Lexington Life Magazine - October 2023

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4 | Vote now for the Best of Lexington Life 2024 at lexingtonlife.com 2816 AUGUSTA ROAD (HWY. 1) • I-26 EXIT 111-A • 803-936-1447 Valid on full-priced merchandise only. Not valid on previous purchases, sale items, or in conjunction with any other coupons or offers. Excludes: red and blue tag merchandise, food, wine, cemetery memorials, pre-made floral wreaths and arrangements, and custom floral orders. Other exclusions may apply, see store for details. Coupon must be redeemed at time of purchase. Limit one coupon per household per day. Discount only applies to one item. Expires 10/31/2023. GET 20% OFF ANY ONE REGULAR PRICED ITEM! SIGN UP FOR OUR EMAILS TO RECEIVE INFO ON UPCOMING SALES & COUPONS! email: OUTDOOR FURNITURE CUSHIONS & PILLOWS LAWN & GARDEN FLORAL RIBBON & MESH CRAFT SUPPLIES HOME DECOR KITCHEN & DINING FOOD & WINE GIFTS, & MUCH MORE! PLUS, VISIT OUR CUSTOM FRAME SHOP! Short on time? Shop online! SEE OUR WEEKLY IN-STORE SPECIALS AT WWW.CAROLINAPOTTERY.COM! Scary Good Deals on Decor!

I believe October has un-officially been declared Pumpkin Month by American retailers. Every product comes in some type of pumpkin flavor or spice. Personally, I enjoy eating pumpkin pie with whipped cream on top and the smell of a pumpkin candle makes any room smell like warm, autumn wonderfulness.

The annual carving of the family pumpkins is an annual tradition that started when I was a young boy. Back then we didn’t have the fancy carving and pumpkin sculpting tools that are available to today’s jack-o-lantern artists. As a youngster, I had to convince mom and dad to allow me to use a very long, sharp knife to cut the top open. Once the top was opened, the messy job started by scraping the seeds and pulp so that the inside of the pumpkin was clean and smooth for the candle. Next, I would draw a face on the front and proceed to use a steak knife to attempt to stay within the lines I had drawn. I would accidently slice off a few teeth which ended up making my jack-o-lantern look like a hockey player who took a few too many pucks to the face.

Finally, the moment arrives to light the candle and I get to see my handy work under the flickering glow of the candlelight dancing inside the smiling pumpkin.

Enjoy your time with those you decorate pumpkins with. Happy Halloween! Thanks for reading Lexington Life Magazine.

Vote now for the Best of Lexington Life 2024 at lexingtonlife.com | 7 contents 14 21 FEATURES 14 Elee Bassett: A Cause for Pause/Paws 21 The Farm 1780 24 Fall Fun 27 Best of Lexington Life Nominations 43 Hiking the Palmetto Trail 46 A&A Rockshop 49 Olly Otter: More Than A Mascot COLUMNS 11 Faith Matters 19 Tom Polland 55 David Clark DEPARTMENTS 7 From the Publisher 9 Calendar of Events 13 Lexington Leader 52 Spice of Life
Todd Shevchik
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Saturday, October 7

Ivy House Indoor Flea Market Flip Event

4211 Augusta Rd. | Lexington | 10 am – 6 pm Ivy House has 70+ booths inside the block building and the shopping is completely spectacular, you never know what you will find when you visit Ivy House. Follow @ivyhouseantiques for more information.

Friday, October 13

AR Workshop’s Fall Camp –Halloween Treat Bags

602 E Main St. Suite F | Lexington | 9 am – 1 pm Fall ARt Camps promote creativity and hands-on STEAM learning in a fun and social environment. This one-day event is for girls and boys ages 6-14. For more details and to register visit arworkshop.com/Lexington.

Saturday, October 14

33rd Annual Walk for Life and Famously Hot Pink Half Marathon +5K Segra Park | 1640 Freed St. | Columbia | 8 am

After having virtual events for the last three years, Walk for Life is back. This Prisma Health Midlands Foundation event celebrates the survivors, remembers those lost, and lifts up those facing the battle against breast cancer. For more information visit prismahealthmidlandsfoundation.org.

Sunday, October 15

2nd Annual Harvest Day

Flora & Fauna Marketplace | 4733 Sunset Blvd. | Lexington | 12 pm – 4 pm

One Harvest Market Day is packed with the Pumpkin Kings Pumpkin Patch, Harvest Fairy’s Mum Garden, SC Grown Harvest

Produce, vendors, photo ops, food, music, and more. Visit floraandfaunasc.com for more information.

Saturday, October 21

6th Annual Holiday Market Lexington United Methodist Church | 309 E Main St. | Lexington | 9 am – 2 pm This holiday event will feature 30 vendors and have hamburgers, hot dogs, and a bake sale. Contact swmitton@gmail.com for more information.

Tuesday, October 24

Lexington Police Department Foundation Fall Festival

Icehouse Amphitheatre | 107 West Main St. | Lexington | 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm

This ticketed event benefits the LPD Foundation. Come and enjoy games, rides, food, music, and a costume contest. To sponsor this event or for more information, contact Officer Cardona at jcardona@lexsc.com or 803359-6022.

Friday, October 27

Tokyo Joe’s 3rd Annual Breast Cancer Research Fundraiser

Icehouse Amphitheatre | 107 West Main St. | Lexington | 6 pm

Join Tokyo Joe with their friends The Root Doctors and Prettier Than Matt. Proceeds

benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Visit icehouseamphitheater.com for ticket information.

Saturday, October 28

75th Annual Trinity Bazaar

Trinity Episcopal Cathedral | 1100 Sumter St. | Columbia | 9 am – 2 pm

Stock up on collectibles, find dishes for your Thanksgiving table, shop for your Christmas list, and enjoy some good food and festive fun. All proceeds from the Bazaar support five local non-profits. Contact bwinston@trinitysc. org for more information.

Saturday, October 28

10th Annual Go Leo Halloween Run

Saluda Shoals Park (East Entrance) | 6071 St. Andrews Rd. | Columbia | 8:30 am

This family-friendly fundraiser will consist of a 5K run through Saluda Shoals Park, along with a 1-mile fun run/walk/roll and Lionheart Dash. Post-race festivities include trick or treating through Leo’s Landing, games, food, and beverages. Visit leospride.org for more information.

Friday, November 3 - Saturday, November 4

Mistletoe Market

Tom’s Den | 5062 Augusta Road | Lexington | Friday 9 am – 6 pm & Saturday 9 am – 4 pm

Shop locally for food, fashion, beauty, and home goods. Over 30 vendors, a coffee truck, and a food truck to get your holiday shopping started. All proceeds benefit the Miss South Carolina Scholarship Organization. Follow @ mistletoemarketsc for more information.

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Pastor Ken Jumper

4865 Sunset Blvd, Lexington


One sunny fall afternoon many years ago, I experienced a wonderful truth about life. I was a young man at the time, newly married. We were renting a nice little mobile home on a corner lot just before buying our first home.

The yard was filled with leaves from the big oak tree that stretched over our yard and the leaves were on my to-do list. As I was raking the leaves, I began to feel an overwhelming concern for a nearby neighbor, Ms. Webb. She was elderly, lived alone, and wore thick glasses. I couldn’t get her off my mind. Something must be wrong.

I put the rake aside and hurried down the street anticipating the worst. When I arrived, I banged on the door and peeped in the window. Ms. Webb was sitting calmly in her rocking chair. She heard me knock, ambled over to the door, and greeted me with a delightful, “Hey Ken, it is so good to see you.” Needless to say, I was taken aback to see that everything was fine.

I asked her if everything was okay and told her I was concerned about her. I will never forget her response, “Oh, I’m fine. I was just sitting here telling the Lord I was lonely and wished I had someone to talk to . . . And He sent you.” I was surprised! What just happened?

As I reflect on that afternoon, I realize two realities I’ve carried with me over my lifetime. First, there is a God in heaven who knows us, loves us, hears our prayers, and answers them. Ms. Webb was quite a devout believer in Jesus. She inspired my faith. And second, I’ve tried to always honor those little promptings and nudges in my heart. That just might be the Lord trying to get my attention to walk down the street to check on a neighbor or call a friend I haven’t seen in a while. Life is about those little moments, isn’t it? Why don’t you check on your neighbor today? n

In-Person: Sundays @ 9 am and 10:30 am

First Wednesdays @ 7 pm, Monday preceding 1st Wednesday 12 pm Online Campus: Sundays @ 10:30 am

Wednesdays @ 7 pm, Monday preceding 1st Wednesday 12 pm www.youtube.com/theharvestchurch

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Erika Goodwin

This year will mark Erika Goodwin’s 20th season coaching cheerleading at the University of South Carolina. In those twenty years, USC’s cheerleading team has achieved 17 top-ten finishes at the National Cheerleaders Association’s Collegiate National Championships, 4th place in Large Co-Ed Division 1A, and 2nd place for the All-Girl team in Advanced Division 1A.

