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

Charleston Parks Conservancy Unveils Plans for Improvements, Beautification at Hampton Park, Upper Peninsula

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Public invited to ice cream social to learn more about the Conservancy’s work
and upcoming park projects

CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Charleston Parks Conservancy is inviting the public to an ice cream social to learn more about the nonprofit organization’s decade-long efforts to improve Charleston’s public parks, including forthcoming improvements at Hampton Park and Corrine Jones Park. Interested neighbors and park users can “get the scoop” at the event from 5:30-7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 14 at the pavilion near the lagoon.

Community members can enjoy frozen treats from Pelican’s SnoBalls and The Ice Cream Team along with family friendly activities while reviewing plans for improvements to Hampton Park’s shuttered concession stand and the addition of a major new ornamental garden space around the facility, a new community vegetable garden at Corrine Jones Park, and new park programs such as the Conservancy’s Jazz Brunch series.

The Conservancy’s overall goal is to enliven and improve the experience at Hampton Park and other upper peninsula parks. Locals and visitors already spend a great deal of time in these parks, walking, jogging, attending events and more. These planned improvements will enhance already-beloved public spaces. The Conservancy previously renovated Allan Park, Corrine Jones Park, and McMahon Playground at Hampton Park. With the help of dedicated neighborhood volunteers, the Conservancy was able to replace outdated playground equipment, add extensive flower beds and create safer and more enjoyable spaces for children and families.

These next projects build on this previous work, furthering the Conservancy’s goal to create beautiful public spaces that encourage people to connect with their parks.

In the first phase, the Conservancy will revitalize the former concession stand and surrounding landscape at Hampton Park into a gathering space for community members as well as a place to host family and social gatherings, culinary pop-ups, plus neighborhood and cultural events.

In addition, the Conservancy will show conceptual plans for the restoration of the historic park cottage and new multi-use community center on the north side of the park as well as a proposed new community vegetable garden at Corrine Jones Park. All the proposed park improvements will be privately funded. Representatives from the Charleston Parks Conservancy will be on hand and available to answer questions about the projects and the Conservancy’s overall work in local parks.

“We’re excited to share these plans with the community and demonstrate how we’ll be turning underused parts of these parks into more vibrant, beautiful spaces that will become hubs of community activity,” said Harry Lesesne, executive director of the Charleston Parks Conservancy. “These improvements will allow more residents to use and enjoy some of the city’s most beloved parks.”

Over the last decade, the Conservancy has been dedicated to inspiring the people of Charleston to connect with their parks and together create stunning public spaces and a strong community. It has spearheaded park renovation and beautification projects all around the city, including Colonial Lake, Tiedemann Park and Nature Center, Chapel Street Fountain Park, Cannon Park, Wragg Square, McMahon Playground at Hampton Park, Allan Park, Magnolia Park and Community Garden, Medway Park and Community Garden, the West Ashley Greenway and Bikeway, and many more.

About the Charleston Parks Conservancy
The Charleston Parks Conservancy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring the people of Charleston to connect with their parks and together create stunning public places and a strong community. With the help of its volunteer Park Angels, the Conservancy improves, enhances, and invigorates these spaces, making Charleston even better, stronger, and more successful. For more information about or to support the Charleston Parks Conservancy, visit www.charlestonparksconservancy.org.

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Charleston Parks Conservancy on social media:
Twitter / Instagram @charlestonparks
Facebook www.facebook.com/CharlestonParksConservancy

GALLERY: Arts in the Park Comes to Hampton Park

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Charleston County Park and Hampton Park are proud to unveil four artistic creations from Georgia-based artist Joseph Dreher in Hampton Park.? These colorful wood and transparent cast acrylic pieces are now up and adding beautiful culture and added color to the beautiful surroundings of Hampton Park.

Details – First Art in the Parks Installation Displayed at Hampton Park

Come with us on a virtual walk through the park to see the new art display.

 

 

