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Vacation You’ve earned it | Vol. 3 Summer 2011

Get away from it all

Your guide to planning the perfect vacation

IN THIS ISSUE: One-tank Trips

The Great Outdoors

Order Up

Gas up, roll down the windows and hit the road

South Carolina’s lakes are popular vacation destinations

Fresh, local ingredients are key to regional favorites

Sponsored by



Vacation 2011

contents Volume 3 | Summer 2011


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One-tank Trips In the mood for a road trip? South Carolina’s location provides easy access to a host of interesting places.


Bite-size Flights Feature Story Thrill of the hunt: Geocaching combines GPS technology with an oldfashioned treasure hunt.

Learn a little about the cities Southwest Airlines can take you with its new service to and from the Palmetto State.


15 Order Up A big part of any trip is experiencing the local food.

Calendar of Events The Great Outdoors Go fishing, waterskiing or sightseeing on one of South Carolina’s great lakes.

All for fun: Events held throughout the state range from traditional to quirky.

Sponsor Welcome Just a bridge away from Charleston, reasonable hotel rates and abundant free parking make Mount Pleasant an ideal place to stay while visiting the Lowcountry. Long known for its scenic beauty and proximity to beaches, the town of Mount Pleasant offers visitors a multitude of activities your family will cherish for a lifetime. Whether you are a golfer, nature-lover, history buff, beach comber, or avid shopper, Mount Pleasant has something for you. Mount Pleasant is also host to local and regional events including a weekly Farmers Market. The newly opened 9-acre Memorial Waterfront Park is one not to miss. The park features a fishing/observation pier, playground, visitor center, walking trails, openair pavilion and military memorial. We hope you choose to come on over to Mount Pleasant on your next trip to the South Carolina Lowcountry!

South Carolina’s Media Engine for Economic Growth

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Vacation 2011

One-tank Trips Vacation 2011 Asheville, N.C.

Nestled in what seems like a cupped hand of a valley is a town built by pioneering souls that holds tight to its free-thinking, artistic roots. Asheville attracts thousands of visitors each year with its mountain vistas, the Gilded Age splendor of the Biltmore mansion, an eclectic range of boutiques and a variety of global cuisine at restaurants that feature local (and often organic) ingredients.

Photo/Courtesy of The Coca-Cola Co.

Atlanta, Ga.

The proud capital of the “New South” is a diverse and welcoming metropolitan area. Neighborhood enclaves, each with their own

In the mood to explore? South Carolina’s location provides easy access to a host of interesting places. Just about anything you would want to see — from majestic mountains and tranquil rivers to swinging hot spots and quirky stores — is within a few hours’ drive. So gas up, roll down the windows and don’t forget to take the back roads.

distinctive flair, hold a wealth of sights and attractions that range from pop (the CocaCola museum) to fine art (the High Museum of Art). Shop boutiques or big malls, club hop into the wee hours or take in a Braves or Falcons game.

Charleston, S.C.

This Lowcountry gem, settled in 1670 and South Carolina’s colonial capital, retains the charm of bygone days. Its stately mansions, churches, theaters and public buildings date back to the 18th century. Once one of the richest cities on the Eastern Seaboard, today it combines the traditional with the historic and provides some of the best restaurants, beaches, entertainment and shopping in America. Cruise ships depart the Charleston docks and historic plantations ring the city on the region’s creeks and rivers. www.

Charlotte, N.C.

Though the Queen City reigns over a bustling business scene, Charlotte has plenty of

Southern charm with a strong dose of contemporary fine dining and a chic shopping scene. Rosedale Plantation offers visitors a chance to witness the pace and elegance of the past, as does Fourth Ward with its streets filled with fine specimens of Victorian architecture. Those preferring a more exciting pace will appreciate the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats, the NFL’s Carolina Panthers, as well as NASCAR races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.

also boasts the annual state fair, a zoo and botanical garden, and nearby parks, lakes and rivers offer plenty of recreational opportunities.

Columbia, S.C.

From a high-energy college football game at the University of South Carolina to a lowkey float down the Saluda, Broad or Congaree rivers, the Palmetto State’s capital city offers something for every visitor. History buffs will appreciate Columbia’s historic homes and museums, and those who enjoy arts and culture will be amazed by the city’s theaters, galleries, dance companies, orchestras and festivals. Dining and nightlife options are plentiful, especially downtown in Five Points and the Vista. Columbia

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, N.C./Tenn.

Formed hundreds of millions of years ago, these mountains are some of the oldest in the world and are comprised of peaks that rise up over 6,000 feet. The park encompasses more than 520,000 acres of forests, streams, rivers, waterfalls and hiking trails passing through valleys, peaks and forests with plenty of overlooks to take in scenic views. The park has an enormous variety of


Vacation 2011 plants, trees, mammals, birds and fish — so many that the United Nations has designated the park an International Biosphere Reserve.

