Honoring history and our brave Marines, a driving tour around Parris Island

While visiting the inspirational Parris Island military museum take advantage of the free self-guided 15 miles loop driving tour. Download the brochure ahead of time; it has a brief description of all the attractions and turn by turn driving instructions. Here are the highlights (data taken from the brochure):

Interesting things to see near the museum

Iron Mike – Erected in 1924 and designed by Robert Ingersoll Aitken.

The Legendary Iron Mike (sketch)

The Legendary Iron Mike (sketch)

Dedicated to Parris Island Marines who gave their lives in World War I, it is officially known as the “Monument to U.S. Marines.”

The two field pieces on each side are 2.95-inch Vickers-Maxim Mountain guns made around 1900. The drinking fountain nearby is dedicated to all Parris Island Marines who died during World War II.

Iwo Jima Monument“Uncommon Valor was a Common Virtue”

The heroic flag raising on Mount Surabach, Iwo Jima, in 1945 is an inspiration to all Americans as a symbol of freedom and personifies many of the Marines qualities: confidence, discipline, fidelity and the rugged determination to overcome insurmountable odds.

This version of coated plaster was made by Felix de Weldon to raise money for the much larger bronze monument that was eventually erected in D.C.

Douglas Visitor’s Center – Over 100,000 people visit Parris Island each year. The visitor’s center is named for Paul H. Douglas who at age 50, enlisted in the Corps, becoming the oldest recruit to complete training.

As a Captain, Douglas was sent to the Pacific theater in a non combat role. While there, he talked his way into a combat role, later receiving two Purple Hearts!

Leatherneck Square and Confidence Course – Here you can observe recruits

Parris Island Military Museum

Parris Island Military Museum

undergoing rigorous training to prepare them for hand-to-hand combat.

The main point of interest is the Confidence Course, first introduced in 1958 and updated in 2002.

Constructed of logs, cables, pipe and rope, this tests coordination and endurance.
The most challenging of the 11 obstacles is the “Dirty Name” and the “Slide for Life.”

Memorial Park and Molly Marine – Opposite Depot Theater, is a Memorial Park honoring the 5th, 9th and 14th Defense Battalions which trained at Parris Island during World War II.

The centerpiece is a replica of the famous Molly Marine statue, dedicated to the service of all Women Marines. The original was commissioned during World War II by a Reserve recruiter in New Orleans. The sculptor, Enrique Alferez, was a Mexican immigrant who himself wished to become a United States Marine.

4th Recruit Training Battalion – Here is the training for female recruits. Women began serving in the Corps in 1918 in the Women’s Reserve. In 1948 females were integrated into the regular Marine Corps, and in 1949 the first class graduated at Parris Island.

Now that you’ve worked an appetite dine at Traditions located nearby on China Hutung. Traditions, once near the Dry Dock, was converted to an officer’s club in 1920 and moved to its present location in 1939. Lunch is served Sunday through Friday.

Weapons and History Trail
Page Field – Named for Captain Arthur Hallet Page Jr., a Marine aviator from 1918 to 1930. The field was most active during World War II when it used a variety of aircraft

The Few. The Proud. The Marines

The Few. The Proud. The Marines

such as Navy dirigibles, Corsairs, Wildcats, B-25 bombers, a glider squadron and a barrage balloon detachment. Today, Page Field is part of the Weapons and Field Training Battalion.

Charlesfort and Santa Elena National Historic Landmark – Along the 1/2 mile Nature and History Trail you can admire a crashed WWII bomber, the Parris Island lighthouse keeper’s home and the Santa Elena Monument.

From here take the interpretive trail through the 16th century Santa Elena town site, one of the most historic early colonial sites in North America. Brochures are available at the entrance of Fort San Marcos or in the clubhouse. Artifacts from the site are in the Parris Island Museum.

Rifle Range – Finish the driving tour at the Rifle Range, where recruits learn the basics of the M16A2 rifle. Each must become proficient in firing from the 200, 300, and 500 yards lines using various positions: off hand, prone, sitting and kneeling.

