Things to Know About Homeowners Insurance

Things to Know About Homeowners InsuranceAll of us agree at Drew Sineath and Associates that living in the greater Goose Creek and Charleston area is a blast and a blessing!  Warm, wonderful winters and steamy, sultry summers are the very embodiment of our area’s climate.  Because of our proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and our low-lying elevation, there are countless rivers, creeks, jetties, and ponds.  While this provides us with spectacular flora and fauna, and scenery and sport, it also puts many of our homes in flood zones.  In other parts of the country, this may not be so concerning, but because we are in a hurricane zone, this is something that all residents must keep in mind when it comes to insurance.

Everyone who owns a home needs homeowner’s insurance.  “Homeowners need to purchase home insurance to protect their homes and personal property. Those who rent need insurance to protect their furniture and other personal property. Everyone needs protection against liability for accidents that injure other people or damage their property,” according to insureuonline.org.  If you are a homeowner, you can roll your homeowner’s insurance and your property taxes into your monthly mortgage payment through and escrow account.  For many people, this is a helpful tool in managing money and budgeting for these necessary expenses.

A regular homeowner’s insurance policy covers sudden common types of water catastrophes such as faulty plumbing, a roof that leaks, or even an appliance such as a dishwasher or freezer that malfunctions.  What a typical policy does NOT cover is flood damage.  This is of upmost importance and must be considered when purchasing a home in South Carolina.  Many of the homes in the Lowcountry are in a flood zone and all coastal areas are at high risk for wave damage during hurricanes.  While water damage alone is enough to persuade people to purchase a flood insurance policy, remember our climate and how much mold and mildew love our heat and humidity.  Oftentimes, water damage goes deeper than warped baseboards and soggy carpets.  Mold and mildew can get inside the walls and be detrimental and hazardous to peoples’ health.   This is why it is SO important to have flood insurance in South Carolina, especially if you are in a flood zone.

The cost of flood insurance needs to be taken into consideration when purchasing a home in the greater Charleston area.  According to an article from the Post and Courier entitled “New flood insurance rates start to rise on Tuesday” dated Saturday, September 28, 2013 by David Slade and Tyrone Richardson, flood insurance rates are going up due to a 20 billion dollar deficit caused by Hurricane Katrina and Super Storm Sandy.  What does this mean for all homeowner and potential homebuyers?  Be sure you know what your insurance rates are going to be before you purchase.  You don’t want to find yourself in a home that you initially thought you could afford, only to quickly find that the insurance rates price you out of your home.

While this information may sound discouraging, it’s really not.  Living in the greater Goose Creek and Charleston area is wonderful and coastal living is lovely and lively.  A person just needs to be fully aware of what is affordable and then choose the house that fits his or her needs the best.  At Drew Sineath and Associates, we look forward to helping all of our clients find the perfect Lowcountry home.

10 Home Maintenance Tips

10 Home Maintenance TipsWinter is just a few days away and at Drew Sineath and Associates, we want all of your homes to be ready for the cold weather.  Even though we rarely see snow, our temperatures do tend to dip below freezing and our South Carolinian warm-weather loving blood truly feels the cold. Unless you’re a glutton for punishment or completely stoic when it comes to comfort, your furnaces and fireplaces receive a fair amount of use during the winter months.  In order to help you stay safe and happy this winter season, here are ten helpful home maintenance tips.

1.)    Have your fireplace and chimney checked every year.  Regardless of whether your fireplace is gas or wood burning, you must have the chimney and all vents checked and cleaned annually.  Cold, crisp winter nights in front of a warm and inviting fire are only fun if they’re safe.

2.)    Hire a professional to inspect your furnace.  This ensures safety and peak performance throughout the cold months.

3.)    Be sure all air ducts are clean and in excellent working condition.  This will enable your heat to safely and freely warm your home.

4.)    Make sure your gutters are free of debris so that water can easily flow away from your home.  This is especially important if there are any freeze warnings as frozen water expands and leaks tend to occur when water is trapped and then freezes.

5.)    Unless you plan on watering your yard intermittently throughout the winter, have your sprinkler system drained by a professional.  The water that remains in a system will freeze and thaw and could cause damage to your underground water lines.

6.)    Clean off all outdoor furniture that you plan on putting away and storing over the winter.  Spiders love to make their homes in lawn furniture and you don’t want to unwittingly let some unwelcomed guests into your garage or storage shed.