Coastal Carolina.

Greenville, S.C.

The Upstate is South Carolina’s only land of four true seasons. And its metropolitan environment, coupled with its pristine lakes and rivers nestled at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, is a favorite for cyclists, runners, hikers and water enthusiasts. Greenville’s downtown is renowned for its arts community, unique shopping and dining. Greenville’s crown jewel is Reedy River Falls Park. The falls, which powered textile mills in the 18th century and industrial sites in the 19th and 20th centuries, now comprise the centerpiece of a vibrant entertainment and business district.

Hilton Head Island, S.C.

Hilton Head Island boasts nearly 30 golf courses nestled among lush pine and live oak forests that offer some of the most challenging holes on the East Coast. Hilton Head Island is the largest barrier island off the Atlantic coast between Long Island and the Bahamas. And while it is known for its beautiful beaches and fantastic golf, it’s also known for its shopping — from outlet malls to local boutiques — and its restaurants. Hilton Head also includes a thriving arts and cultural scene and has the state’s second largest theater facility, the Arts Center of

Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Located about two hours north of Charleston via U.S. 17, Myrtle Beach offers visitors two outlet malls, more than 100 golf courses, numerous nightlife and concert venues, as well as 60 miles of beaches. On the way, stop by Brookgreen Gardens, a National Historic Landmark and display garden.

Savannah, Ga.

This waterfront town will, no doubt, remind visitors of Charleston with its historic homes and lush gardens. Founded in 1733, Savannah was the site of many famous Revolutionary and Civil War battles. This history has been preserved and is celebrated along with the city’s vibrant arts and cultural scene. Its more than 20 city squares, monuments, parks, historic homes, churches and forts will appeal to history buffs of all ages. Don’t miss River Street with its waterfront park, quirky shops and varied restaurants.


Beer scene thrives in Asheville Home to nine breweries, Asheville is a front runner in the recent surge in craft beers and microbreweries in the United States. In fact, the city is still basking in the glow of winning the 2010 Beer City USA online poll, beating out Portland, Ore., for top billing. Locals, and visitors alike, celebrate this frosty beverage during several annual festivals, including the Brewgrass Festival, NCOctoberfest and the Brews Cruise Beer Fest.

Asheville beat out Portland, Ore., to win the 2010 Beer City USA online poll. (Photo/Courtesy of Asheville Convention & Visitors Bureau.)

Asheville’s local breweries include: • Asheville Brewing Co. 77 Coxe Ave. • Microbrewery • Asheville Pizza and Brewing 675 Merrimon Ave. • Brewpub • Craggie Brewing Co. 197 Hilliard Ave. • Microbrewery • French Broad Brewing Co. 101-D Fairview Road • Microbrewery • Green Man Brewing Co. 23 Buxton Ave. • Microbrewery

• Highland Brewing Co. 12 Old Charlotte Highway, Suite H Regional brewery • Lexington Avenue Brewing - The LAB 39 North Lexington Ave. • Brewpub • Oyster House Brewing Co./ Lobster Trap Restaurant 35 Patton St. • Brewpub • Wedge Brewing Co. 129-B Roberts St. • Microbrewery


Feature Story

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Feature Story Vacation 2011

Thrill of the hunt Geocaching combines GPS technology with an old-fashioned treasure hunt By Allison Cooke Oliverius


im Robison’s parents, who live in Panama City, Fla., talked about geocaching for an entire year before Robison could bring herself to try it. “My mom would say geocaching took her to a beautiful or historic place she’d never been to before, and she’d lived there her whole life,” Robison said. “But I told her I’m just not going to get into looking for a piece of Tupperware or some kind of box hidden somewhere just to find it, see what’s inside and then say I did,” Robison said. Famous last words. Robison and her husband Ken finally tried geocaching in 2006 and have since found 4,551 caches. In fact, the Robisons are among the top 10 geocachers in South Carolina. The Robisons, who live in the Midlands and share the geocache handle “PiecesandAries,” have fallen in love with the hobby that involves finding “treasure” using GPS coordinates. Basically, a cache is a box, which con-

tains a log book and an inexpensive trinket, that has been hidden outdoors. After a person hides a cache, they post coordinates for its location online at www.geocaching. com. This site lists more than 1.3 million caches worldwide. Geocachers begin their search by going online and entering a ZIP code for the city or region in which they would like to search. They browse through cache descriptions, find one (or more) they are interested in, enter the coordinates into their GPS and set out to find the treasure. Those without a GPS can still participate. Within most cache descriptions, there’s an option to print a map of the location. “We’ve learned so much,” Kim Robison said. “Geocaching has taken us to so many places — battlefields, waterfalls, all kinds of places. We are getting to really see South Carolina and what is here. It is a way you get to know your state — and we’ve got some beautiful places in the state we never would have known about if it weren’t for geocaching. We get excited about wonder-

