Friday, November 7, 2014

Birds of Magnolia Cemetery

Last Sunday, on a gorgeous fall afternoon, I visited Magnolia Cemetery in Charleston where the bird activity was abundant! Check out the Kizoa slideshow I prepared. The Kizoa program is very fun and easy to learn.

Magnolia Birds - Video Maker

I have written two books about Magnolia Cemetery: "The Birds of Magnolia Cemetery: Charleston's Secret Bird Sanctuary" (I guess the secret's out now!) and more recently "In the Arms of Angels: Magnolia Cemetery- Charleston's Treasure of History, Mystery and Artistry." Details on the books and more of my bird and nature photography can be found at my BirdsEyeViews website. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Kizoa Slideshow: Aruba Vacation

Having some fun learning a free new program called Kizoa.
Here's a slideshow I put together from photos taken in Aruba in May during a wonderful vacation with my wife Alesia. As they say on the island, Bon Dia!

Kizoa slideshows may not appear in the icon form below on some smart phones but you can click still click here to see the show.

To see more of my Aruba photography, click here. Thanks for watching!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Charleston's Latest National TV Exposure: Murder-for-Hire Case

Happier times: Christopher Latham, pictured with his wife, Nancy in 2010, has been charged with conspiring to kill her in a murder-for-hire plot
Better times: Christopher Latham and wife Nancy in 2010


This year has been bountiful for Charleston's TV facetime. While the hospitality, tourism and restaurant accolades continue, 2014 has seen an added dimension with the Holy City a backdrop for the Bravo "reality" series "Southern Charm" and the CBS drama "Reckless."

On Sept. 19 Charleston was again on national television, this time for a two-hour NBC "Dateline" program about the sordid Latham murder-for-hire saga.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

My Two New Nature Videos!

I recently added two new videos to my YouTube channel. Both were shot late this summer on separate dates at the Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge. The vast 7,200 acre refuge is located off Highway 17 about 30 minutes south of Charleston's Citadel Mall. So what if it was 90-plus degrees out there, when nature calls...nature calls!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Shuttle Trolley Once Quaint Now Crowded

Tight fit on the Harbor Walk bus
As a long time CofC employee, I have for years parked in the city garage near the South Carolina Aquarium. I have always walked the several blocks to campus or have ridden the free CARTA shuttle bus to and from campus.

But with the recent start of the new school year what had been a quaint and quiet bus ride has become, at times, crowded and uncomfortable. The reason: the College of Charleston at Harbor Walk.

CofC is leasing 45,000 square feet of space at the Aquarium Wharf facility situated next to the aquarium. The college needed this "swing space" while renovations are being made to the Rita Hollings Science Center and soon to the Simons Center for the Arts. The computer science department is also now based at Harbor Walk.

Once home to an IMax theater and a military museum, Harbor Walk more recently has served as a set for the CBS drama "Reckless." Viewers of the Sunday night show might recognize the location as the Charleston Police Department headquarters in "Reckless."

Harbor Walk is part of  the "Reckless" TV show
Harbor Walk is about a mile from CofC's campus. Walking takes between 10 and 15 minutes. The CARTA ride from campus takes half the time, depending on traffic.

Harbor Walk features modern architecture and great views of the harbor, the port, the Ravenel Bridge and the Yorktown aircraft carrier at Patriots Point.

The college inked a seven year lease for the waterfront property with an option to renew for seven more years.

New signage at CofC's Harbor Walk 
A College of Charleston Harbor Walk FAQ site can answer most basic questions students and others may have.

If crowded CARTA buses aren't your thing, the walk up and down Calhoun Street is good exercise and can be pleasant so long as the heat index isn't in triple digits- as we've had a lot of since school resumed.

The seven year lease seems a clue that doing the "Harbor Walk Hustle" won't be a short-term deal.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Magnolia Cemetery Book Signing Set for Saturday, April 12

BirdsEyeViews Publications announces that Patrick Harwood, a communication professor at the College of Charleston, will sign copies of his new book on Saturday, April 12, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at Magnolia Cemetery, located at 70 Cunnington Ave. (See author's interview on WCIV-TV "Lowcountry Live").

The 231-page hardcover book is titled, "In the Arms of Angels: Magnolia Cemetery- Charleston's Treasure of History, Mystery and Artistry." 
Cover of Harwood's new book

In Harwood's book Magnolia Cemetery, founded in 1850, receives a comprehensive tribute as one of America’s premier Victorian Era cemeteries. 