Goodwin moved to Lexington with her husband, Justin, in 2007. She is a USC alumna, majoring in exercise science and motor development, and started her coaching career with the university in 2004. Goodwin is currently USC’s Head Cheerleading Coach and Spirit Coordinator, which includes scheduling appearances for Cocky and handling travel arrangements for the football and basketball teams.

“I wear many hats and I love each of them. The part I love the most is working with the students, coaching their cheerleading skills, and being a mentor,” Goodwin said, “This is an important time of their lives … where they are learning who they are and who they are going to be – so I take the mentorship role seriously.”

Cheerleading is a demanding sport, incorporating gymnastics, tumbling, and physical endurance. “We have a co-ed team, and we’ll have males that come from other sports in high school. They will be the first to tell you that cheerleading is much more difficult than they ever thought. It is very vigorous on the body. With all the gymnastic skills that are in cheerleading now it takes a high-level athlete to be able to compete,” Goodwin said.

Students on USC’s cheerleading team serve as ambassadors for the university while also earning their degrees. “They are very hard-work ing students. They’re often the first face our fans see when they come to different events and appearances,” Goodwin said. “It seems so effortless when they’re on the sidelines … but they work very hard from August to April. There is no off season for them because we cover all the sports throughout the fall and into spring. I’m so proud of their professional ism and their dedication,” she shares.

Cheerleading has been a part of Goodwin’s life for as long as she can remember. She cheered at Brookland-Cayce High School and at the University of South Carolina where she was the captain her senior year. She attended graduate school at the University of Louisville and in addition to cheering, she also coached.

Goodwin and her husband have three children, one of whom is a current student at USC. “We enjoy raising our family in Lexington. We have two boys and a girl - Logan, Dillon, and Addisyn. Our family loves it when we get a chance to be together in the evenings and have dinner, just spending time together.” A favorite family dinner is hibachi, made by Goodwin’s husband. “My husband is a wonderful cook. He loves to cook and grill, and he can make the best hibachi. I’ve tried to get him to open a restaurant for years,” said Goodwin.

Looking back over her career, Goodwin says, “My biggest takeaway at this point in my career is building up the program to where it is and sustaining it. There are not a lot of Division 1A co-ed teams that stay competitive year after year, and I am proud of that.”

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Elee Bassett: A Cause for Pause/ Paws

When the Bassett family held their beautiful daughter, Elee, shortly after her birth, it was inconceivable that a cellular anomaly within their precious child would soon become the source of difficult medical challenges. With a sustaining faith, they hope for her healing while seeking solutions to enhance Elee’s life. The Lexington community can help answer their prayers and love this tiny neighbor by supporting their cause.

Eleanor (“Elee”) Bassett, a friendly toddler who lives in the local community, insists on engaging with everyone she meets. “She wants to give everyone big hugs,” says her mother, Hilary. “If you ignore her, she just keeps saying, ‘Hey!’ over and over, and when we’re in the grocery store, she makes everyone stop to talk to her.” Elee’s love of people is only seconded by her natural affection for dogs, especially her family’s pets, Zappa and Allman. “She starts every single day with giving the dogs a big hug,” she adds.

“I’ve never met another kid like her that is not scared of anything—she’s fearless,” Hilary says. “Elee climbs up on everything. She’s constantly getting into things. Our entire house is kind of turned into a jungle gym. We have slides in every single room now where she climbs up and slides down.”

Before birth, Elee’s prenatal progress was textbook-typical, and first-time parents Hilary and Eric Bassett joyfully welcomed their newborn daughter into their family on January 21, 2022. As an infant, Elee seemed to be healthy and thriving, and Hilary returned to her position as a head compliance administrator in the healthcare sector.

On October 23, 2022, Hilary, along with her mother and Elee, was traveling to a work-related conference in Nashville, and while driving through Atlanta, Hilary’s mother sensed that something was not quite right with Elee. Immediately, Hilary pulled into the breakdown lane, and upon a closer examination, the pair discov ered that the child was unresponsive and breathing erratically.

After they called 9-1-1 and initiated CPR, Elee began to have visible seizures. The ambulance was delayed because of traffic congestion, and when it finally did arrive, they were transported to a small hospital where the medical care Elee received was sub par. As Hilary recalls those harrowing memories, she describes that event as “a nightmare from beginning to end,” “a super trau matic day,” and “probably the worst day of my entire life.”

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Elee was soon transferred to a larger children’s hospital in the Atlanta area. “By the time we got to that hospital, she was coding,” Hilary says. After she was stabilized, she was in PICU while they tried to figure out why they couldn’t stop her seizures and what was causing them.

“We had prenatal screening like everyone else does to check for the more popular chromosomal abnormalities, and everything came back normal,” she says. Food allergies were considered, and multiple medication regimens were prescribed, but the cause of the seizures could not be immediately identified, and Elee’s condition did not improve.

Fortified by her vocational expertise, Hilary was able to navigate the many challenges they faced. “They transferred us to MUSC [Medical University of South Carolina], so we could be closer to home, closer to our family,” she says. Once there, “We did even more trials and more medication regimens, just trying to see what would happen and failed.”

was actually started to treat epilepsy 100 years ago,” explains Hilary. Finally, 39 days after her emergency admission, Elee was released to return home with her family.

While at MUSC, genetic testing was done by the Mayo Clinic, and they discovered that Elee has a deletion on her fourteenth chromosome. An update from the clinic in June of 2023 specified that Elee has a condition called Ring 14, a very rare syndrome that is caused by a rearrangement of one of the chromosomes in the cells of her body.

“Ring 14 is not what we wanted for her,” Hilary says. “We’re the only people in South Carolina that are dealing with it. There are only 23 families in the whole United States that are going through this. Elee’s the youngest one.”

“We cherish every single moment with Elee,” she adds. “The biggest blessing of this diagnosis is how much closer my family and Eric’s family have been able to get and how much more we’ve been able to lean on God to help us through this.”

“We are stressing that we’re not putting Elee into a box,” Hilary continues. “We know that every kid is different, and we are praying and hoping that God can heal her. We don’t want to set any restrictions on Elee or have any expectations of how far she can go—just trying to make sure that she has all the resources and gets every therapy and every treatment that is available for her, so she has the best possible chance.”

Elee’s opportunities to thrive would be significantly enhanced if her seizures could be eliminated, and adding another special strategy to her current treatment plan could make a monumental difference. This unique assistance would be provided through the superpowers of a canine companion known as a seizure-alert service dog, an animal specially trained to detect and inform that a seizure is about to happen so that emergency medications can be administered as quickly as possible.

According to her mother, Elee has “refractory epilepsy,” which means the seizures can only be stopped with medication. Also, these events occur while she is sleeping and without convulsions. Because of the latter characteristic of her seizure activity, market detection devices will not work for her.

A seizure-alert dog, however, could possibly notify the family when the seizures are about to happen, and being able to stop them before they start would mean reducing the potential brain damage that they can cause. “Hopefully,” Hilary says, “we get this dog and Elee never has another seizure again—that would be the best-case scenario.”

The reputable company the Bassetts have carefully researched and chosen to achieve this goal is 4 Paws for Ability (www. 4pawsforability.org), a specialized dog-training organization based in Ohio. Because these service animals require complex instruction specifically tailored to the needs of the recipient, the family must undergo a strenuous application, interviewing, and training

The tables finally began to turn when Elee was introduced to the keto diet, in addition to several anti-seizure medications. “The keto diet [i.e., foods with high fat and low carbohydrates]

process. Additionally, the canine must be reserved with a $20,000 deposit, and after that payment is secured, the breeding and schooling period—which may last for two-and-a-half years—will begin.

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“We don’t want to set any restrictions on Elee or have any expectations of how far she can go—just trying to make sure that she has all the resources and gets every therapy and every treatment that is available for her, so she has the best possible chance.” — Hilary Bassett
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The selected dog, usually a Golden or Labrador retriever, will first be coached as a basic service animal. During that period, the canine will also be exposed to the clothing that Elee has worn during seizure activity to memorize the accompanying scent. Next, the dog will be taught to respond to Elee’s daily needs, and then the family will attend in-person intensive training sessions with the animal in Ohio. Once the canine has been adopted into the Bassett’s home and has established a routine with Elee, there will be follow-up “continuing education” indefinitely, so that the animal maintains these skills. “It’s a very extensive, lifelong commitment,” says Hilary.

In response to this need and their love for Elee, the community is rallying around the Bassett family by participating in fundraisers that will help them adopt this service animal. The Paws for Elee Facebook page and pawsforelee.com website share information about upcoming fundraising opportunities. Additionally, “Craig Reagin designed an exclusive Paws for Elee shirt that we are selling in their store [and online],” Hilary says, and “Cola Stacks, is launching a Paws for Elee bracelet this fall.”

Because November is national epilepsy month, Elee’s family is hosting a 5K race, and one-mile fun run/walk on November 4, 2023, at Saluda Shoals at 8 am “We’re hoping to get the different epilepsy groups to help us and support us,” Hilary says.

“It’s a family-friendly event,” she adds. Strictly Running is timing the activity, and strollers and well-behaved dogs are welcome to be a part of the race. The pawsforelee.com website and Elee’s Facebook page provide more information about how to financially sponsor the event and/or register as a participant. n

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Leaves Glancing At

This time of year I catch myself glancing at leaves. On walks through woods and bike rides along trails, I see the occasional red leaf. I glance again and see a few more leaves turning crimson. Soon red outnumbers green. Autumn’s nigh.

