Charleston Gates and Hidden Alleyways

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While in Charleston, one of my favorite activities was wandering the streets of the historic district. For this first visit to the Holy City, my primary goals included getting to know the history and stories of Charleston and exploring the neighborhoods South of Broad.

I accomplished those goals, with great intention and joy. For months before my trip, I explored the city in my imagination. It felt surreal to recognize the familiar streets and then get to know them in a deeper, richer way.

The Charleston Historic District is famous for many things, including ornate iron gates in front of the houses and the beautiful secret alleyways tucked between streets.

I made it my mission to capture photos of both as I explored. Here is a sampling of Charleston gates and hidden alleyways.

Charleston Gates

On my first full day in Charleston, I walked more than seven miles, exploring the neighborhoods South of Broad. As I left the shops and businesses on Broad Street behind, I encountered houses built in the 1700s and 1800s. I admired the architecture, the beautiful side gardens and the wrought iron gates unique to each property. The gates featured in this post stood guard in front of houses on Meeting Street, Tradd Street and Stoll’s Alley.

Meeting Street Gates

Meeting Street is one of the oldest streets in Charleston. It is shown on a 1704 map of the walled city. The name comes from the white brick Presbyterian Meeting House…or church…that once occupied the spot where the Circular Congregational Church now stands.

I stayed on this street, at the Meeting Street Inn, and used this avenue to orient myself while exploring the city. Meeting Street continues south and connects to South Battery Street at White Point Garden, at the tip of the peninsula.

Strolling slowly along Meeting Street, I snapped photos of houses and their fascinating gates. These are my favorites on this tree lined street.

Charleston Gates and Hidden Alleyways 41 meeting street
Charleston Gates and Hidden Alleyways – 41 Meeting Street
Charleston Gates and Hidden Alleyways 23 meeting street
Charleston Gates and Hidden Alleyways – 23 Meeting Street
Charleston Gates and Hidden Alleyways 27 meeting street
27 Meeting Street
Charleston Gates and Hidden Alleyways 3 meeting street
3 Meeting Street

Tradd Street Gate

Tradd Street is named for Robert Tradd, supposedly the first European child born in Charles Town. It’s famous for its gorgeous architecture, narrow street and the mystery book series written by Karen White. The movie The Patriot filmed scenes on this charming street.

And Tradd Street drew me to Charleston. Karen’s books so intrigued me that I desired to experience Charleston for myself. After walking Meeting Street to South Battery, I walked north until I crossed Tradd Street and then walked it back to Meeting Street.

This is my favorite gate on Tradd Street, gorgeous with flowers and greenery gracing the top.

Charleston Gates and Hidden Alleyways 62 tradd street
Charleston Gates and Hidden Alleyways – 62 Tradd Street

Stoll’s Alley Gate

Named for Charleston blacksmith Justinus Stoll, this beautiful alleyway…also mentioned below in the hidden alleyways section…is lined with brick houses. Five of the houses in Stoll’s Alley feature gates by ironworker Philip Simmons.

Philip, an African American artisan and blacksmith, spent 78 years crafting decorative iron work. At the beginning of his long career, Philip focused on practical household objects such as horseshoes. By the time he retired, his craft was considered art.

Philip apprenticed with Peter Simmons…no relation…a former enslaved man. At age 26 Philip opened his own smithy. Charleston business man Jack Krawcheck commissioned a wrought iron gate from Philip, for the back of his store located on King Street. Due to the demand for iron during WWII, Philip created the commissioned gate from scrap iron. Although this was his first decorative iron piece, it was not his last. Krawcheck commissioned 30 additional iron pieces from Philip. Ultimately he created more than 500 pieces, including iron balconies, gates, window grilles and fences.

In 1976, Philip created a star and fish gate for the Smithsonian Institute. And in 1982 the National Endowment for the Arts awarded him a National Heritage Fellowship.

My favorite gate in Stoll’s Alley, a Philip Simmons masterpiece.

Charleston Gates and Hidden Alleyways 7 1/2 Stoll's Alley
A Philip Simmons gate at 7 1/2 Stoll’s Alley

Charleston Hidden Alleyways

Before my trip, I made a list of the city’s hidden alleyways. I didn’t use GPS to locate them. Rather as I explored, I looked for them. Of the 11 on my list, I came across six of them, although I failed to photograph St. Michael’s Alley. That leaves five  more to discover when I return!

