Holy Balls of Twine

The scrollwork on a gate at Mepkin Abbey is a work of art.
The scrollwork on a gate at Mepkin Abbey is a work of art.

We made the trip to Mepkin Abbey, and while it’s not your typical tourist attraction, it is the sort of Giant Ball of Twine my family loves to visit while traveling.

Giant Balls of Twine are those attractions you research before you ever leave home. Sometimes, they’re nothing but tacky tourist treasures (like the Giant Ball of Twine that can be found in Kansas). Other times, they’re historic sites, full of beauty and meaning. What they all have in common is their ability to elevate your trip beyond the mundane Point A to Point B drive; they are a stop that can make your trip unforgettable.

We’ve been known to drive a few hours out of the way to find a Giant Ball of Twine. Mepkin Abbey is indeed off the beaten path. But it’s well worth the detour.

The monks welcome visitors, and the spot is historic, spectacularly beautiful and peaceful in the way a place soaked by prayer can be. So, it’s a Holy Ball of Twine, so to speak.

IMG_1063I’m posting some photos so you’ll see why you should stop by Moncks Corner, South Carolina, if you’re in the neighborhood — and the neighborhood generally is that gem of a city, Charleston.

(By the way, that is how they spell ‘Moncks’ in Moncks Corner. But don’t be confused, the town isn’t named for the monks who happen to live nearby.)

Luce grave
The gravestone of Henry and Clare Boothe Luce reflects the beauty of the grounds at Mepkin.

Those who explore the grounds can view the cemetery of some of the plantation’s earliest owners, including the Laurens family.

In another section is the burial plot of the plantation’s 20th century occupants, Henry and Clare Boothe Luce.

Henry Luce owned Time, Life and Forbes magazines. They eventually donated the property to the trappist monks who now live a life of prayer on the grounds.

Even tree huggers can entertain themselves at Mepkin Abbey. My daughter loved this twisty live oak.
Even tree huggers can entertain themselves at Mepkin Abbey. My daughter loved this twisty live oak.
Wildlife is abundant, from legions of dragonflies to long-legged herons.

And for the tree huggers among us, Mepkin Abbey has some of the prettiest examples of Southern grace you can find, as my daughter Lauren demostrates.

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