I’ve talked to people who live in regions where autumn is a tad bland. They miss a lot. Here in Georgialina, we’re blessed to live where four seasons bring differing versions of beauty. Come March I find myself in peach orchards where daybreak reveals clouds of pink and coral blossoms. I walk over peppermint petals as if kaleidoscopes of pink butterflies touched down to rest. Come May-June it’s uplifting to see the rocky shoals spider lilies. The delicate flowers bring ballerinas to mind amid a concert of river songs. It’s a performance on a watery stage you’ll not forget.

Summer’s tulips, roses, foxglove, and emerald mint leaves serve up a good tonic, and winter’s cold flowers—camellias—dazzle us, though most have little to no fragrance. Fall, though, is when we realize just how much grandeur we miss owing to the millions of pines that have displaced maples, oaks, and hickories. Pines, green year-round, are a non-event come fall, but what if each needle assumed a different hue than its neighbors? What a spectacle that would be. Thank you hardwoods for the colors you share.

I have my favorite signs that fall is coming. Wild grapes begin to drop along the trails. Sulphur butterflies cross highways as they migrate south toward that state named the “land of flowers.” For me, these yellow beauties signify the coming of fall as surely as the reddening of maple leaves, as surely as purple muscadines and gold, brown-flecked scuppernongs. And here and there flower gardens and fields of sunflowers languish in decline. Spent sunflowers, like old women wearing dirty yellow bonnets, bow in deference to passersby.

I know summer’s in retreat as temperatures drop and fall’s palette of red, orange, and gold banishes summer green. Autumn fo-

liage ushers in a pilgrimage to the mountains that captivates pleasure-seekers. You’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t love fall’s cavalcade of colors. Predicted with accuracy or not, fall’s arrival kicks off leaf-lover season. Colors pull hard at foliage worshipers and all highways lead to the mountains. Without a doubt, fall colors are one of Earth’s better performances. There’s music in the mountains and no resisting the trees’ siren song.

But even in the flatlands, we find color. I love an early morning drive along rivers and over lakes where fog mutes colors, giving the land an impressionistic air. Down Lowcountry way another unsung beauty blesses autumn. Marshes turn golden and when you lay all that blue creek-laced gold beneath an indigo sky you get a Lowcountry like no other. Deep-blue skies. They give us an indigo dome of splendor.

As fall falls away, here’s another unsung beauty. Frost. Across your windshield its feathery crystals etch intricate designs, upon leaves, it lays down a glaze like rime, and like the thinnest layer of snow, it turns rooftops into wintry slopes. Vanishes as soon as the sun strikes it.

Autumn memories … I remember a trip to the mountains with my parents. At an overlook, we beheld a smoky blue land drenched in fall color. The sun glinted off a river and far away a lake looked like a shiny dime. Later clouds set in as we had a breakfast of ham, grits, and pancakes as snow began to fall. Mom and Dad are gone now, but what a memory that morning gave me up in Virginia.

I must go, but before I do, I can’t overlook the Coastal Plain. I love to see colonies of pitcher plants, Saracenia flava, in their autumn palette. But this time of year it’s tree leaves that I glance at. “Tell me leaves, what might I expect from all of you this fall? Will you burst into flames or come on slowly, then brown, and return to the earth? Give us a show, please. Rain down your autumn splendor.” n

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As summer fades green chlorophyl retreats, and colors emerge.


Travel along Lexington County roads and you’ll see brick facades flanking gates for the latest subdivision, residential construction vehicles, or a new road being paved.

So, you have to wonder what the sign for Farm 1780 at 1127 Corley Mill Road is offering.

The FARM 1780 is a working farm and a lot more, according to Brett Flashnick and his wife, McKenzie, who are building a future based on the rich past of the 34 acres they own.

“This land has just always been here to take care of us,” Brett said.

In 2017, Brett inherited the land from his mother, making him the eighth generation of his family to own it. Brett and McKenzie slowly realized that they could leave their professional careers and create a farm that sells meat and produce, teaches the next generation the value of farming, and offers a place for weddings and celebrations.

A tour of the land on a hot August morning shows how much progress the couple has made in reinventing the farm.

Kale is growing nicely on the no-till beds. A crop of Dutch Fork pumpkins spreads across it. They were picked at the farm’s Pumpkin Festival on Sept 30. Children at one of the earlier summer camps planted some of those pumpkins, which are more heat tolerant than those commercially grown.

“We had two weeks of summer camp here and we used the popcorn from last fall and a trail mix,” McKenzie said. “And the kids thought that we had hung the moon. They were like, ‘Can you believe that popcorn grows in a field?’”

Wisps of young longleaf pine, still in its grass phase, peek out from midsummer growth in a nearby field. Brett is replenishing 10 acres with longleaf pine, a slow-growing tree that thrives in its native climate. The budding orchard boasts small fruits such as pear — while the state has a reputation for peach growing, it’s not a true native.

Blueberries are spent, but muscadines and scuppernongs are ripening. The muscadine will be made into jellies.

The couple sought the consultation of the USDA’s National Resource Conservation Service program and took advantage of special soil testing programs to find ways of healing the land. Brett also enrolled in a new and beginner farming program offered by Clemson University.

Sustainable practices are on land that has been farmed the same way for centuries. Their goal is to preserve The FARM 1780 for their two children and generations to come. The 34 acres was part of a 630acre land grant issued to Brett’s 5th greatgreat grandfather, George Monts in 1787 just a year before South Carolina was admitted as one of the 13 original states.

In 2017, Brett’s mother and grandmother died within six weeks of one another, passing on 34 acres to him. Keeping the land, rather than selling it to a developer, helped Brett move past the loss. McKenzie, now raising two boys, agreed to devote herself full-time to the endeavor.

This humid morning, McKenzie is mowing parts of the acreage, one of her favorite things to do. In the chicken pen heritage breed, Rhode Island Red, Buff Orpingtons, and Barred Rock hens cluck with excitement, incorrectly anticipating getting fed. The turkeys butt in to check out the humans walking nearby.

The turkeys are sold for Thanksgiving. Farm-grown produce and eggs are sold to local restaurants.

The old barns from the 1870s still stand, housing chicken feed and a tractor. In clearing out the structure, McKenzie found ribbons and coins from Brett’s great-grandmother, who won for her yeast rolls recipe at the South Carolina State Fair more than 80 years ago. Depression glass and photos also found there are now displayed in the main house.

A newer outside entertainment area also offers a history lesson, with the bar top embedded with pictures of a chicken coop from the 1950s, another from 1904, a portrait of Brett’s great-grandfather, and a copy of the original plat from the 18th century.

An open-air pavilion in the middle of the property is where The FARM 1780 also hosts farm-to-table dinners featuring chefs such as Andy Marchant, who used to own the Lexington restaurant Cinnamon Hill.

The current home on the property, dating back to the 1870s, also serves as a bridal suite and a venue for meetings, or the Hens’ Night Out McKenzie hosts for wine, food, and a bit of fun.

The couple hopes that the pumpkin patch, summer camps, dinners, and cocktail events will make The FARM 1780 another option for families in Lexington County.

McKenzie is “humbled by how many people, when they do come out here, are so kind about the fact that we didn’t sell it to a developer. We’re not doing it because we want to make money, we’re doing it because Brett has a very emotional tie to the land, but also coming from the city and then working in sales, I would have never guessed this would have been my life, but I absolutely love it.”

n The FARM 1780 1127 Corley Mill Rd. Lexington, South Carolina (803) 356-4978 thefarm1780.com 22 | Vote now for the Best of Lexington Life 2024 at lexingtonlife.com
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Fabulous Fall Fun

Clinton Sease Farms

382 Olde Farm Rd, Lexington clintonseasefarm.com

September 22 – November 5

Enjoy hayrides, a playground, an obstacle course, a corn maze, a pumpkin patch and so much more. There is so much fun to be had at the farm, everyone in the family is sure to have a great time.

Midlands Fall Plant and Flower Festival

SC State Farmers Market

3483 Charleston Hwy, West Columbia agriculture.sc.gov

October 6 – October 8

Shop seasonal plants, flowers, pumpkins, gourds, décor and more. Wagons will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, but visitors are encouraged to bring their own due to the limited quantity.

SC State Fair

1200 Rosewood Ave, Columbia scstatefair.org

October 11 – October 22

Hot dogs, funnel cakes, rides, animals, and more! The iconic SC State Fair is back with the theme, “Meet Me At The Rocket 2023”. Bringing new rides, vendors, entertainment, and pure family fun.

Eudora Wildlife Safari Park Fall Festival

219 Salem Lane, Salley


September 29 – November 5

At this safari drive through the fall festival will include pumpkin patch activities, a corn maze, games, pony rides, and a petting zoo.

