Thursday, July 21, 2016

Edisto Billfish Invitational Tournament - Event Schedule

2016 Edisto Invitational Logo by Steve Goione
Four days of fishing competition will take place at the Marina at Edisto Beach this week, to pay out big money, but also to entertain all the folks visiting Edisto Beach for their summer vacation. The 2016 Edisto Invitational Billfish Tournament begins on Wednesday evening with a Captain’s Meeting and after three days of fishing, finishes up on Saturday night in Bay Creek Park with an awards supper. Marine Artist Steve Goione was asked to create a unique design for the Edisto tourney t-shirts this year, and he will also be present all weekend to meet everyone.

Great Local Event for Edisto Beach
Badly damaged event tent at Bay Creek Park on July 20
Daily weigh-ins at the marina are fan favorites at Edisto, with large crowds gathering to see what these bluewater anglers might bring back to the docks. On Thursday and Friday the weigh-in is scheduled from 5 to 8 p.m. and Saturday the scales are open from 5 to 7. Providing live music on Thursday is Ashby Stokes from 7 – 11, then on Friday its Pat Patterson from 5 – 8, and Moon Dogs from the 8 – 11. Saturday will see children’s activities in the park from 1 – 4 like the SCDNR fishing simulator, and then after the weigh-in it’s live music from Pat Patterson from 5 to 7, followed by the Shag Doctorz playing from 7 – 11.

The Marina at Edisto Beach experienced a severe thunderstorm at 3 p.m. on Wednesday July 20, and a large tent set up in Bay Creek Park was damaged and had to be removed. Despite that minor setback, the Captain's meeting took place right on schedule at 7, with a catered supper served up by Presley's Restaurant in clear but humid weather conditions. Offshore weather conditions look favorable for all three days of tournament fishing. See you there!

To view the entire feature article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

To view past blog entries from Edisto Island click Afternoon ActivitiesJim Bost Memorial - Dolphin Slam - Cobia Tourney - Spring Shorebird Synergy - Bovine Bones on Beach - Edisto River book 
New Tent set up on Thursday July 21

Friday, July 15, 2016

Afternoon Beach Activities Provide Relief From Heat

A family that fishes together, stays together!
The reality of July is here, and the dog days of summer translates into another week with forecast temperatures into the upper 90’s. A trip to the mountains for heat relief requires hours of travel and reservations for a place to stay. The good news for Lowcountry residents is that they are only a short drive to the coastline for a range of afternoon activities that can provide relief from the heat.

Another good option to beat the heat.
The Edisto Beach Lions Clubs offers family fun in the form of BINGO games each Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. This afternoon plan begins with an arrival at 2907 Myrtle Street by 5:30 in order to get in line for when the doors open, and the games begin at 6. This summertime tradition runs from June 7 through August 2, so there is still lots of time to pick a date, head to Edisto Beach, and try your luck to win some fun prizes.

Saltwater anglers can bring their family to the water’s edge on Edisto Beach in order to try their luck and enjoy the sunset too. During hot weather the fish tend to bite early in the day and late in the day, when the hot sun is not directly overhead. This makes the chance of getting a bite in the late afternoon very enticing, and it provides plenty of motivation to gather the fishing rods, some bait and a beach chair. Passing time on the beach with a fishing line in the surf can be a very pleasant way to pass the time.

To view this feature story in the newspaper click on Colletonian

To view past blog entries from 2016 at Edisto click on Jim Bost Memorial - Dolphin Slam - Cobia Tourney - Spring Shorebird Synergy - Bovine Bones on Beach - Edisto River book 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

2016 Saluda Tailgate Market

A larger, tastier variety of Okra
Wild and cultivated mushrooms
Friday afternoons from May through October
If it's summertime in Saluda, then its time for the weekly Tailgate Market that takes place on Friday's from 4:30 to 6:30 in the afternoon. Located in a gravel parking lot on the side of a hill, some of the individual booths will get full shade, but others choose to set up in the sun in order to sell things like cool and refreshing lemonade.

