Fodor's Expert Review Mepkin Abbey
This active Trappist monastery overlooking the Cooper River is on the site of the former plantation home of Henry Laurens. It was later the home of noted publisher Henry Luce and his wife Clare Boothe Luce, who commissioned renowned landscape architect Loutrell Briggs to design a garden in 1937. That garden remains a stunning place for a serene walk or contemplative rest on a waterfront bench. You can take a guided tour of the church or even stay here for a spiritual retreat in the sleek, modern facility with individual rooms and private baths. Hearing the monks sing during their normal daily routine and attending the annual Piccolo Spoleto Festival concerts here are peaceful and spiritual experiences. The gift shop sells oyster mushrooms and garden compost from the abbey's farm as well as candies, preserves, and creamed honey from other Trappist abbeys.