9 Great Charleston Experiences – Not to Miss Memorable Activities in The Holy City

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By Mark A. Leon

What makes a moment great?? Is it the setting, uniqueness, inspirational element or the magnitude?? We are fortunate in Charleston, SC to have such places and moments that are remarkable in their own stand-alone way.

We want to share some great Charleston moments with you.? Some will find them very familiar and comforting and others will pen them onto their next bucket list.

Yet, each one has a special place for us.

Great Charleston Moments

  • Taking off your shoes or flip flops and walking in the base of the Pineapple Fountain at Charleston’s Waterfront Park.? Let the soothing feel of the water surround your feet as you walk through one of Charleston’s most recognizable sights.
  • Puppy play and a craft beer (or two) at the Barrel.? This watering hole combines the feel of a summer beach (It is only a few short miles from Folly) and a doggie wonderland into one special place.? With a large fenced in area for adults and our four-legged friends to frolic and play, shuffle board, corn hole,? a rotating food truck and an amazing selection of craft beer, the Barrel is the perfect moment for all beer and dog lovers.
  • Shagging at Historic Mount Pleasant Waterfront Pier – Regardless of age, gender or skill level, shagging is a part of Charleston tradition.? When you pick a beautiful pier overlooking the Charleston Harbor that offers sunsets of orange, amber and lavender, you find a better spot to spend an evening with someone you love.

    Folly Beach Fishing Pier
    Folly Beach Fishing Piercannot find a better way to shake your money maker and share a moment among friends.
  • Fishing at the Folly Beach Pier – We cannot emphasis enough the magic of a Folly Beach sunrise.? Bring your fishing gear and head to the beach at 5:00 AM and set your reels out.? As your line hovers over the pier into the Atlantic Ocean, you can enjoy a morning coffee and watch the sun appear in the sky to usher in a new day. FYI – Roasted in The Tides Hotel is open for business very early to get your Starbucks fill.
  • Church Service and stroll at the Unitarian Church and Cemetery – This open spiritual community founded in 1886 offers a service for congregants, new members or tourists looking for a place to worship.? With its traditional and historic values, warm congregation and open arms approach to attendance, this is a beautiful way to begin your Sunday morning.? Afterwards, walk through the scenic cemetery serving as the final resting place for early settlers, freedom forefathers, war heroes and even perhaps the famous Annabel Lee who won the heart of Edgar Allan Poe.
  • Picnic at Hampton Park – What was once a plantation home, a zoo, a racetrack and a final resting spot for unknown Northern soldiers is now a picturesque park filled with flowers, trees, a pond inhabited by turtles and ducks and one of the best quiet spots for a picnic with your loved one.? Prepare a special meal for two and spend it in one of Charleston’s oldest and most beautiful parks.
  • Citadel Student Parade – During the school year on Friday’s at 3:45 PM, the students at The Citadel get in full uniform and gear and perform a ceremony for all at no charge.? This display of honor, academics, chivalry and traditional is a blessing for the Charleston community and one that should not be missed.
  • Take the Charleston Water Taxi for the Day – Not everyone has access to a sailboat or kayak, but we should all have an opportunity to experience the gift that is the Charleston Harbor.? Charting from Mount Pleasant to historic Charleston and back, this vessel offers you the chance to watch beautiful sails swiftly move through the harbor, a view of Fort Sumter in the distance, the majestic Cooper River Bridge and of course our friendly neighbors, the dolphins.? Soak in this Charleston moment once or even twice.? A daily pass is good for unlimited use for the day and is only $12.00

Now make your plans to find your own Charleston moment.

Pineapple Fountain
Hampton Park
Hampton Park
Citadel Parade
Citadel Parade

Free in Charleston – Yes, Free in Charleston – 11 Free Things to Do!!!

By Mark A. Leon
By Mark A. Leon

Strapped for cash but still want to explore some Charleston magic.? Sick of walking the streets aimlessly and want to find something new and unique.? Here are eleven ideas to help you schedule your time here in Charleston.