Each marker in front of the ranges is named for a Korean or Vietnam war battle in which Marines participated. The first range is Inchon, followed by Starlite, Chosin, Hue City, and Khe Sanh. The pistol ranges are named Pusan and Mount Suribachi.

More family attractions around Beaufort
• The historic St. Helena Episcopal Church the second oldest yet fastest growing church congregation in South Carolina (free)
• The magnificent and resilient Hunting Island lighthouse ($2 on top of park admission)
• The creepy-crawling, jaw-snapping, and slithering Edisto Island Serpentarium (adults $12.95, children 6-12 $9.95, 3 and under free)

Have great family vacation in Beaufort, SC!


Be a proud Marine at historic Parris Island Museum

Be inspired, thrilled and for ever humbled at the amazing Parris Island Museum near Beaufort, an 8,000 square feet ode to “The Few.The Proud. The Marines”.

Admission is free and the museum is open daily 10AM – 4:30PM except New Year’s, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. More info (843) 228-2951 or the website.

In front of 1935 Japanese field gun at Parris Island museum

In front of 1935 Japanese field gun at Parris Island museum

You’ll get a pass at the gate by presenting a driver’s license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance (pre-registration is available online)

The pass also gives you access to the free Parris Island driving tour, a 15 mile loop, where you can explore memorable monuments like Iron Mike and Iwo Jima, the Bulldog Mascot Cemetery, the Leatherneck Square, where in the summer you can see recruits undergoing hand-to-hand combat training, the Douglas Visitor Center and the St. Helena History Trail.

Just for kids activities: Little ones can earn the “Junior Recruit” title by successfully completing the museum exploration challenge.

Interesting artifacts and enemy captures

• Terrible homemade IEDs, simple yet deadly. The Iraqi “Pressure Plate” was used all over Iraq as a speed bump triggered bomb.

The “Viet Cong Booby Trap” made of a metal spike, a Coke can, wiring and grenade it was usually placed under rice paddies and wetlands. When you stepped on it the spike will penetrate the boot and foot; jerking the foot to get loose will detonate the bomb.

Parris Island Marines Museum

Viet Cong IED - The Boot and Foot Booby Trap

• Soviet designed Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) Sight equipped with night vision.

• A model of a T-72 Iraqi tank, dubbed “Dolly Paton” for the noticeable bulge on its turret from the extra armor added to better protect against direct hits.

• Japanese Occupation Flag – unlike other captured enemy flags inscribed with patriotic slogans, this one looks into the future with a Good Luck message to United States and Japan.

• 17th century sword was among the many weapons given up by Japanese troops in Seoul. The sword was designed by Yoshimichi of Yamato and despite having 18th century fittings it was used through 1945 battles.

• Lucky helmet that saved Paul Hatfield’s life during the Cape Gloucester assault in 1945.

• The humble all purpose towel, became an essential item during Vietnam War. Soldiers used it to dry themselves and their equipment, as pillow, bandage, shoulder cover and scarf.

Just for laughs…

• The Boot Camp cartoons tell a compelling, brutally honest, yet very funny story about the tough life on Parris Island: the food, hair styles, drill instructors, combat training even the mighty sand flea…nothing is spared!

Join the Marines for an exciting adventurous life!

Join the Marines for an exciting adventuruous life!

• Joyful and exciting 1920 Recruiting Poster

• Airmen Blood Chit, a cloth caring a message in English and Korean: “This is a crash-landed U.N. soldier. If you can lead him to the nearest U.N. troops we shall greatly appreciate it”.

• Dreaded MRE package, it came in 24 different meal varieties of about 1,250 calories. The MRE was heated by a flameless ration heater activated by water and meant to last for 3 years.

• Uniform for Pregnant Marines – For a long time being pregnant resulted in immediate involuntary discharge. After 1976 expecting women were allowed to remain in active duty and finally maternity uniforms were issued in 1980.

