Looking for things to do in West Ashley? From the always fun West Ashley Park to the brand new farmer’s market and Higgins Pier, there’s a lot of inexpensive (and free!) ways to spend your time outside west of the Ashley River. Here are four of our favorites:
The West Ashley Bikeway starts at Wappoo Road, crosses Highway 61/St Andrews Boulevard, and continues all the way to the beautiful Ashley River, connecting residential neighborhoods along the way, like Sherwood Forest, Maryville, and Ashleyville. And this is a particularly exciting time for the Bikeway, since this summer, Higgins Pier officially opened at the end of the path on the River. The last stretch of the path before the pier is a peaceful one surrounded by forests before giving way to the magnificent view of the marsh. At the pier, you may fish, launch a kayak, or simply meditate with a book under the covered pier head and while away a lovely Charleston Day.
The West Ashley Greenway is a sacred thing for nearby residents, who use the part-asphalt, part-dirt trail for running, walking dogs, and biking. The path is over eight miles long, extending from Wesley Drive (the South Windermere neighborhood) and nearly to Main Road, Johns Island. Along the way is everything from lush, wooded areas, where you can still find fireflies if you go at the perfect hour, to the breathtaking Lowcountry marsh. Go for a walk around 5.30 p.m. and you’ll likely pass many of your neighbors as it’s the most popular time of day to venture out. Don’t forget your bike lights if you go after dark, since the area is not well lit.
Ackerman Park – 55 Sycamore Avenue
This is a two-in-one spot, since you get both produce galore in the great outdoors, plus there’s a dog park — so everyone’s happy, pups included. Launching today, Wed. Sept. 21, 2016, the West Ashley’s farmer’s market is a huge, welcome addition to the area, since with it comes boocoos of both established and fresh, new producers and food products. Get in on the action while you can, because this farmer’s market only goes every Wednesday until October 26.
3601 Mary Ader Avenue
Off Glenn McConnell Highway, you’ll find an oasis from the freeway at West Ashley Park, one of Charleston’s largest recreational parks. The park is 260 acres large, comprising everything from playgrounds (two) and a basketball court to a soccer field and an 18-hole disc golf course, which brings sports lovers of all ages and levels of expertise. Walk on the lush path past gorgeous swamps to a serene pond, where fishermen cast their lines and watch wild birds wander about. Bring your pups, too, because the park also boasts a dog park.
What’s your favorite outdoor spot in West Ashley?
Yet another reason to love our fair city- Waterfront Park. This past Sunday, my family and I packed a picnic and headed for that very spot. It was a beautiful afternoon with a generous breeze and just enough sun, just enough shade. Waterfront Park is great because it’s got something for everyone. You can join the kids and get soaked to the bone in one fountain or just up to the ankles in the other. There are swings on the pier and benches scattered through the trees for romantic rendezvous or just restful relaxation. And the views are extraordinary. My husband and son threw the ball, I lounged in the shade, tourists took photos, friends gathered, walking tours passed, locals read the paper, walked their dogs, waved to their neighbors. It was a nice way to spend the afternoon. I wasn’t surprised today to read that Waterfront Park has made the American Planning Association’s 2008 list of the nation’s 10 great public spaces.
The professional planning association announced the country’s 10 great neighborhoods, 10 great streets and 10 great public spaces today. The lists are part of the association’s Great Places in America program, launched in 2007 to recognize what the group considers the essential building blocks of great communities.
The American Planning Association selects places annually that represent the “gold standard” in terms of having a true sense of place, cultural and historical interest, community involvement and a vision for tomorrow. They are places where people want to be. Way to go Charleston!
The winners of Great Places in America 2008 are not ranked but are listed alphabetically.
2008 Great Public Spaces in America:
•Central Park, New York City.
•Church Street Marketplace, Burlington, Vt.
•Mellon Square, Pittsburgh.
•Pioneer Courthouse Square, Portland, Ore.
•Santa Monica Beach, Santa Monica, Calif.
•Union Station, Washington, D.C.
•Waterfront Park, Charleston
•Waterplace Park, Providence, R.I.
•West Side Market, Cleveland.
•Yavapai County Courthouse Plaza, Prescott, Ariz.