FREE activities in Charleston, South Carolina? Here are 9 to fuel your mind and body (Plus some bonuses)

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By Mark A. Leon

We are back with ten (10) more amazing and fun filled activities in Charleston, SC that are completely free.? Some do require some effort on your part, but we promise they will fulfill your sense of adventure, curiosity and wonder.? Come with us and explore more Free Charleston.

Free Activities and Attractions in Charleston, SC

  • Live outdoor music daily at the Charleston Pour House – Almost every day of the week at 6:00 PM or 6:30 PM, the Charleston Pour House offers free music on the back deck.? If you get there early enough, you can enjoy the great happy hour deals.? This is a dog friendly area.? Bring the puppy and your dancing shoes.
  • The Restoration Hotel Art and History Gallery – Relive the aura and chic history of our great country through the open gallery at The Restoration Hotel on Wentworth Street and then head in to the elevator and enjoy a cocktail or snack at The Watch (gorgeous rooftop bar).
  • Movies on the beach – All spring and summer long, enjoy great movies with a backdrop of the ocean right on Folly Beach.? Bring food, drink, blanket and spend a night under the stars.? Look out for the special in March or April 2018.
  • Farmer’s Markets – If there is something the Charleston area does well is support our local farmers, vendors and food trucks with our farmer’s markets.? Throughout Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester Counties, you can find one every day of the week.? Click the link for your complete guide.? Many offer free live music to enjoy as well.
  • Avondale Outdoor Art Gallery – We love the outdoors and we love art.? Avondale found a way to bring it all together.? Located behind some of the Avondale communities favorite restaurants and stores is a display of some of the best street art in the area.
  • Unitarian Church / Cemetery – In a quieter part of historic Charleston is the Old City Jail and Unitarian Church.? If the doors are open come right in.? The staff will be eagerly waiting to tell you the whole history.? When you walk through the hallowed cemetery, you may even be walking on the final resting place of Edgar Allen Poe’s love Annabel Lee.
  • Gateway Walk – Perhaps one of the most hidden secrets in Charleston is right before your very eyes.? The Gateway Walk is a carefully marked trail that will take you through some of the most historic churches and streets of our fair city.? Enjoy the architecture, gates, grounds and take it all in.
  • Bridge Walk / Run – Though we have one of the largest 10K in the country with the Cooper River Bridge Run, the other 364 days are enjoyed by locals and tourists alike.? This 5 mile round trip span is not only healthy and a great workout with its steep incline, but if provides one of the most beautiful views overlooking the Charleston Harbor.
  • MUSC Urban Farm Lunch and Learn Sessions – MUSC has a community garden on Bee Street that is filled with sunflowers, rosemary, lemon trees, orange trees and more.? They offer free gardening lessons and tips to the community at no charge.? Click the link for a schedule of events.


  • All city parks in Charleston, SC offer free wifi (Before you drain all your data next time you are sitting in Marion Square or Hampton Park, just connect)
  • Pitt Street Bridge – Want to go for a picnic, go fishing, ride a bike or a golf cart overlooking the harbor?? Look no further
  • Charleston Tea Plantation – Yes, just outside of Charleston is the only active tea plantation in the United States of America.? You can watch the history, view the process and walk the grounds at no cost.
  • Morning beach walks never gets old and Mother Nature never charges.

We hope you continue to enjoy the wonderful free offerings Charleston has.? Take advantage of all that is around you.

11 Free Activities in Charleston – Part I

Charleston finds faith in an unlikely place, The Charleston Music Farm

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By Mark A. Leon

Charleston, South Carolina, known to so many as the Holy City, is decorated with church steeples throughout its majestic skyline. It is a place of recreation and pleasure, but also where so many come to reinforce or restore their faith.

Sometimes, faith can come from the most unlikely places including a music/concert venue and bar. The Charleston Music Farm has witnessed some of the most powerful forces in rock, rap, punk, funk, bluegrass, folk, pop and country appear on stage over the years. Yet, every Sunday at 9:00 AM and 11:00 AM, it is converted to a house of worship for families, students, visitors and homeless. It is a haven, without prejudice or judgement. The City Church partners with this venue to create a setting unlike most houses of worship you will ever see.

Across the street at the museum, a daycare is run to keep the young and rambunctious youngsters at bay while the parishioners spend 90 minutes in song, prayer and community.
At the end, they are released to the arms of their loving parents with smiles and warmth.

