Bridal survival tips by Backwoods Barbie

By Cherimie Crane Weatherford
He placed the ring on your finger; a moment you will cherish for the rest of your life. The phone calls to friends and families sharing your joy have waned. You have practiced writing your new last name to the point of carpel tunnel syndrome and images of the perfect white dress are ingrained in your slumber.  At last, you can attend family gatherings without having to dodge Aunt Busybody or Cousin Married Forever. You are now welcomed into the world of acceptance. You can bid farewell to blind dates and awkward introductions. You have arrived; you are at the mountain top of relationships.  I want to personally congratulate you and suggest that you hold on tight, find a good helmet, and master the nod-smile gesture immediately.
It is a splendid time full of love, laughter and the need for expensive therapy. You will get to know your spouse-to-be in ways you never imagined. Advice will be sandblasted at you at the speed of light and you will soon understand the challenges, twists, and turmoil of Bridal Survival. Breathe deeply sweet  Warrior in White. Lean strongly on your best friend, hold firmly your favorite Pinot, and find lip gloss that compliments shades of impossible.
In addition to the avalanche of advice that will crumble fiercely in your direction I share some of the most basic tools of trudging through the tidal wave of trepidation. As the Queen of Quandary and the absolute most unlikely Warrior in White, it is with sincere support I offer the following survival techniques. Breathe deeply, remain as calm as one can and cling whole heartedly to your sense of humor.
1. Avoid bridal shops for as long as you possibly can. This may very well make planning a bit more difficult; however, visiting these palaces of princess preparation too early and too often can lead to frequent visits to your family physician. It is their mission in life to remind you of all the things (necessary or not) that you haven’t done, said, written, worn, or added to your panic list.
When the time comes that you must visit said establishments make certain you know who you are, what you want, and have an exit strategy that has been well rehearsed.  NEVER, ever take more than one living soul with you. It is much easier to pinch one person than five.
2. Learn the language. Now means yesterday. Yesterday means you are too late, and next week means today. As difficult as it maybe to erase all you know of time and space, it is a requirement. If you need to order anything whether it is a towel or a tiara stop everything you are doing and order. Order three, it is possible one will arrive.  Maybe means impossible, and impossible means it is exactly what is necessary. Necessary means that which prevents family feuds, wardrobe malfunctions, and visits to the ER. Make notecards, it does help.
3. Remember your college psychology courses. You will leave this monumental occasion with a greater understanding of why Dr. Phil and pharmacies are so popular. It is frowned upon to point out any odd behavior or obvious pathology from those involved in what many call the Wedding Party. Not too sure how the word party made the mix, nonetheless understanding of the most common personality disorders will, at the very least, help you through the speeches and possibly even assist in monitoring reception alcohol intake. Never use the word crazy, special is slightly more gentle and socially preferred.
4. Wedding dresses are made for a 6-foot Barbie. To all my vertically challenged Warriors in White, alterations are now an enormous part of your life. Forget any notion that you will find a dress made just for you. You don’t exist in the wide world of wedding. Heaven help you if curves run in your family. Expect to pay exactly twice as much for alterations as your long legged counterparts. If you were raised on biscuits and gravy, you will need duct tape. If you were raised on biscuits and gravy, in combination with grandma’s cherry pie, that requires a more drastic approach to alterations. Call me, the world isn’t ready for what you must do.
5. Your guest list is so much more than a spreadsheet. This requires skill, grace, and Uncle Jack Daniels. If you know them, recognize them, love them and or are in anyway related they become the minority. It is standard procedure to invite mostly those you don’t know so when chaos occurs you don’t have to see them again. It makes sense. If your event requires a seating chart, call Oprah.
Obviously there are many more tips, tricks and tirades, but some things are best experienced firsthand. He loves you, he will love you even if your family is special and your dress is a few inches too long. The moment will arrive no matter what you forget to do, say, bring, deliver, even wear. When those doors open no flower, no music, no person will matter except for the man who prompted you to do all of this in the first place. If you are still speaking to each other, all the battles, the wounds, and the mishaps suddenly fade. You will see him and only him. The music that took weeks to choose, will vanish. The flowers you Googled will disappear, and with the grace of God, the dress that has consumed your soul will stay in place.
Sweet Warriors in White, prepare all that you can and know that when the time comes you will be too exhausted to worry about ivory versus white, organ versus piano or Aunt Sarah versus Uncle Bob. Don’t sweat the small stuff, don’t forget to breathe and commit yourself to upholding your vows so that you never have to do it again.