7.)    Check the seals on all doors and windows.  Make sure that all windows are sealed and that there aren’t any large gaps around your doors.  These are prime places for heat to escape and that is money literally blown right out the door!  Cut your power costs by making sure your windows and doors are sealed.

8.)    Make sure your generator is ready to use.  In the Lowcountry, having a generator is beneficial year round because of hurricane season.  For those who have medical conditions that require electrical equipment or who are fragile or frail and cannot be without power and heat in case of ice or wind, it is imperative to make sure the generator is ready for the winter months too.

9.)   Make sure your dryer vent is clean.  Replace any plastic vents or flexible foil ones with rigid metal vents as the others are a dangerous fire hazard.

10.) Put your thermostat on a timer.  If you work during the day and there’s no one home, there’s no reason for the house to remain at a comfortable 70-72 degrees.  It’s perfectly safe for a home to be cooler during the day.  Just remember that if you have indoor pets, you need to keep their safety and health in mind and consistently heat accordingly.

At Drew Sineath and Associates, we hope that these 10 home maintenance tips are helpful to all of you as you enjoy your South Carolina homes this winter.  Please call us if you have any real estate needs in the coming months.

The 24th Annual Holiday Festival of Lights at James Island County Park

The 24th Annual Holiday Festival of Lights at James Island County ParkFor the past 23 years, James Island County Park has wowed THOUSANDS of people with its showcase of electric holiday spirit in the Holiday Festival of Lights!  What had humble beginnings in 1989 has grown into a three mile long glittering display complete with Jack Frost freezing live oak trees with his icy breath, both the old and the new Cooper River Bridges, illuminated tunnels and much, MUCH more!   Here are just a few of the spectacular attractions of this beloved annual Charleston tradition.

1.)    The dramatic drive through glistening glory:  Approximately TWO MILLION lights will brighten the night sky every night from November 8th through December 31st, 2013!  Most displays can be enjoyed from the comfort of your vehicle and once in the park, you can drive around and see the displays as many times as you like.  However, there are MANY light displays that shouldn’t be missed that one can only enjoy by walking to them. Perhaps the most impressive is the display that is timed with music.  One specific crowd-pleaser is the Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s rendition of Carol of the Bells.  The lights are so fine tuned to the music that they seem to be dancing!

2.)    The sand sculpture:  Every year, a remarkable sand sculpture stands proudly in front of the main building in the park.  “With his tool belt of tiny knives and scrapers, [sand sculpture Damon] Farmer begins with 50 tons of sand, held in place by wooden boards wrapped around the giant pile. When he’s finished, the wood will be gone, leaving an intricate sculpture of impermanent art behind.” (http://www.charlestonscene.com/article/20121107/CS/121109359)  This amazing piece of organic art usually is about 25 feet long, 10 feet wide, and 5-6 feet tall and can be enjoyed from every angle!

3.)    Santa’s Village:  Inside the park, be sure to stroll through Santa’s Village and enjoy a ride on the carousel.  Purchase some marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate and stand around our gas fire pits and enjoy a delicious s’more!  Take a look at all of the life-sized greeting cards that have come from schools all across the Lowcountry to compete in the annual competition.  It’s always a joy to celebrate the creativity of children!

4.)    Finally, make your way over to the main building and take a look in the two incredible gift shops.  Each year, the Holiday Festival of Lights adopts an official 24 – carat gold ornament of the year.  Start collecting them now and make this delightful destination a part of your annual holiday tradition.  Also, while over at the main building, take a look at the gingerbread houses that all took part in the annual gingerbread house competition.  It’s just jaw dropping what some folks can do with FOOD!

This is all just the “tip of the iceberg” when it comes to the James Island County Park’s Holiday Festival of Lights!  Admission is determined by carload as follows: 1-15 guests: $15.00/ vehicle, 16-30 guests:  $40.00/ vehicle, and 31+ guests $100.00 per vehicle.  There is a $5.00 discount to cars Mondays-Thursdays with the donation of one non-perishable or cat/dog food item.