2nd Wave Coffee and More Pumpkin Patch

Deceased Farm

382 Olde Farm Rd, Lexington deceasedfarm.com

September 18 – October 31

Experience this self-guided haunt through 6 terrifying buildings, 3 intense outdoor areas, and of course creepy corn fields. Deceased Farm is an intense haunted attraction and is NOT recommended for children under the age of 12.

Riverbanks Zoo Boo at the Zoo

500 Wildlife Pkwy, Columbia www.riverbanks.org

October 20 – October 30

Put on your costume and join this popular Halloween spooktacular. Treat or treat through the zoo with all kinds of fun activities and treats along the way.

529 S Lake Dr, Lexington


September 23 – October 29

The patch is not just a place to buy a pumpkin, it’s a family destination. A fun time for all with great coffee and an adjoining beer garden. There are tons of games and things to do for the kids. S’mores fire rings and beautiful outdoor space for the perfect pictures.

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With the cooler weather comes an abundance of outdoor fall activities. We have rounded up a few of our favorite things to do for all ages.
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26 | Vote now for the Best of Lexington Life 2024 at lexingtonlife.com
Vote now for the Best of Lexington Life 2024 at lexingtonlife.com | 27 What is the Secret to our Residents’ Success? The Longevity of our Team! Meet our Culinary Team! Our passion for what we do creates a lively community where residents thrive with the quality care and support needed to live a fulfilled life. 800 N Lake Drive Lexington SC, 29072 803.832.4357 Sharon | 21 Years Dana | 21 Years Curtis | 5 Years Anne | 8 Years Teresa | 7 Years Senior Living Choices offered by Liberty Senior Living Congratulations to the 2024 Nominees for the Best of Lexington Life Magazine Contest! Vote for your favorites today at lexingtonlifemagazine.com Deadline to vote is December 15, 2023 Winners will be announced in the February 2024 issue of Lexington Life Magazine.

Best Accounting Firm

Deese and Company

Dooley & Company

Thomas, Watson, & Company

Best Aesthetic Practice

Cardinal Wellness and Aesthetics

Enhance Image Spa

Lexington Aesthetics Medical Spa

Best Aesthetic Spa

About You Aesthetics

Allure Medical

The Essential Face

Best Afterschool Program

Big Blue Marble Academy

Palmetto Athletic Center

Vitali Family Karate

Best Allergist

Allergy Partners of the Midlands

Palmetto ENT and Allergy

SC ENT Allergy & Sleep Medicine

Best Alterations

Jackie Lynn Tailoring & Alterations

Kimmy’s Alteration Shop

Zebra Cleaners

Best Ambulance Service (Private)

First Priority Medical Transport For Life Medical Transport

MedTrust Medical Transport

Best Apartment Complex

Cedarcrest Village Apartments

River Bluff of Lexington

Waterway Apartment Homes

Best Asian Restaurant

Antai Asian Dining

Ganbei Japanese

Red Bowl Asian Bistro

Best Assisted Living Facility

Lakeside Place Senior Living

Oakleaf Village of Lexington

The Legacy of Lexington

Best Attorney: Criminal Defense

Bland Richter

Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr.

Williams, Stitely & Brink

Best Attorney: Family Law

Jewitte Dooley Law

McCutchen McLean

The Farley Law Firm

Best Attorney: Litigation

Johnson + Johnson

McCutchen McLean

Morgan Litigation Group

Best Attorney: Personal Injury

Harling & West

Johnson + Johnson

Lyle Law Firm

Best Attorney: Probate/Estate

Amy Cofield Law Firm

McCutchen McLean

Williams, Stitely & Brink

28 | Vote now for the Best of Lexington Life 2024 at lexingtonlife.com

Best Attorney - Real Estate

Clark Law Office

Dial, Grimm & Rupert

The Templeton Law Firm

Best Audiologist

Digital Hearing Outlet

Lake Murray Hearing

Midlands Hearing Associates

Best Auto Body Shop

Birchmore Paint & Body Shop

Ellison Collison & Customs

Gilbert Paint & Body

Best Auto Performance Shop

Automotive Experts

Kestner Automotive

North Lake Auto Repair

Best Auto Repair

Shop: Domestic

Abbott’s Auto Care & Tire

Christian Brothers Automotive

Lexington 1 Stop Auto Shop

Best Auto Repair Shop: Foreign

Abbott’s Auto Care & Tire

B&T Automotive

North Lake Auto Repair

Best Auto Service

Department Dealership

Herndon Chevrolet

Honda of Columbia

Jim Hudson Ford

Best Bank

First Citizens Bank

First Community Bank

First Reliance Bank

Best Barber Shop

Ivy League Barber & Beauty

Lexington Barber Shop

Terry’s Barber Shop

Best BBQ Restaurant

Hudson’s Smokehouse BBQ

Maurice’s Piggie Park

PK BBQ Bar & Grill

Best Breakfast

Cafe Strudel

Creekside Restaurant

Eggs Up Grill

Best Buffet

Blossom Buffet

Hudson’s Smokehouse BBQ

Shealy’s Bar-B-Que

Best Burger

Goodfellas Grill and Bar

O’Hara’s Public House

The Root Cellar

Best Car Wash

Marty’s Car Wash


Take 5 Car Wash

Best Carpet Store

Carpet One Floor & Home

Door To Door Floors

Floor Boys

Vote now for the Best of Lexington Life 2024 at lexingtonlife.com | 29

Best Catering Company

Carolina Smoke N Fire

Maurice’s Piggie Park

RF’s Corner Grill

Best Cell Phone/Tablet Repair

CPR Cellphone Repair

Smart Phone Medic


Best Charter School

Gray Collegiate Academy

Midlands Middle College

SC Whitmore School

Best Chiropractor

Bigbie Chiropractic

Old Mill Chiropractic

Vital Nutrition & Chiropractic

Best Coin or Collectible Dealer

Gilbert Coin & Collectible

Golden Eagle Precious Metals

Palmetto Cards

Best College for Working Adults

Midlands Technical College

Strayer University

USC Palmetto College

Best Commercial Contractor

Hazelwood Construction Company

Hill Construction Company

Springhill Construction

Best Commercial Real Estate Agency

Century 21 803 Realty

Southern Visions Real Estate

Trinity Partners

Best Consignment Shop

Good As New

Magnolia Boutique & Resale


Best Cosmetic Dentist

Columbia Smiles

Dr. James Denny

Southern Shores Dental

Best Cosmetology School

Kenneth Shuler School

Lexington Technology Center

Southeastern Esthetics Institute

Best CPA

Burkett, Burkett, Burkett

Deese and Company

Dooley & Company

Best Credit Union

Palmetto Citizens

SAFE Federal Credit Union

SC State Federal Credit Union

Best Custom Home Builder

Epic Homes

Gage Construction

Reese Builders

Best Damage

Restoration Services

Palmetto Commercial Services

Rumsey Construction

Rytech Restoration of the Midlands

30 | Vote now for the Best of Lexington Life 2024 at lexingtonlife.com

Best Dance Company

Elite Ballroom Dance Academy

South Carolina Dance Company

Stepping Out Dance Studio

Best Day Spa

Lexington Aesthetics Medical Spa


WellSoul Spa + Salon

Best Daycare

Big Blue Marble Academy

Calvary Christian Day Care

Northside Baptist Church

Best Dentist: Adults

Northwood Dental Associates

Robinson Dental

Sherry Powell Dentistry

Best Dentist: Kids

Midlands Pediatric Dentistry

Palmetto Smiles

Sunset Children’s Dentistry

Best Dermatologist

Columbia Dermatology

Columbia Skin Clinic

Palmetto Dermatology

Best Dessert

Cribb’s Sandwich & Sweet Shop

Mingos Cookies & Bubble Tea

O’Hara’s Bakery Cafe

Best Dry Cleaner

Lexington Dry Cleaning

Tripp’s Fine Cleaners

Zebra Cleaners

Best Engineering Firm

E Haselden & Associates

Mead & Hunt

Tobias & West

Best Electrician

Grow Electric

Mr. Electric

Rytec Electric

Best Event Venue

Corley Mill House & Gardens

Southern Oaks

Twelve Oak Estate

Best Exterminator

Baine Termite and Pest Control

Cramer Pest Control

Hartley & Sons Pest Control

Best Facial

Holistic Skincare & Waxing

OCCO Luxury Spa

The Essential Face

Best Fast Food


Sonic Drive-In


Best Fence Company

Palmetto Southern

Ryan Brewer Enterprises

Seegars Fence Company

Vote now for the Best of Lexington Life 2024 at lexingtonlife.com | 31 for nominating us for 2024! Serving the Midlands for over a decade! Thank you Best Electrician