While geocaching can be done solo, it’s also fun for families. You can geocache in your hometown, while on vacation and even enroute to a destination. (Photos/Leslie Burden)

ing where the cache is going to take us.” The couple also geocaches when they are traveling. “You can literally just pull up the caches in the area,” Ken Robison said, adding the couple recently geocached their way to and from Las Vegas. “You can find some in rest areas, or towns along the way, and it’s a great way to stretch your legs and do something interesting along the way.”

The journey

There are mor 1.3 million ac e than tive worldwide with geocaches an estimated

Geocaching can be enjoyed by anyone. Caches are ranked by how difficult a cache is to find (how well it’s hidden) and the difficulty of the terrain. A 1/1 difficulty/ terrain rating would the easiest cache to find, while a 5/5 difficulty/terrain rating would be the most difficult. Geocaching. com also uses icons to describe the location, such as whether the path is strollerfriendly or if you’ll need climbing gear.

25,000 in

South Carolin a.

Craig Crosby, aka “Hologram21,” recently revisited the site of a puzzle cache he first found in 2007 at a public park in the Lowcountry. A puzzle cache provides clues you must decipher to obtain the cache location. “It’s the thrill of the hunt,” said Crosby, who raves about the creativity “Sissy-N-CR” used to hide a cache called “Is this a code?”. Crosby found his first 50 caches without a GPS, and upon getting one steadily increased the difficulty of the caches he See GEOCACHING, Page 8


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Feature Story

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Craig Crosby and his daughter Sarah examine the trinkets they found inside an old ammunition box hidden in a park in the Lowcountry. (Photo/Leslie Burden) GEOCACHING, continued from Page 6

wanted to find. One of the most difficult caches he’s logged is officially ranked a 5/5 and unofficially ranked a 10/10. The “Tube Torcher II” took Crosby 14 hours to complete and involved repelling, crawling, encountering a beaver and using a fallen tree to climb out of a hole — and that’s all he’s authorized to say. Crosby admits this one lives up to its online description of “twice the torture,” but spoiling the cache find or adventure for others goes against geocaching etiquette. “I love doing those alone so I can say I did it solo,” said Crosby, who has logged nearly 1,100 finds since 2002. Crosby has become such a geocache advocate, he teaches courses on the outdoor sport in the Lowcountry and particularly likes to get kids involved in the high-tech scavenger hunt. “They catch on quickly and it gets them outside,” he said.

What’s the reward?

Once you locate the cache and open it, what you find inside ranges depending on the size of the box. The Robisons have found everything from an emergency blanket to a

compass. Crosby recently found a cache that contained a Swiper the Fox toy (from the Dora the Explorer TV show), as well as travel bugs, which are items that are tagged with a number and meant for geocachers to take with them and drop off at their next cache find. You can track how far a travel bug has gone by entering its number online. But the rule is, if you take something, you should leave something behind of equal or greater value. The treasures found inside caches are meant to be inexpensive, fun or helpful items, Crosby said, because the real reward is finding the cache itself. Some caches, called micro-caches, are too small to contain anything but the log book, which all adventurers are encouraged to sign before replacing a cache. Geocachers are also encouraged to log their finds online, where there is a large community of people who not only like to read about others’ adventures, they also like to brag a bit about their own. Before Kim Robison got into geocaching, she didn’t see the value in signing the log book or posting her find online. “But sometimes putting your name on the log is the motivation that I need to get me that little bit of distance to the end,” she admitted. “I want my name out there. I want people to know I did this.”

How geocaching began

The first geocache was placed in Oregon in May 2000, reportedly in celebration of the Clinton Administration’s decision to remove a restriction that required civilian Global Positioning Systems to be “degraded.” With the restriction removed, consumer GPS had the capability of pinpointing a location within 10 feet.

Cache in, trash out

Geocachers are generally an environmentally friendly group. The S.C. Geocaching Association holds quarterly CITO events, where geocachers get together at a park or stream to “cache in” and bring“trash out.”

Bite-size flights

Vacation 2011

Since March, low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines has been offering service to and from Charleston International Airport and GSP International Airport. Both airports offer nonstop flights to Chicago, Baltimore/Washington, Nashville, Tenn., and Houston, however, Greenville offers an additional flight to Orlando, Fla. The following bite-sized descriptions of each destination are sure to give you a taste for travel.