Top Fall Yard Care Tips

Now that the days are getting cooler and shorter, it’s time to start preparing your lawns for fall and winter.  Here in Charleston, most lawns are either centipede, Bermuda, or St. Augustine grass.  Even though the winters are mild, warm weather annuals still die and need to be removed and just because the weather is no longer blisteringly hot, doesn’t mean that it’s time to stop watering your lawn.  There are many things you can do to make your lawn look spectacular all through the fall and winter months.  Regardless of whether you’re looking to sell your home or just wanting your house to look its best, here are our top three fall yard care tips.

1.)  Overseed your lawn.  What does this mean?  Does that mean to give the lawn more seed than it can handle? No!  It means choose a cool weather grass, like rye grass and plant it over your existing warm weather grass.  According to Better Homes and Gardens’ website, “Prepare the lawn for overseeding by mowing it 1/2 inch shorter than usual and removing the clippings. Sow grass seed over the mowed area, making two passes at right angles to each other.”  Be sure to continue watering your lawn and soon, you’ll see your new grass seedlings start to sprout. Don’t be in too much of a hurry to mow your new and tender grass too soon.  Give it plenty of time to grow and anchor itself before you mow it.  The nice thing about doing this is that once the grass is established, you’ll be able to have a nice, lush, green lawn year ‘round.  Rye grass goes dormant once the weather starts to warm up… just in time for your centipede or Bermuda grass to start waking up.

2.)  Get rid of dead and unwanted plants.  Take advantage of the cooler days and work on your lawns by removing unwanted and dead plants and debris.  Apply weed killer to those uninvited plants and rake up excess dead matter from your lawns that could cause thatch.  This will prepare your yards for a clean winter and encourage healthy regrowth in the spring.  Lastly, remove the dead summer annuals from your lawn and spread out the multiplying bulbs in your perennial flower beds.

3.)  Plant some winter-loving plants.  If you have a garden, plant some lettuce, greens, and turnips.  Replace your colorful summer annuals with some gorgeous cool weather lovers like pansies, chrysanthemums, and even camellias.  Highlight your landscape with holly trees and other berry bushes, perhaps even some brilliant bittersweet.  With these unabashed splashes of color, your winter yard will be anything but grey and drab.

By keeping these three fall yard care tips in mind, your winter yard will look manicured, lively, and healthy.  If you’re looking to sell your home, remember, the outside of your home is the first thing a potential buyer sees.  It’s VERY important to make an outstanding first impression.  However, even if you’re not selling your home, a well-tended yard always improves the value of your home and gives you, the owner, a reason to be house-proud!

What to Know When Buying a Home in the Charleston Area

So you’ve decided to buy a home in the Charleston area and now you’re faced with a million ideas, decisions, and questions.  At Drew Sineath and Associates, we are dedicated to helping you choose the right house for you and your family and excited about the new opportunities awaiting you with this new move.

As you navigate the murky waters of choosing the right home, here are some very important details to keep in mind:

  • Know your credit rating.  Be sure that you’ve cleared up any mistakes and don’t have any questions about what you see on your report.
  • Be sure to know your spending ability.  How much money do you have available for a down payment?  How much are you able to spend on your monthly mortgage?  All these questions are extremely personal, but are of utmost importance when it comes to starting the search for your new home.
  • Get pre-approved for a mortgage.  Again, when buying a home in the Charleston area, sellers are much more eager to work with buyers who are already approved for a mortgage than they are with those who are not.  It tells the sellers that you are serious about buying a house.
  • Know what area of Charleston in which you want to live.  Charleston is a huge area with many charming and outstanding areas.  If you’ve come here because of a job, how much of a commute are you willing to withstand?  If you’ve come here to retire or for a second home, do you want to live on the water, in a historical area, or in a new community complete with every bell and whistle available?  Because this decision completely depends on you and your desires, please tell us so that we can show you homes that fit your needs.
  • When you’ve found a house in which you’re interested, talk to the owners, neighbors, and anyone else you can about the neighborhood, schools, taxes, and utilities.  Does the home have an HOA?  If so, how much are the annual fees?  What do the fees cover?
  • Look at the home at different parts of the day.  When buying a home in Charleston, you want to take advantage of the views as much as possible.  However, you may also not appreciate direct afternoon sun beaming in the through the two story Palladian window in the living room.  If there is another home in the same community for sale that fits your needs equally well, perhaps that would be a better choice as your energy bills could be greatly affected by this one simple attribute.
  • Finally, after you’ve chosen a house on which you’d like to make offer, make sure you include a home inspection contingency in your offer.  This protects you from buying something that looks good on the outside but that is in need of major repair.  While the initial results may take the “wind out of your sails” as you see that your “perfect” home isn’t so perfect, it will definitely spare you heartache and pocketbook breakdown later on.

