In my humble opinion, I believe we live in one of the prettiest cities in the Southeast (if not the prettiest). So I thought, why not celebrate that. Although we have 4 million visitors a year, I'm sure that most of my favorite places are rarely visited by them. Some are, but it's kind of nice to have our local spots to ourselves! Therefore, I thought I'd share some of the not-so-well-traveled, as well as some of the better known attractions. For now, I'll start somewhere in the middle.
First up in our new series Charleston adora[tion], and just a short bike ride from our house, is Hampton Park. Named for Confederate General Wade Hampton III, governor of South Carolina after the Civil War. This is the largest park on the peninsula of Charleston, at just over 60 acres. It is a gorgeous park that features a pond, tree-lined paths, the most extensive flower collection in the city, and a 1-mile loop of road that surrounds the park. It's central to 3 different neighborhoods including our home Wagener Terrace (to the north), Hampton Park Terrace (to the south), and North Central (to the east), as well as the campus of The Citadel (to the west).
The park has had quite a history, having originally been part of The Grove Plantation in the 1700s, later becoming a horse race track in the 1800s and a prisoner of war camp during the Civil War, and in the 1900s there was a zoo and aviary. In recent years it was home to the Charleston Police horse stables, until this past February when the city did away with it's mounted patrol, due to budgetary reasons.
In my research, I learned that the park was supposedly the site of the first Memorial Day celebration in 1865!
My memories of the park include our friends Jay & Amelia's rehearsal dinner in the gazebo, our 'engagement' photos on the tandem, and our rainy day visit with my sister, brother-in-law and niece Ellie. There have been lots of evening rides on our bikes, picnics with friends, and walks along the paths over the years.
It's also a great place to catch an intramural soccer match, a pick-up game of basketball, or cycling event. And although I've never been, the finale of our local festival Piccolo Spoleto always ends here with a big fireworks display.
Before we leave the park, I'll leave you with a few of our photos from before we got married. I call them our 'engagement' photos, but in reality we just answered the call of a local photographer who was doing a piece on bicycles and their owners. Because Brian and I inherited an old Columbia Twosome from my dad that we used to ride around town a lot more than we do these days, we were asked to participate in the photo shoot. Here are some of those photos...
You are going to get a two-for-one this week because I can't resist putting another of my favorite things about Charleston at the end of this post. We saw it on our way home from the park last night... sunset over the marsh.
How gorgeous is that?
Thanks to the following websites for informa[tion], and if you'd like to know more, please visit: Wikipedia and Charleston Parks Conservancy