One of the things I have purchased during this pandemic is a bicycle soon to arrive any day now. It’s a cute little beach cruiser that I intend to pedal all around my neighborhood in Mount Pleasant to hopefully get some much-needed exercise. Not being able to give my daily walking tours
has been sorely missed. Although, staying at home for weeks on end has given me the gift of time to read and research for a new walking tour I’m creating, so that’s been productive. I have ventured downtown on occasion to stroll the empty streets (safely with one friend at a distance), gathering new photos for my Instagram page and upcoming blog posts, but also to visit the beauty of historic downtown Charleston that I so dearly love. (My little fix, if you will.)
I’m also going to be purchasing a bike rack for my car to transport my cool new ride all over the Charleston area. I have discovered over the years, Charleston has many locations to enjoy a leisurely bike ride. And, one of my favorite trails just happens to be inside one of the most stunning parks in the United States — Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site. Believe you me, this isn’t just any old park. And, please be sure to check out their FAQ page to learn how to rent your own bicycle. The historical significance of this glorious space is monumental, and given that just last Saturday, April 18th was the 350th Anniversary of the birthplace of the Carolina colony, I can’t think of a better time to visit Charles Towne Landing. As of now, the park is set to reopen on May 1, 2020. Trust me, it’s definitely one of the best places to ride a bike in Charleston. (But, pssst. Don’t forget the bug spray.)
What most visitors aren’t aware of is the current location of “the peninsula” of Charleston wasn’t the original settlement location. It all began in 1663 when King Charles II of England granted the territory known as Carolana, later Carolina, to eight loyal supporters known as the Lords Proprietors. By 1669, the man in charge, Lord Anthony Ashley Cooper, who had two rivers named in his honor, issued the Fundamental Constitutions with the aid of his faithful secretary, John Locke. These constitutions (rules to live by), were eagerly accepted by the colonists, which provided a framework for government, and originally allowed for a landed gentry and religious tolerance. We’re not called the Holy City for nothing. Religious freedom was a huge draw for those seeking a safe place to live and worship. It was in this year, 1669 the first English colonists set sail for Carolina.
Months later in early April 1670, they finally chose a spot, now Charles Towne Landing, and it was deemed the first permanent English settlement south of Virgina established at Albermarle Point on the west bank of the Ashley River. It would be ten years later in 1680 when the settlement would move to the present location then called Oyster Point (now White Point Garden) for defensive purposes.
The city was called Charles Town for the first few decades of its existence as a proprietary colony. Known as Charles Town(e) during the era of royal rule beginning in 1720, it would finally become known as Charleston when the city was incorporated at the end of the Revolutionary War in 1783.
With over 80 acres of park gardens to explore, guests will love the six miles of trails before them, enjoying weaving and darting throughout the park. The dreamy Spanish moss blowing softly in the breeze from the twisted boughs of the oak trees will add to the splendor of this ride. Imagine, being one of the first settlers? They are all heroes in my eyes.
The site includes a visitor’s center with interactive exhibits, too. It also has a replica sailing ship, Charleston’s only 17th-century vessel called the Adventure guests can climb aboard and explore. There’s the Animal Forest natural habitat zoo where you can spy a few otters, bears, bison and other critters. And, do not miss the stunning live oak alley and the Legare Waring House
. It’s one of the most popular wedding venues in Charleston, and after cruising by, you’ll understand why.
Below are some of my other favorite places to ride/rent a bike in Charleston. Happy Pedaling, y’all!