One of the greatest gifts we receive living in Charleston is abundant history. On the Charleston peninsula and downtown Charleston, nearly every corner offers a great story from the past. But within thirty minutes of downtown, more history comes alive with some outdoor weekend adventure, like a kayak trip through some of the most beautiful natural settings in the lowcountry.
This fall a small group of friends did a Sunday excursion to the Francis Marion Forest for some black water kayaking. It was a private, guided 4-hour trip led by Coastal Expeditions of Mount Pleasant. It was part history lesson, part water adventure. And it was fun for the whole family! Our paddlers ranged in age from 11 to 60+. We packed a lunch and sunscreen. Coastal Expeditions provided all of the necessary gear and a knowledgeable guide.
We began our adventure at the Quinby bridge, an historic site of one of the battles from the American Revolutionary war. From Quinby’s bridge we headed down Quinby Creek to the East Cooper river. It was a calm, easy paddle taking us through the back waters surrounding the Shubrick Rice Plantation. Our destination, Pompion Hill Chapel, was about an hour ahead of us.
This part of the lowcountry seemed virtually unspoiled. Bald cypress lined the creek edges and the wildlife played like a Discovery channel documentary. We were wowed by the landscape.
Arriving at Pompion Hill Chapel, we set out to explore the grounds and refuel for the paddle back. On this day, no one else was present and we felt privileged to experience this National Historic Landmark site on our own. The chapel grounds were draped in history and Spanish moss. Grave markers were weathered and details nearly illegible.
The National Register describes the original, unaltered Pompion Hill Chapel as “probably the finest and best preserved of South Carolina’s numerous small, eighteenth century country parish, brick churches.”
This Sunday kayak excursion reminds me why I love living in Charleston. If you already live here or may be just visiting for a few days, add this to your list of must dos!
Drake Manning is founder of LivingCHS.com.