By heeding these few tips, purchasing a home in the Charleston area has the potential to more smoothly proceed than if you hadn’t. Of course, remember that all of us at Drew Sineath and Associates are also here to help make your move marvelous.

Charleston County Schools

When moving to Charleston, especially if you have school aged children, you’ll be interested to know about our area schools and all they have to offer.  Charleston County Schools have a multitude of programs and choices that insure your children receive the proper education suited to their specific needs and abilities.  So while we at Drew Sineath and Associates help you buy the perfect home for you and your family, you can also be educating yourself about the schools your children will attend!

Charleston County schools are comprehensive in their grade levels (they go from early childhood programs to high school), programs (arts, maths, sciences, and trades) and specialty schools.

Some of Charleston County’s early childhood programs include Head Start programs, family development centers, and early learning centers all throughout the district.  As the Charleston County School district says on their website, “Our role is to lay a solid foundation that will support our children and families from “cribs to colleges.”

From early childhood programs, your children will then graduate to elementary school!  Charleston County Schools have a plethora of choices when it comes to where your children will go to elementary school.  There are charter schools, county-wide magnet schools, partial magnet schools (meaning they only take students within that school’s zone), and your all-American neighborhood schools.

It only takes a few years, and the time will zoom by, and you’ll suddenly find yourself registering your children for middle school.  Charleston County has the same special choices listed above for elementary schools, but now also adds the option of single gender education.  Charleston County is home to the A.R.M.S. and Excel Programs at Morningside Middle School.  These two schools within a school focus on single gender education.  Another stellar option that starts in middle school and goes all the way through high school is the highly acclaimed Military Magnet Academy.

Again, after only three short years, your child is once again ready to move on to his or her last academic stop before they finally pass over the stage to receive their final undergraduate diploma.  Charleston County Schools is home to eight competitive neighborhood high schools, plus other excellent magnet and charter schools.  One school that really merits mentioning is Garrett Academy of Technology.   Here, students are prepared for either a technical trade right out of high school, like cosmetology, construction or HVAC repair and maintenance, or puts them on track for higher studies in areas like engineering and architectural design.  Charleston Country also boasts the incredible School of the Arts and the nationally ranked Academic Magnet High School!

Wherever you decide to enroll your children, the choices are plentiful when it comes to Charleston County’s public school system.  Whatever needs, abilities, and preferences you and your children have are sure to be addressed in Charleston County’s multi-faceted education system. Be sure to talk to us about each possible home’s neighborhood schools and we can give you more information as you seek to make the best decisions for you and our family.

July Events in Charleston

July Events in CharlestonDid you know that Berkeley County is one of the fastest growing counties in SC?  And it shouldn’t be any surprise with all of the wonderful events and activities that are happening continually in the Charleston area.  July is a perfect example.  Every year, thousands of patriotic folks gather at Patriots Point in Mount Pleasant to celebrate the 4th of July. Here you will find dazzling fireworks launched from the deck of the U.S.S. Yorktown, live bands, a KidzZone and lots of delicious foods.  One of the best things about this family friendly event is that the KidzZone and the fireworks are both FREE (parking is the only fee at $10).  Plan to arrive early with your lawn chairs and picnic blanket so that you can find a good parking place. Despite the large crowd, the phenomenal fireworks are definitely worth seeing.

Another worthwhile summer destination is The Charleston Museum, located at 360 Meeting Street downtown.  As America’s First Museum (1773), their mission is to “preserve and interpret the cultural and natural history of Charleston and the South Carolina Lowcountry.”  Whether you have an interest in early southern furniture or in southeastern birds, The Charleston Museum has something for everyone in your family and the tickets are reasonable. During the month of July, don’t miss their exhibition, Indigo: Natural Blue Dye in the Lowcountry, an original exhibition that highlights the important role that indigo played in South Carolina’s history (through September 2, 2013). Several other unique exhibitions that you can see during the month of July include: Uniformly Dressed (A Textile Gallery Exhibit focusing on all types of uniforms – through August 11, 2013), “Our Duty was Quite Arduous”: The Union Encampment on Littly Folly’s Island, 1863-1865 (an original exhibition that presents Civil War artifacts recovered by Charleston Museum archaeologists from the beach of Little Folly Island in the aftermath of Hurricane Hugo – through March 10, 2014), and Early Twentieth Century Quilts (another original exhibit that displays the patterns and fabrics of quilts spanning the tumultuous years from 1900 through the 1930’s – through August 4, 2013).