US Marines Traditions
The Uniform – Although the uniform changed shape, colors and material over the years there are some elements preserved to date:

The Blood Stripe, first used in 1798 now it commemorates the service of men at the Chapultepec battle.

The Quatrefoil, it originated in the 18th century when Marines used a cross-shaped rope on top of their covers to differentiate between friends and foes at rigging.

The Mameluke Sword, were first given as gifts by Turkish viceroy of Egypt during Barbary Wars. Long time ago, Mameluks, slave warriors who fought for Moslem overlords used this style of curbed swords. They eventually overthrew their masters and established their own Kingdoms.

The Leatherneck nickname started in 1785

The Leatherneck nickname started in 1785

The Leatherneck, the nickname stemmed from the leather collar used between 1785 and 1875 to help keep the Marines head erect. Today it is symbolized by the high collar on the dress blue uniform.

• The Hymn is the oldest official song of all armed services. The words date back to 19th century but its origin and author remain unknown. The music comes from the 1859 opera Genevieve de Brebart.

• The Semper Fidelis emblems built from scrap metal by Wheeler Hembert, a metal worker at the new bridge to Parris Island construction during WWII. They were mounted and stayed on the front gate from 1943 to 2001.

• The Mascot – English bulldogs became popular as Marines mascots after BGen. Smedley Butler enlisted “Jiggs” at Quantico in Virginia in 1922. Marine Barracks in D.C. now name all their bulldogs “Chesty” in honor of the most decorated Marine, Lewis “Chesty” Puller. Many Marine units have their own bulldog.

“Mess with the Best, Die Like the Rest!”

Have a memorable and happy family vacation in Beaufort, South Carolina!

Vibrant, resilient and mysterious, St. Helena Church towers historic Beaufort almost 300 years later…

Recently I visited one of the most iconic churches in Beaufort and the Lowcountry, the St. Helena Episcopal Church. Thanks to our lovely guide the free tour was a pure delight (that’s quite a feat with my young and restless 5 years old!).

The superb St. Helena Church...South Carolina second oldest and most active churches

The superb St. Helena Church...South Carolina second oldest and most active churches

St. Helena church was established in 1712 as a colonial parish of the Church of England, under the Lords Proprietors of Carolina.

Getting ready to celebrate 300 years of existence, the venerable St. Helena is the state second oldest church, and remarkably, one the fastest growing in the diocese.

St. Helena History and Interesting Facts (content courtesy of St. Helena Church website)

• Built in 1724 (construction delayed by the 1715 Yemassee War), St. Helena was made out of ships ballast bricks and then smoothed over with stucco, bolstering excellent proportions and fine interior decorations

• In 1734, Captain John Bull gave a silver Communion service in memory of his wife, who disappeared during the Yemassee Indian War.

The chalice, paten and tankard, engraved “The gift of Captain John Bull to the Parish of St. Helena” are still used today on special occasions.

The Baptismal Font, only original item left after Civil War

The Baptismal Font, only original item left after Civil War

• Thomas Heyward, Jr., signer of the Declaration of Independence, was St. Helena’s most noted parishioner during the Revolutionary period.

A wound inflicted at the battle of Port Royal in February 1779 left a scar, which marked him for the remainder of his life.

• During Civil War, Union forces occupied Beaufort in November 1861, the entire congregation fled and the church was converted to a hospital.

The church was stripped of its furnishings, balconies were decked over to make a second floor and slab gravestones from the graveyard were used as operating tables.

Bishop Thomas noted soon after the war was over “the church was a wreck of its former self and could not be used”. All that remained of the antebellum furnishings was the 1784 baptismal font.

The St. Helena Church graveyard and the legends…

The old cemetery, enclosed by a brick wall constructed around 1804, is entrenched in the local history.

• One of the earliest burials was Colonel John Barnwell (1671-1724), better known as “Tuscarora Jack,” a famous Indian fighter and a founder of Beaufort Town in 1711.

