Whenever I travel, I like to look up local brick and mortar shops that carry the products I like to use such as Dixie Belle Paint, or I.O.D. or re.design with prima transfers. If a shop carries those products, they also tend to have other things that appeal to me.
So when I was planning our trip to Charleston, I visited the ‘find a retailer’ pages on the Dixie Belle website and the Iron Orchid Designs website. I ended up finding a shop in Summerville, South Carolina called A Brush of Color that carried the I.O.D. stuff, and another called Antiques & Artisans Village that carried Dixie Belle products.
In addition to that, one of my lovely readers, Victoria, lives in South Carolina and when I asked her for recommendations on things to do she suggested eating at a place called Vicious Biscuit. I looked them up online and found that they had a location in Summerville as well.
Then I did a little more research on YouTube and learned that Summerville has a self-guided historic homes tour and that you can get a guide and map at their Visitor’s Center.
Well, it seemed like a day trip to Summerville was a no-brainer. It was also easily accomplished because we had a rental car. It’s about a 40 minute drive from Charleston, so a car was necessary.
Our first stop in Summerville was Vicious Biscuit so that we could fortify ourselves for the day.
Having lived in the south for a decade or so when I was younger, I developed an appreciation for a good biscuit. So I was super excited about this place.
There was a bit of a line to get in when we got there, so we knew it was going to be good.
I ordered what I consider one of the quintessential southern breakfasts, and also one of my personal favorites, biscuits and gravy with a scrambled egg on top.
Yum, it was delicious!
By the way, for those of you who have always wondered about the Dixie Belle paint color called Sawmill Gravy, this is what it’s named after. The sausage gravy that goes over biscuits.
Mr. Q ordered the Vicious Beignets.
He was a little disappointed that these weren’t authentic beignets, but instead were deep fried biscuit dough. But once he got over that, he loved them.
All I can say is that it seems to be a good thing when biscuits get vicious! Thanks for that recommendation Victoria!
After filling up on biscuits, we headed to the Summerville Visitor’s Center to grab that historic homes guide. While we were at it, we picked up a couple of other visitor guides as well.
As it turned out, we had missed their Flowertown Festival by one week (it was the previous weekend). Judging by the number of porta-potties they still had in town, I’m guessing we dodged a bullet there. I’m not sure we would have enjoyed dealing with those crowds.
Instead, we pretty much had the place to ourselves for the self-guided home tour. And that was just fine with us.
All of the homes on the tour were built in the 1800’s including the one above which dates to somewhere around 1885.
One of my favorite houses on the tour was the William Prioleau House. This house was built in 1896 in the Queen Anne style. I just love that metal roof, although I’m guessing the rusty-ness of it is probably a bad thing (I’m sorry, but the practical, accountant side of my brain is now thinking how crazy expensive it would be to replace that roof, if you could even find someone willing to tackle the job!).
The Oliver House (below) is well known for its mansard roof and the distinctive circular wrought iron gate leading to the front walk. It was built in 1888.
The Samuel Lord/Elizabeth Arden House (below) was built in 1891 and is considered more representative of Charleston homes.
This house was purchased by Elizabeth Arden in 1954, and that red door is the door that inspired her Red Door perfume.
I was a little confused when Mr. Q read from the guide and told me this next house was a crack house.
It seemed like a strange thing to put on a historic home tour. But no, it’s actually the Kracke House and was built in 1886.
The Blake Washington House (below) was built in 1862.
This is a typical plantation style house with wide open porches both up and down that wrap around the house. I am green with envy over those porches, wouldn’t they be fun to furnish? If you look closely you might be able to see that the ceilings of the porches are painted in a pale sky blue.
Painting your porch ceiling blue is a southern thing, and I’ve heard two explanations for it. The first, more pragmatic, reason is that it confuses wasps and/or birds into thinking the ceiling is really the sky so they don’t build their nests there. But the second explanation I’ve heard is that painting your porch ceiling the color of water was supposed to keep ghosts away because spirits can’t cross water. In fact, this color is called ‘haint blue’ for that reason, ‘haint’ being a Gullah term for a ghost, or more specifically, a restless spirit.
So, hey, that explains another Dixie Belle color, Haint Blue.
And as a sidebar, my own porch ceiling is painted in this color because I always loved the blue porch ceilings when I lived in the south.
Little did I realize that I was also keeping restless spirits at bay. It’s a win/win.
After checking out the historic homes, we headed to the first shop on my list, A Brush of Color.
Just from the setup outside, I knew this shop was going to be right up my alley.
And just inside the door I knew I was in the right place.
Doesn’t that look just like something I would do (for those who don’t recognize it, that is a portion of the IOD transfer called Label Ephemera).
And isn’t this buffet gorgeous?
That is the IOD Midnight Garden transfer, and since this shop sold Annie Sloan chalk paint, I’m sure those are Annie Sloan paints. But you could create a similar blended look using Dixie Belle’s Collard Greens, Kudzu and Spanish Moss.
The shop owner here was super friendly and welcoming. I chatted with her for quite a while. Unfortunately her shipment of the newest IOD release hadn’t come in yet, so I wasn’t able to find the newest paint inlay that I am obsessed with (I did order it online when I got home and you’ll see it here eventually).
After checking out a couple of other shops on the main street of Summerville, we hopped into the car and headed to the second shop on my list, Antiques and Artisans Village. I neglected to take any photos of that one. It was your typical strip mall location with a big space divided into ‘booths’ for various vendors. It was mostly antique dealers, which I only enjoy in very small doses (high prices, lots of knick knacks, etc). They did have a fairly good selection of Dixie Belle products though.
One last thing before we leave Summerville. I just had to share this …
We saw this near the park, and I have to admit it brought a tear to my eye. What a sweet gesture and a lovely way to remember a beloved pet.
After drooling over the window boxes, taking the hidden alley tour, walking around south of Broad, and visiting Middleton Place and Summerville, the last half of our Charleston vacation was spent at the beach. I’ll have one last post next week about that, so stay tuned for that.
Typically in the past when I’ve traveled I’ve brought home something to give away here on the blog, but I neglected to do that this time. But that doesn’t mean I can’t still have a Charleston themed giveaway!
It was easy to find lots of options in the Dixie Belle paint line that were appropriate. I debated including Haint Blue, Sawmill Gravy, or Collard Greens but I ended up with these three colors; Kudzu, Antebellum Blue and Spanish Moss plus one of their flat medium brushes.
The rules: Simply leave a comment on this blog post letting me know what has been your favorite post about Charleston to be eligible to win.
Your comment must be left on this blog post, not on Facebook or Instagram. You are not required to follow my blog, although it would be awesome if you did!
I will randomly draw the name of a winner for today’s prize from all of the comments left on this post by Sunday, May 15, 2022 at the stroke of midnight (U.S. Central time).
The fine print: no purchase necessary, you must be 18 years of age or older to win, void where prohibited by law, the number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning, approximate retail value of prize is $95, if the prize is not claimed by Friday, May 20, 2022 another name will be drawn at random to win, blah, blah, blah.
Thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co for providing the paint I’m giving away today.