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Get ready to pick your favorites

The Island News wants to know what you like best about our community. It’s fun and easy! Simply go our website at www.yourislandnews.com, look at the categories, then vote for at least 10 businesses or community leaders you consider to be your favorite. Once the votes are counted from the 127 categories, we’ll announce the winners later in March. You have only until midnight on Sunday, March 11, to cast your votes for T.I.N. Favorites. Show support and make your votes heard!

Click HERE to vote: Favorites VOTING!

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After you say ‘yes’ … It’s all about the dress

By Laura Trask
The rituals that shape weddings of today: the venue, the flowers, the cake, right down to the choosing of the mate were not part of the process historically. And as with every tradition that has evolved over thousands of years there have been some improvements! In the beginning, marriages were arranged by the families of the two betrothed to ensure prosperity, protection and procreation.  I can assure you in the days of  “marriage by capture” no one was thinking about what they were going to wear! So when did fashion become such an integral element in the joining of two people? Well,  like every great storybook ending, it starts with The Dress.
More elaborate wedding celebrations started with nobility and the higher classes. Brides were expected to dress in a manner befitting their social status, not necessarily representing themselves but their families. Right down to the amount of material a wedding dress contained which reflected on the bride’s social standing and was a clear

An example of a 16th century wedding dress.

indication to all those in attendance of the families wealth. The concept of more is more was especially apparent when it came to the wedding dresses of royal princesses during the 15th and 16th centuries when the way to show a kingdom’s power was through rich costly fabrics such as velvet, damask silk, satin and fur.  Forget the “virginal” white wedding dress we know today; these royals showed their wealth through the use of expensive dyes and to that end their dresses were red, purple and true black which were extremely difficult to acquire. But when a royal wanted to show everyone who had the biggest, whoppingist tiara they held nothing back and went so far as to encrust their wedding gowns with precious gems; diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds and pearls. In some cases so thickly bejeweled that the fabric beneath was not to be seen and in the case of Margaret of Flanders the result was so heavy that she had to be carried into the church! Talk about being queen for the day!
So when did the white wedding dress prevail and  begin its rule of the matrimonial runway? Well, like every great trend that we have seen over the last century and a half, it started with a photograph and a love story. When Queen Victoria married her cousin, Albert, in a white wedding dress in 1840, the wedding being highly publicized resonated with brides everywhere and sealed the deal for white to win out as the number one choice for brides. When Victoria was merely trying to incorporate some prized lace into her dress which in the end dictated the color … white.
Today’s bride is unique in that the dress she chooses for her big day is a true representation of who she is and is also a way of sharing this piece of her self with all those in attendance. However, with so many options out there, so much money at stake and the anxiety of all eyes being on you, the decision can be an overwhelming and an intimidating one to make. Thank goodness we modern girls have Vera Wang! Her very name conjures up images of a sophisticated glamorous bride! She is the genius designer who has single handedly modernized all aspects of wedding and bridal wear, especially the dress. Bringing it from an outdated busy look to a more modern, chic and elegant design.

