Saturday I spent 4 hours wandering.
I left the house, on foot, about 10am and I didn’t return until 2pm. It was a beautiful Saturday and there was much going on in Downtown Charleston, so I just took may camera and went for a-wandering.
Heading first for the Farmer’s Market in Marion Park, there was so many vendors and people walking about on this lovely morning. Wonderful smiling faces, kids running and laughing, colorful bounce houses, wind chimes chiming in the slow breeze, dogs lapping up water from placed bowls throughout, vendors displaying their fall wares, and people talking and happy everywhere. The air smelled like cinnamon, kettle corn, dirty green beans, and lavender. I have been to this, and a hundred other, farmer’s markets – but there was something grander on this day. Perhaps it just seemed so to me. There were many pumpkins, and I do go wild for pumpkins.
After doing a full pass through of the market, I found a spot on the park lawn to sit a while. I rested, people watched, and fiddled with my camera. (There are still so many things I need to learn and figure out about this thing!) I then got up and began my wandering again.
Cutting through the market to take some pictures, I walked in the direction of the “Garden District” of Charleston, or what they call the Wraggsborough District. Jon and I have ridden our bicycles in this area more in the recent months, so I wanted to take the time to explore it more on foot. Long looks at the buildings, parks, historical plaques, and the rest.
My first stop was the Second Presbyterian Church. A long, raised front park, surrounded by old brick and iron gate walls leads up to this all white Church, which dates back to 1809 and is the 4th oldest, original standing Church in the City. The park path leads up to the building, then around to the left – into the Graveyard.
On the Church’s website, I found a the below information very interesting about the Graveyard’s history:
“In this graveyard are parties from every war including the Revolutionary War and perhaps the only grave to a Charlestonian that died in Charleston as a direct result of the
War of 1812. Nine graves are for members of the Church that died fighting in the “Late Unpleasantness” (also called the “Civil War”)….. College presidents and founders share this yard alongside ministers and leaders of this community…. An unusual item (for this time period) is that Free Blacks members of the congregation were buried alongside the whites. One of the striking issues that is visible is the exceedingly high child death evidenced here. More children, percentage wise, lie in this yard than any other
Churchyard in Charleston. Many would die from Yellow Fever and other mass disease,
but more would die from malnutrition related problems after the War Between the States. The Reconstruction Government would not provide any food for the widows
and orphans of the South.” ~ Noel P. Mellen Elder Historian
I walked around and photographed this Church and Graveyard for a while. My only regret it that I could not take a look inside.
Beginning to leave the Graveyard, I noticed a small, round, interesting building….Odd shaped. I made my way to it.
It turned out to be a Garden Gate Temple at the back of the beautiful Joseph Manigault House; called also, The Charleston Huguenot House. I entered the Garden Gate Temple, not realizing where I was, what it was, or that I was actually entering the back garden of this interesting property.
The garden had square paths which boxed in the circular middle courtyard; all enclosed by the tall brick wall. The back of the home oversees this lovely garden. Around the side of the house were areas of old remains of foundation bricks with signage marking the former privy, stable, carriage house, kitchen, and slave quarters.
I peaked in the one window I could. The glass, older and warped in places, gave a bumpy indoor view of a beautiful wooden foyer. There was a gorgeous crystal chandelier hanging from the middle of the room and this oval-like staircase wrapping up around it.
I obviously didn’t know it existed, or what it was when I happened upon it – therefore I did not have a ticket to tour the home – but having that surprise on my wanderings was very pleasing.
Continuing my travel in the Wraggsborough District, I left the Manigault property, and strolled down the streets, looking at other lovely homes, and water fountain parks along the way – maybe snapping a photo or two.
Suddenly, I found myself down by the water and the Aquarium. There were several activities going on the waterfront…. A wedding on top of the Aquarium building, a ton of people enjoying the sites, lines of people waiting for the Fort Sumter tour, a private Octoberfest party on the pier, and something I have never seen before.
Apparently a body building type of festival was going on – probably the most seemingly out of place event I have ever stumbled upon; especially so in historic, downtown, waterside, posh area of Charleston. Tons of overly gross muscled meat heads pumping iron, grunting, spray tanning, and posing – all while vendors sell hot dogs, creatine, tight shorts, and face paint the children. It was my cue that it was time to head back home.
Strolling home (just enjoying the sights, the sounds, and the weather), I became overwhelmed with a heavy feeling of gratitude. Grateful that we moved here, grateful that we live here, grateful that Divine Providence provided such brilliance all around.
There is so much beauty in Downtown Charleston – the history, the art, the architecture. Even some beauty and uniqueness in the rusty, decaying, and abandoned old homes. I often feel that there is a hint of beauty or inspiration in most things I see – even if I have seen it many times over. Inspiration, imagination, and appreciation.
This bible verse came to mind and made the connection with my day, my experience, and my gratefulness.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light.”
After I arrived home, feeling tired but grand, I went off to run some errands, get groceries, and pick some pumpkins.
What a lovely, wonderful Saturday
and Sunday would be an Oyster Roast with friends!
The only thing to make it more of a blessing would be for Jon to be around to
enjoy it all as well. We miss him around here & think about him everyday.