

This park is also awesome for dog lovers, as it contains a completely enclosed dog park.

It’s only a $2 fee per person to enter the park.

For additional fees you can access the park’s campground, climbing facility, water park, disc golf course, and paddle boats.

Make a full day of it or camp out for the weekend at this park.

For more info, visit the park’s website here.

Summer Surgery Tips and Suggestions from Nurse Chris

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Chris in Ireland

Our nurse, Chris Murakami, just returned from a wonderful vacation in Ireland and wanted to share some tips about sun and surgery with our readers!

Planning surgery during the summer months?

Here are some things to remember during vacations, trips to the beach, boating, or simply working in the yard.

It is very important to avoid becoming sunburned before surgery. It is quite possible you could be asked to postpone your surgery depending on the nature of the procedure and the degree of sunburn.  Many of our patients put a great deal of research and planning into scheduling surgery.  Making travel plans, arranging time off of work, and obtaining care givers is no easy task!  We’re here to help you keep your surgery plan on track.

Avoiding sun exposure immediately after surgery is equally important.  You are more likely to burn during that time period especially in areas that blood flow has been disrupted. Keep in mind your sensitivity to heat can be diminished so you might not realize that you are getting burned.

Submerging your body in standing water should not be done until all incisions are completely healed.  This typically takes as long as three to four weeks, but be sure that there is no open or draining area nor any remaining sutures before considering that summer swim.   There are micro-organisms out there that can cause infections and your intact skin normally provides a natural barrier.   You should always avoid the ocean, lakes, rivers, pools, hot tubs etc. whenever you have open wounds – surgical or traumatic.

As far as long term care, try to avoid sun exposure to both your incision lines and any bruised areas. The sun can turn your scars and skin dark if they are exposed before they completely heal or mature. This process typically takes about a year to happen for the surgical scar.  A good guideline is to wait until the scar is no longer pink before considering sun exposure.

Having surgery does not mean that you can’t enjoy the remainder of your summer!   Just be prepared. Stay in the shade as much as possible.  Hats, umbrellas, and sunblock are a must during pre and post-surgical weeks.  And remember, when you are out in the sun and heat, always stay well hydrated! – Have a great Summer! – Chris

Do you have a summer surgery tip to share with our readers?

Charleston Events July 2016

 

Summer in Charleston might be hot, but that doesn’t stop residents and tourists alike from venturing out and attending the many Lowcountry events.

Charleston is a city that thrives on arts, events, new culinary experiences, music, and festivals. With so many things to do and see this summer—it can be overwhelming.

Not to worry. We at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction have you covered. Check out some of our top events happening this July.

July 1, 2016

Sunset at Fort Sumter. Enjoy a sunset cruise to Charleston’s iconic harbor followed by a behind the scenes evening tour of Fort Sumter! Click here for more details.

July 3, 2016

The Class of ’83 has gone footloose in this totally tubular musical-comedy where the men are at work and the girls just wanna have fun! Get tickets to Addicted to Love. More show dates available. Click here for more details.

July 4, 2016

Celebrate the many men and women who have served our country by attending the 4th of July Blast at Patriots Point. The night will include a professional fireworks display and shoreside party with a beach music band.  Click here for more details.

July 7, 2016

Bring your furry friend and enjoy live music and drinks, while the pups get to mingle at Yappy Hour. Enjoy the band “Return of the Mac” while you enjoy a relaxing evening at James Island County Park. This is an ongoing event. Click here for more details.

July 10, 2016

Come on out and enjoy the Lowcountry Blues Brunch at the legendary Mills House Hotel. Blues singer/piano player “Shrimp City Slim” will be playing live. Click here for more details.

July 13, 2016

For baseball lovers and those who enjoy a game every once in a while, you won’t want to miss a Charleston River Dogs baseball game. Enjoy a night full of fun for the whole family. Additional game dates are available. Click here for more details.

July 17, 2016

Enjoy live jazz music while cruising around Charleston Harbor. The TenCap Jazz Combo will be playing on the Carolina Queen as you enjoy a gourmet buffet brunch. Click here for more details.

July 21, 2016

On this day, the South Carolina Aquarium has extended its hours. Enjoy exclusive hourly animal encounters and dive shows. Beer and wine will also be available for guests over 21. Click here for more details.

July 25, 2016

The best wines are the ones we drink with friends! Sign up for Mira Winery’s tastings and classes anytime through July 30. No appointment is necessary. Click here for more details.

July 26, 2016

Help the Dave Matthews Band celebrate their 25th Anniversary! Purchase tickets to the concert and enjoy an evening full of music and dancing. Click here for more details.

July 28, 2016

Get tickets to Inspector Nocule’s Murder Mystery Show. This show includes volunteer audience participation and a la carte appetizers, desserts, and drinks. Additional show dates available. Click here for more details.

What are your favorite Charleston Events? Comment Below!

Charleston Fishing: Our Favorite Charter Trips

At The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction, we’re always brainstorming where we can send our blog readers next. We thought, “hey, why not send people out to sea!”

Last week, we told you about the best harbor tours Charleston has to offer, so we’re continuing with our nautical theme.

Really, there’s no better way to spend the day than boating around Charleston’s many bodies of water.

While there are plenty of sea-worthy activities in the Lowcountry, this blog goes out to the fishing enthusiasts who read our blog (or to the ladies who send their hubbies to sea so they can get in a little lunch and shopping time with friends).

Charleston is one of the best places to spend a day in the sun and catch a few fish with friends.

Whether you’re looking for speckled sea trout or redfish, we’ve got a few fishing charter trips you’ll definitely want to try.

Even if you don’t know the first thing about fishing, most of the charters we list below have you covered.

You’ll have a tour guide who gives you advice on how to catch the fish you want.

