17 September 2014

Kiawah-Charleston, Wednesday

Breakfast in Charleston this morning. Not too early, but we headed out into a surprisingly perfect, sunshining morning. We'd expected rain and an inside day at Charleston Museum and historic home tours.

Un-uh. We'll be outside on the streets and basking in the sunlight (and humidity).


Saffron Bakery-Cafe-Market


We've chosen Saffron Bakery and Cafe for our mid-morning breakfast in Charleston; both opting for the Mediterranean Omelette: roasted red peppers, spinach, green onion, feta and chopped fresh herbs. I opt for the accompanying grits, while BZY has one of the bakery breads on offer. Lovely.

We park just off East Bay and walk immediately to the Waterfront Park and spend our alotted 20 minutes in a swing overlooking the harbor and the Arthur Ravenel Bridge to Mount Pleasant


Arthur Ravenel Bridge to Mount Pleasant.


We continue along the waterfront, eventually walking Broad Street--Gallery Row--where we find small hidden courtyards, local gallery owners and artists eager to engage, and plenty of gorgeous architecture, vegetation, and historical significance.

Moss-covered bricks top this vine-covered wall.



After ice cream, we meander back to the car and off in search of Geechie Boy Grits. We've been give a lead to a market on Main Street near the Maybank Highway intersection. Ambrose Family Stono Farm Market it is!, where we happily find the wonderful grits we enjoyed at Husk on Monday evening.

Gheechie Boy Grits

Cook grits with half water-half chicken stock

Thin with cream

Stir in a bit of butter



If that wasn't enough, we rested a bit and had dinner at Chez Fish on Johns Island, close to home. Very good. Loved the location and the decor makes you smile. Some of the very best sweetgrass baskets being woven near the entrance.

My Fried Goat Cheese-Heirloom Tomato Salad.


BZY chose the seafood platter--flounder, scallops, and shrimp--and a she-crab soup opener. Finally! She's been obsessed to indulge. Excellent. I paired a fried goat cheese, heirloom tomato salad with the larger serving of she-crab soup, as my dinner. Excellent. Topped that with a chocolate-praline mousse.

BZY's entree.












The fat lady sang.


16 September 2014

Kiawah, Tuesday


We slept in! Really slept in. So, we didn't mount our trusty bikes until 11:30am, or so. We rode bike paths to Turtle Cove, then accessed the beach at Boardwalk #28 and rode along the wave line, in light then pouring rain, to Boardwalk #1, and back to our Greenslake Cottage. 1:30pm. Time for a quick shower and lunch at King Street Grill in the Fresh Fields Village. And then, shopping in the lovely boutiques--dashing between raindrops.


Dinner at the much anticipated Fig on Meeting Street in Charleston. Lovely food. Nice ambience. Great location. Husk wins! But, the experience at Fig was mighty fine.



Liberty Common School

So how did they do it? That has been the recurring question in all of the media interviews we have done in the past few weeks as reporters probe for secrets behind the record-breaking academic success of Liberty's students.

The core of the answer lies in the school's classical tradition of doing what works. We draw from the best examples of history and literature, and our historical horizon goes back all the way to ancient Greece and Rome. There is no secret here.

Since the end of the last school year, the faculty and administration at the high school have been reading Tracy Lee Simmons' Climbing Parnassus. The book's subtitle is "A New Apologia For Greek And Latin."

Every year, Liberty employees read a new book together; and this one elaborates the meaning and goals of a classical education, which comports with our school's longstanding philosophy. In fact, in its introduction, Climbing Parnassus quotes the author of Liberty's K-8 curriculum E.D. Hirsch in support of traditional education.

There, Simmons quotes this passage from Hirsch's Cultural Literacy:

"Illiterate and semiliterate Americans are condemned not only to poverty, but also to the powerlessness of incomprehension. Knowing that they do not understand the issues, and feeling prey to manipulative oversimplifications, they do not trust the system of which they are supposed to be the masters. They do not feel themselves to be attractive participants in our republic, and they often do not turn out to vote."

It is reassuring indeed to see the architect of our school's curriculum so sagaciously represented in Climbing Parnassus as Simmons builds an airtight case for classical liberal education. Both he and Hirsch advocate educating children in ways that embrace the best lessons of Western civilization.

Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle stand brilliant against today's standards. Our students should know about them. Homer, Ovid, Chaucer, and Milton are authors our students must read. Pythagoras, Ptolemy, and Euclid revealed truth, beauty, and perfection in ways our students ought to appreciate at the youngest age possible.

If you have not yet seen the recent 9News coverage of Liberty's record-breaking ACT scores, you absolutely should (CLICK HERE). Reporter Nelson Garcia succeeded in capturing the instructional mastery of English teacher Mr. Jared Dybzinski as he led students through Liberty's traditional Grammar Launch.

Mr. Dybzinski teaches grammar the way it ought to be taught - the way the best English teachers have taught grammar for centuries: Classically.

Junior Mady Allen told the camera how a classical education empowers her and her Liberty peers. And, in reply to the persistent question about how Liberty consistently excels, we once again revealed the enigmatic answer.

There really is no secret. We do nothing innovative here. We do what is old and what has been demonstrated to work.

Nonetheless, in the broader context of American education, there are few schools around anymore that truly arm youngsters with the knowledge they will need as adults in order to live freely. Liberty does, and that is what makes the school only seem unique and innovative.

Last Wednesday afternoon, the high-school faculty gathered to discuss Climbing Parnassus at the first of five such all-staff meetings. The discussion was led by six of Liberty's founders.

Classical liberal principles from the book were underscored as reminders of why Liberty maintains some of the traditions we do. For example, a classical approach to education informs Liberty's handwriting policy, our video-viewing policy, our grammar instruction, our Latin instruction, why we memorize things, and of course, the Core Knowledge Sequence.

"Liberal education ought to aim not just at furnishing the mind with serviceable knowledge and information, nor even at habituating the mind to rational methods, but at leading it to wisdom, to a quality of knowledge tempered by experience and imbued with understanding," writes Simmons. "Liberal education civilizes. It transforms us. We are better for having run its course."

And that is the not-so-secret secret to the record-breaking success of Liberty Common School students.



15 September 2014

Kiawah-Charleston, Monday

There are few words that can fully describe this meal. Melt-in-the-Mouth might handle it.



A salad of Arugula with Glazed Beets and Summer Berries,

Candied Pecans, Asher Blue, Strawberry Vinaigrette


Marinated Peaches with Surryano Ham, Roasted Sweet Corn,

Frilly Mustards, Toasted Virginia Peanuts, Honey Ricotta.

We both chose.

Cornmeal Dusted Catfish, Sweet Corn and Virginia Sausage

"Gumbo," Geechie Boy* Grits, Charred Okra, Confit Cherry Tomatoes.


And that was just dinner. Late dinner. Reservations at 9:00pm.

*Geechy (most commonly spelled Geechee or less often Geechie) is a name historically given to and associated with the dialect of English spoken by white people of the South Carolina low country especially in the region between Georgetown and Beaufort. A typical "Geechee" is from a family that has long resided in the area and acquired the dialect and accent in the home. There has been a movement lately to incorrectly include Geechee as a part of the "Gullah" dialect spoken by the descendants of African-American slaves in the same region and their associated culture. The geechee dialect is sometimes humorously referred to as "Charlestonese"since the region it is most commonly spoken is centered around Charleston, SC.

-Urban Dictionary


For a late breakfast, we feasted at Hominy Grill.

I loved my over-easy fried eggs, grits, and bacon. I was too engaged to notice what BZY ate, but know it involved my biscuit and some grits, too. Oh... Think she had shrimp and grits.

We hiked over to the Visitor Center, booked a carriage ride, ended up in Area 3 which was a different tour than I've done before. Our mule driver was charming and a talker, so we had a jam-packed deluge of good Charleston facts, fiction, and conjecture.

After a walk through the Old Market, and a bit of browsing, we returned to Kiawah (in the rain) for mid-afternoon, early evening. Good timing as we avoided touring in the rain and enjoyed the lulling sounds of rain and thunder after we snugged in.


14 September 2014

Kiawah, Flora and Fauna







Whoops! How did that get in here?!