• Two British officers, killed in the battle of Port Royal at Gray’s Hill during the American Revolution in February 1779, are buried in the churchyard.

British Officers died during Revolutionary battle of Port Royal at Gray’s Hill

British Officers died during Revolutionary battle of Port Royal at Gray’s Hill

Recovered from a hasty grave on the battlefield, they were interred by an officer of the American forces, who read the funeral service from St. Helena’s altar prayer book:

“Soldiers and fellow citizens: We have now shown our enemies that we have not only the courage to face and best them in the field, but that we have the humanity to give their dead a decent and a Christian burial.”

• Two Confederate generals rest in peace in the old cemetery, Lieutenant General Richard Heron “Fightin’ Dick” Anderson and Brigadier General Stephen Elliott, Jr.

• Beware of John, legend has it he asked to be buried with a jug of milk (or was it wine?), a loaf of bread and an axe so when the time comes he can come out his tomb!…

A wicked story...

A wicked story...

How St. Helena Church changed over the years…

• The church has been enlarged 3 times, in 1769, 1817, and 1842. The northeast corner of the building and the original bricks in the outer walls have been retained over the years

The exquisite interior galleries

The exquisite interior galleries

• The 1817 west side extension was retained in 1842 while the rest was demolished. The present sidewalls were constructed at that time, and the foundations of the 1769 church were used to support the interior galleries.

• In 1874, a new roof was put on the church. Two years later a new organ replaced the one lost in the Civil War and the original cedar box pews were replaced with heart of pine benches.

Beautiful altar designed by USS New Hampshire sailors after Civil War

Beautiful altar designed by USS New Hampshire sailors after Civil War

• The current altar was given by the officers, and carved by the sailors, of the U.S.S. New Hampshire stationed in Port Royal Sound during the reconstruction.

A hurricane in 1896 destroyed the east end of the church. When the debris was cleared away, the altar remained intact. The building was subsequently rebuilt in its present form.

• The present steeple was built in 1941, (the old one was removed for safety during Civil War). Designed by Simons and Lapham of Charleston, it stands 118 feet high, the only existing specification of the earlier steeple.

• The church was repaired and redecorated in 1959 following Hurricane Gracie, which ripped off half of the roof. Disaster struck again on Easter Sunday 1970, when a hailstorm broke 150 windowpanes on the south side of the church.

St. Helena Church organ

St. Helena Church organ

• Taylor and Boody organ builders of Staunton, Virginia, installed a tracker pipe organ in 1985. Patterned after 17th-century organs of northern Europe, this two manual organ has 19 stops and over 1,150 pipes housed in a beautifully crafted oak case.

• By 1998, the 286-year-old church was badly in need of restoration and repair. 19 months of hard work and $2.6 million later, the church reopened on Palm Sunday 2000.

With its Gregorian makeover edition St. Helena is now ready to celebrate its tricentennial in 2012. No need to wait that long, you are always welcome to visit this magnificent church year around from 9AM to 4:30PM.

Worship Services are on Sunday at 8AM, 10:15AM and 6 PM, Wednesday at 5PM and Thursday at 11AM.

St. Helena Church is located downtown Beaufort at 505 Church Street Check out the official website for sermons, tours, summer camps and ongoing events.

Welcome visitors!

Welcome visitors!

Open your heart and free your mind in spiritual Lowcountry region of South Carolina!

Walterboro Artisans Center and Colleton Museum: Indulge your artistic side and love for Carolina history (free family things to do)

Need ideas on how to spend quality family time this Memorial Day weekend or on your vacation travel to Charleston, Edisto or Hilton Head? Well make a day trip to historic Walterboro and visit the South Carolina Artisans Center and Colleton Museum. They are both FREE to attend.

Walterboro was established as a summer colony in 1784 so rich Plantation owners could escape the dreadful Lowcountry marshes malaria. Colleton county was established around 1682 making it one the oldest counties in the country!

