I'm currently sitting in my office looking out of my window staring at mounds of powdery snow piling up. As I sit here bundled willing the snow to melt and the sun to shine, I'm daydreaming about warmer days to come, specifically sunny days to come on my trip to Charleston, South Carolina for The Southern C Summit! Since most of us in the US have been pretty chilly lately, I thought I'd share one of my favorite spots to soak up the sun and color of Charleston.
In the middle of downtown Charleston is the perfect little oasis... As I wandered down King Street several years ago, I noticed an open iron gate that appeared to lead into a large garden. At the entrance, an inspirational quote was mounted.
This is an odd scene in Charleston, given that most iron gates to beautiful gardens are closed because they usually lead to private gardens and homes, but this one was open and longing for visitors. I peeked through with trepidation hoping I was not trespassing. As I continued to walk the brick path, I began to see headstones surrounded by lush greenery, rose bushes, and mysterious moss hanging from low branches. After confirming that I was not invading someone's private home, I sighed with relief and meandered through the winding paths.
I discovered this was the churchyard for the Unitarian Church. A cemetery may seem like an odd place to spend time, historically cemeteries were viewed more as parks than they are today. This cemetery is so peaceful and beautiful with its serpentine paths, wild rose bushes, and wandering vines. It was the ideal place to take a respite from busy King Street. I visited this spot again last year after my busy week at The Southern C Summit and wandered through the gardens with my camera trying to capture this unique place. The photos do not do it justice.
The church itself is equally stunning. It is the oldest Unitarian church in the South and the second oldest church in downtown Charleston. Its construction began in 1772 when the congregation decided it needed more space than its Meeting Street location could provide. It was nearly complete in 1776 when the Revolutionary War began, finally being repaired and officially dedicated in 1787. The church was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1973.
I hope to sneak a peek inside one day.