Helana, a dress in Vera Wang's current wedding dress collection

Vera Wang has a long history in fashion working at Vogue magazine as an editor for 17 years leaving only when she did not get the job as editor-in-chief. But as every turn of events that are meant to be, Vera went on to design with Ralph Lauren and then opened her own design salon at the Carlyle Hotel in 1990. That’s a surprisingly short time to become the reigning queen of everything wedding.
So what would Vera say if she were advising a new bride on choosing The One? And I am referring of course to the dress — not the guy! First and foremost, choose a style that you are comfortable in, because as we all know being comfortable translates into confidence. Remember also to consider that the dress has to work with all other tonal elements of the ceremony. Is it a first marriage? Second marriage? What is the age of the bride? Is the marriage in a church? Or a wedding chapel in Vegas?! All these thing elements must work together with the dress in order for there to be a natural flow and harmony. The last piece of advice that Vera gives out is try on as many dresses as you can and as many style. She feels confident that a bride will know when she has found her perfect dress. Or maybe it’s the perfect dress that finds you — just like he did. Either way, it will feel like a match made in heaven!
P.S. Check out Weddings, a new app where you can find all of Vera’s wedding knowledge. The app is free through February and beginning March 1st it will cost $9.99…so get it today!

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With this wine, I thee wed

By Terry Sweeney
For newlywed couples throughout the ages, the sharing of wine at their nuptials has been the symbol of love, prosperity, good health and good fortune.  In olden days, entwined like the vines themselves, couples often drank their wedding wine from one common cup … “the cup of love” … which symbolized both their newly forged intimate bond and the promise of the new life they would share together. Even Jesus turned water into wine as one of his first miracles at the Wedding of Cana in Galilee.  No doubt that put him at the top of everyone’s guest list in that town.  “Oh my God! Think of the money I’ll save,” must have cried the father of every bride in Galilee. And when you’re as nice a guy as Jesus, how do you say no? No wonder the poor guy hightailed it outta town!
Hey, wine for a wedding can set you back a pretty penny.  Of course, you don’t have to follow tradition and toast each other with bubbly after you say “I Do.” There are other alternatives out there.  In Korea, for example, after the wedding ceremony, friends of the groom take off his socks, tie a rope around his ankles and start beating the soles of his feet with dried yellow corvina. Yellow corvina is a kind of fish. Whacking his feet with this dead fish, Koreans say, makes the groom stronger for his wedding night. Oh really? Let me just say right now for the record that if you ever hear of me getting married down South, it won’t be South Korea! All I need is wine, wine and more wine at my wedding.  I’ll skip the fish course, if you don’t mind.
But you know Koreans aren’t the only people with some unusual wedding wine rituals. At Russian weddings, once the reception has begun, a relative or a friend will make a wedding toast to the bride and groom after which, in keeping with Russian custom, everyone throws their champagne glasses on the floor. It is considered good luck if the glasses break when they hit the ground! OK, how much does that unnecessary nonsense add to the cost of your wedding? It wouldn’t surprise me if the Russian Mafia controls all the champagne glass outlets in the Soviet Union and that’s how they really made the rubles to buy up Beverly Hills!
Thank God for my simple Sicilian/Irish roots. Growing up, I went to countless Italian and Irish weddings. At a wedding my mother would instruct me in all the Sicilian superstitions surrounding the wine at the wedding. “Every time the bride spills a drop of wine on the tablecloth by accident, she loses an egg.  If God forbid, she knocks over a bottle, she’ll never have kids … See that bridesmaid seated at the corner of the table drinking champagne: Cursed!  She’ll never get married.  A single girl should never sit at the corner at a wedding …And look!  Just now when she toasted with that groomsman, their fingers touched!  That’s it. She’s doomed to take lovers and be passed from man to man like a football!”
Luckily all this Italian hocus-pocus was balanced out by the Irish weddings I went to, which were just all out frenzied fun-filled boozy Bacchanalian blasts.  At one I attended, both the bride and the groom passed out right in their seats and had to be dragged out to their limo!!  Passed out cold and piled on top of each other in the back seat, I couldn’t help thinking what a compatible couple they were. “God made ‘em; God matched ‘em.”
At another, I happened to notice my 17 year old cousin surreptitiously chugging champagne out of a bottle he had stolen from the bar. The drunker he got, the meaner the looks he sent in the direction of his mother’s (the bride’s) new husband.  Next thing I knew, after some pushing and shoving and name calling with his new stepfather, the two had kicked off their shoes and were karate chopping and drunkenly kung-fu kicking each other in the middle of the dance floor as the wobbly bride stood on a chair shrieking. When police arrived to break it up,  and started handcuffing the two of them, the drunken bride jumped on one of the cop’s backs and started beating him on the head with her bouquet! Then all three were hauled off to the paddy wagon screaming and spitting — not a pretty sight! The big question at this Irish wedding became “Should we stay and keep drinking?  Or go home?” What do you think the answer was?!
Hopefully none of these low-class shenanigans will take place at your classy wedding reception. My advice is to choose a champagne within your budget and a red and white wine that you can either drink by itself or enjoy with food. There are so many good value wines that are available now. I recommend cruising on over to Chateau de Costco or Sam’s Club and buying a dozen bottles or so; and having your own little taste test with a couple of members of your wedding party months before your nuptials. Ordering wine by the case at these venues can get you even more discounts. One more thing, order more champagne than you think you’re gonna need.  Better to have left over bubbly than run out of it and watch your guests run out with it.
Cheers!
P.S. I’m available for wedding wine and champagne consultations but I’m not as cheap as I look!

