Archive for July, 2011

Visit Charleston

Summer vacations rule this time of year.  As you make your travel plans consider heading to my one-time home, Charleston, SC.  It’s a great place for vacation and I enjoy sharing my favorite places to go and things to do while there.

Below is an excerpt from an e-mail I sent to a friend headed to the Port City in a few weeks.

Dear Friend of Femeia,

If you’re interested in a tour I would recommend the Gullah Tour that Alphonso Brown leads from the Visitor’s Center.  It gives a different look at the city and talks about the contributions of Africans to Charleston as slaves and freedmen.   I also like the tour of Fort Sumter that leaves from the port downtown. It’s a short cruise with a stop to tour the rebuilt fort.

My favorite restaurant in Charleston is Fleet Landing – it’s downtown and overlooks the Charleston Harbor.    A great place to have fried oysters and pimento cheese spread.  You can also try Cru Cafe.  It’s near some horse stables, but don’t let that put you off – great food and service.  Their macaroni and cheese is worth the trip alone.  Make a reservation though because it’s small – in a house.  Another good spot is Hominy.  I really enjoy their brunch and simple take on shrimp and grits.

A great place for drinks is the Vendue Inn – it has a rooftop overlooking the city.   If you’re feeling fancy and want to do some people watching, the Market Pavilion Hotel Bar has a great rooftop bar with a pool and a view of the Ravenel bridge.

If you want something on the higher-end for lunch or dinner try SNOB – Slightly North of Broad or Oak.  Delicious food, but not the most economical.

These are all downtown, but you should also head out to see the islands – Folly Beach, Sullivan’s Island, Kiawah and Isle of Palms are all short drives and have nice beaches.  Toni Morrison’s ‘Bench by the Road Project’ dedicated a bench to the memory of the Africans sold into slavery and brought into this country through Charleston.

Over in Mt. Pleasant there is a delicious restaurant called Gullah Cuisine.  Lowcountry food and family-owned.  Pretty sure someone’s grandma is back in the kitchen.    Don’t see their website, but this is a link to some Yelp reviews.

There’s also a cool restaurant group –Dine with Sal – that I’ve had some great dining experiences.   I’ve eaten at most of them and particularly love Long Point Grill.  They have creative, delicious dishes, top-notch service and a distinctive setting.  The desserts are worth every calorie – especially the red velvet and hummingbird cakes.

Have fun,

Black River Girl

Categories: Uncategorized

Raven-Symone’s New Show

Last night I watched “State of Georgia” on ABC Family.  Raven-Symone’ as Georgia, Loretta Devine as her Aunt Honey and Majandra Delfino as her best friend.  Our little Olivia from the Cosby Show is all grown up.  Georgia and Jo move to New York from the South to make it big.  I’m not the show’s target demographic, but it was fun to see some fresh, new content.  I had no idea Ms. Devine could do comedy.  That woman has range.  She glams it up as a wealthy, mature lady with a healthy sexual appetite.  In one scene she peruses the obituaries noting that those men “are single now…(because) flu season was very good to her.”  I liked the best friend – Jo particularly because she’s an aspiring scientist.  It’s great that the story line contrasts Georgia’s acting pursuits with Jo’s desire to explore physics.  Very pro-girl, gender-balanced message there.  It did get silly at points, but overall a great opener.  This is a show that you can watch with your nieces and nephews and actually enjoy.  No offense Dora, Blue and iCarly.  With the recent success of “Bridesmaids” and the type of physical, over-the-top comedy in “Georgia” there is an opportunity for women to rethink how we laugh.  It’s inspiring to see us taking the lead in creative ways and doing the writing, production and acting.   Refreshing to see women cast in a way that expresses femininity, but doesn’t take away our brains in the process.

Check it out next week.  Wednesdays, 8:30 pm, ABC Family.

Raven on Wendy Williams

You Tube Promo Video














Becoming BRG

People have asked how I came up with the name of my blog.  So here is some background for those who didn’t attend Anderson Primary.  The Black River runs through Kingstree, the town I lived in until the summer before my junior year of high school.  Kingstree is the county seat of Williamsburg County.  According to Wikipedia, the population was 3,496  as of the last Census.  It’s home of Nobel Prize winner Dr. Joseph Goldstein and one town over from Lake City – home of the late astronaut Ronald McNair. Kingstree doesn’t have a movie theater or a Wal-Mart.  It’s a rural area– a big town in a small county.  My family has a farm that we’ve owned for three generations.  The main staple was tobacco for many years.  We also grow corn and soybeans.  Each year my late grandparents made a garden with butterbeans, okra, yellow squash and watermelons.  The garden rotated and one year my enterprising grandfather even grew broccoli.  I remember getting out there and helping many days after school, on weekends and particularly during summer vacation.  My grandmother and I would sit outside shelling beans and keeping each other company.  I have great memories of growing up in Kingstree.  Spending plenty of quality time with my late grandparents, great-aunts and great-uncles, cousins and family friends.   This is my father’s hometown so many in the community know my family from way back.  My mother and her twin sister taught elementary school and also became part of the fabric of this small town.  It’s where I became comfortable with public speaking– through church programs and local pageants.  Where I was pushed to excellence and truly raised by the village.  This might be confusing for some of you who often hear me say Conway when asked where is home.  I graduated from high school in Conway, so I’m one of those people with two hometowns – both in South Carolina.  I’ve lived in Washington, DC – my mother’s hometown for most of my adult life, but still feel connected to my roots and to the Black River.  It’s been years since I’ve fished on that river, but don’t let my metropolitan ways fool you.  I’m a proud Southerner and glad to share so you know a little more about your Black River Girl.