As you enter the building, you hear a young Christian rock band play music from the heart. At the bar, you are greeted with French press coffee and local pastries.

I have often attended services alone, but have never felt alone. During the early part of the services, we are asked to turn to our neighbors, shake hands and offer a warm greeting. It is a way to remind us that we are all here together and for a brief moment in time, it doesn’t matter if we are rich or poor, happy or sad, married or single, but accepted.

The sermons are human, refreshing and pure. From the NFL playoffs to the tragedy at Sutherland Springs, the words are not about preaching a religion, but understanding our place in this world and how we can work together to make it better.

Often, I will look around and think that only seven short hours ago, these floors were packed with beer drinking music lovers screaming the words of their favorite band playing on stage and now we are in a place of peace and reflection. In a way, both emphasize faith and loyalty to a cause, in just slightly different ways.

As my eyes wander around the hall, I am comforted by the vision of students, elderly, families, couples and homeless sitting together in a harmonious place.

The Sunday services at the Charleston Music Farm at 37 John Street in downtown Charleston reminds us that church is not about the physical structure, but the message. The City Church in partnership with the Charleston Music Hall is a place, regardless of your denomination or level of faith, safe for all to come, listen, pray and belong.

The Charleston Symphony Orchestra (CSO) is excited to announce its 2018-2019 season schedule and subscription options

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The Charleston Symphony Orchestra (CSO) is excited to announce its 2018-2019 season, which includes lower ticket prices, a flexible new subscription option, and the ability to purchase subscriptions online.

Charleston, SC, March 29, 2018 – As part of an ongoing effort to increase accessibility to the Charleston community, the CSO has lowered its base-level ticket price for Masterworks and Pops concerts for the 2018-2019 season. Tickets are now as low as $16 per performance when purchased through a subscription.

CSO subscriptions are now available for purchase online, and include traditional Masterworks and Pops packages, as well as a new flexible subscription option, Pick 6. Pick 6 subscriptions allow patrons to mix and match six concerts from the Masterworks and Pops series according to their preference. First time subscribers receive a 25% discount over the regular single ticket price.

Next season’s Masterworks performances include highlights such as Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, Handel’s famous Royal Fireworks, Paganini’s virtuosic Violin Concerto, Mozart’s final composition, Requiem, and an entire night dedicated to celebrating the best of American composers, including Copland’s iconic Fanfare for the Common Man from his Symphony No. 3.

Pops performances will feature a variety of musical styles, including trumpeter/vocalist Byron Stripling performing a tribute to the music of Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald, a celebration of international music with the Charleston Taiko Drummers and Latin percussionist Gino Castillo, and an evening of opera and Broadway hits featuring Charleston’s own world-renowned husband and wife vocalists Dimitri Pittas and Leah Edwards.

First time subscribers are encouraged to purchase subscriptions now in order to reserve the best seats available and receive their 25% discount. To view the entire CSO 2018-2019 season and purchase subscriptions online, visit Subscriptions are also available at the CSO box office at 2133 N. Hillside Drive, or by calling at 843-723-7528.

About the CSO

This year, the Charleston Symphony Orchestra will enter its 82nd season of providing superior musical performances to the area. Founded in 1936, the CSO is the cornerstone of Charleston’s arts scene, performing its Masterworks and Pops series at the Gaillard Center and throughout the tri-county region. Employing 24 full-time musicians and 13 full-time staff, the CSO also participates in community outreach events, special concerts, and school programs throughout South Carolina.



Kate Gray
Director of Marketing
Charleston Symphony Orchestra
843-723-7528 ext. 102

Threshold Repertory Theatre Supplies Ample Belly Laughs with “Hand of God”

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Puppet-Filled Black Comedy is Hilariously Shocking & Definitely Not For Kids

Click to tweet:?The insanely hilarious #HandToGod runs at @ThresholdRep April 19 – May 6. Tickets are on sale now: #chsarts #chs #chsnews

Charleston, SC – Five-time Tony Award nominated?Hand to God, which enjoyed an extremely successful Broadway run, leaving audiences with sore jaws and stomachs (from laughing so hard), is the next show Threshold Repertory Theatre is producing for the Charleston community. The play will open Thursday, April 19 and run through Sunday, May 6. Tickets are on sale now starting at $15. Visit? purchase.

