Edmund-HigginsSunsets (copy)

From Edmund Higgins of Sullivan's Island, a photo of his "border collie Gibbous on Sullivan’s Island."

I think of My Charleston as a combination of love of the Lowcountry and the important information that you need to plan your entertainment, whether you are a native or a guest.

Our area is adding new people at the rate of 26 a day and our population is now about 778,000 give or take few. It means that some of the 7.3 million visitors that flocked to the area last year decided to stay awhile. 

You don't have to know statistics to see the multitude of subdivisions springing up to house all those people and the new schools being built for the kids. The Cane Bay area near Summerville is building out like an entirely new city and Johns Island, once a rural enclave, has the sound of hammers and nail guns all along River Road. 

The median age for residents is 36, which means we are right in the center point in life, with families needing access to shopping, recreation, food, and of course, free things to do.

So this year, Kalyn Oyer, the Charleston Scene reporter for The Post and Courier contributed her fabulous guides to the area. She started doing them late last year, and they have proved so popular that we wanted to enshrine them here. They are our most up-to-date look at the local hot spots and neighborhoods - what to do, where to go, what to eat. 

And, of course, our food critic Hanna Raskin’s story about where to eat in a long weekend in Charleston fits right in since everyone who lives here has had a friend or relative call up and ask where to eat when they visit - or scratched their heads when guests arrive on their doorstep to go to the beach. 

We wanted to give readers more of what they want, and while the guide is by no means definitive, it will give you a taste of what we have to offer.

You will find some old favorites - our guide to the attractions, the plantations and the calendar of events for the year - but you will also find some new places to shop right in your own backyard. 

Of course, it wouldn't be My Charleston without our readers' photographic contributions, complete with their names in bold so you will be able to identify them. Some of them are just stunning, like the eagle about to land with his fish. Thank you, Carl Miller!  

- Stephanie Harvin, Editor of My Charleston