Left My Heart in the Holy City – Original Poem

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By Mark A. Leon

I left my heart in the Holy City

The spirits draw me in with the sweet song of the streets
Cobblestone roads and the gallop of horses in the distance
She romances me with her pallet
Serenades with the wind whistling off the Palmettos

With a cocktail on the rooftop we toast the sunset
A breathtaking theatrical performance
With a wink from the moon, the evening sweeps you off your feet

Left my heart in the Holy City
Fair Charleston, the jewel of the South
A present to be unwrapped filled with magic and surprise

The tower bells ring, ushering in a new hour; a new adventure
Let her Southern warmth cascade the senses
A steamy night awaits filled with passion

With a secret smile and a courtesy bow, a gentleman woes the Southern Belle
Tradition alive and well in the Holy City

Plantations showered with flowers
Prominence and power
Tradition so sincere

In the garden, a maiden awaits her place
Resting under the shade of the tree
Born the fairer being
Destined to grace

Left my heart in the Holy City
So, proud, under the flag of Sumter
Free as the waterways out of the Harbor

Church steeples dance
Ghosts sway under the hot sun
A celebration of sin and charm

Now I rest under this Southern sky for tomorrow I will leave my heart in this Holy City


Desirable Places in Charleston, SC to Escape Life

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By Minta Pavliscsak

Ever have one of “those” days? Sure you have; we all have. The type of day where you just want to be alone and escape life for a bit. Between work, school, family, friends, and the constant connection with technology, places where you can just be alone are difficult to come by.

However, as long as you do not check in on Facebook or Yelp when you get there, you can seclude yourself and escape life if you wish to do so. Turn off your phone, bring a book, magazine, your puppy, a notebook, or simply your own thoughts, take a few deep breaths and enjoy your solitude.

Here are a few of the best hidden places in Charleston to escape life, if only for a few minutes.

Folly Beach: You have a few options here. The best places to go to be alone with your thoughts are as far east as you can go on the island, and as far west as you can go. On the east end you will enjoy a scenic view of Morris Island Lighthouse. The far west end is a bit further of a walk, but totally worth it. The walk there is part of the destination itself.

Charleston Waterfront Park swings at night: There’s not a sound much more soothing than the sound of water, and when accompanied by the feeling of gently swinging back and forth under the moonlight, worries seem to melt away. Bring a comfy sweatshirt, even in summertime as it tends to get a little chilly.

Melton Peter Demetre Park (formally Sunrise Park): If you want a unique view of Charleston and the surrounding areas, here is your spot. Nestled deep within James Island, this is the perfect place to start your day or spend the afternoon in peacefulness.? In the distance you can view the Cooper River Bridge or the church steeples of the peninsula.

Allan Park

Fishing and Crabbing Dock at James Island County Park: Even if there is someone fishing, they usually just nod to say hi and focus on catching a big one. The dock is large enough for you to have your own spot to yourself. Bring your fishing pole, crab net, or just sit and enjoy the view.

Allan Park: Located just off of Ashley Avenue near Hampton Park, Allan Park is a splendid half acre of tranquility. There is a large fountain in the center and plenty of grass for picnics. There are also benches around the fountain if a blanket is not your thing.

Caw Caw Interpretive Center: Located about sixteen miles from downtown Charleston, Caw Caw Interpretive Center has remained virtually untouched over the years. Once several rice plantations, it is now home to a multitude of wildlife which you can enjoy along over six miles of trails winding throughout swamplands, cypress trees and boardwalks.

Magnolia Cemetery: Not many people think “relaxing” when it comes to cemeteries, but trust us on this one. Magnolia Cemetery is located on the banks of the Cooper River and in our opinion has to be one of the most beautiful places one could spend their resting days. Taking a stroll through this 92 acre stretch of land can give a whole new meaning to “escaping life”.

MUSC Urban Farm:? Right in the heart of the medical district off of Bee Street between Ashley and Courtenay is a safe haven.? In the heart of this square escape is an educational community garden where you will find everything from lemons, to rosemary to sunflowers with free gardening and nature lessons weekly.? Just outside the garden are open grassy areas and benches to relax, have a meal or just daydream.? Also, enclosed in this area are stretching equipment to keep your body physically fit.? This is a true mental and physical realm of health and solitude in the heart of the Charleston peninsula.


Magnolia Cemetery

We know there are more, but we do not want to give away all of the secrets! If you have a favorite spot that you like to go to escape life and would like to share, please comment below.