Chapters address, among other topics, Magnolia’s rich history; artistic, magnificent monuments; symbolism; spirituality; and landscape design. 

The pages are filled with stories about cemetery "residents" (a who’s who of Charleston and Lowcountry history) and color photographs that capture the 19th century Victorian necropolis' unique style and look. 

A book signing is also scheduled for  Thursday, April 17 on Cougar Mall at the College of Charleston campus from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

This is Harwood's second book about Magnolia Cemetery.

“Since publishing in 2011 ‘The Birds of Magnolia Cemetery: Charleston's Secret Bird Sanctuary,’” I knew I wanted to write a second book about this interesting, historic place, which continues to be somewhat of a hidden treasure among Charleston's many better known and publicized attractions," 
Harwood said. 

Harwood said he spent nearly two years on the book, researching, writing, photographing, and even designing and laying out the work himself, in Adobe InDesign. “In the Arms of Angels” is published under Harwood’s own enterprise, BirdsEyeViews Publications. Printing (in America) was handled by 360 Digital Books located in the Detroit area. 

In 2010, Harwood, a former television anchor and news reporter, produced this video about Magnolia Cemetery: 
“In the Arms of Angels” has been endorsed by several local historians. Richard W. Hatcher III of the Fort Sumter National Monument calls it “a well-balanced work combining history and beautiful photography of one of the South’s most historic cities of the dead.”

College of Charleston history professor Robert P. Stockton praises the book as “the first work to deal with the art, architecture and landscape design of Magnolia Cemetery in a comprehensive manner.”

S.C. Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell (recently selected to be the College of Charleston’s next president), who is a Civil War expert, describes “In the Arms of Angels” as “a landmark book on one of Charleston’s landmarks.” 

More information on the book can be found at, by calling 843.224.3112, or emailing

Harwood, who holds mass communications and  journalism degrees from Virginia Commonwealth University and Northwestern University, has worked and taught at the College of Charleston since 1992.

The College of Charleston’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences provided funding support for his research project.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Big Day! My New Book Arrives!

Nearly two years of work came to fruition today when UPS delivered the first shipment of my new book about Magnolia Cemetery in Charleston. What a relief! And I'm so pleased with how good it looks-- and I feel like it reads great too. The books arrived just in time for my presentation to the Carolina Nature Photographers Association (CNPA), a group I've part of since 2012.
"In the Arms of Angels" is finally in my arms. Now all I have to do is sell them...
I'm not planning to let these boxes gather much dust at my house!

More information (including ordering details) on "In the Arms of Angels: Magnolia Cemetery- Charleston's Treasure of History, Mystery and Artistry" is on my BirdsEyeViews blog. My first book signing is scheduled for Saturday, April 12, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at Magnolia Cemetery. Come on out to see my book and to visit one of America's most historic and beautiful cemeteries! 

Last week for an assignment in my Multimedia Reporting class one of my students, Lindsey Maloney, did a  nice feature piece about the new book. She titled it, "Patrick Harwood: Getting to Know the Man Behind the Camera." Very mysterious, right? I really like how Lindsey wrote and laid out the article on her blog. Check it out!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Peninsula Grill Provides Restaurant Week Thrill

One of Charleston's most highly touted restaurants, Peninsula Grill, did not disappoint when Alesia and I dined there for the first time in January.

Peninsula Grill is near the City Market entrance
It was the biannual Charleston Restaurant Week, and we were coming off another first time culinary experience at 82 Queen the weekend before.

Peninsula Grill, located in the Planters Inn at the corner of Meeting and North Market streets, proved a fine complement with its very formal single large dining room, compared to 82 Queen with its small, sectioned rooms within a beautiful old house (see my 82 Queen review).

Peninsula Grill is one of Charleston's most-celebrated and highly-regarded restaurants. It did not take long to start to see why. The place oozes class. I quickly wondered if I came under-dressed upon noticing that all the men were in coat and tie. But not all were, so I felt OK.

The staff here is first rate. We were warmly greeted by managers upon entering, and graciously thanked when we departed. Our server was very good. Everyone was attentive and showed great attention to detail and service.

With many of its entrees topping $40, Peninsula Grill's special Restaurant Week offering of $40 for a three-course meal was quite a value. Alesia and I both started with a cocktail and the Trio of Soup, which was three separate small portions of: lobster corn chowder, wild mushroom bisque, and heirloom pumpkin and sweet potato bisque. Have to say, I've never had (or heard of) pumpkin soup!