Just around the corner you’ll find Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry. They are hosting a special July event for children with special needs and their families on July 14th from 10 am-12 noon.  Children are able to explore and play in the museum without the crowds and attendance is FREE.  (registration for this event is required).

Another free July event not to be missed is the Big Bargain Book Sale July 5th-7th hosted by Literacy Friends of Charleston.  Located at the Omar Shrine Temple in Mount Pleasant near Patriots Point, you will find 100,000+ books spread over 16,000 square feet.  And the price is right with most items $1-3.  Check out Literacy Friends of Charleston on Facebook for more details and specific times.

Finally, July in Charleston would not be complete without the Riverdogs.  Ease back in your seat with a chili dog and some cheese fries and watch the entertaining minor league team battle it out with their regional rivals – all against the backdrop of the lovely Atlantic Ocean.

July in Charleston is simply irresistible, so much so that some summer visitors have never returned home.  And many settle in Goose Creek in Berkeley County where we, Drew Sineath & Associates stand ready to find you a home that is convenient to all that the Lowcountry has to offer.  Please give us a call at 888-500-0089 ext. 104 – we would love to help you with your real estate needs!

Charleston Summer Camps for Kids

Summer is just around the corner and it’s not too early to be thinking about Charleston summer camps for kids. The Charleston area offers a great variety of camps for kids with varying interests: sports, gaming and computers, education, adventure, sailing, magic – you name it!

Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics

Rising seventh and eighth graders in Dorchester and Berkeley County schools are invited to apply for a summer camp hosted by the Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics. The Innovation, Technology & Entrepreneurship Among Middle Schoolers day camp is held in districts statewide with no cost to students. The goal of iTEAMS is to inspire students to pursue careers in entrepreneurship, computer science and technology through hands-on, team-based projects.

Each camp will serve at least 100 students, and district teachers will be hired as counselors. The camp in Berkeley County will be July 8-11 at Berkeley High School, and the one in Dorchester County will be July 15-18 at Oakbrook Middle School.

Applications are due April 22 and are available at www.scgssm.org/iteams.

Camp SeweeCharleston Summer Camps for Kids

Explore the wonders of marine science and the South Carolina coast! Camp Sewee provides summer fun and inspires future marine biologists, naturalists, and anyone who loves the great outdoors. Camp Sewee is held at the Sewee Coastal Retreat Center in Awendaw, a short drive from Charleston. Air-conditioned dorm rooms, a full-service dining facility, recreational fields, nature trails, and a fishing dock create an ideal camp environment.

Camp Voyager

Young techies, gamers and engineers test their creativity and problem-solving skills at Camp Voyager, where technology meets outdoor adventure! Camp Voyager is held at YLI Headquarters & Education Center in Pickens, SC. This 33-acre property with views of Table Rock Mountain features air-conditioned dorms, a full-service dining facility, gymnasium, computer lab, outdoor adventure course, paintball and go-cart track.

Charleston County Parks & Recreation Summer Camps

Explorers Camp (Ages 6-9) is a fantastic first step for children to experience the many joys and infinite beauty of the surrounding natural world. Campers will explore and learn about the Lowcountry environment, create arts and crafts, and play cooperative games within the comfort of one of the Charleston County Parks. Camp introduces kids to the wonders of nature and builds physical, social, and decision-making skills while providing recreational fun. Our programs are designed with the philosophy that physical and emotional safety has to be the base on which all fun and education can be achieved. There is an 8:1 camper-to-staff ratio.

Adventure Camp (Ages 10-12) provides many opportunities for girls and boys to experience the rewards of outdoor life. Core activities include the necessary skills for our adventure, both inside and outside of the park. Our accessory programs provide even more opportunities for our campers to learn and have fun. In an effort to provide a fun and healthy atmosphere for all our campers, their emotional and physical safety is our top priority. There is a 6:1 camper to staff ratio with 12 campers per session.

