November 2009, we published a popular column on some of South
Carolina's hidden gems -- places that you might not have heard
about but that are fun and interesting to visit. Here's publisher
Brack's Nov. 6 commentary and some follow-up from readers:
Phil Leventis, Sumter: The Wateree River Bridge
on the Palmetto
Trail. It is less than a mile walk from the Highway
601 access but when you are there, you are "as far
from civilization" as you can get by walking 20 minutes.
It is a grand spot, quiet unless, of course, the alligators
are sloshing around in a pool of water near the river.
Alta Mae Marvin, Walterboro: The South Carolina
Artisan Center, Walterboro, is the Folk Art and Craft
Center for the State and represents over 250 juried South
Carolina artists in a variety of mediums including clay,
metal, glass, wood fiber or film. The work is of exceptional
quality. The center is celebrating its 15th anniversary
this fall. More.
Marla Loftus, Charleston: Although many people are aware
of the Gibbes Museum of Art, some still consider
us a hidden gem a way to understand Charleston past
and present through art. A truly hidden gem, however, is
our courtyard which is part of the Gateway Walk. It is a
beautiful oasis behind the museum that is a nice place to
take a break after walking or working downtown. I often
observe people taking a quiet break and enjoying the sculpture
of Persephone. More.
6, 2009 Our state, known for its smiling faces, beautiful
places, has countless hidden gems restaurants, parks,
communities that shine for their uniqueness and special offerings.
all have a special place that we value, whether it's a waterfall,
a mountain walk, a blackwater river, a country store, a prime
fishing hole or a tucked-away corner of a beach. Over the last
week, we've asked people from across South Carolina to share their
hidden gem. Here are some of the best:
Tunnel, Walhalla. State Sen. Kevin Bryant, R-Anderson, suggests
a trip to this uncompleted tunnel started during the Civil War.
Cool in the steamy summers, it reportedly is where Clemson's famous
blue cheese was housed in the early days. It's very dark,
wet and creepy in the back, Bryant says just the
thing for a kid around Halloween time. More.
County. S.C. Coastal Conservation League leader Dana Beach
says a great place to check out is this rural, poor county that
is abundant with natural resources the Black River,
Black Mingo Creek, beautiful longleaf pine forests and small towns
without the clutter of development. And if you're hungry,
stop by Brown's to get some of the best barbecue around. More.
County. Wendy Wagner at Chesterfield General Hospital writes,
Enjoy the peace and beauty of nature in Sandhills Wildlife
Refuge in an area with the best air and water quality around
Charleston view. Former 1974 gubernatorial candidate Pug Ravenel
of Charleston recommends a visit to the top floor restaurant on
Holiday Inn on the Ashley River in Charleston because it has
the best panoramic view in South Carolina marshes,
Ravenel Bridge, the Citadel, Fort Sumter, downtown old houses
and the Atlantic Ocean.
Charleston politico Phil Noble says a must-visit is to the small
McCormick town of Willington,
which is rebranding itself as a destination for book-lovers to
buy books. Willington is truly an inspiration, he
says. It was once a thriving little town that nearly died
and is now coming back to life. And they are doing it in a unique
and creative way that can show countless other struggling communities
in South Carolina and across the country what can
be done with bold leadership, a sense of a caring community
just plain hard work. They are true heroes.
restaurant. S.C. Chamber of Commerce President Otis Rawl couldn't
say enough about the Four
Moons Restaurant and says that some of his well-traveled friends
rate it as one of the top dining spots in the world. The
menu and wine selection is second to none. The atmosphere is delightful.
The quality and the variety of the food is the experience.
eatery. Not to be outdone is Grits
and Groceries, a Belton restaurant that is a favorite of GOP
gubernatorial candidate Gresham Barrett. Grits and Groceries
offers a taste of New Orleans right here in rural South Carolina.
Heidi and Joe [the owners] always live up to their motto of 'real
food, done real good.'
Woods, Aiken. Steve Hale says this 2,000-acre preserve in
Aiken is a true treasure and people in Aiken would riot
if someone wanted to disturb it. More.
Allen Stalvey of the S.C. Hospital Association recommends his
hometown and its small streets, beautiful old homes, large
oak trees, a nice riverfront area near the beach. More.
Joe. Charleston RiverDogs General Manager Dave Echols says
one of the nicest, soothing spots in Charleston is the back railing
near the marsh during sunset at Charleston's Joseph
Garden, Rock Hill. Marketing coordinator Laurie Helms says
the renovated 11-acre garden is a jewel in the heart of Rock Hill:
No matter who visits, no matter the time of year, Glencairn
Garden leaves guests with the strong imprint of the beauty and
history that live within its flower-filled borders. More.
one of my hidden gems? Caw
Caw Interpretive Center near Ravenel. This Charleston
County park is a wonder of calming marsh vistas and trails. Wildlife
is abundant. On recent visits, my daughters thrilled to the swooping
flight of a great blue heron, jumping mullet and baby foot-long
alligators within a few feet of their 8-foot mother.