Best Fitness Center

Fit Body Boot Camp


ISI Elite Training

Best Florist

Lexington Florist

Storey’s Florist

Worthy’s Florist

Best Foot Store

Fleet Feet

Foot Savi Shoes & More

The Good Feet Store

Best Funeral Home

Barr-Price Funeral Home


Thompson Funeral Homes

Best Furniture Store

Economy Furniture Company

Marty Rae’s of Lexington

Scott’s Furniture Company

Best Garden Center

A-Oak Farms

Lowe’s Home Improvement

Wingard’s Market

Best Gastroenterologist

Columbia Gastroenterology

Consultants in Gastroenterology

Best Glass Store

Absolute Glass

ACE Glass

Central Glass

Best Golf Course

Charwood Golf Club

Country Club of Lexington

Golden Hills Golf & Country Club

Best Greek Restaurant

Angelo’s Greek & Italian

Bellis House of Pizza Showmars

Best Group Fitness Studio

9Round Fitness

Orangetheory Fitness

RockBox Fitness

Best Gun and Ammunition Store

Amick’s Guns

JCs Outdoors

Palmetto State Armory

Best Gym

Dynamic Health and Fitness

MUV Fitness

Planet Fitness

Best Hair Salon: Adults

Free Spirited Hair

Milk & Honey Fine Salon

Salon M

Best Hair Salon: Kids

Ivy League Barber & Beauty

Sharkey’s Cuts For Kids

Snip-its Haircuts for Kids

32 | Vote now for the Best of Lexington Life 2024 at lexingtonlife.com

Best Hairstylist

Arianne Connors, Free Spirited

Marina Wilson, Elevate Salon

Zena Quattlebaum, Zena Salon

Best Happy Hour

LJ’s Par and Grill

O’Hara’s Public House

Travinia Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar

Best Hardware Store

Bob’s Ace Hardware

Do it Best

Lexington True Value Hardware

Best Healthy Eating Restaurant


Clean Eatz

Clean Juice

Best Heart Doctor

Dr. Amy Epps, LMC

Dr. Dan Bouknight, CCVA

Dr. Garrison Morgan, MUSC

Best Heating and Air Company

All American Heating & Air

Comfort Experts

Mid-State Heating and Air

Best Home Builder

Great Southern Homes

McGuinn Hybrid Homes

Stanley Martin Homes

Best Home Health

Hands and Hearts Home Care

RetireEase Senior Services

Solutions for Living at Home

Best Hospice Care

Agape Care SC

Heart of Hospice

Medical Services of America

Best Hotel

Hampton Inn & Suites

Quality Inn & Suites

Wingate by Wyndman

Best Ice Cream Shop

Ice Cream Taco

Lick’s Ice Cream

Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt

Best Insurance Agent

Hal Girard, State Farm Ins.

Misty Stathos, State Farm Ins.

Patrick Williams, Williams Ins.

Best Insurance: Auto

Daniel Scott, Allstate

Misty Stathos, State Farm

Ryan Grubbs, State Farm

Best Insurance: Health

Jeff Howle- Healthmarkets

Lourie Life & Health

Mauldin Insurance

Best Insurance: Homeowners

Herring Insurance Services

Scott Amick, State Farm

Tidwell Insurance

Vote now for the Best of Lexington Life 2024 at lexingtonlife.com | 33

Best Insurance: Life

Berry Insurance Group

Farm Bureau Insurance

Larry Hutto, State Farm

Best Interior Design

e.d.’s Paint & Decorating

Erin Rasmussen Design & Dwell

Paige Butler Interior Styling

Best Internet Service Provider

Carolina Connection



Best Investment Firm

Ameriprise Financial Services

Cornerstone Financial Management

Crescent Financial Group

Best Irrigation

Lexington Sprinkler Repair

SmartYard Irrigation

The Lawn Smith

Best Italian Restaurant

DeLucca’s Italian Grill

Luce Cucina Italiano

Travinia Italian Kitchen

Best Jewelry Store

The Chapman Company

Moseley’s Diamond Showcase

Tidwell Jewelers

Best Karate/Martial Arts Studio

Black Belt 4 Life

Black Tiger Tae Kwon Do

Vitali Family Karate

Best Kid Friendly Restaurant

Diablo’s Southwest Grill

Flight Deck Restaurant

Salsarita’s Fresh Mexican Grill

Best Landscaping Company

Elite Landscaping

Greener Solutions Company

Saluda Hill Landscapes

Best Landscaping Supply

Carolina Turfgrass

Pinestraw Place

W.P. Law

Best Learning Center


Kumon Math & Reading Center


Best Manicure/Pedicure

Diva Nails

Luxx Nail Spa

VIP Nail Bar

Best Manufactured Home

Hoover Building Systems

Lexington Discount Homes

Palmetto Home Outlet

Best Marina

Big Man’s Marina

Lighthouse Marina

Southshore Marina

34 | Vote now for the Best of Lexington Life 2024 at lexingtonlife.com

Best Massage

FLOW Massage

Massage Mechanics

Soothing Sessions Massage

Best Mattress Store

Economy Furniture Company

Marty Rae’s of Lexington

Michaelas Mattress

Best Meat Store

Caughman’s Meats

Four Oaks Farm Country Store

Old Timey Meat Market

Best Medical Imaging

American Health Imaging

Lexington Radiology Associates

Palmetto Imaging

Best Medical Spa

Allure Medical Spa

Cardinal Wellness & Aesthetics

SC My Care

Best Men’s Clothing Store

BP Skinner Clothiers

Craig Reagin Clothiers

JCs Outdoors

Best Mexican Restaurant

Brothers and Beer

Diablo’s Southwest Grill

El Jimador

Best Microbrewery: Local Hazelwood Brewing Company

Krafty Draft Brew Pub

Steel Hands Brewing

Best Milkshake

Cook Out



Best Mortgage Company

Guaranteed Rate Affinity

Movement Mortgage

Synovus Bank


Best Mosquito Treatment

Cramer Pest Control

Mosquito Joe of Lake Murray

Mosquito Squad

Best Moving Company

Gamecock Moving

The Moving Squad

Two Men and a Truck

Best Music School

Freeway Music

Lexington School of Music

Musician Supply

Best OB/GYN Practice

Carolina Women’s Physicians

Kraemer Women’s Care

Lexington Women’s Care

Best Oil Change

Abbott’s Auto Care & Tire

Christian Brothers Automotive

Express Oil Change

Vote now for the Best of Lexington Life 2024 at lexingtonlife.com | 35

Best Oncologist

Lexington Medical Cancer Center

SC Oncology Associates

Best Ophthalmology Practice

Cardinal Vision

Columbia Eye Clinic

Palmetto Ophthalmology

Best Optometry Practice

Envision Family EyeCare

Eye Care of Lexington

My Pharmacy & Optical

Best Orthodontist

The Braces Place

Purnell Orthodontics

Whitehead Orthodontics

Best Orthopedic Practice

Lexington Orthopaedics

Midlands Orthopaedics

Palmetto Bone & Joint

Best Pain Management

Carolina Spine & Pain Center

Physicians Pain & Spine Center

Thrive Wellness & Rehab

Best Pediatric Practice

Lexington Pediatric Practice

Palmetto Pediatric

SouthernMED Pediatrics

Best Periodontist

Columbia Periodontal Associates

Palmetto Endodontics

Southern Roots Periodontics

Best Personal Trainer

Coach Lindsay, Bodyshop

Faith Barbare, Simply Fit

John Scarborough, ISI

Best Pet Groomer

Bubble Buds

Lexington Pet Lodge

Sutton’s Southern Pet Retreat

Best Pet Hospital

Cherokee Trail Veterinary Hospital

Grace Animal Hospital

Veterinary Care Center

Best Pet Kennel/ Boarding Facility

Central Bark

Lexington Pet Lodge

Sutton’s Southern Pet Retreat

Best Pet Supply Store

Hollywood Feed

Lazy Creek Pet Food Center

The Leash Connection

Best Pet Trainer

Krista’s Pawsitive K-9 Solutions

Sam Dooley, Walk N Wag

The Leash Connection

Best Pharmacy: Local Medicine Mart Pharmacy

My Pharmacy & Optical

Riley’s Drugs

36 | Vote now for the Best of Lexington Life 2024 at lexingtonlife.com

Best Physical Therapy Practice

Drayer Physical Therapy Institute

Fyzical Therapy & Balance

INSHAPE Physical Therapy

Best Pizza

Bellacino’s Pizza & Grinders

Clara & Ray’s Ristorante Italiano

Nicky’s Pizzeria

Best Place to Buy a Boat

Captain’s Choice Marine

Cove 2 Coast Marine

Dynamic Marine & Motorsports

Best Place to Buy a Car: New

Herlong Chevrolet

Herndon Chevrolet

Steve Padgett’s Honda

Best Place to Buy a Car: Used

B & L Auto Sales

Hyatt Cars of Lexington

Rock & Roll Auto Sales

Best Place to Buy a Pool

Aquarian Pools

Griffin Pool and Spa

S&S Pools

Best Place to Buy a Prom Dress

Dazzles Pageant & Prom Apparel

Greg McKenzie Pageant & Prom

Tylar Rose Pageant Prom

Best Place to Buy an RV

Blue Compass RV

Camping World

Lester RV

Best Place to Buy Bath or Kitchen Fixtures

Gateway Supply Co.