Things to Know Before You Go

Artisans Center

Carolina Pottery

Carolina Pottery

The South Carolina Artisans Center is a premier family travel destination in the Lowcountry.
Housed in a restored eight room Victorian cottage, the center showcases over 240 of the finest Carolina artists, emphasizing traditional and indigenous folk art and contemporary crafts.

It features educational exhibits, craft demonstrations and live performances by artists.

This is a great opportunity to introduce children to art and crafts. My 4 years old loved the funny pottery characters and wood-crafted dinosaurs toys. We spend good amount of time making up stories to interpret each exhibit.

You’ll have some awesome standout gift options that are sure to make a lasting impression. There are so many crafts to choose from (ornaments, glass work, jewelry, sea grass baskets, paintings) ranging from few dollars to thousands. Each piece is unique!

The Artisans Center is free to attend and is open Mon thru Sat from 10 AM to 5:30 PM and Sun 1 to 5 PM. There are signs throughout Walterboro directing you to the center; Beware the driveway is very narrow and easy to miss. Here is the Google Map to the center.

Colleton Museum
The Colleton Museum is housed in the “Old Jail,” a two-story castle-like neo-Gothic structure built in 1855-1856 with brick from the old Jacksonboro Courthouse. The Museum is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Among the museum highlights:

• A permanent artifacts collection on Colleton and the Lowcountry region from prehistoric times to the early 1900s.

• A kid magnet “Animals of the ACE Basin” natural history exhibit of native South Carolina wildlife (watch out for the alligator standing guard by the door!)

• An entire floor dedicated to honoring the brave Tuskegee Airmen pilots: news clips, mob stories, conquering “The Jug” articles, photos, war planes replicas – this is by far the guys favorite museum attraction.

Colleton Museum is free to attend and is open Tue through Fri 10 AM to 5 PM and Sat Noon to 4 PM. Here is the Google Map with its location.

Other Walterboro attractions are the Great Swamp Sanctuary and the Slave Relic Museum, and in the area, the Old Sheldon Church Ruins.

Have a great family time this Memorial Day weekend in historic Walterboro!

Visit Walterboro’s Tuskegee Airmen Memorial Honoring the Red Tail Angels

The Germans called them with great respect the Black Bird Men. Legend has it the Tuskegee pilots Tuskegee Airmen Memorialnever lost an aircraft to enemy during their coverage support missions in Europe. For their bravery air-bomb crews nicknamed them the “Red Tail Angels”.

So on your way to Hilton Head and South Carolina Sea Islands stop in historic Walterboro (exit 53 from interstate I-95) to honor the first African-American pilots in the United States. The Tuskegee Airmen Memorial is part of the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor and is located at the Lowcountry Regional Airport. Here is the Google Map. It’s inspirational, patriotic, has extreme historical significance and it is free to attend.

Interesting facts and things to know before you go

1. US Army Air Corp launched the first African-American pilot training program in 1941 in Tuskegee, Alabama. In August of 1942 the Walterboro Army Airfield base was activated to provide final combat training for the Tuskegee Airmen before they were sent straight into action. .The Jug!

2. From 1942 untill its closure in 1945, 992 pilots completed the program and over 450 of them saw combat overseas. Among their missions: Rome, Southern France, Central Europe, Tunisia, Japan, China, New Guinea, Western Pacific. Air Combat support was provided from Walterboro for many important defense facilities and cities, such as Santee Cooper Dams, the Parris Island Marine Base, the Navy Yard and Charleston.

3. The base was also the largest camouflage school in the United States. Some 600 acres were used just for bomb storage! At times it housed 6,000 military personnel and hundreds of German POWs.

4. The Tuskegee Airmen trained for 3 months, seven days a week from dawn to dusk.They were sent as replacement pilots for the 332nd Fighter Group, an all black fighter group operating in Europe. Pilot and Trainer
They trained on 3 types of planes the Air Cobra, the Thunderbolt and the Kittyhawk. Flying the nose-heavy Thunderbolt – “The Jug” – was very dangerous and 5 men lost their life during routine training.