We saw some large, beautiful broccoli
Shopping at any farmer's market always involves simply looking around to see what is being offered, and by mid-summer the Saluda market is over-flowing with fresh vegetables and other offerings. Mushrooms like Shitake and Chicken of the Woods are available, while another vendor was selling stromboli with local meat ingredients, we found farm-pond raised rainbow trout too, and there is even a cake lady.

To read past blog entries about Coon Dog Day click on 20162013 - 2012

To view past blog entries from Saluda click on Arts Festival -  Nature Notes - Green River GamesGreen River barbecue 
Eat More Appalachian!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Orchard Inn - 2016 Green and Culinary Initiatives

Puppy Clayton and old guard Murray
There are lots of new wrinkles at The Orchard Inn in 2016, including a new boxer puppy named Clayton! Their green initiative brought a Tesla and electric car-charging station to the Inn, and the windows in the upstairs rooms have been replaced with modern more efficient frames. From the kitchen, Newman's restaurant now enjoys Chef Stuart Partin in the evenings, while Marianne still enjoys preparing breakfast and she can conjure up gluten-free creations upon request for guests with dietary needs.

Mountain vistas await guests at The Orchard Inn
More news includes the hotel now listing online reservations with Bookings and Expedia, and when this new reach coincided with Coon Dog Day, the Inn was fully booked. Checking-in for the weekend was a snap, and a cocktail party in Saluda was first on the agenda. Saturday morning's parade required an early start and the Inn serves breakfast from 8:30 to 9:30, but our request for an 8 a.m. meal was granted so that we could pull the float around and get in line for the parade by 9.

Newman's downstairs and rooms upstairs
Chef Stuart is in the garden daily!
It wasn't until after the parade that I was able to meet the new chef at Newman's restaurant when Stuart Partin was out working in the garden on the hill behind the Inn. He told me that he is harvesting fresh ingredients daily now, and still planting some offerings such as cucumbers.

Heading back inside, I finally met new pup Clayton, who was happy to pose with old guard Murray for a photo. In the rush up toward Coon Dog Day, I forgot my shaving razor, but was relieved when I asked the front desk if they had an extra, and I was presented with an overnight kit with razor and cream. That saved me a trip to the convenience store, and I was clean shaven for Sunday breakfast.

Gluten-free muffins upon request
To view past blog entries about The Orchard Inn click on 20152014 - 2013

To view a video about the Tesla charging station click YouTube.

To view past blog entries from Saluda click on Arts Festival -  Nature Notes - Saluda Tailgate Market -Green River barbecue - Green River Games 

Sometimes its the little things....

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

2016 Saluda Coon Dog Day

The enthusiastic crowd in downtown Saluda on July 9
AKC sanctioned awards
If its early July, then it's time for the Coon Dog Day parade and festival in Saluda, North Carolina. In 2016, the emphasis on coon hounds was diminished and new focus went to entertainment. The day still begins with a 5K race at 8 a.m. on Saturday morning, followed by a parade at 11 a.m. but several other changes seemed to alter the longtime formula for Coon Dog Day success. Light rain on Friday evening and heavy cloud cover on Saturday morning provided some heat relief, before full sun on Saturday afternoon allowed fishing time for mountain trout.

Representing .... a Good Time!
In contrast to the changes in 2016, was the Saluda Sittin' and Sippin' Society celebrating 120 years of heritage. Their familiar slogan God Bless The Summer People refers to the family and friends from Charleston that spend time in Polk County and Western N.C. each summer. This group actually constructs a float for the parade each year, but other entrants often just drive an old car or tractor, or perhaps simply decorate a golf cart - all of which adds up to one heck of a show. Lots of people turn up each year for this fun small town parade, and perhaps 10,000 were present in 2016.