KB Kitchen & Bath

Stroud Supply

Best Place to Buy Eyeglasses

Envision Family EyeCare

My Pharmacy & Optical

Sansbury Eye Center

Best Place to Buy Hardwood Floors

Carpet One

Door to Door Floors

Floor Boys

Best Place to Buy

Organic Products

14 Carrot Whole Foods

Clean Juice

Garner’s Natural Life

Best Place to Buy Outdoor Furniture

Carolina Pottery

Costless Outlet

Lowe’s Home Improvement

Best Place to Buy Paint

e.d.’s Paint & Decorating

Lexington Paint & Flooring

Sherwin-Williams Paint Store

Vote now for the Best of Lexington Life 2024 at lexingtonlife.com | 37
Vote online at lexingtonlifemagazine.com VOTE ONLINE AT LEXINGTONLIFEMAGAZINE.COM

Best Place to Buy Propane

AmeriGas Propane

Barnes Oil & Propane

Palmetto Propane, Fuels, & Ice

Best Place to Buy Tires

Bo Tire & Oil Company

Mavis Tires & Brakes

Old School Automotive & Tire

Best Place to Buy Windows

Absolute Glass

Pella Windows & Doors of Irmo

Stroud Supply

Best Place to Sell Gold

Gilbert Coin and Collectibles

Palmetto Gold & Pawn

Golden Eagle Precious Metals

Best Place to Work

Hands and Hearts Home Care

Lexington Medical Center


Best Plastic Surgeon

Carlin Plastic Surgery

Lefkowitz Plastic Surgery

Palmetto Cosmetic Surgery

Best Plumber

Delta Plumbing

Piedmont Plumbers

Smooth Waters Plumbing

Best Pressure

Washing Company

Mathias Pressure Washing

Not Your Average Joe’s

Super Soakers Pressure Washing

Best Private School

Grace Christian Academy

Hammond School

Northside Christian Academy

Best Produce Farm

Four Oaks Farm Country Store

Wingard’s Nursery

WP Rawl

Best Property

Management Company

Rogers Property Management Scott

Properties of the Midlands

Southern Dreams Realty

Best Real Estate Agent:


David Brock, ERA Wilder Realty

Dustin Johns, Resource Realty Group

James Spangler, Fuzion

Best Real Estate

Agent: Residential

April Stroud, Resource Realty Group

Patrick Connor, Coldwell Banker

Tim Williams, Century 21 803

Best Residential Contractor

Anthony John Construction

New Level Construction

The Wright Group Construction

38 | Vote now for the Best of Lexington Life 2024 at lexingtonlife.com

Best Residential Real Estate Company

Century 21 803 Realty

Resource Realty Group

Southern Dreams Realty

Best Ribs

Carolina Wings & Rib House

Hudson’s Smokehouse BBQ

Willie Jewell’s Bar-B-Q

Best Roofing Company

Beaver Roofing & Gutters

Premiere Roofing

Vista Roofing

Best Salad

Momma Rabbit’s

O’Hara’s Public House

Twisted Roots Bar and Grill

Best Sandwich Shop

Cribb’s Sandwich & Sweet Shop

Firehouse Subs

Groucho’s Deli

Best Seafood Restaurant


Catch Seafood

Poke Bros.

Best Self-Storage Facility

Charter Oak Self Storage

Crescent Self Storage

Morningstar Storage

Best Senior Home Care

Assisting Hands

Hands and Hearts Home Care

McLeod Home Care

Best Senior Living Community

Lakeview Retirement Community

The Legacy of Lexington

The Village at Southlake

Best Shooting Range

C2C Arms

Kilo Charlie Shooting Range

Palmetto Outdoors Shooting

Best Sign/Graphic Design Shop

Guerrilla Graphix


The Graphics Source

Best Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center

Lexington Extended Care

Millennium Post-Acute

NHC HealthCare

Best Smoothie Clean Juice

Smoothie King

Tropical Smoothie Café

Best Southern Cooking

Hudson’s Smokehouse BBQ

Lizard’s Thicket

Willie Jewell’s Bar-B-Q

Best Steak

Big Tuna’s Kitchen

O’Hara’s Public House

Private Property

Vote now for the Best of Lexington Life 2024 at lexingtonlife.com | 39 Thank You DHEC License # IHCP-0494 ©2023 Assisting Hands® Home Care, Nampa, Idaho 83687. All Rights Reserved. Serving the Midlands Since 2012 104 Hamilton St., Lexington SC 29072 803.661.7557 for nominating Assisting Hands® for Best Senior Home Care 4 years in a row! We appreciate your vote! Your Home. Our Care.®

Best Subs

Groucho’s Deli

Jersey Mike’s Sub Station II

Best Sushi

Antai Asian Dining

Ganbei Japanese

Sukiya Japanese Steak House

Best Sweet Tea

Cribb’s Sandwich & Sweet Shop

McAlister’s Deli

PK BBQ Bar & Grill

Best Tanning Salon

Carolina Tan Factory

LexingTAN & Retail Therapy

Palm Beach Tan

Best Temporary

Employment Service

Express Employment Professionals

Roper Staffing


Best Towing Service

Freedom Towing & Recovery

Pee Wee’s Towing

Wingard Towing Service

Best Travel Agency

Cruise Planners

Diserella Travel Company

Travel Leaders of Lexington, SC

Best Tree Removal

Boozer’s Tree Service

Mike’s Tree Service

Spotted Dog Outdoors

Best Unique Gift Shop

Blush Boutique & Home

Gifts Galore & So Much More

Just For You by Lu Boutique

Best Upholstery Repair

Gunn’s Upholstery

Hot Rod’s Upholstery

Polk’s Furniture Service

Best Urgent Care

Doctors Care

LMC Urgent Care

Veritas Urgent Care

Best Urology Clinic

Dr. Richard Morrow

Lexington Urology

Southern Urogynecology

Best Veterinarian Practice

Crossroads Veterinary Services

Grace Animal Hospital

Veterinary Care Center

Best Wait Staff

Eggs Up Grill

Goodfellas Grill and Bar

O’Hara’s Public House

Best Wedding Venue

Southern Oaks

Stone River

Twelve Oak Estate

40 | Vote now for the Best of Lexington Life 2024 at lexingtonlife.com
Vote now for the Best of Lexington Life 2024 at lexingtonlife.com | 41 Best Weight Loss Program Bigbie Chiropractic Profile Plan SimplyFit Best Women’s Clothing Store Aiden Lane Charleys Clothing & Apparel Tulip Boutique Best Women’s Gym 9Round Fitness Burn Boot Camp HOTWORX Best Yoga/Pilates Instruction Club Pilates Pink Lotus Yoga Center Stretch Zone Best Write In Category Lexington Dog Walk Merle Norman Hair Studio Palmetto Archery Targets Thank you for Voting! VOTE ONLINE AT LEXINGTONLIFEMAGAZINE.COM
42 | Vote now for the Best of Lexington Life 2024 at lexingtonlife.com

Hiking the Pa l metto Trail

The South’s moderate climate, albeit warm on summer days, makes it ideal for hiking any time of year. Fall might be the most ideal though, with comfortable temps, changing leaf colors, and the scurry of wildlife before winter settles in. The Palmetto Trail practically beckons hikers and backpackers to find their way along numerous paths exploring what nature has to offer.

What began in 1994 as a project under the Palmetto Conservation Foundation, the Palmetto Trail has continued to flourish and grow. Currently at 380 miles, the Trail is still underway with anticipation of completion in the next decade. “I’ll be optimistic and say 5-10 years,” said Mary Roe, Palmetto Trail Executive Director. “It will be a little over 500 miles once complete. From the mountains to the sea.”

The Trail offers 31 passageways with varying lengths for backpackers and hikers. Distances vary from 1.3 to 47 miles in length. Some passageways allow access for mountain bikes, horseback riding, and primitive camping. Roe mentioned the Peak to Prosperity Passageway, a rail-to-trail path, that has several campsites. No reservations are required, as the campsites are first come first served.

The individual passages offer different degrees of difficulty, including easy, moderate, and strenuous trails. “The Upstate trails will be the hardest because of the higher elevation,” Roe said. “The Midland and Lowcountry passages are easier, our website indicates the level of difficulty for all passages.” The passageways allow free access and are open every day of the year.

Some sights along the way include the Blue Ridge Mountains, two suspension bridges at Eastatoe Creek in the Upstate area, greenways, Intracoastal waterway, lakes, forests, state parks, and a National Forest. “It showcases the beauty of our diverse regions of South Carolina from the Midlands to the Lowcountry,” Roe commented.

Vote now for the Best of Lexington Life 2024 at lexingtonlife.com | 43
by Kim Becknell Williams photos by Ost Haus Creations and Melissa Thigpen

As for wildlife, hikers might see snakes, bears, birds, and deer among others. Birding is very popular. For those wanting less wildlife, two urban trails in Newberry and Columbia go through neighborhoods.

Hikers can earn patches based on their Trail hiking accomplishments. The Palmetto Trail Passage Hiker patch is designed for those who have hiked the entire Trail over time, not in any specific order or timeframe. The Palmetto Trail Thru-Hiker patch is for hikers who have completed the entire Trail in one continuous stretch. For more details and to apply for either patch, visit palmettoconservation.org.

