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This fall, go local while you stay home

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A Lowcountry fall is calling. While this season may have new shades and contours, with its biorhythms rippling from the pandemic, there are plenty of ways to celebrate the welcome chill in the air.

This fall is the perfect time to stay close to home. Whip up a socially distant outdoor gathering of friends. Top off your dinner table or mantels with autumnal accents. Infuse a room with a cozy fragrance. 

While you're at it, consider going local with fall flair by seeking out goods from businesses that call Charleston home, too. Jamee Haley, executive director of Lowcountry Local First, couldn’t agree more. The nonprofit organization aims to cultivate an economy anchored in local ownership by celebrating those homespun, independent businesses that are the cornerstone of Charleston’s culture, economy and character.

"Of course in our minds, it's always the best time to support local makers and businesses across the Lowcountry, but if it hasn't already been a priority for your personal spending habits, we urge you to make it so,” she said via email.

Lowcountry Local First is currently gearing up for its annual "Buy Local Season" campaign. Kicking off later this fall on Nov. 1, its aim is to make shopping online with local businesses even easier with a one-stop shop site to browse more than 100 local business sites. In the meantime, consider this standout selection.

Bring the outdoors in

Charleston-based textile designer Susan Carson is primed to fill your home with the flora and fauna by way of fabrics, wallpaper and decorative pillows that spruce rooms up with old world elan. You’ll find a few nods to local beauties like azaleas, too, in the splendiferous mix. Prices vary; available online via carsonandco.com.

Susan Gregory

Ceramicist Susan Gregory's bud vases are perfect with fall foliage for an autumnal homage. Susan Gregory/Provided.

Oyster Dish

Silversmith Kaminer Haislip's Oyster Dish offers a fresh take on a Lowcountry staple. Kaminer Haislip/Provided 

Ceramicist Susan Gregory has a terrific top-off for fall tables. Her rich, earthy bud vases are ideal for holding fiery foliage and make a statement solo or arranged in groups. Prices for the vases, which vary, start at around $55. They are available through the artist’s site by contacting susan@susangregoryart.com.

Silversmith Kaminer Haislip lends contemporary allure to Charleston’s beloved bivalve by way of her sleekly striking Oyster Dish. Inspired by the shape of oyster shells found in Bulls Bay, its reflective, clean lines have been designed to reference the continuous connection to the area’s saltwater marshes. Prices start at $175; available at kaminerhaislip.com.

Those in the know have learned that Abide A While’s garden boutique brims with inspired home decor. Take, for example, its cylinder footed terrarium, which is planted by the nursery’s experts in the tropical greenhouse and custom made for a one-of-kind piece to grace your coffee table. Sizes and prices vary and can be purchased in their Mount Pleasant shop or online via abideawhile.com.

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Fall is in the air

Local makers have magically captured scents of the season. Old Whaling Co.'s candles are hand-poured with a blend of soy and olive wax into American-made glass container and come in delectable aromas such as Autumnal Azure, which features a warm spice autumn scent with notes of balsam fir, cedar, clove and vanilla, and Admiral’s Apple, boasting crisp hits of a fall’s favorite fruit. They are $18 each and are available online at oldwhalingcompany.com and at the company's two shops in downtown Charleston, 188 Meeting St. and 43 Broad St., Suite 101.

Social distance, South Carolina style

Brew Shucker

Middleton Made Knives by bladesmith Quintin Middleton sells the Brew Shucker, which works as an oyster knife and bottle opener. Provided 

What better way to see friends safely than an alfresco Lowcountry boil? Glenn Jeffires has just the showpiece for form and function. The outdoor-friendly artisan wooden troughs are created expressly to set up a Lowcountry Boil with style and ease, and they make fetching centerpieces, too. Each one is handcrafted of cypress wood in the Lowcountry. Prices start at $229 and can be purchased by contacting Glenn Jeffries at 843-224- 5605 or glennejeffries@gmail.com.

Nothing says a Carolina fall like an oyster roast, and St. Stephen-based blade smith Quintin Middleton has just the tool to up your shucking. Hot off the forge, Middleton Made Knives is rolling out his newest Brew Shucker, an oyster knife and bottle opener made from stainless steel and dyed birch veneers in a range of colors. They cost $100 each and are available (with a wait of two weeks for delivery) at MiddletonMadeKnives.com.

Up your culinary game

Smithey Ironware

Smithey Ironware is sold at the Preservation Society of Charleston shop, which features locally made products. Preservation Society of Charleston/Provided 

The Shop at the Preservation Society of Charleston procures local-only items, many of which elevate the home. Take, for instance, Smithey Ironware, which designs and manufactures heirloom-quality cast iron and carbon steel cookware informed by vintage pieces, but also harnesses modern technology and processes. Prices vary; the Preservation Society Shop carries the entire Smithey Ironware collection in its shop at 147 King St. in downtown Charleston.

Holy Spirits Cocktail Bandits book cover

The Cocktail Bandits' book "Holy Spirits!" is a great way to mix it up at home this fall. Provided.

While you’re planning the menu, don’t forget to complement fine fare with a local libation. Look no further than Charleston’s celebrated bloggers, Cocktail Bandits Taneka Reaves and Johnny Caldwell. Their debut publication “Holy Spirits!” provides an overview of Charleston contemporary cocktail culture. The book is $35.95 and is available online or in store at several local bookstores, such as Itinerant Literate Books in North Charleston or Turning Page Bookshop in Goose Creek.

Local resources

To find more local products, Lowcountry Local First’s online local business directory features more than 450 certified local businesses spanning all categories. You'll also find promotions and updates from local businesses by following the organization’s Instagram account, @LowcountryLocal.

Haley added it's good for Charleston, too. “If we don't consciously choose local businesses whenever possible, even if it's not the most convenient choice for that moment, we begin to lose the character of this place and our neighbors lose the livelihoods that they've been brave enough to create.” 

Follow Maura Hogan on Twitter at @msmaurahogan.

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