My Charleston Home – Original Poem

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By Mark A. Leon

With my guitar in hand and cross around my neck, I sing a song to my homeland
These Southern roots sing a lullaby with a Baptist choir by my side
This place I call home where the grits are warm and the shrimp are pure
A cowboy laying claim to his Southern roots

Sailors wave their sails as they dance around the harbor
I lay with my baby under the pirate’s gallows of White Point
In the distance, the sound of hooves
Horse drawn carriages offer a comfortable traveling companion
History tells a story on every street corner

Our forefathers debated
Our soldiers fought
Our leaders inspired

From Archdale to the Battery, Broad to Meeting, I tip my hat
It’s a place we can’t explain where neighbors are family
A place blessed by the radiant sun
Where we bow to a lady and honor their beauty

Courtesy is an honored tradition
Gentleman stand in honor
Ladies tip their hat and raise their champagne

This is my Southern home

On these streets, the church bells back up my harmony
In unison for all the world to hear
A holy city rich in pride

That’s just the Charleston way

Let go of your senses and smell our flowers
A garden enchanted with historic architecture

The first shots still echo in the distance
All are welcomed with the shower of a Pineapple

This is Charleston

Strong and proud
Welcoming and free
Charmed in open arms

A mimosa by day, rooftop glow by night
Standing tall as the jewel of the South

This is my Charleston home

Andrew Pinckney Inn Collects School Supplies for Teachers’ Supply Closet







The Andrew Pinckney Inn is partnering with the Teachers’ Supply Closet (TSC) to help get school supplies to local children for the 2017 school year. Now through Labor Day they will be collecting new or gently used school/office supplies in our lobby at 40 Pinckney Street. As a way to say thank you to our guests for supporting our cause, if you bring in at least three supplies we will offer one free night of valet parking during your stay*.

Teachers’ Supply Closet eliminates the need for teachers to pay for the products. They are a nonprofit affiliate of the national Kids In Need Foundation that provides free school supplies to teachers in Charleston, Dorchester and Berkeley Counties who work at schools where at least 81% of the students are on the free or reduced meals program. In 2016 they provided 27,550 children with free school supplies.

Top 5 Needs: ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
-Composition Notebooks
-Copy Paper
-Hand Sanitizer ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?.
-Glue Sticks

Other Wish List Needs:
-Pink Erasers
-Washable Markers
-Pocket Folders

Drop Off Location:
Andrew Pinckney Inn
40 Pinckney Street, Charleston, SC

*Free valet parking is to be used during your current visit only and it is nontransferable. Good for one night only of parking, in exchange for a minimum of three separate school supplies.

Teacher Supplies Closet Mission: To serve children in the Tri-County area in meeting their educational and creative needs by providing free supplies donated by businesses and individuals.

What Not to Do In Charleston

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By Minta Pavliscsak

It seems everywhere you look these days there are blogs popping up about what to do in Charleston. Having information about what to do and where to go is great, but sometimes it is good to know what not to do. Fear not! We have you covered. So enjoy your time in Charleston, but please keep in mind the following things not to do in Charleston, South Carolina:

– Do not stop in the middle of the road to take pictures of the big, beautiful houses. Again, that goes for cars and pedestrians, although we see it happen mostly with cars. Simply pull over and park, get out and walk around. You will get much better photographs and see so much more!

– Do not block the sidewalks. We all have places to go and people to see. While this is the south and time does seem to run a little slower here, we are still in a rush to get to where we need to be. Please be considerate of those behind you when walking down the sidewalk and make sure they have plenty of room to get around you.

– Do not let the door slam on the person walking in behind you. We are taught at a very early age to “hold the door” for others, especially southern gentlemen. When you don’t, it is nothing personal, but we take it as such. And it’s simply rude.

– Do not stop in the middle of the intersection. This goes for cars and pedestrians. The light stays green for only so long, and trust me it’s not very long. If you are unsure of where you are going, just get out of the way and then figure it out.

– Do not eat at Hymans. With so many other amazing options, try not to fall prey to the hype. But you definitely don’t have to take our word for it.

– Do not walk in the bike lane when walking across the Ravenel Bridge. The bikers will warn you that they are coming up behind you, but they will also come pretty dern close to running you over if you are in their lane.

– Do not pay for a taxi when getting around downtown. You have a couple of free options. The city has the DASH, a free downtown shuttle that has different routes that will get you all over the peninsula. There is also Scoop Charleston, a free electric taxi service that will get you anywhere you want to go in downtown Charleston.? The Rickshaw is just a fine Southern tradition and cozy way to get around town.

– Do not get to the bar late if you do not want to pay a cover charge. Going out at night? Try upper King Street or hit up the Market and East Bay area. However, be warned that there will be lines and cover charges.

– Do not bring alcohol on the beach. Folly Beach was the last beach in the area that allowed drinking on the beach. They banned alcohol on their beach in 2012 following a last straw Fourth of July incident. Some say just be smart about it; we say why risk it?

– Do not forget that everyone has their bad days. Sure, Charleston has been named one of the friendliest cities but whether you are a local or a tourist, things like what are listed above can -and will- bug anyone from time to time. Just be patient, smile, and remember the golden rule for in the end we all want our Charleston experience to be a great one.

GALLERY: Churches of Charleston

You don’t get the title of Holy City without a special spiritual connection.? As you walk the streets of Charleston, you can hear the collective chimes of the church bells echoing throughout the peninsula.? It is a sound that has resonated for hundreds of years.? Through natural disasters, wars, political and economic conflict, those bells have remained.? As our tribute to the hallowed halls of the Churches of Charleston and the houses of the Lord that make this city special, we want to share a special gallery of some of the beautiful infrastructures.

