Thursday, January 12, 2017

Chapter 9: Port Royal, SC, January 2016

Holidays over, tree down, back to normal! We had a few months not bbq-ing due to the busyness of the holiday etc.  I wanted to  go see where Linda had worked for a period of time, The Penn Center, on St Helena island, SC.
That whole area of the Sea Islands is full of history and interesting places to see, visit and explore. Sometimes, I could actually feel the plantation and Gullah history. The Penn Center, now a place for the preservation of the Gullah Geechee West African Culture, was the site of one of the 1st schools for freed slaves. Make the time for a road trip there. Or go for one of their festivals. Take your kids. They need to know this history.
And we then were hungry! We like going to the out of the way places, since we find real treasures often there. We see Smokin' Planks in Port Royal, SC. Tiny town on the outside of the marine base, Parris Island.
What a cute town! Can't imagine that quiet of a life right now, but if I could, I could see living there. Many sweet homes, some historic, several cafe's, hometown restaurants, and a couple of cute stores..more on that later...
So we find Smokin' Planks, right on the main drag (which is about 3 blocks long!) Nice dining room, lots of well crafted wooden comfortable tables and booths, and both BBQ and sea craft memorabilia around the place.  We order the sampler platter.. it was big and a little pricey, but we figured we could take out the leftovers.. It had a sampler of BBQ, ribs, brats, and chicken, along with our choice of sides.. slaw, potato salad, baked beans,  greens,  mac and cheese.  As I've said, often the greens are the deciding factor for whether we like a place or not! These were excellent! And the meats were outstanding! Now, also having remembered to look on Facebook and Yelp for reviews for these places, we were surprised to find a few not so glowing reviews. Often these small businesses (without a younger family member, who knows how to do this) don't realize how important social media is to a restaurant, so they hadn't taken the reviews down or handled them. I wrote a great review. Hoped it helped!
A gentle man approached us and asked how our meal was.  We began to rave and he was so excited that he pulled up a chair and sat down to talk to us! Being the owner, of course, we asked the obvious question, "Where did you get the name?" His response, he had given on many occasions with folks assuming that the had a crafty way of smoking meat with some kind of plank wood. "Nope", he said, " My last name is Plank and I smoke meat." That simple.
I think we might have taken a few leftovers home, but not many.
And Linda got an order for Jimmy (her husband, for those of you new to my blog!) So she got a bit more deliciousness upon going home. Now we had to drive around a bit. We found a great gift store, with all kinds of welcoming fun stuff outside and an open door. Nuances, it was called.  Come to find out the that owner is an entrepreneurial woman who owned 5 businesses in her little town. But she saw the signs before the economic crash and combined 4 stores into one, and this one survived the downturn. She also has a cafe and was opening a B&B on the top floor of one the cafe.
Quite the eclectic selection of gifts, clothes, jewelry, accessories, furniture, household decor and other interesting items, and a lot from local artists. the owner and staff also lots of creative ways to display all of their goods! We got on their mailing list for future events, but haven't been able to coordinate going so far.  We will go back when we can, for sure. I think there are several more BBQ places near there, but Smokin' Planks would be worth a 2nd visit, too!

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