The Scene 

Fox Hunting, Ron Paul blimp, Snow Day

click to enlarge JOSHUA CURRY

"Alright, kids. No snowballs above the bellybutton."— an attendant at Blackbeard Cove's Winter Wonderland. The children didn't listen.

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Drinking and Riding
Who let the dogs out at Middleton Place?

It was champagne wishes and caviar dreams Sunday morning on the lawn of Middleton Place Plantation. A formal fox hunt (sans fox) presented pseudo aristocracy at its best, with the Middleton Place Hounds and the Aiken Hounds hunting club meeting up for a joint ride over the property's 6,000 acres. The social committee passed out drinks to riders, for what's a fox hunt without a toast? Nothing short of blasphemy I'd suspect. Dressed in formal British riding gear of black, green, and red, it appeared those on horseback thought of the hunt not so much as a hobby, but a way of life. As the horses made their grand entrance, riders warned the lone stable boy to keep the plantation's cow Rio at bay. "These horses don't like cows," a rider yelled down. "Well, that's too bad, ma'am," he called back. The stable help, clad in breaches, gartered stockings, and horse shit-stained shoes glared up at the preened riders with mild indignation. Seemed like a page taken from a Jane Austen novel or just another typical weekend in the Lowcountry. —Kinsey Labberton

Taking Flight
Getting high with Ron Paul

It had been following me all day. The Ron Paul blimp always seems to be behind me. I feel like Henry Hill in Goodfellas, frantically hunting the skyline for helicopters in a paranoid haze, careening down the road with my head out the window, hoping to get a good photograph of the airship.

I end up on the Battery and get a shot of the blimp as it glides over the harbor at sunset. There I find a hardy crew of Paul supporters that had endured the rain to hold signs, sing songs, and dream of running for office themselves. I'm told the blimp will make another flight on Sunday, and I'm asked if I want to go along. Hell yes!

The next day I head to the Charleston Executive Airport on Johns Island. (What, no airport bar?) As I wait for the blimp to arrive, WTMA's rat-tailed Rocky D saunters in. We spot the big balloon coming in for an approach, as well as Jack Hunter, the Southern Avenger, chatting up a reporter from MTV and a group of Paul supporters. Once opera singer Richard Blakeney shows up, we head to the landing field.

Upon entering the main field, the scale of the airship finally hits home. Seeing the blimp in the sky, it's hard to get a sense of how big it is. On the ground, it's huge, like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man's bare ass.

We board in pairs, scuffling up the narrow stairs into the small cabin. The ascent begins. After a few hundred feet, the whole landscape around us opens up; we're over water. Blakeney belts out "Amazing Grace" as we rise. Rocky D tells us he's a blimp veteran — he rode a whale blimp at SeaWorld that "smelled like fish." Ours doesn't.

After a few lazy circles around the city, we glide into a gentle "landing," exit the beast, and take the obligatory me-with-the-blimp shots. Driving home, the road seemed a lot shorter than before. —Josh Curry

White Noise
More snow than a Thomas Ravenel party

Emitting squeals of delight and launching slippery snowballs, swarms of giddy children sloshed through snow Saturday afternoon at Blackbeard's Cove in Mt. Pleasant. The reason? The opportunity to play in mounds of manufactured snow. Choked by scarves and weighed down by wet clothing, no one seemed to mind slipping and sliding on the packed snow, even when it meant tripping over one another or waddling around like a bunch of oversized prepubescent penguins. Huge bags of ice were emptied into the snow blower, blasting children with more snow than Thomas Ravenel has seen all year. And what was the price of that blissful 15 minutes of play in the icy stuff? Ten bucks a pop. As expected, a snowball fight broke out. (Make that encouraged.) Sleet happens. —Svetlana Minx Paint It Black

Cotto and Cart part ways

While many New Yorkers enjoyed a ride on the subway without their pants on Saturday, the Black Cart was open without the paintings of Julio Cotto on its walls. Having been involved with Black Cart since it opened months ago, Cotto is no longer associated with the bar, and with him went his paintings. And I must say, the place looked naked. However, that didn't stop folks from packing the Cart, and rightfully so. Inside the bar, the hip hop beats of DJ Dynamik and DJ Krugrr thrilled the crowd. —Svetlana Minx

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