This was, indeed, a unique appetizer, giving diverse tastes. The soup and the warm bread served in a basket got things off to a fine start.
The soup trio was different- and good

Restaurant Week menu

 As you see in the menu above, pork, steak and seafood were the entrée options. We both opted for the grilled New York strip.  It was accompanied by creamy truffled herb risotto, baby vegetables that included asparagus, and black pepper natural jus.
Everything individually and collectively was delicious! I would go back again (and again!) for this meal, though maybe not at regular prices, maybe in September for the next Restaurant Week.
Excellent presentation- and flavors- with the N.Y. strip steak
Peninsula Grill is noted for its coconut cake. Interestingly, that was not on the dessert menu. But we did pay $10 for a to-go slice. Our waiter said the heavy concoction of deliciousness weighs 1 pound, per slice. It did have some weight to it, but also great taste.
For Restaurant Week, the dessert options were German chocolate bread pudding (below left) and orange spiced pound cake (also pictured below). I had the former; she had the latter. Both were excellent, maybe the chocolate bread pudding a little more so.

We thoroughly enjoyed Peninsula Grill and will surely keep it mind for special events, guests and, of course, future Charleston Restaurant Weeks. Maybe next time I'll really dress up and wear a coat and tie (OK, a coat, but probably not the tie).
The German chocolate cake was superb
The orange spiced pound cake balanced sin with
A toast to Peninsula Grill, which lived up to its lofty reputation
The dining room at Peninsula Grill



Sunday, January 12, 2014

82 Queen Shines on Rainy Saturday Night

January's popular Charleston Restaurant Week may not help patrons stick to New Year's weight loss resolutions, but it can help cure the post-holiday blues.

Organized by the Greater Charleston Restaurant Association, some 140 Lowcountry restaurants are part of the Jan. 8-19 event, offering special pricing for multi-course meals ranging from $20-$40 per person. Some places offer less expensive lunch specials. The full list of restaurant week eateries can be seen here.

Saturday's rain didn't deter us from making our reservation at 82 Queen located downtown at, of course, 82 Queen St. between Meeting and King streets.

Alesia outside 82 Queen
This would be a first time visit for us to 82 Queen- and based on our five-star experience- we will be back.

The restaurant is broken up into several small dining rooms downstairs and upstairs.

We were the first guests in a small four table room downstairs. It was quite cozy with dark wood, book wallpaper on one side and antler light fixtures.

One of 82 Queen's cozy dining rooms
For Restaurant Week, 82 Queen offered a three-course meal for $30 per person. As appetizers, I selected the pork and beans soup, which was chunky and delicious. Alesia was very impressed with her She Crab Soup. (See the full restaurant week menu below)

For our main course, we each had the Queen's Barbecue Shrimp & Grits. I've had this Lowcountry favorite at numerous restaurants downtown. I'll put 82 Queen's rendition in my top three for sure.
It was delicious with creamy grits and large tasty shrimp. The portion was just right, not too much or not enough.

82 Queen's classic shrimp and grits.
The biscuits are pretty darn good too!

The shrimp and grits dish was as good as it looks in my photo here! It's topped with Southern Comfort Barbecue Sauce, apple-smoked bacon, cheddar cheese and green onions.

With the shrimp and grits, side dishes are not offered, and are not needed. I did order more of the delicious biscuits, which made a nice complement to the entrée.

Our server was very good, with a positive and cheerful attitude, despite having to dash in and out of the rain outside, 82 Queen having the segmented dining rooms that it does.

Jazz music played at a pleasantly low level.
Everything was perfect really...especially the final course...our dessert!

The chocolate cake slices were larger than the server described. I had no complaints about that. I can't remember ever having better chocolate cake!
"To die for" chocolate cake!

82 Queen was a hit with us. We'll be back and not just during a future Charleston Restaurant Week.

Our bill for the evening was just more than $100 (plus tip), but we had a couple of the special cocktails to start off the visit and then a glass of chardonnay with our shrimp and grits dinner.

We'll cross another "haven't been" downtown restaurant off our list next weekend when we visit Peninsula Grill near the City Market.
                                                              Good times at 82 Queen!
  Above is 82 Queen's menu for Charleston Restaurant Week
 Click here to see my Halls Chophouse Charleston Restaurant Week post from September 2012.