These narrow lanes intrigued me. In my city, the alleyways are typically gravel roads lined with trash bins. There’s nothing charming or beautiful about my alleyway. However, the Charleston alleys delighted me.

Price’s Alley

The first alley I came across, Price’s Alley was once swampy marshland. The lane connects King and Meeting Streets and it is the earliest known landfill project in the city’s history. Once called Sommers Lane, the name changed after Hopkins Price purchased the land in 1749.

The alley housed a tannery and later became home to Irish immigrants and African American tradesmen.

Charleston Gates and Hidden Alleyways prices alley
Charleston Gates and Hidden Alleyways – Price’s Alley

Bedon’s Alley

Located between Tradd and Elliott Streets, this lane originated early in the city’s history, a place for chandleries, counting houses and mercantile shops. It’s name comes from merchant George Bedon, son of an English couple who arrived on the first ship to Charles Town in 1670.

The small brick buildings on the east side once served as outbuildings for the now famous Rainbow Row on Bay Street. Fires ravaged the alley in 1740 and again in 1778. Today the former shops are carefully restored and function as private homes.

Charleston Gates and Hidden Alleyways bedons alley
Bedon’s Alley

Stoll’s Alley

This picturesque alley between East Bay and Church Streets was originally called Pilot’s Lane. Harbor pilots walked this path to reach their boats. Later the name changed to Stoll’s Alley, after Justinus Stoll, who built the house at number 7 in 1745.

The Church Street end of the alley is much wider than the East Bay end, where it narrows to five feet in width. As noted above, this alley features five Philip Simmons gates, some of his earliest commissions.

Charleston Gates and Hidden Alleyways stolls alley
Stoll’s Alley

Four Post Alley

Also called Gadsden Alley, this narrow, twisting lane truly is hidden! It connects Broad Street to Elliott. Our historic tour guide Therese led us down this charming alley. I don’t think I would have found this one on my own.

Charleston Gates and Hidden Alleyways four post alley
Charleston Gates and Hidden Alleyways – Four Post Alley

Unity Alley

Once a narrow alley, this passage way between East Bay and State Streets was widened in 1810. It housed merchants, tradesmen and artisans in the late 1700s. At number 2 stood Edward McCrady’s Tavern and Long Room where President George Washington was entertained in 1791.

The tavern changed hands multiple times until it was renovated into a restaurant in the 1980s. Unfortunately, the pandemic closed this historic building in April 2020.

Have you explored the Charleston gates and hidden alleyways? Which alleys did you find?

This beautiful, historic city is full of stories…and surprises. I’m excited to announce that I am returning to Charleston next spring. More about that adventure later. I can’t wait to see what else I discover.

Charleston Gates and Hidden Alleyways unity alley
Unity Alley

Check out this Philip Simmons book from Amazon. Click photo for info.


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Meeting Street Inn

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

As I planned my trip to Charleston, an important consideration was accommodations. I knew I wanted to stay in the historic district downtown, since I was exploring on foot. A base of operations is what I needed, a centrally located place that made it easy for me to walk to where I wanted to go.

That was my must have. Bonuses for me included a free breakfast, a charming room, a refrigerator in the room and as an extra, extra bonus, a pretty outdoor space. Could I find all that, without spending a fortune?

Indeed I could. I found it all at the Meeting Street Inn.

Meeting Street Inn title meme

History of Meeting Street Inn

Although there are some hotels specially built for that purpose in Charleston, many of the city’s accommodations began life many years ago as something else. This is true for Meeting Street Inn.

The Charleston Theatre, built in 1837, originally occupied four lots at 173 Meeting Street. Unfortunately, the theatre burned to the ground in 1861. German immigrant Adolph Tiefenthal purchased the lots where the theatre once stood. In 1874 he constructed a three story brick building in the traditional Charleston single house style, characterized by the single room width with the house set at right angles to the street.

On the ground floor, Adolph opened a restaurant and saloon, selling German beers and Rhine wines. He and his wife and their three daughters occupied the top two floors. Adolph died four years later and descendants sold the building in 1903.