Hand to God is written by Robert Askins and directed by Pure Theatre core ensemble member Erin Wilson.?After the death of his father, meek Jason finds an outlet for his anxiety at the Christian Puppet Ministry, in the devoutly religious, relatively quiet small town of Cypress, Texas. Jason’s complicated relationships with the town pastor, the school bully, the girl next door, and—most especially—his mother are thrown into upheaval when Jason’s puppet, Tyrone, takes on a shocking and dangerously irreverent personality all its own. Hand to God explores the startlingly fragile nature of faith, morality, and the ties that bind us.
Show schedule – April 19-21, 26-29, and May 3-6. Performances at 7:30 p.m. (Sundays at 3 p.m.) Box office opens one hour prior to curtain. Tickets available at? by calling the box office at?843-277-2172.

Media are invited and encouraged to attend and review the show. To RSVP or?for?more information/artwork, please contact Darryl LaPlante at?

About Threshold Repertory Theatre

Threshold Repertory Theatre exists to inspire and excite the public through the shared experience of boldly visionary presentations of classic and contemporary theatre. We hope to enrich our community by offering creative, challenging and entertaining productions featuring the collaborative work of the talented performers and artists who have chosen to make Charleston their home and by providing participatory theatre-related educational experiences and programs. Through a commitment to excellence, innovation, experiment, and affordable cost Threshold Repertory Theatre hopes to discover and develop a new audience of passionate and engaged theatre-goers.

Easter is about Family: Reflections of Family – Quotes and Pictures

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Easter is about family, faith and love.? It is a time of togetherness and reflection.? This year, Easter and Passover fall together in the Lowcountry and around the world.? To everyone, whatever faith, here are some reminders, via famous quotes and images of the importance of family during this time of the year.

Famous Quotes About the Value of Family During This Holiday Season

“Whatever they grow up to be, they are still our children, and the one most important of all the things we can give to them is unconditional love. Not a love that depends on anything at all except that they are our children.” – Rosaleen Dickson

“Other things may change us, but we start and end with family” – Anthony Brandt

“If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

“A happy family is but an earlier heaven.” – George Bernard Shaw

“In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future.” – Alex Haley

“You don’t really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around – and why his parents will always wave back.” – William D. Tammeus

“Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.” – Anne Frank

“Family is the most important thing in the world.” – Princess Diana

“The strength of a family, like the strength of an army, is in its loyalty to each other.” – Mario Puzo

“In truth a family is what you make it. It is made strong, not by number of heads counted at the dinner table, but by the rituals you help family members create, by the memories you share, by the commitment of time, caring, and love you show to one another, and by the hopes for the future you have as individuals and as a unit.” – Marge Kennedy

“Cherish your human connections – your relationships with friends and family.” – Barbara Bush

“Family is not an important thing, it’s everything.” – Michael J. Fox

“What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.” – Mother Teresa

“Families are the compass that guides us. They are the inspiration to reach great heights, and our comfort when we occasionally falter.” – Brad Henry

“Family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.” – David Ogden Stiers

“A family is a risky venture, because the greater the love, the greater the loss… That’s the trade-off. But I’ll take it all.” – Brad Pitt

“The family is one of nature’s masterpieces.”– George Santayana

“People come and go in our lives, but a beauty of life is that our family is always there.” Catherine Pulsifer

“When you wrap your child warmly every day with layers of your unconditional, healthy love before you send him out into the world, he will rarely feel the cold chill that often comes with life’s changing seasons.” Shadonna Richards

“Love your family. Spend time, be kind & serve one another. Make no room for regrets. Tomorrow is not promised & today is short.”

“Unconditional love is loving your kids for who they are, not for what they do… it isn’t something you will achieve every minute of every day. But it is the thought we must hold in our hearts every day.” Stephanie Marston

“Feelings of worth can flourish only in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open, and rules are flexible — the kind of atmosphere that is found in a nurturing family.” Virginia Satir

“You can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you.” Frederick Buechner

“Throughout life you will be showered with gifts, but the greatest gift came at birth when your cold body was warmed by the unconditional love only found in the eyes of a mother looking upon her child.” Mark A. Leon


Crooked Crown Reminds Us of the Way Charleston Used to Be

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By Mark A. Leon

This story will be a little anecdotal, but will paint a picture of the way life in Charleston was less than a decade ago, when locals wore nothing more than a tee-shirt, jeans and flip flops on Upper King, your best friend was your neighborhood bartender, rent, beer and food were reasonable and faces on King Street were always familiar to you.

Many of us remember the peninsula being void of heavy regulations, sidewalks were not paved with tourists clustering the walk ways, traffic was bearable and a friendly greeting from a neighbor always made your day.? That was a time I remember fondly and last week I was reminded of that once again.