5. Go downtown to the Colleton Museum to learn more about the Tuskegee Airmen – including their ongoing struggle against discrimination – see photographs and aircraft replicas and read the news articles from the war time.

This is another free to attend family attraction and definitely worth the time. The museum is housed in the old county jail-house and has great artifacts about the region’s history, culture and lifestyle over the last 3 centuries.

Check this out for more fun things to do with kids in and around Beaufort.

Come experience the rich history and honor the veterans of beautiful South Carolina!

Free and fun things to do and great places to see with kids in Beaufort

There is plenty of fun and free things do with your kids while visiting historic and picturesque Beaufort.

For starter there are 2 playgrounds The new playground in Beaufortone on the Waterfront Park and one off of Pigeon Landing (located left off Boundary Street and opposite waterfront area). This playground opened just 2 years ago, has brand new facilities (restrooms, picnic tables, water fountains, and stations) and excellent age appropriate equipment. There is something for everyone from babies to older kids and even large swings for adults (parents need to have some fun too). 🙂 It’s twice as large as the playground at Waterfront Park, a lot less crowded and dogs are allowed in the park as longs as they are on leash. A great thing with this playground is the large oak trees that provide shade throughout the day.
One extra perk is the chance to see fighter jets flying by every now and then which seems quite popular with boys. While in the area you can drive to the end of Pigeon Landing to reach the boat docking and boardwalk. It’s very peaceful and the view of the marshes and Beaufort river is incredible.

The playground at the Waterfront Park is better known and quite popular with tourists. Location, location, location! Just caught a shark Main attraction for kids is watching fishermen showing their skills on the dock in front of the playground. When I visited with my daughter 2 weeks ago we saw a guy catching 3 baby-sharks in less than an hour! All the children were mesmerized. Another kid-popular activity is balancing over the raised boardwalks weaving through the park. In case you get hungry there are several restaurants and cafes only few yards away.

Ice Cream Parlor and Tin Men
After all the jumping and hopping at the playground you should take the kids to the Southern Sweets Ice Cream Parlor. It’s located downtown in Old Bay Marketplace (across the clock). Besides delicious and reasonably priced ice-cream you can get very good and hearty lunch: made-to-order yummy hot-dogs (8 styles to choose from at $3 each), and a variety of gourmet sandwiches, salads and soups. Southern Sweets Ice Cream Parlor Most lunch items are around $6. They also carry a kids menu with the usual suspects for around $2. I had the Old Bay Dog (with sauerkraut), a cheese toast sandwich and one ice-cream all for about $8.

Who knew that window shopping can be fun for little ones? Where it is…at least in Beaufort…it wasn’t voted one of America’s Best Small Arts Town for nothing! On our way to the Vernier House museum (2 blocks down from the ice-cream parlor) my 4 years old daughter stopped many times to admire the art on display and point out whatever raised her interests. She loved the wine bottle holders made of tin representing all sorts of funny characters. She definitely liked this better than all the museums we’ve visited that day.

Beaufort Must See Museums: Vernier House and the Arsenal
The Vernier House museum – headquarters for the Union troupes during the Civil War – is the only historic house in Beaufort open to public on a regular basis: Monday to Saturday from 9 AM to 4 PM. Admission is $6 for adults and $3 for students. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the Marquis de Lafayette visited the house in 1825.

Beaufort Arsenal Museum The Arsenal, located at 713 Craven St., is one of the most significant historical sites in Beaufort. It was completed in 1798 to create a militia and to build a laboratory for making explosives. Currently is home to the Beaufort museum. Made out of brick and tabby and featuring a Gothic design with crenellated parapets the Arsenal has a very distinctive architecture. Hours of operations are 10 AM to 5 PM. The museum is officially closed on Wednesday and Sunday. However, I went there on a Tuesday and it was closed, so better to call ahead just to make sure: (843)-525-7077. Admission for adults and children over 6 is $3.

