Now that my youngest is 5 years old, exploring Charleston by foot has become more of a possiblity. Not having to lug around a stroller and plan for naps and diaper changes will allow us to explore the city in ways we haven’t before and I look forward to bringing you regular installments as we become tourists in our own city!
We recently came into posession of the 1932 book Landmarks of Charleston by Thomas Petigru Lesesne and decided to start using it to learn more about the city that we live in, so to start we headed downtown to take the 3-block walking tour, Gateway Walk. (six blocks if you have to get back to your parking garage; we parked at Majesty Parking on the corner of King and Queen)
We started at Archdale; the gate was locked so we headed down King Street and backtracked a little bit.The Gateway Walk is shown on the red trail in the map down above. The sign above marks the courtyard entrance of the Charleston Library Society on King; there are eleven ‘gates’ on the Gateway Walk; hence the name of the walkway. One item on my unofficial bucket list this year is to photograph each of the eleven gates.
The Gateway Walk which opened in 1930 to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the founding of Charleston connects the historic churches along Archdale; St. Philips Episcopal Church, the Circular Congregational Church on Meeting Street and the neighboring Unitarian Church and St. John’s Lutheran Church and ambles through Gibbes Art Museum.
The ghost of Annabel Lee (the subject of Edgar Allen Poe’s eponymous poem) is said to haunt the Unitarian Church graveyard; a place where she would meet her secret love; a sailor from Virginia stationed in Charleston.
Her father forbid the relationship and when he realized she was secretly seeing him he locked her in her room for months. The sailor eventually went back to Virginia and Annabel Lee died of yellow fever – he got word of her death and returned to Charleston to properly mourn her but her father had her buried six feet deep in the cemetery instead of the regular three feet in the family plot; the sailor returned but could never find her actual grave.
People say they’ve seen her walking the cemetery looking for her forbidden love. We didn’t see Annabel Lee this time, but we’ll head back on Halloween to try to catch a glimpse of her.
I’m excited for the beautiful Charleston Spring weather around the corner; the flowers are starting to bloom and it is the perfect time to head downtown to see all that Charleston has to offer, I look forward to sharing our day trips with you! Have you been to Charleston? What’s your favorite thing about the Holy City?