The Coon Dogs were penned up in 2016
The influx of vehicles on Coon Dog Day is part of the reason that some changes were made, including moving the traditional coon dog aggregation point from a nice greenspace, in order to now park cars there. The coon dogs were moved to a more central location, but the size of the area they occupied was a hindrance, as it served to keep the dogs hot and not in good shape for the 3 p.m. treeing contest. Furthermore, the addition of carnival rides for kids nearby, meant that exhaust fumes were wafting uphill and into the coon dog area. Their was an AKC bench show for coon dogs in this area that worked out well, but overall I'm not sure if visitors like the location change.

In other changes, Miss United States from S.C. was on hand to lead the parade and then to meet with folks during the day, before then announcing the live band at 7 p.m. Saturday night. This night always featured a square dance in the past, which was warmly received by those seeking a taste of mountain life. I know for a fact that many were discouraged about the cancellation of the square dance, but this change may be a better fit for young people, which was the main demographic to enjoy the concert. During the day, a bagpiping corps from Pensacola, Florida entertained the parade route crown. 

Bagpipers from Pensacola in Saluda!
I drove this jalopy in the parade
The word is getting out about Coon Dog Day since folks from Florida, the Carolinas, Virginia, Michigan, Arkansas and Texas were in the crowd. In past years the banners read Welcome Hunters and Families - but now they read Welcome to Saluda! Seems the old traditions may fade away over time during Coon Dog Day, but any other visit to Saluda will reinforce that this is still a quaint community with deep roots. The local preservation committee will be holding a fundraiser on July 24th at The Orchard Inn to fund the restoration of the Saluda Historic Depot in town, and cheers to their success!

To read past blog entries about Coon Dog Day click on 2013 - 2012

To view past blog entries from Saluda click on Arts Festival Nature Notes - Green River barbecue - Green River Games - Saluda Tailgate Market

To view past entries from the Grand American and Coon Fest click 2016 - 2015- 2014 2013 - 2012 - 2011 - 2010

Friday, July 8, 2016

Stalking Trout in Coldwater Streams near Saluda Grade

Goin' Fishin' for Trout in the Mountains !!
When the water on the coastline begins to burn, and the pavement retains a steady heat that would make a pitmaster proud, it’s time to consider a trip to the mountains. Recent reports of warm weather at the top of the Saluda Grade in Polk County does little to discourage Lowcountry folk from heading for the hills. The middle of summer sends many to celebrate Independence Day at a higher elevation, and then stay for Coon Dog Day and other outdoor options involving cold waters.
Just three hours from Charleston, and only three exits into North Carolina, one can turn off the Interstate and seek solace in the small town of Saluda. Taking a boat ride on Lake Summit over the 4th of July is a popular practice for some, while many will wait to celebrate the annual Coon Dog Day on July 9. Then on July 24th the preservation community will unite at the Orchard Inn for a fundraiser to preserve the Saluda Historic Depot in town.
What’s nifty about all of these endeavors is that an escape to a shaded mountain stream is always an option, for the purpose of chasing some trout, or just to slow down and cool down. The Saluda Grade references the railroad track that came to town in 1878, cresting at an elevation of 2,097-feet, making it the steepest mainline standard gauge railroad. Therefore the streams that coarse through the upper reaches of Polk County maintain a temperature range suitable for mountain trout.

Once in possession of a North Carolina fishing license, I typically head just South of town and into the waters of the Pacolet River. Varying rainfall amounts determine the water clarity in the stream, and it usually pays to drive by several locations to visually verify the water’s height, and strength of flow. Afternoon thunderstorms are quite possible, and these streams can recover quickly from any splash and dash type of rain showers.

When I return to Saluda for Coon Dog Day in 2016, the focus will be on celebrating 120 years of history with the Saluda Sittin’ and Sippin’ Society. Building a float for the parade and participating in the annual square dance are also required activities, so time for prowling in the Pacolet will be diminished. But I still can’t wait to try and catch some stocked trout while enjoying the sights and sounds of the stream. And I can harken back to when trout fishing was my FIRST order of business, and to always recall how the big one did not get away.

To read this feature article in the newspaper click on Charleston Mercury.