In Charleston’s French Quarter, Penelope found no better place to wander than down some lovely little alleyways. These picturesque cobblestone, brick and stone pathways pave a direct route to sites that truly define Charleston. She stumbled upon everything she’d hope to experience downtown, and then some.
Beautiful homes with secret gardens and iron fences. Window boxes dripping with flowers. Majestic churches, five-star restaurants, restored theaters, art galleries. Introductions to the stories of Charleston’s past like earthquake bolts, horse hitching posts and oyster shell walkways. There are even charming hotels to rest your head after a long day of walking.
Did she miss anything? Here’s are Penelope’s favorite alleyways, beginning with the reveal from this week’s guessing game.
Alley #1: Philadelphia Alley
Originally known as Dueler’s Alley- a place to settle disputes, it’s hard to imagine Philadelphia Alley ever being a violent street. Philadelphia Alley is accessed by way of Queen Street or Cumberland Avenue, but look for it carefully. Philadelphia Alley is so tucked away that some locals are unaware of its presence. Down its shaded path are beautifully restored buildings, Caribbean color palates and a cobblestone-brick walkway. It’s no wonder to Penelope why countless art galleries have sprouted up around the corner. A walk down Philadelphia Alley is an inspirational one.
Alley #2: Lodge Alley
Through its three hundred years of history, Lodge Alley’s purpose was always one of convenience and commerce. Centuries ago, French Hugenot merchants built homes and warehouses on the alley to store their ships. This ten-foot-wide street was the easiest point of access to Charleston’s waterways. Today what waits on the opposite end of its beautiful State Street entrance is East Bay Street and countless dining options. Penelope walked just one more block and discovered the place she began her journey over a month ago: Charleston’s Waterfront Park.
And then there’s…
Unity Alley has always been a locals spot. It was originally built in the 1770′s as the site for a tavern. Today locals and out-of-towners flock to this alley to try out McCrady’s Restaurant. Being such a small creature, Penelope’s tolerance for alcohol is low, but she discovered the alley is staying true to its original role. The bar at McCrady’s serves up stiff drinks and offers one of Charleston’s most extensive wine lists.
Seventeen bricks wide at its start on East Bay Street, Stolls Alley is the perfect width for Penelope to trail down. Named for Justinus Stoll, an 18th century blacksmith, this enchanting alley leads the way to some of Charleston’s finest ironwork, including that of famed Philip Simmons.
Accessible by bike or foot only. Cars aren’t allowed because they simply won’t fit. If there was ever a place to fall in love with Charleston, it’s here. This picture is the only explanation you need.
And Penelope’s favorite alley of them all, home of the Fulton Lane Inn, where one lucky Penelope follower will visit soon! This is it y’all! Penelope will wrap up her vacation this week and prepare to announce the winner on Monday, October 15th! Keep in touch with the rest of her trip on Facebook.