Unitarian Church – 4 Archdale Street, Charleston, SC


St. John Lutheran Church – 5 Clifford Street, Charleston, SC


John the Baptist Church – 120 Broad Street, Charleston, SC


St. Michael’s Episcopal Church – 71 Broad Street, Charleston, SC


First Presbyterian Church – 53 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC


Mother Emanuel AME – 110 Calhoun Street, Charleston, SC


Trinity United Methodist Church – 273 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC


Citadel Square Baptist Church – 328 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC


St. Matthews Lutheran Church – 405 King Street, Charleston, SC


The Second Presbyterian Church – 342 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC


Morris Street Baptist Church – 25 Morris Street, Charleston, SC


Central Baptist Church – 26 Radcliffe Street, Charleston, SC


St Patrick Catholic Church – 134 St. Philip Street, Charleston, SC

Getting to Know Philadelphia Alley



By Minta Pavliscsak

If there is one thing Charleston, South Carolina will never be lacking, it is charm. In historic downtown Charleston, every street, store front, restaurant, park, and even alleyway has a way to make you point and say “awe”. Then, as if an automatic response, your camera is out taking pictures before you even realize it.

Follow us as we take a stroll down Philadelphia Alley and see alleyways as only Charleston knows how to do them.



This charming alley can be found between Queen Street and Cumberland Street. Often overlooked, Philadelphia Alley is one of the many hidden treasures Charleston offers. Dating back to 1776, Cow’s Alley as it was originally called, was access to rental homes behind Francis Kinloch’s house. He renamed it Kinloch’s Court after he widened it.



This alley has seen two fires in its lifetime, including the infamous fire of 1796, and another in 1810. Holding true to its name, The City of Brotherly Love stood by Charleston’s side by donating?financially to aid in rebuilding this area in 1811.


What a more proper thank you than to forever give this beautiful strip of canopy covered, cobblestone refuge from the heat during the summer months, and the best place to listen to the bells of St. Phillips Church the honor of the name Philadelphia Alley.


Many locals refer to this passageway as Dueler’s Alley. Back when gentleman settled their disputes with pistols twenty-one paces away, this alley was the perfect setting in Charleston to do so. One of the most famous stories is of one man’s love and what he did to prove said love. Dr. Joseph Brown Ladd, known as the whistling doctor would eventually meet his demise as a result of a duel with Ralph Isaacs in 1786.


Many local ghost tour companies will tell the tale of the Whistling Doctor, and some Charlestonians have even said to have heard faint whistling while walking down the alley alone. Today you will find a tranquil, picturesque setting where each person you meet will pass you by with a friendly smile and nod. So as Robert Frost first suggest, take the road less traveled and be sure to explore Charleston’s only Philadelphia Alley.






Poetry Slams into the Hearts of Charleston at Pure Theater

By Mark A. Leon
By Mark A. Leon

On Tuesday, September 22, Unspoken Word hosted the Holy City Slam at the Pure Theater.? Host and MC Derek Berry opened the evening with comedic banter and an expressive explanation of how poetry knows no judgement or boundaries.

Co-host Matthew Foley subjected himself as the sacrificial lamb doing A Letter to the Poetry Slammers as a test for the judges and the audience.? The strength of prose and powerful message of complete emotional release was a driving force to fuel the evening.? From dancing on the stage to an explosion of words, Matthew provided a guideline for life.

The evening featured four performing contestants.? The rules were simple.

  • Each poet performs two pieces.? Round one and round two.
  • Each poet has 3 minutes with a 10 second grace period
  • Five judges rule on a scale of? 1 – 10
  • The top two performers would go on to Round three.? Each finalist scores from round one and two are erased and it becomes a one round finale.

The performances were on extreme ends of the life spectrum, ranging from racial relations to relationships to sexting to infant loss.? There was nothing held back from this core of contestants than included a performer that had only been on stage for the second time in his life.

As the scores were tallied during a brief intermission, local Charleston performers took the stage in an open mic form.? While Marcus Amaker spoke of drowning in a waterfall of love soaked in intimate lust and desirable love, Derek and Matthew cut themselves metaphorically with an ode to a father and a mother.? Both poems released truths of emotionally challenging periods of facing failure and death.

From Mickey Mantle to Lupus, I think every one of the 60 plus members of the audience could internalize from these two poignant poems about family.

In the final round Saeed and Liz were left standing.? First Saeed and then Liz.? The five judges weighed heavily on presentation, content, emotion and impact on the audience.? In the end, Liz took the higher score, but all four contestants came out victorious.? It was a night of the spoken word.? A night where we all sat in a house of worship, with no religion to be found.

From silent concentration to screams from the audience, the extremely active audience participation showed what an important part our lives poetry plays.

For a moment, I closed my eyes and listened to the music play from the stage.? Without instruments; just the lyrics of the heart.

As Derek made note early on in the evening, the night was about not holding back.? It was about complete and unadulterated freedom

Sometime our greatest fear in life is to hear what we don’t want to know.? Expressive emotion is hard; then again so is life.

The Poetry Slam was a night where love and expression came together for all.