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“A must see US experience”

Fred W. Symmes Chapel
Vero Beach, Florida
Level Contributor
16 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“A must see US experience”
Reviewed 30 July 2013

Whether you are already in the Ashville/Brevard, NC area or looking for a great free experience, Fred W. Symmes Chapel ( Pretty Place) is one of the most beautiful and inspirational experiences of my lifetime. To witness the hush of the people who enter the outdoor chapel and see the mountains in the background is akin to a religious experience. Believers or not, everyone understands that this place as close to Majesty as one can get in this world. . No one can leave Pretty Place and not feel closer to whomever one calls Creator. I've already been there, and if I have the opportunity, I will return time and time again.

Visited May 2013
3 Thank Larry S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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62 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
VA Beach
Level Contributor
76 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“Pretty Place is a Beautiful Place”
Reviewed 15 July 2013

Our group of 13 friends (a small group of high school friends during a mini-reunion) visited here on May 26th and we found the scenery to be absolutely breathtaking! We all enjoyed this stop so much and recommend it to any one who enjoys natural beauty and the mountains of North Carolina. I can only imagine what this makes a person feel in the autumn as our visit was in the spring and we felt inspired. We were already experiencing spiritual camaraderie amongst us and the stop here further encouraged this unity.

It is easy to see why wedding ceremonies take place here often ~ What a perfect location to exchange vows.

I feel compelled to visit again at the peak of the leaves season.

Visited May 2013
1 Thank ItsTheJourney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level Contributor
1,345 reviews
711 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 591 helpful votes
“Pretty Place - Inspirational”
Reviewed 18 May 2013

This is listed as Pretty Place at the state park and on the signs that you follow to find it. What an amazing view and inspirational place. Worth the visit.

Visited May 2013
1 Thank TryppAdams
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Saluda, North Carolina, United States
Level Contributor
10 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“A view from above”
Reviewed 31 January 2013

This tiny outdoor chapel, used for services, weddings and retreats, hangs out over the cliffs with views of SC and NC. So interesting to seee the names of those who have been instrumental to the area lining the walls.

Visited October 2012
1 Thank Mary R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Spartanburg, South Carolina
Level Contributor
209 reviews
78 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 168 helpful votes
“Nothing short of spectacular.”
Reviewed 22 October 2012

The chapel is part of the complex that is owned by the Greenville YMCA FOR Camp Greenville. The chapel (known as the Fred W. Symmes chapel) has stood since 1941. The camp its self has been around since 1921 and covers 1400 acres. It is private property but it is open to public for use as a campground conference center, and use for weddings. The public is allowed to tour the chapel when it is not in use. But it isn’t that easy to tour. It is called Pretty Place because this beautiful stone chapel sits on the edge of Cleveland Cliff. The open chapel overlooks the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area and Jones Gap State Park. Nothing but beautiful views as far as they eye can see.

One of the most attended public events it’s the chapel’s annual sunrise service. That is what I was here for. The service is non dominational, is free, and open to the public. The chapel seats around 300-400 people and there is room to sit on the sides when it is filled to capacity. The gates were open at 5 am. You need to allow plenty of time to get to the chapel. I had to park in a designated area and then take a bus to the chapel and the same for the return. So expect a wait. It is dark so a flashlight is suggested. I arrive and the front pews and inside pews are already full so I grab an outside pew. It is also cold so dress warmly and I see plenty of people with blankets. They did have free hot drinks (coffee and coco) to those attending. Those arriving closer to time for the service have to sit on the sides. And it is a pet friendly event, but pets must be on a leash and you have to sit on the side with them.

The service is very informal and it is suggested that you keep with comfortable clothes instead of Easter finery. Local churches lead the service and a choir is present. The service lasts about 45 minutes and ends just as the sun starts to creep over the horizon. At that point everyone is invited to come down front and simply enjoy the beauty or photograph or video tape this natural phenomenon. It is something that should be seen by everyone.

After the service the dining hall had a breakfast for a nominal charge. The camp is located well of the beaten path and in many places is slow going so allow plenty of time to get here. And gas up before you leave. Once I turned off onto the main road here, I did not see an open gas station. On the way home, my gas light was on and I was praying. I finally found an open station and got here on fumes!! But seeing this was well worth everything it took to get here!

Visited April 2012
6 Thank Sburris65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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