Over the years various businesses came and went on the first floor including an antique boutique, liquor store, auto parts shop, bicycle rentals and a dental equipment supplier. After Hurricane Hugo struck in 1989, the building fell into disrepair. Francis F. Limehouse bought the building and renovated it, creating the lovely Meeting Street Inn. Her work on the inn sparked the restoration movement that transformed the Charleston Historic District.

Meeting Street Inn lobby
The beautiful Meeting Street Inn lobby.

Meeting Street Inn Amenities

The inn features 56 charming, spacious rooms, six of them in the historic building, each with private baths. The rooms open onto piazzas that overlook the garden courtyard or open directly onto that outdoor space.

Amenities include:

  • oversized jacuzzi in courtyard
  • complimentary continental breakfast
  • complimentary evening wine and nibbles
  • valet parking and self parking off site
  • 24 hour front desk assistance
  • recommendations and help with travel planning
  • four poster beds
  • turn down service
  • hair dryer
  • complimentary shampoo, conditioner, soaps and lotion
  • ironing board and iron
  • safe for valuables
  • refrigerator in room
  • high speed internet
  • charging station in room to plug phones into
  • elevators at either end of the piazzas
  • ice machine and snack vending machines in covered outdoor room in courtyard
  • complimentary coffee, tea, hot water and ice and water dispenser in lobby

Guests may enter the property through the lobby, where the front desk is located. Or, after checking in, you may enter through the privacy door which opens into the courtyard.


Traditions rooms include standard room with one queen size bed, standard room with two full size canopied beds and standard room with two full size canopied beds that open directly onto the courtyard.

Deluxe rooms include one queen size canopied bed with walk in closet and double French doors that open to private café style balcony or two full size canopied beds with walk in closet and double French doors that open to private café style balcony.

The larger historic rooms, in the oldest part of the building, include king size canopied beds, walk in closets, high ceilings and a shared, outdoor veranda.

Meeting Street Inn piazza view
The view from my fourth floor piazza.

My Experience at Meeting Street Inn

All the history and amenities are impressive, however, what you are really wondering is…how was my stay at Meeting Street Inn?

It was wonderful! What began as my “base of operations” quickly became my cozy home away from home. Here’s the breakdown of what works so well, staying at Meeting Street Inn.


Situated in the heart of the historic district, Meeting Street Inn, at 173 Meeting Street, is close to everything. The City Market is across the street as is one of the stops for the free DASH bus. I could easily catch the bus if I wanted to ride around the city instead of walk.

One block over is King Street, the avenue for shopping, dining, art, antiques and nightlife. A short walk in the other direction brings you to Waterfront Park, Charleston Harbor, the Battery and East Bay Street with the famous Rainbow Row of colorful houses.

And Broad Street is a few blocks south, which means the South of Broad neighborhoods full of beautiful, historic houses begin right there. Everything I wanted to see, with the exception of Magnolia Plantation, was all within walking distance from Meeting Street Inn. I’d head out in the mornings to explore. Eat lunch. Go back to the room for a cup of tea and then head back out late afternoon for more exploring and supper.

Extra Bonus Points

The only concern I had, the whole time I was in Charleston, was where a nighttime walking ghost tour I experienced was going to end. It began in Waterfront Park, half a mile away. I knew it would be dark when the tour ended and I wasn’t sure how far I’d need to walk, alone, to get back to the inn. Happily, the tour ended TWO blocks from Meeting Street Inn. I smiled all the way back to my room.

Jacuzzi pool
The oversized jacuzzi in the courtyard.

My Room

I stayed in a traditional room with a queen size four poster bed, on the fourth floor. My room was exceptionally clean, comfortable, charming and cozy.

The bathroom was large, and super clean, with a tub/shower combo and complimentary toiletries. The wide counter was perfect for setting up my own packed toiletries from home.

There was a small balcony off of the back of the room, that looked directly into a tree. However, that was fine with me. I love trees! And it became a silly little ritual to step onto that balcony, morning and evening, reach out and shake a branch of the tree, as if greeting an old friend. The balcony was also my temperature check point. Every morning, it was warm and humid!