Scenic boat tour over Beaufort River
This is a great outdoor attraction the whole family can enjoy.
It’s very relaxing and you get up-close and personal to the beautiful Lowcountry marshes and Sea Islands wildlife. There are two boat tour opportunities: one from Beaufort Marina (located at the end of the waterfront park) and one from Port Royal Landing marina, operated by River Safari. If you go to Port Royal read this post to learn about all the fun things you can do there.

More family attractions around Beaufort:

The Lighthouse at the Hunting Island State Park, the Old Sheldon Church Ruins and Graveyard. On St. Helena Island: visit Penn Center and Bailey Museum and the Chapel of Ease (beware of Land’s End light and ghost sighting!)

• Go to fun-packed super family friendly Hilton Head island where kids rule!

• Drive down to Savannah and visit the amazing Fort Pulaski a Civil War landmark that changed military warfare for ever. You get to see live cannon and musket firing, learn about the Immortal 600 prisoners and the Waving Girl legend. Kids can become Junior Rangers.

Happy family vacation in Beaufort South Carolina!

New life springs from ashes at Old Sheldon Church near Beaufort (historical and free things to do)

The Old Sheldon Church Ruins and Graveyard are about half an hour drive from both Beaufort and Interstate I-95. The centuries old church is a South Carolina truly inspirational historic site attraction the whole family should enjoy.

Here lay the remains of Prince William’s Parish, better known as Sheldon Church (named after Bull’s family ancestral home back in England). William Bull, the Commissioner for the Sheldon church construction was South Carolina’s Lieutenant Governor and he also assisted in laying out Savannah. His tombstone is currently displayed in the graveyard.

Beaufort Old Sheldon Church ruins

Interesting Facts
1. The Sheldon church was built between 1745 and 1755 and it was burned twice. First by the British Army during the Revolutionary War, then by Sherman’s troupes at the end of the Civil War. Although never rebuilt the church’s pillars and outside walls remained erect withstanding the test of time.

2. The church recently became a very popular location for wedding ceremonies. The spiritual ruins are testimony of endurance in the face of hardship. Surrounded by green lush grass and serene oak trees the Old Sheldon Church is an inspirational and unforgettable wedding setting. With each matrimonial ceremony new life springs from the fire ashes.

3. A public service free for anyone to attend is held annually on the Second Sunday after Easter

4. An old hand-operated water pump close to the gate is still functioning and is quite popular with kids as shown in this video with my 4 years old.

5. There is space for only 2 two cars to park safely on the side of the road; however there is an event parking overflow across the gate. 2009 Update More pictures with the grounds I took on my return trip.

Majestic pillars, blue skies and sweet green grass...that's a wedding site to remember!

Majestic pillars, blue skies and sweet green grass...that's a wedding site to remember!

The church is located on Old Sheldon Road off of highway 21 between Beaufort and Yemassee.
Directions: After the intersection between Hwy 21 and 17, continue on Hwy 21. Turn right on Old Sheldon Road. About ¼ mile after you reach a stop sign the historical marker and gate entrance will be on your right. Here is a link to Google Map for the location.

• While in the area visit artistic Beaufort “The 100 Best Small Art Towns in America” and historic Port Royal the first settlement in the New World!

• For one let your spirit soar at St. Helena Church, established in 1712 is the second oldest and yet one of the most vibrant churches in South Carolina.

• Be inspired at the Parris Island Museum showcasing hundreds of U.S. Marines memorabilia, artifacts, pictures and heroic stories from the past 4 centuries.

• If time permits continue your historic drive up to Hunting Island State Park and see the Lighthouse, the only one open to public along the South Carolina Coast.

• Not too far away,and just minutes from I-95, is the exotic and colorful Oyotunji African Village, an authentic and oldest Yoruba-like settlement in North America. Go in the weekends; there’s almost always a traditional celebration or a festival going on (admission is $10 for adults and $5 for kids)

Come experience the rich history and beautiful surroundings of South Carolina Lowcountry!