Teen Venture Camp (Ages 13-16) Get into the true spirit of adventure through our Teen Venture Camp, where teens will be fully immersed in the great outdoors. The beautiful and ancient Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina will provide the backdrop for a variety of fun and exciting 5-day adventure sessions that will also teach cooperation, leadership, and responsibility. In addition to whitewater kayaking, mountain biking, stand up paddleboarding, and rock climbing, all campers will participate in minimum impact camping and Leave No Trace Principles designed to instill positive and lifelong outdoor ethics. This program also provides great opportunities for a unique physical challenge and to explore the limits of outdoor recreation.

Note: Teen Venture camps will take campers away from Charleston for 5-day camping adventures and will not return until the final day. Meals and necessary camping equipment are provided. Participants should be in good physical condition and able to participate in a moderate level of physical activity. A detailed medical form must be completed and turned in prior to attending camp.

Beginner Sailing Camp (Ages 10-12) This one-week course provides participants with Charleston Summer Camps for Kidsknowledge of the basic skills necessary to get started in the lifelong sport of sailing. Charleston Community Sailing Program will provide half-day sailing instruction including, knot-tying, seamanship, sailing techniques and terminology, rigging safety on the Charleston waterways. Campers will split their days between sailing in the harbor and other activities at James Island County Park, including, but not limited to, climbing at the Wall and team building on the Challenge Course. Upon the close of the week, participants will be able to navigate a two-person dinghy safely and with confidence. There is a 4:1 camper to staff ratio while sailing and 6:1 when not sailing.

Goose Creek Recreation is offering the following summer camps. Click on the individual camp for more information:

Magic Camp
Dance Camp
Summer Time Art
Art Camp
Summer Music Camps
Half Pints Summer Camp
TNT (Teens & Tweens) Adventure Camp
British Soccer Camp
Basketball Clinic
Serve & Splash (Tennis/Swim)
Swim Lessons
Cheer Tumble Camp
Friday Fun Fitness Camp
Fitness Camp
Lego Robotics Camps
Baseball Camps

The above list should help give you an idea of what’s available. And if you have any questions about area real estate, we at Drew Sineath & Associates would be glad to help!

Take a Tour of Fort Sumter

Decades of growing strife between North and South erupted in civil war on April 12, 1861, when Confederate artillery opened fire on this Federal fort in Charleston Harbor. Fort Sumter surrendered 34 hours later. Union forces would try for nearly four years to take it back. You can walk through history when you take a tour of Fort Sumter and see first hand the damage of shelling, the huge mounted canons, and gaze outward from the fort, imaging what it was like to be stationed here, waiting to defend the island fort. When visiting Charleston, a visit to Fort Sumter is a must for understanding the history that helped shape our nation – the hard-fought battles of countryman versus countryman – the place where the first shots of the Civil War began.

A brief history (from the National Park Service):

Construction began on the fort in 1829 as a response to the lack of coastal defenses made evident during the War of 1812. Located on a man-made island in the middle of Take a Tour of Fort SumterCharleston Harbor, the five-sided, three-tiered masonry structure was designed for an armament of 135 guns and a garrison of 650 men. Its five-foot thick outside walls, towering nearly 50 feet above low water, enclosed a parade ground of roughly one acre. Combined with the existing early 19th century Charleston harbor forts, the new fort could effectively close the harbor entry to any hostile ships.

Fort Sumter was still not completed when Union Major Robert Anderson abandoned Fort Moultrie to occupy Fort Sumter on December 26, 1860. The fort quickly became the focus of political and military events which resulted in the opening bombardment of the Civil War on April 12 – 13, 1861. After the Union evacuation, Southern troops occupied Fort Sumter.

The Civil War began at 4:30 a.m. on April 12, 1861, when Confederate artillery, under the command of General Pierre Gustave T. Beauregard, opened fire on Fort Sumter. Confederate batteries showered the fort with over 3,000 shells in a three-and-a-half day Take a Tour of Fort Sumterperiod. Anderson surrendered. Ironically, Beauregard had developed his military skills under Anderson’s instruction at West Point. This was the first of countless relationships and families devastated in the Civil War. The fight was on.

It remained under normal military operations until 1863 – 1865 when Federal bombardments reduced Fort Sumter to rubble.  Despite its ruinous state, Confederate soldiers continued to hold the fort, now an impregnable earthwork and impervious to assault. Only after General William T. Sherman captured Columbia, South Carolina in February 1865 did the Confederate garrisons defending Charleston withdraw. Union forces once again raised the United States flag over Fort Sumer on February 18, 1865. The battered flag itself can be seen in the museum on Fort Sumter.