Enjoy these photos of my room:

Meeting Street Inn bed
Gorgeous four poster bed. On the other side of the bed was a little step stool, in case one needs help getting into bed! I didn’t need it.
Chairs by the window
Comfy chairs by the shuttered window. This was my afternoon tea spot.
Writing table and refrigerator
Writing table, that became my catch all every day, little refrigerator and next to that, the armoire with TV, drawers and hanging space.
private bathroom
And the bathroom. I loved the ample counterspace plus the door had a full size mirror.


I loved everything about my room, slept so soundly in the comfortable bed and felt at home. Additionally, how convenient to grab breakfast in the morning before going out to wander about. I’m vegan, however the inn offers cereals and packets of oatmeal that I could eat, plus bagels, English muffins, banana and blueberry muffins, yogurt, milk, coffee, tea and juices. All food items are packaged or wrapped for safety. The nibbles in the evening, which consists of crackers, cheeses and fruit, are already plated and wrapped as well.

The in room refrigerator meant I could keep plant based milk, snacks and leftovers there, which was so helpful.

I appreciated the water and ice dispenser in the lobby. I stopped by three times a day, at least, to refill my metal water container. And in the afternoons I fixed a hot tea. I brought my own tea bags, but no need. Meeting Street Inn offers an assortment of teas.

And the garden courtyard is a wonderful place to relax. I walked through it multiple times each day and spent my first evening in Charleston perched on a chair there, soaking the wonder in. The beauty of the courtyard soothes the soul…and a weary body after a full day of fun exploring.

Meeting Street Inn courtyard 3
I adored the courtyard.

Meeting Street Inn Staff

And finally, I must mention the staff.

From the moment I walked into the lobby on Sunday afternoon, until I left on Thursday morning, I felt cared for. I called the inn a couple of days before arrival, to let them know what time my flight landed in Charleston and when I expected to be there. I was greeted by name on Sunday, as I walked into the lobby. The kind man at the front desk had my keys ready for me and all the paperwork printed out for my inspection.

Everyone at Meeting Street Inn, from front desk personnel to cleaning staff, expressed kindness, courtesy and helpfulness. If I asked a question, I got an answer. When I walked by the lobby via the courtyard, I received a friendly wave and a smile through the window. When I filled up my water container I was asked how I was enjoying Charleston.

I Love Your Hair!

My first full day at the inn, I met one of the cleaning staff, up on the fourth floor veranda. Because I adopt eco-friendly practices as much as possible, I placed a “Do not disturb” sign on my door so that my room wouldn’t be cleaned. I reused my towels, made my bed each morning without a change of sheets  and gathered up my own trash. This sweet young woman told me if I needed anything, to let her know. And then she complimented me on my long silver hair.

I smiled and returned the compliment. She had the most gorgeous long dark hair, styled in micro braids. And her beautiful face just lit up when she smiled. On Tuesday morning, she quietly knocked on my door, just as I was about to leave to join a historic tour. She wanted to make sure I was okay and wondered if I needed anything. I gratefully accepted two washcloths. We laughed as we said again how much we liked each other’s hair. And as I walked with her down the veranda, toward the elevator, she told me that she was off the next two days and wouldn’t see me again. This endearing woman told me goodbye and wished me much fun during my remaining days in Charleston and safe travels when I left. She made my day.

The staff is truly exceptional here.

Meeting Street Inn courtyard street view
The welcoming view stepping through the street side door, into the courtyard.

I Highly Recommend Meeting Street Inn

The location, the rooms and amenities, that courtyard and the staff…together they create the perfect place to stay while in Charleston. I highly recommend this accommodation because where you stay has a profound effect on the rest of your trip.

When I return to Charleston, and I will return, Meeting Street Inn will once again become my cozy temporary abode. In fact, it will feel like I’m returning home when I visit.

Have you explored Charleston’s Historic District? Where did you stay? And do you have any questions about Meeting Street Inn? I’m happy to answer them or tell you more about my happy experience there. If I can’t answer your question, I know the good people at the inn will help me out.

I can’t wait to see them all again…and walk through that courtyard on my way to my room.


Click this LINK to learn more about Meeting Street Inn or to reserve a room.

Plus check out my post Fun Things to Do in Charleston and this helpful Charleston historical district map from Amazon.


Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to, all at no extra cost to you.