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Beaufort’s own bridal show

By Lanier Laney

The Beaufort Bridal Show returns for the third year to the Holiday Inn this weekend and it’s bigger and better this year than ever before.  The show, was created by the Holiday Inn Management and Sales Team — Bob Barnes, GM; Phillip Carroway, Director of Sales; and Nikki Williams, Sales Manager in conjunction with the Hilton Garden Inn.
They came up with the idea along with their Bridal Guide to help couples in the local market gain awareness of how many great resources there are in Beaufort for brides.
Says Phillip Carroway, “The wedding reception is one of the first thing that brides start with when planning the wedding so we try we originally helped them by offering business cards of vendors that we have worked with at Holiday Inn and had a great experience. Now, instead of handing a bride a handful of business cards from the local area, we give them our Bridal Guide. The Bridal Guide has our most popular wedding menus, the ballroom floor plan, pictures of the different guest rooms we offer, as well as a bridal check list, and the vendor list.
This year’s show will feature 40 vendors from the Beaufort area to include photographers, catering and event planners, florists, musicians, DJ services, hair and makeup artists, transportation providers, wedding event rentals, clothing designers, boutiques, hotels, resorts and private clubs.  The retailers will be there to answer questions and help with planning. The event will take place on Saturday, February 25 at the Holiday Inn from 12 – 4 p.m. The show will feature several fashion shows that will include custom made bridal gowns and the latest in spring fashion, live music performances from local artists, and showcase some specialty rental items such as custom up lighting, drapes, arches and columns. Many of the vendors that will be showcasing their products and services will be offering special deals the day of show. There will also be samples, tastings and give-a-ways. Brides will receive a special gift bag at registration that will be filled with special offers, samples and information on services and products featured at the show. The event is free and open to the public.
The Holiday Inn is located at 2225 Boundary Street, Beaufort.

SOME IDEAS WHEN GETTING MARRIED HERE

If planning a wedding, here is my short list of possible vendors and locations to consider:

Wedding Planner: Several incredible weddings that I have attended, I’ve asked “Wow who did this?” and each time the answer has been Ashley Rhodes. Established in 2006, Ashley Rhodes Events is a full service event planning and design studio, providing event design, management and consulting services.  Armed with fresh ideas, simple style and smart strategies, principle, Ashley Rhodes has what it takes to plan and execute your ideal event.  A complimentary consultation is provided to get to know each client and to build an event package based on your event style, scale, wants and needs.  Call Ashley today to schedule your consultation. 843-368-2554. 918 8th Street, Port Royal, SC 29935. www.ashleyrhodesevents.com.

RENTALS: Andy Burris, Richard and the whole great gang at Amazing Event Rentals do a terrific job.  They are the guys (and girls) in the hot pink shirts driving the hot pink trucks that I’m sure you’ve seen driving around town while they help make every event Amazing… 35 Parris Island Gateway; Beaufort, SC 29906. (843) 379-5503. amazingeventrentals@gmail.com.