After the War:

When the Civil War ended, Fort Sumter was in ruins. The U.S. Army worked to restore it as a useful military installation. The damaged walls were re-leveled to a lower height and partially rebuilt. The third tier of gun emplacements was removed. Eleven of the original first-tier gunrooms were restored with 100-pounder Parrott rifles.

From 1876 to 1897, Fort Sumter was used only as an unmanned lighthouse station. The start of the Spanish-American War prompted renewed interest in its military use and reconstruction commenced on the facilities that had further eroded over time. A new massive concrete blockhouse-style installation was built in 1898 inside the original walls. Named “Battery Huger” in honor of Revolutionary War General Isaac Huger, it never saw combat.

Touring Fort Sumter:

Getting there:

There are two departure locations for the ferry to Fort Sumter:

  1. The Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center is located at 340 Concord Street in downtown Charleston. Parking for regular passenger vehicles is available in an adjacent parking garage.
  2. Patriots Point is located at 40 Patriots Point Road in Mount Pleasant. Visitors with large vehicles such as buses and RVs should plan on departing from Patriots Point.

The Visitor Education Center’s museum features exhibits about the disagreements between the North and South that led to the incidents at Fort Sumter. National Park Rangers are on hand to answer questions. The museum at Fort Sumter focuses on the activities at the fort, including its construction and role during the Civil War. As you walk through the museum, you follow a timeline of events, the history of the area and view important artifacts recovered from the site.

Park rangers give a brief 10-minute history talk when you arrive at Fort Sumter and then you are free to roam the fort until it’s time to take your ferry on the return trip. Mounted Take a Tour of Fort Sumtersignage gives the history, function and photos from the fort’s past at various locations, helping you to understand the layout and function of the different areas comprising the fort. This method of self-guided touring allows you to go at your own pace.

A bookstore, gift shop and restrooms are available on the fort. The boat to Fort Sumter, operated by Fort Sumter Tours, is comfortable and provides narration of Charleston history and descriptions of what you’ll see during the 30-minute boat ride. It’s a great way to see Charleston from the water, the towering Ravenel bridge connecting Charleston and Mount Pleasant, the Navy ships, including the aircraft carrier Yorktown, docked at Patriot’s Point Naval & Maritime Museum in Mount Pleasant, and possibly even Bottlenose dolphin which frequent the harbor.

Details:

Since you have to plan your visit around that ferry schedule, and since the boats are sometimes filled to capacity during Charleston’s lengthy tourist season, consider making your ferry reservations early. If you plan to purchase tickets the walkup way, buy them immediately upon arrival.

Plan to be on hand 30 minutes before the ferry’s scheduled departure, but arriving even earlier can make good sense during the busy months, especially if you haven’t made a reservation. There are no reserved seats on the ferry, so you don’t want to be at the back of the line if getting choice seats is important. You may want to bring along a sweater or windbreaker. Most seats on the boat are in an area that is covered, but not enclosed. Once the ferry gets underway, the breeze that sweeps through the boat can be surprisingly chilly, even on warm afternoons. There is a very reasonably priced snack bar on the ferry. Picnicking is not permitted inside Fort Sumter, but there is a water fountain inside the fort.

Most of all enjoy your day visiting the beautiful Charleston area! And if you’re interested in living in this great area, please contact Drew Sineath & Associates, we’d love to answer any questions you may have and show you some wonderful lowcountry homes.

A Guide to Charleston Parks

The variety of parks in the Charleston, SC area is great, each taking advantage of its best features. Now that warmer weather is on the way, it’s time to get outside and enjoy the beauty of the Charleston area.

You can enjoy the waterfront downtown or in Mount Pleasant, the marsh, and the beach at Isle of Palms or Kiawah Island. Or perhaps you enjoy history and beauty, both of which can be found at historic Charles Towne Landing. There are even parks for our dog friends! Our guide to Charleston parks will help you plan your next fun park outing.