As the newbies know, that world no longer exists, nor have they ever had a chance to experience that small-town intimacy that used to be the staple of Charleston.

On Spring Street, the incredible folks that brought bring us King of Pops opened a small local neighborhood restaurant and bar called Crooked Crown.? We were fortunate not only to dine on Wednesday night, but become a part of a revolving door of friends coming in to celebrate with Sean, our server and bartender who turned twenty great (28) on this very day.

With two rounds of homemade birthday cake, friendly dogs, and neighbors stopping by from upstairs, we felt like extras on the cast of Cheers.

With strangers and new friends toasting one another celebrating the life and times of Sean, I began to reflect, with fondness, a different time when I first moved to Charleston.

Early in the evening, as Sean was sharing a story of a date gone wrong, I noticed one of my favorite Instgrammer and her beautiful dog walking by.? I quickly ran out to say hello and thus, making each other’s day.? This once again, fueled my nostalgia seeing a very familiar face on the street.

The night carried on passed midnight as Sean and I spoke candidly about life, relationships and goals for the future.

We sat outside while Sean had a cigarette and we both indulged in the quiet peacefulness of downtown Charleston.? This was just the right way to end the night.

Seeing a familiar face in the street greeting me with a smile, sharing stories with strangers who truly felt like friends, singing “Happy Birthday” in the bar like a scene in the “Piano Man” video by Billy Joel and just feeling like a true Southern small-town was enough to yearn for the Charleston life so many of us fell in love with, now so long ago.




Earl Grant, College of Charleston agree to 5-year contract extension

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — College of Charleston coach Earl Grant has agreed to a contract extension that will tie him to the school for five more seasons.

The school said Friday the contract still must be finalized. The deal will run through 2022-23.

Grant led the Cougars to their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 19 years this March. Charleston hung with Southeastern Conference champion Auburn in the tournament’s opening round before falling 62-58.

Grant led College of Charleston to a 26-8 mark and a Colonial Athletic Association Tournament title this season. The Cougars were 14-0 at home this season.

Athletic director Matt Roberts said Grant has brought excitement and championship basketball back to the school.

Grant said he was honored by the show of support from Charleston and looked forward to keeping the program’s rise going.

Charleston, S.C. History in Pictures – A Look Back

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Folly Beach, SC

It is often said, a picture tells a thousand words.? Some of these images really paint a vivid picture of the trials, tribulations and celebrations of our past.? Some will bring you to levels of emotion both good and bad.? Sit back and remember to never forget our past.

From Civil Rights to military; academics to activism; or just a day at the beach.

Enjoy this wild journey into Charleston’s past.

Tree Spirit Project 2011 - Preserve Angel Oak
Tree Spirit Project 2011 – Preserve Angel Oak


73 Church Street (with rounded top door behind tree) – 1958


Early Mobile Free Library
Early Mobile Free Library


Bishop England Varsity High School Basketball Team – Charleston, SC


!950’s South Carolina Map
Post Earthquake Charleston 1886
Post Earthquake Charleston 1886


Early South Carolina Currency
Early South Carolina Currency


Folly Beach Barracks – 1946


Broad and Meeting Streets Traffic
Broad and Meeting Streets Traffic


Folly Beach Postcard
Folly Beach Postcard


Charleston March 1969
Charleston March 1969


Charleston Hospital Strike Article
Charleston Hospital Strike Article


Folly Beach Pier – 1937


!976 Charleston
1976 Charleston


Roadside Sweetgrass Basket Sales
Roadside Sweetgrass Basket Sales


1961 at Albemarle Elementary School
1961 at Albemarle Elementary School


Fort Sumter Stamp 1961
Fort Sumter Stamp 1961


The C-141 Starlifter
The C-141 Starlifter


1961 Civil Rights Bus in Charleston assaulted
1961 Civil Rights Bus in Charleston assaulted


Charleston Submarine Base 1960
Charleston Submarine Base 1960


Easter 1960's Charleston, SC
Easter 1960’s Charleston, SC


Broad Street, 1911. Notice the signs for Follin Bros. tobacconists (with the famous wooden Indian) and Henry Plenge’s (the P has fallen from the sign) Pharmacy at 8 Broad


“Folly Beach July 4, 1921.”
three unidentified beach goers in front of their car on the beach at Folly. They are all wearing bathing suits and the women are wearing stockings and hats. The date and location listed above are hand written on the back.
Source: The Charleston Museum


Corner of Fishburne St and St Philips intersection in 1944.