Michael Thigpen is an avid Palmetto Trail hiker. “I have learned so much about our state during the past few years of hiking along the Palmetto Trail. I am a native South Carolinian, but the Trail has given me opportunities and the incentive to explore areas of the state that I may never have seen otherwise,” he said. “From the mountains to the sea, urban areas, small towns, fields, and forests are opened up for exploration and discovery.”

He said he is a passage hiker who hikes parts of the Trail as he has time. “One day I would like to make a thru-hike from Oconee to Awendaw,” Thigpen said. “One of the great features of the Trail is that it can be enjoyed by people of many different abilities and fitness levels, people with just a few hours to spare, all the way to those who plan to walk for several weeks, and everything in between.”

Michael and his wife Melissa, participated in an event last year in 2022 he referred to as 22 in 22. “As inspiring as the landscape is along the Palmetto Trail, the Trail is made even more special by

the stewards who make hikers feel welcome,” he said. “Programs such as the recent 22 in 22 encourage residents and visitors alike to get outside and enjoy the natural resources that South Carolina offers.” He explained that the 22 in 22 event allowed registered participants to hike two passages each month, which could be any passage they chose and any length. Once 22 were completed, the hikers could get a patch and a certificate.

Other events are also held for those interested in learning more about the Trail or for those just wanting to be involved. Look for trail runs, guided hikes, adventure weekends for women, and once-a-month trail talks held after business hours.

Volunteers are a crucial part of keeping the Trail maintained. Some volunteers who come out to help are work-related, others with non-profit organizations, families who want to lend a hand, and some are retirees.

There are a couple of volunteer opportunities to help on the Trail. One volunteer opportunity is a Passage Monitor who watches out for any issues on a designated area of the Trail and then writes a report for later follow-up. Another volunteer option is known as Passage Pals who participate in hands-on projects to assist with Trail needs, like lopping, picking up trash, and raking.

Frank Canning is a volunteer, who got involved with the Trail five years ago after walking a half marathon in the Croft State Park. “When you volunteer for the Trail, you are taken to places to do things and meet people you would never have known about,” Canning said. “You can be clearing fallen trees in a remote part of the Trail upstate or helping to build a trestle in the Francis Marion Forest.” Volunteering has its rewards. “After a day of clearing un-

44 | Vote now for the Best of Lexington Life 2024 at lexingtonlife.com

derbrush and removing fallen trees, you come off the trail hot, tired, sweaty, muddy…and feeling oh so good,” he said. “The Trail gives back to you…the gift of fitness, observing nature, history lessons, and meeting interesting people along the way.”

Suggestions for Trail hikers:

•Carry a water bottle to stay hydrated.

•Review the Trail map before venturing out.

•Keep pets on a leash and clean up waste.

•Be aware of hunting season.

Getting outdoors has its perks. As the well-known naturalist John Muir once said, “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” n

Best of Lexington Life 2024 LEXINGTON MEDICAL CENTER PROUDLY WELCOMES Benjamin L. White, MD Dr. White joins the board-certified surgeons and highly skilled staff at South Carolina Obesity Surgery Center to help patients reshape their lives with weight-loss surgery. practice provides patients with comprehensive, continuous care to improve their health today and reduce their risk of developing health conditions in the future — all while improving their self-confidence and self-image. LexMed.com/HVC • (803) 744-4900 Lexington Medical Park 2 146 East Hospital Drive, Suite 400 • West Columbia, SC 29169 Now Accepting Patients • Free Seminar at SCObesity.com • (866) 560-4415


A unique, fun, and hands-on business, A&A Rockshop, offers exciting experiences and extensive knowledge about rocks, gems, minerals, fossils, herbs, and much more. They sell gemstones, have an Indoor Gem Sluice, a Simulated Cave Mine, a black light room, and an event party room.

Since establishing over ten years ago at the Barnyard Flea Market, A&A Rockshop has seen immense growth. The store set up permanent residency at its current location on W. Main St. and, in October 2022, had the opportunity to expand and open a Sister Shop next door. When asked what brought them into this line of work, owner Ricky Taylor said, “Rocks, gems, fossils, and other things like herbs have always fascinated me.” As for store manager, Kirstin McVeigh, she says, “I started collecting specimens and studying them when I was younger, and my Papa would bring me rocks whenever he traveled. I wanted to be a part of something different and share my knowledge with my community.”

What is the philosophy behind their business? They want to educate and engage the community using their vast inventory and activities. There is something for everyone to enjoy, and the staff at A&A

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Picture having the opportunity to search for beautiful gemstones in the depths of a mine. Now, imagine getting to do just that right here in Lexington, South Carolina. Yes, it is true!

Rockshop eagerly await any questions you have. “Every day at the Rockshop is fun! We are constantly putting out new inventory and getting our hands on newly discovered specimens. The environment here is so lighthearted and fun, we hope that you will leave here with a smile on your face and an experience you won’t soon forget,” says Kirstin.

During a career café at a local elementary school, A&A Rockshop employees engaged with the kids by giving them a glimpse of what they offer. They answered the children’s questions about the displayed rocks and gems and their job duties. A few weeks later, a group of children and their parents stopped by. These were the same kids that attended the career café and were so excited when they saw the employees who had been at their school. “Their parents told us that it meant so much to them that they could not stop talking about the shop and how much they learned,” said Kirstin. “That is what it’s all about.”

When asked what their biggest inspiration is, Kirstin said it comes from the owner, Mr. Ricky, who spends time teaching, and mentoring his staff just as he would family. Also, the chance to continuously learn new things, meet like-minded people, and help grow a Rockhound community is a tremendous inspiration. What is a Rockhound, you ask? According to Kirstin, “A Rockhound is a person who studies, collects, and enjoys rocks, gems, minerals, and fossils. They find joy in adding to their collection and learning about the geology or metaphysical properties. It essentially is a person who really, really likes rocks.”

With the recent addition of the Indoor Sluice and Cave Mine, guests can

mine year-round, no matter the weather. A&A Rockshop has started hosting sales events each month on the back deck of their Sister Shop, with discounts, specials, and giveaways. They also offer discounted group package rates on events. Soon, they will begin jewelry-making workshops, tea gatherings, and new activity stations. They will post all upcoming events on their social media and website and will email their “Exclusive Rockhound Club.” You are also encouraged to call, email, or stop by anytime you have questions. The staff would be more than happy to talk with you.

“The love and support that we have received is beyond words. Our community is one of the best, and we are so appreciative. We could not do this without our customers, and we hope to be a staple in the Lexington community for many years,” Kirstin shared. n

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Mascot: More Than a


the Otter Brings

Hope to Families

Olly the Otter is more than just a mascot for Kid’s Day of Lexington. He is a friend to children going through tough times who need hope and laughter to help them momentarily forget their worries. If there is something Olly believes in, it’s joy. The playful otter brings his high energy and entertainment to help motivate, educate, and heal. “The heart of what we wanted to do was to reach families,” said Jamie Ballentine, the man behind the mascot.

Jamie and his wife, Brittany, brought Olly the Otter to life in 2014. Initially, he made hospital visits to kids receiving medical treatment and participated in children’s events such as Lexington’s annual Kids Day. However, in 2020 the pandemic changed everything. Making hospital visits during Covid was not possible, especially with compromised immune systems being an issue. Yet, Jamie knew he could not stay still. “I thought, these kids are shut out enough, and then add the Covid pandemic. Someone mentioned doing home visits,” said Jamie, who knew this was what he needed to do. The home visits started during Halloween when Olly would bring Halloween baskets to kids and then extended to Christmas and Easter.

The home visits were the key to implementing Olly’s mission of bringing hope and laughter to children diagnosed with an illness or medical condition. Jamie explains he secured sponsors for Olly’s home visits and his goal is to secure sponsorships to allow Olly the Otter to be his full-time gig. However, even without the corporate sponsors, he is intent on helping spread some cheer and motivation to children and their families going through rough seasons. Jamie calls the young people warriors because of the fighting they must endure to survive their hardships. “These kids and their parents are battling,” explains Jamie. “We can pray and talk with the families on their journey. Siblings have their battles too. We have been asked specifically to come for the siblings.”

Jamie says “we” because it’s not just him donning the Olly costume and doing all the work. He has assistance from his

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wife, Brittany, who joins him on visits and event outings when she isn’t working as a pediatric physical therapist. On average, Brittany says they do about three events a month and four visits a week although it can fluctuate. “For some families, they are walking in unknown territory,” says Brittany. “There are joys and tears for sure. We get close to the families and celebrate and laugh. And sometimes we get bad news, which is hard.”

While the visits initially started by visiting kids diagnosed with cancer, it has expanded as they learned about the many other conditions children face. “If someone reaches out, we go,” said Jamie. He says they serve around 60 families across the state with two being in North Carolina. There are a lot of families in and around the Lexington area they serve which they

attribute to the popularity of Kid’s Day and social media.

Becoming Olly

The otter costume is the second one Ballentine has donned and depending on the event or who he is visiting he will wear a different shirt to suit the need. He has his Kid’s Day shirts and sports outfits among others. But why an otter? Jamie explains that they were looking for an animal that wasn’t an obvious Biblical animal but one that still pertained to faith. Meaningful Play is a faith-based organization so finding one relating to faith was essential. Otters are generally considered playful and friendly creatures. They are also quite curious and feed off social connections.