Beach ParksA Guide to Charleston Parks

Isle of Palms

A great way to enjoy the beach year-round is at this family-oriented beach park. Set in a prime location on beautiful Isle of Palms, everything you need for a great day at the beach is here. All year you can use the following facilities:

  • Dressing areas
  • Restrooms
  • Picnic area and grills
  • Sand volleyball court
  • Boardwalks and handicap accessible ramps
  • Drink vending
  • Children’s play area

Seasonally available are:

  • Lifeguards
  • Outdoor showers
  • Ice cream, drinks, and basic snack foods
  • A retail area
  • Beach chair, bag toss game, and umbrella rentals
  • Beach accessible wheelchairs

Kiawah Beachwalker Park

Located on the west end of Kiawah Island, offers ocean frontage and a river view, along with the only public beach access on beautiful Kiawah Island. Year-round amenities includes:

  • Dressing areas,
  • Restrooms,
  • Picnic area with grills,
  • Drink vending,
  • Boardwalks and handicap-accessible ramp

Seasonally available are lifeguards, outdoor showers, snack bar, beach chair and umbrella rentals, and beach accessible wheelchairs.

Waterfront Parks

Charleston Waterfront Park

Aside from The Battery at the end of the peninsula, this park is the only other place to enjoy a waters-edge experience in downtown Charleston. Eight acres of linear park and pier line the Charleston Harbor entry. The park masterfully combines spectacular fountains, spacious lawns, intimate garden “rooms,” walking and jogging path and a long pier with picnic tables and wooden swings. A great spot for a romantic evening stroll, or to let the kids romp near the big pineapple fountain in the summer’s heat!

Mount Pleasant Pier

Part of the Memorial Waterfront Park complex, the 1250-foot long Mount Pleasant Pier stretches out into Charleston Harbor under the foot of the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge. Visitors can enjoy beautiful views of the bridge and harbor from the pier’s bench swings, rocking chairs and shade structures. Bring your camera – you’re likely to see dolphin swimming near the end of the pier! A gift shop and café, tackle shop, restrooms, playground and Sweetgrass Basket learning center are also on site.

Woods/Marsh Parks

James Island County Park

This 643-acre park offers an abundance of exceptional recreation offerings and natural beauty. Admission allows you to enjoy grassy open meadows, saltwater fishing (with a license) and crabbing, a seasonal spray play fountain area, miles of paved trails for walking, biking, and skating, picnic spots with tables and grills, off-leash dog park, sand volleyball court, and horseshoe pits. The Splash Zone water park is a great place to have fun and cool off in the summer. Test your climbing skills on the Lowcountry’s tallest climbing wall – 50 feet! Or paddle around the water in a paddleboat or kayak.

Palmetto Islands County ParkA Guide to Charleston Parks

Mount Pleasant Palmetto Islands County Park is a nature-oriented, 943-acre park designed for family and group use. The park is built in a tropical setting, with bicycle paths, boardwalks, and picnic sites with grills located throughout the park for your enjoyment. Also enjoy:

  • Nature Island
  • 50-foot observation tower with play area
  • Open meadow for games
  • Tidal creek fishing and crabbing dock
  • Paved trails for walking, biking, and skating
  • Big Toy playground
  • Kayak launch
  • Sand volleyball court
  • Horseshoe pits
  • Dog park
  • Splash Island Waterpark
  • Bicycle and peddle boat rentals
  • Covered picnic shelter rentals

Wannamaker County Park

North Charleston Wannamaker County Park is a nature-oriented park designed for family and group use. It offers over 1,015 acres of beautiful woodlands and wetlands, and provides guests with a variety of activities. Miles of paved trails allow for exploration of the area’s beautiful natural resources. Picnic sites with grills are located throughout the park for your enjoyment.

  • Two playgrounds – the Tot-Lot and Fun Lot
  • 7.7 acres of grassy open meadows
  • Large play hill
  • 2 miles of paved trails for walking, biking, and skating
  • Park center with snack bar, shaded porch, restrooms, and large patio
  • Park office to provide information and passes
  • Sand volleyball court
  • Horseshoe pits
  • Dog park

Whirlin’ Waters Adventure Waterpark is a fantastic seasonal waterpark where kids and adults alike will have a great time!  Or rent a bicycle and ride the trails, or explore the 5-acre lagoon system with two islands in a rented pedal boat or kayak.

So grab your picnic basket and the family and plan your outing to one of Charleston’s great parks! And call Drew Sineath & Associates if you’re looking to make the Charleston area your permanent home.