No Posts This Month

Due to a sprain I won’t be doing any posts this month. By mid June I should be able to go on out again and finish what I wanted to post.

Stay tuned.

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Murals

Richland - Columbia - SC history mural 01

Sometimes you come across murals when you least expect it. My favorite is the one by Blue Sky in Union. I was trying to get from A to B when I saw it. This huge train. I made a quick turn to the right, parked, and got out of the car to admire it. Cool. It’s more impressive, bigger, in person.

Union - Union - 29 Blue Sky mural

Murals aren’t just in cities, but small towns as well. Some are bright and, bang, right in your face, others may be a little dull by the sun. I’ve always liked the one off US321 in Denmark. It’s easy to miss a mural because some are on side streets and can be spotted from one direction, just keep your eyes open. Enjoy the low speed limit in the town and peruse your surroundings.

Bamberg - Denmark - Coker St 01 mural

Whether it’s a street scene, historical, commercial, or other (such as Tunnelvision by Blue Sky in Columbia on Taylor Street) murals can be found inside as well as outdoors. If you’re interesting in them, you’ll have to do your homework. The WPA mural website below is helpful, but for others not done during that era it’s serendipitious like the one in the library in Ninety-Six.

Greenwood - Ninety Six - Library mural 02

The one in Sumter of a beach scene puzzled me, but it still looks nice. It’s sort of arresting really because you don’t expect it.

There’s no web site I found with a listing of all the murals in the state, but these are helpful. Sciway.net lists a few too.

http://www.wpamurals.com/scarolin.htm

http://www.swampfoxtrail.com/

http://www.blueskyart.com/gallery.php?tags=public%20art&gallery=category

Planning My Trips: That’s the Way I Roll

I would like to say I am spontaneous with my road trips, that I roll and go wherever my fancy takes me. The truth is I approach each one like a general planning an attack. Research goes into each trip.

What is there to see along the way? Which is the best way to get there? How can I get the most bang out the route? All this takes a bit of digging in my files and the Internet, but since I enjoy that, it’s part of the fun.

1. I decide on a place to visit. My inspiration comes from the time of the year, a picture I’ve seen, or just because I haven’t been there, so why not visit. My last trip was to Winnsboro. I wanted to take pictures of the famous town clock, longest continuous working clock in the United States. I also wanted to drive US21 and take in the fall colors. There’s a stretch that’s arrow straight. When you top a rise you can see the road dip and rise for miles.
2. Now that I know where I want to go I check out what’s there to see in the area. I used sciway.net’s picture project and spotted the old school at Lando. The National Register of Historic places listed Great Fall’s Historic District so I thought to go there and check out the architecture. From a past trip I knew of a tree in Chester that, in fall, looks like the sun fell in pieces under it, bright yellow leaves all over the yard.
3. I got the list of places to see, now it’s time to map my route. Some of the places will be moved to another trip due to time or being too far off the route. I use my SC gazetteer and Google maps to chart the path. The atlas doesn’t tell me the street names I need to look for. From Columbia, I’ll go north on I77 then head over to US21, etc. I put the route on paper, typing it on the computer.
4. It’s off on the trip. Weather is good, there’s fuel in the car. As I drive I watch for potential picture taking opportunities and where I can safely stop to take the pictures. A car hugging my rear bumper can put a damper on leisure driving. If I miss a road, no problem, I wait for a place to turn and head back. If I take the wrong road there might be something of interest down it. See a sign with a stop worthy item, I take it. You never know what you find.

Christmas in South Carolina

IMG_8305

As you may notice, Christmas decorations pop up around the state around Thanksgiving time. One weekend, you drive down the road, nothing. The next time, wreaths, snowmen, and other ornaments hang from the street lamps. I once amused myself by counting all the different styles of lamp post ornaments along a 90 mile drive on US321. I can’t remember the exact count, but it was more than 30. I imaged city council members sitting down, paging through catalogs of such decorations and thinking what an interesting business it must be selling such items.
In some places you don’t have to wait for Christmas. The lights, wreaths, and Santa Clauses are there year long, faded by the sun.

14b Woodford Christmas place 02

No matter where you go, big town or small, you’ll find something to exclaim over. It could be the decorations at the State House in Columbia with the large Christmas tree out front, or any small rural town with holly wrapped town clocks, wreaths on the church doors, or the lawns of die-hard

IMG_8276

Christmas lovers. While you’ll find more of the latter in cities, they exist on secondary roads as well. Look for the limp character balloons passed out on a front yard.
Evening may be the best time to catch the light show, but daylight isn’t bad either. The giant wreaths and neatly tied, red ribbons are easy to spot. You don’t even have to drive far at all to see them. Maybe just down the street.