“When I was trying to figure out what to create – because we are faith-based – I

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“ The heart of what we wanted to do was to reach families,”
— Jamie Ballentine

Googled animals of faith and a river otter popped up,” said Jamie. “I researched otter behaviors and habits and I thought, ‘I’m a human version of this.’ I sketched a character and showed my wife the next morning and she said, ‘That’s it,’” he explains. So, the otter stuck around.

Meaningful Play

When he’s not visiting families in person, he sends messages or calls them. Not only does he interact with the children, but he gets to know the families.

Graysen Dychs loves playing basketball and it’s probably his favorite activity to do with Olly when he visits. His mom, Katie Cornelius, says Olly “checks in every two weeks at least.” Checking in comes in the form of a phone call, visit, or text, she explains. It certainly lifts his spirits especially since he’s undergone multiple surgeries in his young life. Graysen has a motility issue that he was born with and sees a specialist in North Carolina frequently from his St. Matthews home. Being able to play basketball with Olly is fun for Graysen and takes his mind off his health problems for a little while.

Breanna and Joseph Marra’s nine-

month-old, Salem Emmersyn, was diagnosed with Leigh Syndrome, a rare mitochondrial disorder with an average lifespan of two to three years. The Sumter-based family got to know Olly this year and while Salem is only a baby, Olly makes time for Salem and her older sister. “We see doctors and specialists out of state and have appointments at least once a week,” said Joseph. He says Olly has dance parties and spends time with their oldest child at the park, who feels left out at times.

There are many moments of laughter and tears of joy but also moments of sadness when Olly’s warriors end the fight and say their goodbyes. “We’ve lost six warriors since I’ve been doing this. There was one little girl named Maddie. One of the last times she was able to go outside, she became winded very quickly. It’s been hard. She was six. Her family is dear to us,” shares Jamie.

Olly continues to bring motivation and healing through play to children facing lifelong illnesses while also looking at ways to expand his mission. Learn more about Olly the Otter by visiting his website at ollytheotter.com. n

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Goulish Goodies

Halloween Chex Mix

nonstick cooking spray

3 cup rice Chex cereal

3 cup corn Chex cereal

4 cup mini twist pretzels

2 cup roasted, salted cashews

1 stick salted butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 tbsp maple syrup

1 (10-oz) bag of peanut butter candies, such as Reese’s pieces

1 1/2 cup candy corn

1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 275°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Add the cereals, pretzels, and cashews in a single layer. Melt butter, add brown sugar and maple syrup, and whisk well until combined. Pour the butter mixture over the cereal mixture and toss gently until evenly coated. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring halfway through. Cool completely on the sheet tray, stirring occasionally. Add the peanut butter candies, candy corn, and chocolate chips. Toss gently on the baking sheet. Transfer to a serving bowl, or store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Spider Web Taco Dip

1 (16-oz) can refried beans

2 tbsp taco seasoning

1/4 cup taco sauce

guacamole: (1 ripe avocado, 1 tsp lime juice, 1/2 tsp salt, pinch garlic powder)

1/2 cup sliced ripe black olives

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup chopped ripe tomato

1 green onion, thinly sliced

1/2 cup sour cream

2-3 tbsp milk

plastic squirt bottle (optional)

plastic spider ring (decoration only)

warm tortilla chips

Stir together the refried beans, taco seasoning, and taco sauce; warm up. Spread beans on the bottom of a glass pie plate. Mash the avocado and stir with the lime juice, salt, and garlic powder. Spread guacamole over the top of the beans. Mix sour cream with enough milk to make it thin and easy to come out of the squirt bottle. Draw a spider web on the top of the guacamole with the sour cream. Sprinkle olives, cheese, tomato, and green onion around the edges. Place a spider in the center for decoration and serve with warm tortilla chips.

Candy Corn Fruit Parfait

2 (15-oz) cans of mandarin oranges

3 cups fresh pineapple, cut into chunks

1 cup heavy whipping cream

3 to 4 tbsp powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla

candy corn for decorating

Into a decorative glass, layer fresh pineapple on the bottom and mandarin orange slices on top of it. Make the whipped cream: In a large bowl combine heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla and beat until stiff peaks form. Place it on top of the fruit, add a few candy corn on top, and serve.

Halloween Veggie Tray

1 (6-oz) can large black olives

2 lb bag baby carrots


1 cucumber

your favorite veggie dip

Slice the celery and create the pumpkin stem. Fill two small bowls with your favorite dip and place the bowls on the round plate for the eyes. Create a triangle nose using the black olives. Slice the cucumber and create a mouth. Fill in the empty space with the baby carrots. Refrigerate until serving.

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Mummy Brie

all-purpose flour for surface

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed

1 (7-oz) wheel of brie

1 large egg

1 tbsp milk

2 mini pepperoni

2 sliced black olives

Preheat the oven to 400°. On a floured work surface, unroll the puff pastry and cut into 1” strips. Wrap strips around the brie like a mummy. Whisk together egg and milk and brush over pastry. Transfer the brie to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until the brie is warm and gooey and puff pastry is deeply golden (about 20 minutes). For eyes, place two mini pepperonis into two sliced olives and serve with crackers.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip

3/4 cup International Delight

Pumpkin Pie Spice Creamer

1 (3.4-oz) package of pumpkin spice instant pudding

1 (8-oz) package of cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed graham cracker crumbs for garnish

Whisk together the International Delight Pumpkin Pie Spice Creamer with pumpkin spice instant pudding. Set aside for about 5 minutes. In a mixing bowl, beat together the softened cream cheese and sugar. Add the pudding to the cream cheese mixture and beat. Once well combined, fold in the 2 cups of thawed whipped topping and refrigerate. When ready to serve, fill a bowl with the dip, and topped with graham cracker crumbs. Serve dip alongside graham crackers or fruit.

Candy Corn Bark

12 to 16 whole graham crackers

1 (12-oz) package of white candy melts

1 cup orange candy melts

1 cup yellow candy melts

orange and yellow candy-coated chocolates, for topping

orange, yellow, and black nonpareils for topping

Lay the graham crackers in a single layer on a large baking sheet, breaking to fit as needed. Melt the white, orange, and yellow candy melts in separate bowls in the microwave according to the package directions. Pour the white candy melts over the graham crackers and spread in an even layer using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Working quickly, drop tablespoonfuls of the orange and yellow candy melts about 2 inches apart over the white layer. Swirl with a toothpick to create a marbled look. Top the bark with candy-coated chocolates and nonpareils while it is still wet. Refrigerate until set (about 15 minutes) and break into pieces. n

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54 | Vote now for the Best of Lexington Life 2024 at lexingtonlife.com Lexington and Irmo Chapin Life Magazinesperfect to market yourself in 2024. Call today for your custom package 803-356-6500 or email info@lexingtonlifemagazine.com

Just a Dog

I was driving home from town on a mid-April Saturday morning. My young helper called: “Mr. David! Mr. David! There’s a little puppy under the truck and the other dogs are barking crazy at him.”

I said: “Can you get him out from under the truck?”


“OK, get him out. He’s going to be scared. Comfort him and I’ll be there in a minute.”

When I arrived 4 minutes later, the pup was licking my helper to death. The pup

was blind in one eye. Someone dumped the pup out the previous night. Our other dogs were excited, grinning, and wagging their tails furiously.

Little Buddy is part Lab, so he grew fast. The formerly youngest dog Weaver began teaching him how to roll around and play, which is how dogs learn to defend themselves. They are fun to watch.

Buddy got rolled up by a four-wheeler in mid-June. He laid up for several days, but he hobbled his way into being well and after ten days was running like the wind.

Last week we heard the dogs barking in the driveway at a couple of kids in stopped cars talking on the dirt road. Then we heard a squealing sound, and we got up to go check. It took a while to find him, but Buddy ran about 250 feet and got into a crawl space I couldn’t get to. He would look at me, but he got banged up pretty good. I crawled to where I could touch him, and he squealed and moved over into a smaller space. I figured if he could move then he had a chance. I pushed some food and water into the crawl space with a hoe handle and went to bed.

He was alive the next morning. He lay in his spot for two days, changing positions. Weaver would go under the porch and whimper at him.

On the third day, he was gone. I found him under a bush in the yard. He ate food and drank water. He didn’t cry as I felt him all over. I watched him get up and walk to a new spot out of the sun. He laid down and whacked his tail on the ground three times when I called his name. I knew he was going to be okay.

A week later he’s now back to hobbling around the yard and field and his tail is wagging furiously.

I am amazed at the canyon’s depth of feeling I have for him -- worrying over him, encouraging him, cheering his steadily improving gait, laughing at his improving ability to hobnob with his protective tail-wagging playmates.

I’m sometimes tearful by how much love I have for just a dog.

I thank God for that feeling because there’s an awful lot these days that fairly burns the love and tenderness right out of a man.

And God, being God, is working through “just a dog” to make me a better man. n

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David Clark writes and works in Cochran, GA. Connect with him at cw.w4trj@gmail.com. Weaver with his new playmate Buddy on their first day together.
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