LOCATIONS: • Rhett House Inn: For the ultimate Antebellum romantic Southern location. Has a fabulous porch and garden for tents. 1009 Craven Street Beaufort, South Carolina 29902. (888) 480-9530, (843) 524.9030. info@rhetthouseinn.com.
• Beaufort Inn: For Victorian elegance, and the Old Bay Marketplace Loft and Rooftop for a modern venue and a spectacular rooftop with a water/sunset view. Contact Dawn Pemberton at 843-379-3470 or events@beaufortinn.com for more information.
• Holiday Inn has a big beautiful room for weddings (it’s where the bridal show is held). (843) 379-3100 2225 Boundary St, Beaufort. Contact Phillip Carroway Director of Sales, philip.carroway@hibeaufort.com.
• Some private historic homes are for rent for weddings. Marshlands on the Old Point is one.
• Vintage yacht: Romantic sunset cruises from the downtown marina on a vintage wooden 1930 Elco Cruisette. (might also be a good place to “pop the question.”) www.beaufortvintagevoyages.com. 1-855-266-2533.

CATERER: Southern Graces: Let Bethany and her well trained crew provide everything — even furniture! www.southerngracescatering.com. 843-379-0555.
hair salon: Limelight: Downtown Beaufort’s premiere full service hair salon. 612 Carteret St. 843-379-5463.

MAKEUP ARTIST: Adrien Bell does make up application, also lash tinting, brow tinting, facials, temporary lashes, all waxing services. You can find her at Adrien Bell Skincare and Waxing Services at Halo Salon and Spa. 184 Sea Island Parkway, Lady’s Island. 843-540-9162.

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Partnership takes flight: Beaufort Elementary, Fripp Audubon program teaches students about birds

The Fripp Audubon Club has formed a partnership with Beaufort Elementary School — home of the Seagulls — to inspire students to learn more about birds and bird identification, advise the school on bird habitat improvements in the school’s Life Lab and to help create a “bird walk” art display for the bird named hallways.

Birding 101 Fourth grade

The initiative will pilot the Fripp Audubon programs with Beaufort Elementary School’s fourth grade science students and fourth grade engineering students in the school’s AMES Academy. In March, following up on Audubon’s sponsored Great Backyard Bird Count, Beaufort Elementary will hold its first Fripp Audubon partnered event with a bird feeder building workshop, bird talks and the unveiling of Fripp Audubon and collaborative artwork to be displayed in the school’s hallways.
Additionally, Fripp Audubon has coordinated to bring Charleston’s Center for Birds of Prey to Beaufort Elementary for a school-wide visit and flight demonstration. This Spring, 4th grade science classes are invited to Fripp Island for a birding field trip to the Audubon Nature Trail in order to reinforce and apply in the field what the students have learned in the classroom.
Darby James, school coordinator for the partnership program, says “a team of science teachers have been working on program development for months. We are very excited about this community partnership and the fledgling birders that it will inspire in our BES Seagulls.”
“There is a great deal of excitement about the partnership,” says Sally Work, the program coordinator for Fripp Audubon. “This is part of an initiative to help develop a template for other schools in the future.”

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Dr. Wall’s legacy and beyond