Sciway.net

http://www.sciway.net/

Searching for information on South Carolina is easy with Sciway.net (pronounced ‘sky-way’). It’s the most comprehensive directory of the state on the Internet. According to the website, it’s three goals are to help people find information about South Carolina in an easy and quick manner, give people a place to create a repository of South Carolina culture and information, celebrate the people and places of the state. It does so by providing thousands of links to South Carolina web sites and to a collection of maps, charts, articles, and more.

The site is easy to access and organized well by grouping into subject areas like tourism and counties. You can receive an email newsletter every month that includes what’s going on during the month.

One feature I enjoy is the South Carolina Picture Project with photos from all around the state like landmarks or just the landscape. There’s also South Carolina Plantations if you’re interested in them.

For tourism information, click SC tourism on from the left hand side list, or go to SC maps or SC photo gallery for photos. Browse by county to see where you’d like to go visit. Unfortunately the photos aren’t in alphabet order so you have to scroll down through the pictures to find your destination if you have already one in mind.

Sciway.net needs to be explored to be appreciated. Try it and I’m sure you’ll be back.

‘Camping South Carolina’ by Melissa Watson

 

If you love to camp, you’ll want this book because, face it, if you live in the lowcountry and wish to explore the upstate, it’ll be nice to stay a few days and not drive back and forth. Even with living in Columbia it’s difficult to drive north (or south) and take in a hike at the far corners of the state.

The book covers public tent and RV campgrounds and is written by someone who truly enjoys the SC outdoors and camping. It’s published by Falcon Guides and should be available in backpacking stores and book shops as well as on-line.

The campsites are arranged by region so if you’ll looking for a spot in the upstate, you’ll find the listings and maps in one area. There’s a good packing list if you’re new to camping and don’t know what you’ll need.

A typical entry lists the location, how long the campsite is open during the year (some are seasonal), how many sites, how long one can stay, facilities and an idea of the fee. You can usually find the price on-line especially if it is a state park, national park, state or national forest or run by the Army Corp of Engineers.
It also gives detailed directions on how to find the campsite, the GPS coordinates, and page number and grid location in the South Carolina Atlas and Gazetteer, something I covered in an earlier post. I really liked her ‘about the campsite’ descriptions where she writes her experiences at the campsite.

June 6, 2015 – National Trails Day

http://www.nationaltrailsday.org/

Hike, bike, ride a horse, or run on a trail this Saturday. There are events all over the country. To find out if there is an event near you, go to the website above and click on the green Event Search button, the one with the footprints on it. If there isn’t, find a trail and celebrate yourself with some friends. Sesquicentennial State Park has a hike that day, but since I’m on their trails several times a week, I’m heading over to Harbison State Forest to partake in their National Trails Day Celebration. See you there.

 

My Favorite Resource: SC Atlas and Gazetteer

sc map and gazeteer

It may be a little old fashioned to use a print atlas rather than technology, but this has served me well for over fifteen years. I even have two of them, one for the house and one for the car. You can buy a copy at pretty much any bookstore in South Carolina. Wal-Mart and Target carries them as well.

One can argue that the Smartphone or Internet is just as good, but I’ve found out differently. Case in point. As I planned to take a trip around Lake Moultrie I became intrigues with the St. Stephen Fish Lift. The atlas showed it to be in St. Stephen. As I searched the internet for information, all the maps showed the fish lift to be a good ways south of the town. Once I got to St. Stephen, I decided to check if the atlas was right. Sure enough, I encountered signs pointing to the place and it was north of town.

The atlas is also great when you don’t have a phone connection, which in South Carolina can happen. With the atlas I can quickly find my way back to where I need to be. Besides having maps, it lists the state parks, heritage preserves, beaches, and more. If you want to tour South Carolina, this is a great resource to have.

What is 47 Parks SC

47  state parks in South Carolina. 46 counties in South Carolina. Countless day trips.

Whether you like urban, rural, lakes, parks, history, or nature, this site aims to bring readers places to visit. You don’t have to go to another country. You don’t have to travel to another state. It doesn’t have to be expensive either. Hop in the car, grab a bike, or walk.

South Carolina offers mountains, lakes, and the beach. Scenic roads can take one to the upstate, the midlands, or the lowcountry. Go as far as you want or stay the whole day in one spot. It’s all up to you.

In this blog I will offer different areas of the state as destinations for day trips. I won’t have restaurants or where to sleep or where to shop. That you can find anywhere. I’ll include links to websites where you can get more information plus travel tips. The main emphisis, thought, is sights to see and things to do. Have a suggestion? Let me know. This is a big state and there’s lots to see.