Plus, fishing charter prices are generally all-inclusive—covering pole rentals, fishing licenses, and angling gear, as well as boat rentals.

Without further ado, take a look around and see which fishing charter is ideal for you.

The Charleston Angler

The Charleston Angler is the classic choice for your next Lowcountry fishing trip. You can make a whole day of it.

These guides provide you and your friends with inshore, fly, and near shore fishing charters. Enjoy your trip!

Go fish!

Redfin Charters

If you’re looking for redfish, flounder, speckled sea trout, ladyfish, or black drum, Redfin Charters will help you catch them. (Yes, they’re fun to catch, but fish are also yummy to eat).

You can acquire everything you need from these guys—including licenses, rods, bait, tackle, ice, and water. It’s all-inclusive.

Go fish!

Aqua Safaris Inshore and Offshore Fishing

With a wide array of action-packed offshore charters, pro anglers and first-time fisherman alike use Aqua Safaris to catch mahi-mahi, tuna, redfish, sea trout and sheepshead. Rates are all-inclusive, so you’ll have everything you need.

Go fish!

The Reel Deal Charters

The Reel Deal Charters boasts the best prices for year-round inshore, offshore, deep sea, and big game saltwater fishing. Licenses, bait, and tackle are included in the charter price. In addition, you’ll have your choice of boat for your trip.

Go fish!

Charleston Fish Finder

Charleston Fish Finder is ideal for anyone who wants to make a day of it—from beginners to pro anglers. Captain Ben Floyd will make absolutely sure that you and your friends have a great time on the Charleston waters!

Go fish!

Congratulations to the Class of 2016!!

Grad cap red

I’ve been in a bit of a stupor the past few weeks as my youngest is getting ready to graduate from high school and preparing to leave home for college in the fall.  It alternates between rambling on and on about scholarships, financial aid, school choices, to just standing, staring off into space not able to speak because it’s a bit surreal that my baby girl is ready to make her place in the world.  Not to mention, the constant feeling of being on the edge of a very long, very ugly cry.

Given that my current situation is what’s weighing on my mind right now it seemed natural to ask graduates what they want their parent to know and how that might differ from what the parents want their student to know.   I posed this question to a group of college bound seniors who will graduate June 1, 2016.  Some answers were funny, some sweet and reassuring but all in all do address some of our concerns as parents.

What is the one thing that you would like to tell your parent to help ease their mind and assure them that you are prepared and ready to go to college? 

– Parker also assures his parents that “I’m not going to spend all my study hours playing video games! I promise!  God!”

-Terry knows that “Uber saves lives.”  Smart boy!

-J.J. says beer tastes gross and Parker adds that it goes through your system too quickly.

-Alexandria appreciates learning some basic life skills!  “Thanks for teaching me how to do laundry!”

-Zachary tells us that his parent already knows his future college roommate.  We’re assuming that is a positive statement.  

-Simply stated Eli says “I got this!”

-Anizia thanks her parent for helping her become a mature, independent adult capable of taking care of herself.

-Ashton acknowledges the hard work it takes to be a parent. “I appreciate all the hard work and endless nights towards making me become the successful young lady I am today and I will not underestimate my gift and knowledge to surpass all obstacles.

-Bailey affirms that her parents have taught her well and helped her make good decisions and now she knows how to make good decisions on her own.

-Jonathan shares this “It’s time to for me to grow up in a new and unknown world. You have prepared me for this since I was being held in your arms. But it’s now time to find who I truly am. I will make mistakes, I guarantee it. But it’s you who has taught me to learn from every experience. So thank you.”

-Maddie adds with a smile emoticon that she is ready for this time in her life and reminds her parents that she will always be their little girl.

There are conversations that we parents all want to have with our graduates but somehow don’t seem to be able to do so without coming off as overbearing, nagging, or simply more involved than we are desired to be at this point in our students lives.  So, graduating seniors, bear with your parents as we try to make sure we have taught you and told you everything that we feel like you need to know in the next few months before you leave home.

Your well-being and success in college is our only concern.  We just need to know that you are going to be okay.   We need to know that we did a good job raising you and that you are able to make good, intelligent, and safe choices.   We need to know that you understand that you are going to college for a purpose, not just a party.  Have fun but be smart and keep your studies your number one priority.  We need to know that you feel equipped to handle most of the things we have always done for you – kept your schedule posted on the fridge, given reminders of your commitments, emphasized the importance of your schoolwork, handled your finances, filled out your forms, washed your laundry.    We don’t want you to be scared of new experiences.  We want you to make lifelong friends and we want to be confident in your ability to do so.

Ultimately, we hope you come out of your college experience a happy, productive adult ready to embark on a career that is meaningful to you and allows you to support yourself in the manner that you desire.   That is all. – Gail

 

Spoleto Festival USA 2016

Once a year, gifted artists from around the world gather in Charleston, SC, for the Spoleto Festival USA. This year the festival takes place May 27 – June 12, 2016.

This is a festival our team looks forward to every year. If you’re in the area, or are visiting, we strongly recommend you check it out.

We love this event because it beautifully blends renowned artists with emerging performers and provides us with 17 wonderful days packed full of entertainment.

Over the 17 days, you’ll have opportunities to immerse yourself in theater, opera, concerts, and much more!

A few highlights of this year’s festival include…

  • A performance of The Importance of Being Earnest by the Dublin’s Gate Theatre.
  • Porgy and Bess, an opera conceived right here in our hometown of Charleston.
  • A vocal performance by the talented Westminster Choir.

For 17 days and nights each spring, Spoleto Festival USA fills Charleston, South Carolina’s historic theaters, churches and outdoor spaces with stunning performances. We hope to see you there!

Learn more about the Spoleto Festival USA.