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Cork Shuckin' at Irvin-House Vineyards and Firefly Distillery

Prepping oysters from Holy City Seafood
Prepping oysters from Holy City Seafood © Audra L. Gibson

Our Traveling Ink team had the pleasure of attending the Cork Shuckin’ Festival at the Irvin House Vineyards and Firefly Distillery on Saturday, February 8th. The weather was good, the music was great, and the food was impeccable. 


When I woke up Saturday morning, I lifted my blinds to take a peek at the weather. It was gray and rainy, much to my chagrin. I knew the Traveling Ink team would be heading out to Wadmalaw Island to spend an afternoon outdoors at the Irvin House wine vineyards, and I had pictured myself lounging on a picnic blanket soaking up the sun. On first glance, it seemed the day would have none of the above in store for me.

I began packing up all my things: rain boots, towels, blankets, coats, hats, gloves, and umbrellas. I wanted to be fully prepared to spend four hours outdoors in the rainstorm that was looming over Charleston. I jumped in my car and headed out to James Island to meet Audra. We combined our loads of gear into one car and made our way to Wadmalaw. On the drive out, we received a pleasant surprise. Crossing over the Maybank Highway Bridge, looking out at the marsh on both sides, we saw the sun start to shine through the clouds. The further we drove, the brighter our day and spirits became.

As we approached the entrance to the vineyards, the oak trees made a canopy over the highway, and the Spanish moss was blowing in the breeze. Though the drive was only about thirty-five minutes from downtown Charleston, we felt as though we were escaping city-life completely as we made the turn into the vineyards. Now, the first three things that we saw might not be what you would expect from a wine vineyard. I’ll list them in order of appearance: a vintage candy-apple-red truck, the Liberace of all chickens, and a creature we can only refer to as “Well I Declare.”

"Well I Declare," your friendly Firefly bovine representative.

These attractions welcomed us to the event and provided much entertainment for the first few minutes, especially on behalf of “Well I Declare.” We weren't quite sure what she was at the time, but she was a friendly greeter for sure! As we made our way into the festival, the day only got better.

The smell of fresh steamed oysters drifted across the grounds, and the band, One Kool Blow, was lifting everyone’s spirits with songs like “Mustang Sally” and Ben Harper’s “Steal My Kisses.” There was something for everyone, with families playing corn hole, babies bouncing around to the music, adults swinging on a giant tree swing, and of course, dogs running from picnic blanket to picnic blanket in search of leftover food. Coastal Crust, Stono Cafe, and the Dulce food truck provided other food options for those uninterested in oysters, and they definitely did not disappoint. I personally proved this with the drops of chili that remained on my shirt, jeans, and face after my visit to the Stono Café table!


Audra channeling her inner child on the tree swing.
Audra channeling her inner child on the tree swing.

We wrapped up the afternoon with a trip into the Firefly Vodka Distillery for a taste of six different products. We started off with the Southern Lemonade Vodka, the original Sweet Tea Vodka, and the Sweet Tea Bourbon. Each of these started off with a kick, but left us with a smooth taste of those southern classics- refreshing sweet tea and lemonade. Next we moved on to the sweeter options with Java Rum, Apple Pie Moonshine, and Banana Cream Liqueur. Each of these samples was very indulging and would be easy to drink alone or be mixed into a punch or cocktail for a lighter, sweeter drink.


Amy, Lea Anna, and Audra sampling the Firefly spirits.
Amy, Lea Anna, and Audra sampling the Firefly spirits.

The day couldn’t have gone any better. We ate great food, listened to awesome music, and sampled Firefly’s unique spirits all while enjoying the beautiful sunshine. We want to give a special thanks to Irvin House Vineyards and the Firefly Distillery for having us and making the Cork Shuckin’ Festival a success! 


Our trip to Firefly was a great success and Traveling Ink has offically welcomed them as a recommended attraction in Charleston. Check out their full page (as well as a list of Firefly Tasting Room Menu Options) on the website here. 

Lea Anna Cardwell

Lea Anna is a Louisiana native with an undeniable accent. Raised in a small town, she learned the rules of football and the words to "Amazing Grace" before she could spell her own name. Speaking of the name, she hates being called Leah or Leanne. It’s Lea, like sweet tea, add the Anna. These days, you can find her under the "big city" lights in Charleston, SC, chasing dreams she never knew she had. Like becoming a writer, getting a Master’s degree, and exploring life on the east coast. She hopes you leave this blog with a little insight, and a big smile. So, in the words of a Louisianan, “laissez les bons temps rouler.” Let the good times roll.  

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