W.A. Jessen’s liquor store, corner of Congress and Rutledge in 1940’s. This location is now a lawyer’s office.


This is circa early 1940s postcard published by Martschink Sales Co.



Hasell Street, Charleston SC, ca. 1900 – 1910


Charleston, SC 1910

CARTA to Launch Hospitality on Peninsula (HOP) Park-And-Ride Lot and Shuttle Operations – April 15

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Service will offer extended hours and $5 all-day fee

CHARLESTON, S.C. (March 21, 2018) – The Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA) Board of Directors today announced that the transit system will launch the Hospitality on Peninsula (HOP) Park and Ride Lot and Shuttle on Sunday, April 15 at 999 Morrison Drive.

The park-and-ride program is the first of its kind on the peninsula and was brought to fruition via a collaborative partnership with the City of Charleston, Charleston County, the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments.

The HOP is targeted at workers in the area’s booming hospitality and food-and-beverage industries – though it is open to all commuters – as way to mitigate downtown parking challenges. There will be approximately 170 spaces available in the lot.

“The HOP park-and-ride service is an important way we are addressing an obvious need of workers in downtown Charleston,” said CARTA board chairman and Charleston city councilman Mike Seekings. “This lot and shuttle, essentially a pilot program that has been developed from scratch, is the first step in a regional strategy to tackle a number of pressing transportation issues, namely parking and congestion.”

Key details regarding the lot and shuttle service include:

  • Hours of Operation: The shuttle will operate from 6 a.m. to 3 a.m. daily, with bus service every 15 minutes. Parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Cost: The cost to park in the lot is a flat fee of $5 all-day. Once a pass is purchased and displayed on a parked vehicle’s dashboard, commuters can board a HOP shuttle for free.
  • Route: The HOP shuttle will exit 999 Morrison Drive, turn left onto Romney Street, left onto Meeting Street, left onto Broad Street and left onto East Bay Street as it returns to the lot. There will be eight HOP-specific stops on the route, each denoted by a white bus stop sign.
  • Bus Transportation: CARTA will operate the shuttles and the lot itself. Commuters are encouraged to download the Transit app in order to track buses in real-time.
  • Lot Features:

    • Parking attendant on location during all hours of operation
    • Enhanced lighting and security cameras
    • Holy Spokes bike share on site
    • Bike racks available

“We certainly would like to thank the City of Charleston, Charleston County, the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and the BCDCOG for their collaboration on this project,” Seekings said. “We’re confident the service will be well-used and look forward to seeing it expand to other locations.”

In addition to the HOP service, Seekings said commuters are also encouraged to explore reduced after-hours fares in City-owned garages and the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Government’s recently launched Lowcountry Go commuter services program that offers rideshare matches.

The Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA) is a public transportation system dedicated to providing affordable transit in the Charleston community through local fixed routes, on-demand paratransit service and express commuter routes. For the latest on CARTA, visit, like us on Facebook or follow on Twitter at @RideCARTA. All customers are encouraged to plan rides and track buses with the CARTA-endorsed Transit app and the CARTA Bus Tracker.


FDA issues two-year recall on Piggie Park Enterprises “Maurice’s Southern Gold Honey BBQ Sauce”

CHARLESTON, SC – The Food and Drug Administration has issued a two-year recall on a notable South Carolina BBQ sauce.

Piggie Park Enterprises Inc. is recalling Maurice’s Southern Gold Honey Sauce manufactured between March 11, 2016 and March 11, 2018.

The FDA says the product included undeclared wheat and soy, which may cause deadly reactions for those who are allergic. It was distributed nationwide and also sold through retail in South Carolina, Georgia and North Carolina.

It comes in an 18oz, clear plastic bottle with an expiration date before 3/12/18 with the expiration date on the bottom of the bottle.?The bottles have a UPC of 0 75616 54332 6.

The recall began Tuesday after it was found the powdered honey in the sauce contains wheat and soy, and it was not properly disclosed on the ingredients labels.

Consumers who have purchased the sauce are urged to return them to the place of purchase for a refund.? Consumers with questions can call 1-800-628-4273.

Maurice’s father,?Joe Bessinger, began the Piggie Park company in 1939 when he opened his own BBQ joint in Holly Hill, according to the company’s website.?Maurice’s Piggie Park later opened in West Columbia.

The Bessinger family also has a number of restaurants throughout South Carolina.