Thursday, July 31, 2014

Shade Seekers: The Gate Walk revisited


*This is a long post that contains a pictorial mapping of the Gate Walk in downtown Charleston, SC. The walk used to always end for us with an ice cream at Maggie Moos. Times change, and Maggie Moos no longer exists (all else has stood the test of time along the walk!) but Sweet Cece's frozen yogert and juice bar is a fantastic option on Market Street. Cool off and prepare for the walk back! Click here for Pluff Mud Kid's mapmywalk route from 2012. Pick a morning this month for a shady walk downtown... 



Fall... I love the gate walk this time of year. It's quiet - the tourists are few and the students are back to school. Pick a sunny day and try this version of the gate walk...

What is the gate walk? - In 1930, Clelia Peronneau McGowan was the president of the Charleston Garden Club. She traveled to Paris, France and was so inspired by the gorgeous little gardens dotted throughout the city, she returned to Charleston on a quest to recreate that feeling in her own city. The Garden Club posted the sign below, and the whole thing was off and running...


The gate walk is a wonderful walk through the middle of downtown Charleston with a mix of churches, flowers, history, architecture, graveyards, and of course the allure for children to seek out each new gate. It stretches across 3 blocks and is about a mile round trip.

1. Begin by parking in the public garage on Beaufain St. (walk out of the garage directly across from the lovely Leaf restaurant - and bear it in mind for lunch when you finish the walk!). Walk across to Archdale St. and wander up it to the churches of St. John's Lutheran and the Unitarian. (see below)


2. Wander through and explore the cemetery and enjoy the sundial and gorgeous flowers.

3. Walk through the gate and down the lush green alleyway toward King St. (below)



You may even spy a Citadel cadet as you wander along to the next gate.

4. Cross over King St. to the next gate. You will see The Charleston  Library Society on your left (below)...


and to your right, you will spot the horse hitching posts...

5. Follow the alleyway through the next gate to the patio area behind the Gibbes Museum of Art. This is a great spot for a place to run around or take a break. There are tables here and shady spots.

6. Look for this next gate and pass through it to walk along the side of the Gibbes. (below)


7. The Circular Congregational Church pops into view as you cross through another gate and across Meeting St.


8. This graveyard is chock full of Charleston's rich history and tons of funerary art. PMK tip- often, the gate at the back that joins into St. Phillip's Church cemetery is locked... don't panic! Exit through the side gate and stroll up Cumberland St. toward St. Philip's. You will walk past the Powder Magazine - do stop in if you have time, but we usually bypass that and save it for a separate excursion to dedicate enough time to the gate walk. (see below)




9. Turn right off Cumberland onto Church St. and enjoy the two cemeteries at St. Phillip's Church.


10. As you begin the return trip, wander back to Wholly Cow ice cream (formerly Maggie Moos) at 159 Church St. and grab a treat - you've earned it! (*No longer in operation- see the text above at the beginning of this revised post!)



The best part is counting the gates as you go along, so I won't spoil the fun by telling you how many there are! Do take water and snacks and a camera. There are lots of questions to ask along the way; like "what's the difference between a graveyard and a cemetery?" Every time we walk it, it is a new experience.

PMK tips- when my twins were babies, I did take a stroller and could fit it through all the gates, narrow paths and alleyways. It is a good idea even for toddlers because it seems like a long way for them when they turn to trek back.

Click here for Pluff Mud Kid's mapmywalk route from 2012!

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