By Julia Stewart Corner, Head of School, Beaufort Academy
Dr. Randy Wall, Headmaster at Beaufort Academy from 2009-2011 left an indelible mark on this fine school. Despite his untimely passing in June, Dr. Wall left a legacy that will last for decades.
Beaufort Academy has long been revered for its ability to prepare students for college as well as their role in society. Under Dr. Wall’s tenure the core values of intellect, integrity, leadership, pride, and respect were solidified. These core values are exemplified on campus every day as the staff works to fulfill his vision, and the vision of the founders of Beaufort Academy.
Intellect is always at the forefront at Beaufort Academy. We have a rigorous academic program that yields outstanding students and graduates. A few academic kudos this year are:  National Merit Scholar Semi-Finalist, Michael Bible; the Math team finished in first place in the recent state tournament; Quiz Bowl Teams continue to place in final rounds at multiple tournaments; Spelling Bee contestants were winners again this year; and our Chess Team has qualified to compete for the national title this spring.
Our central mission is 100% college acceptance for Beaufort Academy seniors. For the fifth year in a row, bucking national trends, our SAT scores rose, and were once again higher than the national average. As a testament to what we do at Beaufort Academy, seniors are accepted to their colleges of choice. This year’s graduating class has been accepted at 38 colleges thus far with another 80 acceptance letters due in April.
Integrity is found in the classrooms, the halls, and within the athletic teams. For example, even though they are permitted, we have no locks on lockers.  All students adhere to a strict honor pledge that clarifies the expectation of integrity in all their actions. A student honor council resolves issues where integrity is in question.
Leadership is taught in many ways. For example, officers are elected each year for student government, numerous clubs, and service organizations like Interact. These student leaders attend a leadership institute throughout the year to teach them leadership skills for now the future.
Pride translates into school spirit at Beaufort Academy.  In addition to spirited pep rallies, students demonstrate it often by wearing the “blue and white.” Students participate in numerous sports including tennis, football, swimming, soccer, golf, basketball, and golf. Sailing and chess clubs have won championships this year. The dress code is adhered to by all students, and is one way pride permeates the school.
Respect is the final core value. It is the way we treat each other at Beaufort Academy. Students learn proper etiquette along with academic classes. They leave us ready to handle situations requiring tact, thoughtfulness, and people skills.
Yes, at Beaufort Academy we work with the whole student. We stress an academic atmosphere laced with caring and compassion.
Moving forward we will continue to fulfill the strategic plan crafted under Dr. Wall’s guidance. The six main goals of the plan lead us well into the future with renewed commitment to providing a safe, secure, academic environment manned by the best faculty and staff of the Lowcountry. We take these charges seriously.
As the new Head of School at Beaufort Academy, I am awed by several things: the experienced staff, the caring community of parents, the committed students, and the noble mission. Our students come from varying backgrounds but have one common denominator — they all want to have access to the college that best meets the needs for their futures. That is the reason we are here. We welcome any parent of a student who wants to reach their full potential to contact our admission office.  Explore what Beaufort Academy can offer your precious children.
Editor’s Note: Ms. Julia Stewart Corner was recently named Head of School at Beaufort Academy. She comes from an extensive background in education having taught high school and been in educational administration for more than 31 years. Her Bachelors and Masters degrees were earned at the University of Pittsburgh.

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Church presents Charleston Symphony Orchestra

As part of the continuing celebration of its Tricentennial year, the Parish Church of St. Helena will host a concert by the Charleston Symphony Orchestra on Saturday, March 10 beginning at 7 p.m. in the sanctuary at St. Helena’s.
According to Pat Gould, Music director and organist for St. Helena’s, and the Standing Committee Chairperson for the Tricentennial’s overall special music program, the symphony will play an exciting program featuring music from those three centuries. “The orchestra will play works of Handel, Holst and Mozart, as well as Elizabethan Consort Music for brass and timpani,” Gould said.
Because of generous donations from parishioners and the community, the church is pleased to offer the concert at only $10 per ticket for adults, and Free to students 18 and under. “Tickets are going fast,” Gould said, “and everyone must have one, even those that are free to students.”  Reserved sponsorship seating is available but other seats are on a first come basis.
Gould said she is overjoyed that the church is able to provide an orchestra of this caliber to the community, and to expose symphonic music to families who might not otherwise be able to hear an orchestra, and to that end, the church is providing a nursery, also at no charge.
Those wanting to take advantage of the nursery must make reservations.
The Parish Church of St. Helena is located at 505 Church Street, Beaufort.  For more information or to purchase tickets, contact the church office at 843-522-1712 or visit www.sthelenas1712.org.  For information on sponsorship packages, contact janspringle@earthlink.net.