Enjoy.

Free Charleston Walking Tour – Tours By Foot – Tours by Foot offers daily free tours focused on Civil War, historic and architectural.? They are the only pure free walking tour in Charleston.? You have to book your tour online.

Free hush puppies from Hyman’s – Most days, on the corner of Market and Meeting, a friendly smile will offer free hush puppies from Hyman’s.? This is a meal in itself and worth a linger in that area.? Some days you may even catch a free music act.

Mace Brown Museum of Natural History – Open weekdays / weekends from 11 AM – 4 PM except for Wednesday.? Located on the College of Charleston campus, this free look at millions of years of history through archeological remains is a treat for children and adults and totally free.

City Gallery at Waterfront Park – This gallery located right on Waterfront Park in front of the Pinapple fountain is open Monday – Friday – 10 AM – 6 PM and Saturday and Sunday – 10 AM – 5 PM.? This is free and offers some amazing exhibits from local and national artists from all walks of life.

The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art – Open Monday – Saturday – 11 AM – 4 PM.? Located on Calhoun Street on the College of Charleston campus, this art gallery offers a true unique art experience with exhibits ranging from students to professionals.? This is a free gallery for all.

College of Charleston Koi Pond – Come to this quiet pond and park on the College of Charleston campus.? Bring a lunch or snack and sit by the pond enjoying the turtles and koi fish.? Also, have a picnic or enjoy a refreshing drink under the warm Southern sky.

Karpeles Transcript Museum – Located on Spring Street.? This old Methodist Church is now home of some of the most rare documents in the world.? It is free, but only open Tuesday – Friday – 11 AM – 4 PM.

Citadel Student Parade – If you have not witnessed this amazing free 45 minute event, you have missed out on a true Charleston tradition.? During the school year on Friday’s only at 3:45 PM, students get in full uniform and do formations in the courtyard of the campus.? Make sure you check the schedule on this link.

Charleston Postal Museum – Right inside the historic post office on Broad Street, is a quaint little museum that dates back to the 1800’s.? For any history buff or postal fan, this is a must see.? Read through the guest book and see all the visitors from around the world.

The Best Friend of Charleston – If you love trains and love to learn more about how the locomotion train changed Charleston forever, come by and see the little train that could.? It is free and you will learn a great deal.? Right next to the Visitors Center.

Magnolia Cemetery – Just north of the peninsula is one of the most historic cemeteries in the South.? From Confederate soldiers to founding fathers, this cemetery is haunting and comforting at the same time.

 

 

 

Top Charleston Stories of 2015

The prominent Mayor Riley
The prominent Mayor Riley

“This hateful person came to this community with some crazy idea that he would be able to divide, and all he did was make us more united, and love each other even more.” – Charleston Mayor Joseph Riley

Emanuel AME Shooting – Charleston is a city that has fought for decades to destroy the racial tensions that have divided this city and region. On the evening of June 17, 2015, this city took a giant step backward in our pursuit of unification and community acceptance when one man executed an act so heinous, without regard for human life that the entire world took notice. For the Summer of 2015, Charleston became the center of gun control and racial tension. In the heart of darkness, we found each other. Without regard of background or race, we bound together to show the world we will overcome and remain Charleston Strong. As the media built cases for gun control, dissected the mind of this killer and looked for answers to how this could happen, Charleston become a city that stood hand in hand and showed the power that love has over terror.

Surviving the flood

1000 Year Flood – The weekend of October 3, shook Charleston and South Carolina. A wave of rain that for many was unprecedented took control of our area and left us captive in our homes. For thousands, their homes stood nearly underwater. Property lost, memories destroyed, waves at record levels and no answers that could put so many at ease. With around the clock news coverage, volunteers in every city and town, and post event relief efforts from all around the country, we all lived through a moment of weakness, where once again, we were forced to rebuild; property and lives. Marshes became oceans, neighborhoods became lakes and for many, the only option was to wait and pray.