First Art in the Parks Installation Displayed in Hampton Park

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CHARLESTON, S.C. – Sculptures engraved with local children’s drawings, maps of Charleston and images of plant life have been installed in Hampton Park, part of a new Art in the Parks program created by the Charleston Parks Conservancy in collaboration with Redux Contemporary Art Center and the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs.
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The four large-scale pieces are made from colorful wood and transparent cast acrylic – the result of almost a year of work by Georgia-based artist Joseph Dreher (known as JOEKINGATL) and the Conservancy. Dreher received the Conservancy’s first ArtFields exhibition prize in April 2017. The annual award kicked off the Art in the Parks initiative, an effort to install temporary public art displays in Charleston city parks through collaborations with artists and arts organizations, including ArtFields.
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The installation – called “Plant Vitae” – located on the southern edge of Hampton Park along Mary Murray Drive represents Charleston residents in a way that celebrates the people and the community. Dreher worked with children from schools near Hampton Park and the local Boys and Girls Club to create the portraits showcased in the final art pieces.
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Using a “portrait partner” technique Dreher developed, the children created portraits of each other that become the basis of the sculptures. Dreher used colorful painted wood and transparent cast acrylic engraved with the children’s drawings, maps of Charleston and images of plant life.
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“People are my primary interest and it is my appreciation for people that informs so much of my creative work,” Dreher says. “My work is always multidimensional because I see a world where people are not flat. They are not obstacles, or heroes, or rogues, or saints. They are people – dimensional and deep.? There are no strangers in your world when you meet people fully prepared to accept who they are.”
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Through a public-private partnership model, the Conservancy works with the city’s Parks Department as well as community leaders, neighborhoods and engaged citizens to transform and activate the city’s parks and green spaces.?
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The Conservancy also will be working on a public art project along the West Ashley Greenway and Bikeway, thanks to a $50,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The Conservancy is partnering with the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs and local community groups on a creative placemaking effort, including a public art master plan and selection of artists to create public art and arts programming along the Greenway and Bikeway.?
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“We believe in connecting people to their parks, and art is a powerful tool to connect people to their environment and to each other,” says Harry Lesesne, the Conservancy’s executive director. “In the same ways public parks and green spaces are accessible to the entire community, we want public art projects to function in the same way – drawing people out into the parks and deepening their connection to their community and their neighbors.”?
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This Art in the Parks program is supported by contributions from The Speedwell Foundation, The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the Employees Community Fund of The Boeing Company, The Joanna Foundation, the City of Charleston and the Henry and Sylvia Yaschik Foundation.
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Follow the Charleston Parks Conservancy at www.CharlestonParksConservancy.org and on social media @CharlestonParks for updates on upcoming Art in the Park events and programs in Hampton Park.
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About the Charleston Parks Conservancy
The Charleston Parks Conservancy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring the people of Charleston to connect with their parks and together create stunning public places and a strong community. The Conservancy opens doors to individuals and organizations in Charleston wanting to engage with their parks and green spaces in a kaleidoscope of positive ways. With the help of its Park Angels, the Conservancy improves, enhances, and invigorates these spaces, making Charleston even better, stronger, and more successful. For more information about or to support the Charleston Parks Conservancy, please visit www.charlestonparksconservancy.org.
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Charleston Parks Conservancy on social media:
Twitter / Instagram @charlestonparks
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Instagram @joekingatl

Secrets of Hampton Park: The Citadel’s Friendly Neighbor

By Mark A. Leon
By Mark A. Leon

So many of us have bore witness to weddings, sat on a blanket enjoying life music, relaxed in the gazebo, fed the ducks, smelled the beautiful floral arrangements all around, biked the outer rim of the park or just held hands with someone you love walking over the bridge and listening to the sounds of the fountain.? That is Hampton Park, one of our most beloved park gems.? With The Citadel on one side and Charleston Strong with its doves of unity on the other, this park is a haven for baseball, basketball, weddings, concerts, jogs, bike rides and children playing. ? Hampton Park has brought so much joy to Charleston.

Here are a few facts that may open your eyes about Hampton Park and its rich history:

  • The full size of Hampton Park is 60 acres.
  • Hampton Park is named after Wade Hampton III, Governor of South Carolina from 1877 – 1879 during Reconstruction
  • From 1792 – 1900, Hampton Park was a horse racing track called Washington Race Track.? It was started by the South Carolina Jockey Club.? Though the track was historically closed in 1900, the last race was in 1877 due to the damage caused by the Civil War.
  • It was originally the front yard of a large plantation called “The Grove”.? The plantation was destroyed during the Revolutionary War and put up for land sale because the couple that owned the plantation had no children.
  • During the Civil War, the land was used as a prisoner of war camp for Union Soldiers being moved from Andersonville, Georgia to Florence, South Carolina.? Over 200 died due to illness and are buried in unmarked graves near the parking lot on the Wagoner Terrance side.
  • That in 1901, several businessmen decided to hold a regional trade exposition in Charleston and bought the land from the Charleston Library Society for part of the grounds.? The Expo was considered a failure by many but in 1902 Teddy Roosevelt came to the event and one year, the actual Liberty Bell made an appearance.? Officially called the South Carolina Inter-State and West Indian Exposition, this event brought new business to Charleston including the American Cigar Company and United Fruit Company.
  • The Boston Bean Eaters (today known as the Atlanta Braves) held two weeks of spring training in the park in 1905, and lost to the Detroit Tigers.
  • In 1917, the City of Charleston leased two acres to the 18th Infantry for an encampment to prepare for World War I service?
  • Mr. Archer Huntington donated $1000 and a collection of exotic animals from his personal collection at Brookgreen Gardens to get a zoo started in 1932.? zoo included lions, bears, and native species in a series of big chain link cages located between the current bandstand and the Cleveland Street entrance.? By 1972, the zoo was in such bad condition, it was deemed in violation of new federal codes of animal welfare treatment and was soon closed.

Today thousands flock to the closing concerts for Piccolo Spoleto and MOJA festivals with families and loved ones to listen to great music and celebrate community.? Next time you are having a picnic in Hampton Park or going for a jog, think about the celebrated history of this land.