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Met Live in HD: Verdi’s Ernani

On Saturday, February 25 at 12:55 p.m.,  USCB Center for the Arts and The Met: Live in HD will showcase Giuseppe Verdi’s opera, “Ernani.” Angela Meade takes center stage as Elvira in Verdi’s thrilling early gem. Marcello Giordani sings the title role as her mismatched lover, and all-star Verdians Ferruccio Furlanetto and Dmitri Hvorostovsky round out the cast as her uncle, Don Ruy Gomez de Silva, and Don Carlo, the king of Spain.
Based on a play by Victor Hugo, the opera’s implausible plot is set in early 16th century Spain. A nobleman has lost his title and wealth in a civil war and becomes the leader of a band of outlaws.  He takes the name of Ernani and vows to rescue his love, Elvira, from a forced marriage to her aged uncle and guardian.  In the struggles between the two that ensue, Don Carlo, the king, is also revealed as a suitor for her hand.  The two enemies agree to suspend their quarrel and join forces against the king. Presented in four acts, Verdi’s opera provides a wealth of rousing choruses and full-blooded arias sure to satisfy the most demanding of fans.
With the recent technology upgrades to USCB Center for the Arts, the larger screen and improved sound will provide an even greater sense of “you are there” to the 11 live performances from the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House.  Upcoming performances include: Manon (Apr. 7) and La Traviata (Apr. 14).  For additional information on the operas go to www.metopera.org/hdlive.
All seating is assigned.  Adult/Senior $20; Osher Lifelong Learning Institute Members $16; USCB Students and Youth under 18 $10.
For additional information, contact USCB Center for the Arts director, Bonnie Hargrove, at 843-521-3145, or hargrov@uscb./edu.

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An era is quietly ending in Beaufort …

By Lanier Laney

How can you tell when one tide ends and another begins to come in or when the seasons just start to change? It’s subtle but you just know it’s happening, through a dozen little changes you start to notice and you know will add up to a bigger change. I’ve been in Beaufort for the past 12 years and actively covering the day to day “social scene” for the past four and I can tell you without a doubt that change is upon us! There’s a new era being born this spring in Beaufort.  Four restaurants and an upscale market opening.

Marianne & Steve Harrison on the porch of the Rhett House Inn.