Walter Scott Shooting – On April 4, 2015, Walter Scott, a black suspect was shot and killed by North Charleston Patrolman 1st Class Michael Thomas Slager, a white police officer. What made this event so spectacular is that it was captured on video and what was witnessed was a scared man brutally shot to death. A picture tells a thousand words, a video a million. No one will know exactly what all the circumstances were that led to this merciless death. In the spring of 2015, Charleston was center of national media attention, highlighting the evident racial concerns that still brew in this area. This event happened just days before the 150th anniversary of the end of the US Civil War.

Caitlyn The Dog – Just named by People Magazine as the Best Survival Story of 2015, Caitlyn become the post dog for animal cruelty prevention and awareness. Her story and the images of her treatment sent shivers down our spines and had the entire country routing for one precious dog. After many successful surgeries and a new and loving home, Caitlyn, runs and barks and shows incredible love and compassion for all that come to meet her.

Caitlyn is happy overlooking the water

Mayor Riley Steps Down As Mayor of Charleston – After 40 years as mayor and 47 years as a public servant in South Carolina, the honorable Joseph Riley Jr. will relinquish his seat to a new face and administration. Mayor Riley is an icon of impenetrable valor admired and respected throughout the Charleston community, the Democratic Party and the country. His legacy as the sixteenth longest running mayor in US History will carry on for generations to come.

Off Duty Night Shift Supervisor Lt. Will Rogers Shot in Moncks Corner – On May 14, 2015, an incident happened at an Exxon Station in Moncks Corner. Off duty police officer Will Rogers, in an attempt to talk down the assailant, and was shot several times in the head. After extensive surgery and physical therapy at MUSC, Mr, Rogers is recovering from the incident.

Citadel students image from Facebook

Citadel Students Dressed as Ku Klux Klan Sing Christmas Carols – Eight Citadel Students have been suspended and chants for the presidential dismissal are lingering in the air over images found on Facebook of Citadel Students singing Christmas carols in what appears to be Ku Klux Klan attire. This unprecedented event coming from one of the most respected public schools in the South, the alma mater of Mayor Riley and a city that has been scars from racial wounds throughout the year sent shivers through Charleston as the year came to a close.

Charleston Mayoral Election – Not since 1975, will the city of Charleston see a mayor other than Joseph Riley Jr. By Election Day of 2015, six honorable men and women stood, each representing a passion for Charleston and an agenda for change. By the end of the evening on Tuesday, November 3, we still did not have a decisive winner. With no one candidate receiving 50% of the popular vote, a vote-off would ensue two weeks later and the two remaining candidates would go head to head for this heralded seat. Leon Stavrinakas and John Tecklenburg would remain. After two weeks and two elections, John Tecklenburg stands alone as the Mayor-elect for Charleston, South Carolina.

Lost and defeated

The Citadel Defeats the University of South Carolina Gamecocks – As you looked at the proud faces of the young men that had just beaten the South Carolina Gamecocks, a once powerhouse of the SEC, you would think you were looking at a group of ten year old boys that just cracked a 100 pound pi?ata of candy. Their excitement as they danced in Columbia was a site to see. It was the reward of hard work, believing and a family spirit that led to this victory. On November 21, 2015, as the last second rang off that clock, the final score read, The Citadel 23 – USC 22 and for the first time in twenty-five years, the baby blue of The Citadel was the victor.

Unexpected Tornado Invades Johns Island – On September 25, 2015, an EF-2 tornado rolled through Johns Island leaving a devastating aftermath. Between 70 and 80 homes received damage from the event that sent shocked waves to the residents of this area. “When the [tornado] started roaring, it was absolutely terrifying,” John Bercik, a Sonny Boy Lane resident told Live 5 News. Fortunately, no lives were lost and the American Red Cross joined forces with local authorities to help families through this tragic natural disaster.

Aftermath of Johns Island tornado
Aftermath of Johns Island tornado