Two of Beaufort’s restaurants expanding to other cities, real estate bouncing back, unexpected deaths of beloved longtime residents, and happy births of new ones. Traffic where there use to be none.  I’m sure you can feel it too!
One couple who have been key players in this passing era are Marianne and Steve Harrison, owners of the Rhett House Inn and I wanted to acknowledge their contribution to this city and what they helped it become these last 20 years. They are retiring and moving back to their apartment in New York City to spend more time with their two children there and three grandchildren. Their beautiful home behind the inn, which was featured in Southern Living magazine, has just become part of the inn and can be rented by the night or month.
One of the reasons the Harrison’s decided to move to Beaufort was because of the “many colorful fun characters” they found here and they quickly became “colorful” characters of their own in Beaufort’s cast with their strong New York accents lovingly imitated by Southerners bemused by things they said.
Says Marianne, “When we came here 25 years ago to visit a friend, Beaufort was really depressed, the downtown was empty, and what became the Rhett House Inn was a run down dark building that had been empty for two years. But Steve fell in love with it and thought he could make it into a great business because of his love of people and he said I could decorate it. So with architect Jimmy Thomas’s help we brought it back. And we did every job at the inn in the early years, from cooking to waiting on tables in the restaurant.”
Over the 25 years, Marianne and Steve took the inn from five guest rooms (and one telephone) to 19 beautifully appointed rooms today. And they have been awarded the AAA 4 Diamond 17 years in a row — the only inn in South Carolina that has done so.
But beside the inn, they helped put Beaufort on the map nationally and worldwide and here’s how: They both came from big fashion careers in New York (Marianne’s father started Anne Klein). So they had dozens of contacts at the New York-based magazines and newspapers. Within the first two years of opening the inn, Beaufort was featured in 10 national publications including Vogue, W, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Travel & Leisure, to name just a few.
Marianne said, “We wrote up the press releases and called our friends at the magazines in New York and invited them to stay at the inn when they came to do the story.  We loved Beaufort and wanted it to be more important. We always promoted Beaufort first and foremost to them. We wanted to help the world to see the city we loved.”
Says Steve, “From day one we were amazed at how open and inviting and nice people were to us and made us feel so comfortable here.  We both have a lot of love for the people of Beaufort and it’s been the hardest decision of my life to leave.”
Another major boon they gave to Beaufort was this: Barbra Streisand bought the film rights to “Prince of Tides” and was set to direct it.  But she was going to shoot the movie in Wilmington, N.C., because it was cheaper than shooting in South Carolina. Barbra and her crew came to the Rhett House Inn to photograph sites in Beaufort from the book. Marianne met Barbra and arranged a dinner party at the inn and invited Pat Conroy and Harriet Keyserling.  Pat and Barbra hit it off that night, and the three of them convinced Barbra to shoot the movie in Beaufort instead of Wilmington. Marianne found Barbra a house to rent for three months and the rest is history. The movie became a worldwide hit and audiences around the globe got to see the beauty of Beaufort on the big screen.  Some recent visitors to Beaufort from Germany who stayed at the inn vividly remembered the movie and always wanted to come here. Plus, the filming of the movie brought millions into the local ailing economy. Other movies followed in its wake and the Rhett House became a celebrity destination. Among those who have stayed have been Gwyneth Paltrow, Nick Nolte, Ben Affleck, Sandra Bullock, Blythe Danner, Ridley Scott, Demi Moore, and Sharon Stone to name a few.
Marianne also served on the board of CODA and was chairwoman for six years and was also on the board of Hope Haven. Steve’s been a part of every downtown organization that promoted Beaufort.
Says Marianne, “We love Beaufort and it’s the hardest thing in the world to leave, but we feel for the inn to go to the next level it needs young energy with new ideas.”
It’s on the market now represented by Will and Deena McCullough at Lowcountry Real Estate.
The Harrisons leave Beaufort with a heavy heart, but they leave it in much better shape than they found it. From all of us in Beaufort, we say to you Marianne and Steve, “Job well done!”  And THANK YOU for all that you did for Beaufort!

 

… As a new one begins
I’m sure you know people who have second homes here but work and live in Atlanta or Charlotte fulltime. But have you ever heard of someone living in Beaufort fulltime while still working fulltime in Charlotte? Well, meet Kim  and Rich Steinbruck who not only do that but Kim was also recently promoted to Sr. Vice President of Bank of America for her outstanding work for them.  And her husband Rich “telecommutes” to his insurance company job there too.

Rich and Kim Steinbruck.

Says Kim, “We simply fell in love with Beaufort — the natural beauty, the small town vibe, the wonderful people … We bought our home in the summer of 2005 as a vacation home and eventual retirement home. We decided to move here fulltime as soon as our jobs (and technology) would allow it.  We got the go ahead in January 2011. We were here fulltime two months later. It was an opportunity to simplify our lives and fulfill a dream. We still pinch ourselves each day.  We can’t believe we’re fortunate enough to call this amazing place our home.”
They and others represent a new generation of 30 and 40-year-old working “telecommuters” who are moving to Beaufort. Barbara States is another example of this. She recently moved to Beaufort fulltime while still continuing to work fulltime for a publisher of books in Boston. Laura Bowles moved to Habersham and continues to work fulltime for her investment company in Baltimore. Together these newly transplanted couples are helping to change the Beaufort “scene,” including its night life.
Last weekend Kim’s husband Rich gave her a 40th Birthday Bash downtown at the beautiful new hi-tech event space and rooftop deck called Old Bay Marketplace Loft & Rooftop Deck (rented through The Beaufort Inn).  That included great dancing and a DJ with catering by Southern Graces. The fun, young crowd was filled with many familiar Beaufort faces but an equal amount of new faces I did not recognize.  Friends from Charlotte who are now vowing to look for second homes here after sampling Kim and Rich’s great Beaufort lifestyle.

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