Bite-size Flights Vacation 2011

Baltimore, Md., and Washington, D.C. Chicago, Ill. While Baltimore/Washington International Airport is located in Baltimore, Md., it’s less than 35 minutes from Washington, D.C., making it a convenient destination for visiting both cities. Baltimore’s cultural center is the Inner Harbor, which has been a major East Coast seaport since the 1700s. The Inner Harbor, situated on the Chesapeake Bay, offers shopping, dining, nightlife and plenty of things to see and do, including the National Aquarium and harbor cruises. Harborplace is a popular stop for tourists with its concentration of shops and restaurants, including Phillips Seafood Restaurant, which offers fresh, steamed crabs straight from the bay. From BWI, you can take a shuttle, bus or cab to Washington, D.C., but locals recommend you take the train to Union Station, which originally opened in 1908 and is now a major Metro stop. Once you’re in the city, a must-see is the National Mall, a

Photo/Courtesy Visit Baltimore

tree-lined open space between Constitution and Independence avenues. The mall stretches from the Washington Monument to the U.S. Capitol Building. The mall is flanked by several museums, including the Smithsonian. Nearby West Potomac Park and the Tidal Basin are where you can find national monuments and memorials including the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials. Many of the monuments throughout the city are open at night and their illumination makes nighttime a memorable time to visit them.

Incorporated in 1837, and famously nicknamed the Windy City, Chicago has grown to become the third largest city in the United States. It has also become a huge destination for tourists. Visitors can experience more than 45 museums, attend major league sports events, dine at restaurants of every cuisine, enjoy theater performances and see a panoramic view from the Willis Tower, the Western Hemisphere’s tallest building. Chicago’s scenic views and flat landscape make it the perfect city for exploring either on foot or bike. And with more than 7,500 acres of parkland, two world-class conservatories, 26 miles of frontage on Lake Michigan and 600 acres of nature areas, Chicago lives up to its motto “City in a Garden.” Home to more than 400 fashion designers and 375 independently owned retail boutiques, Chicago is also an international shopping capital. It offers a vibrant

Photo/©City of Chicago/GRC

retail scene that caters to the needs of every shopper, including major department stores, chic designer boutiques and unique ethnic stores. If you are in the mood to see the city from a different point of view, consider a segway tour, a moonlight kayak trip or stepping out onto a glass ledge on the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower.


10 Bite-size flights


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Houston, Texas

As the country’s fourth largest city, Houston has more than 2.2 million residents and finds itself on many “best of � lists, including Travel + Leisure’s roundup of America’s Favorite Cities and the index of most affordable U.S. vacation destinations. In addition to a thriving arts-andculture scene, which includes a museum district with more than 17 museums and more than 60 art galleries city-wide,

Photos/Courtesy Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau

Houston also is proud of its well-rounded culinary offerings. It recently began offering chef-led tours of the “underbelly of the food scene,� which includes tours of the city’s food trucks and ethnic markets. Houston also has its own version of Central Park, with more than 1,500 acres of green space in the heart of the city. Memorial Park offers a public golf course, swimming pool, tennis courts and walking trails.

Nashville, Tenn. For country music lovers, Nashville, Tenn., is a prime destination with its offering of honky-tonks, year-round music festivals and the Grande Ole Opry, of course. But this scenic city has come into its own as a destination for any visitor – country music lover or not – looking to experience arts and culture, a range of cuisines, sports, as well as Southern hospitality. Downtown Nashville offers the Ryman Auditorium, the Country Music Hall of Fame, Frist Center for the Visual Arts and the General Jackson Showboat, a 300-foot paddlewheel riverboat that cruises the Cumberland River while visitors enjoy a meal and a show. A range of other things to see and do in the area includes a visit to Belle Meade Plantation, which features a 150-year-old antebellum home and has the distinction of being one of the only homes that can

Photo/Courtesy Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau

report a Civil War battle was fought on its lawn. Nashville also boasts the world’s only exact replica of The Parthenon. Built for Tennessee’s Centennial Exposition in 1897 and reconstructed permanently in 1931, this replica also includes an art gallery and a statue of Athena that stands 42 feet tall, making it the largest indoor statue in the Western Hemisphere.

Orlando, Fla.

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Orlando, Fla., is reportedly the most popular family destination on earth. Travel + Leisure magazine reports some 50 million people a year visit Orlando’s theme parks and hotels. Now that Southwest offers flights to Orlando from Greenville, S.C., you can join the crowd. Indeed, Orlando may be best known for its theme parks, including Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, MGM, Animal Kingdom and Epcot Center, as well as Universal Studios and SeaWorld, but there is a lot more to see. While visiting this region in central Florida, take a hot air balloon ride at sunrise, (and if the wind is right, you will most likely have a bird’s eye view of Disney World), or set up an astronaut training experience, or check out the animals at the Central Florida Zoo. And then, there’s

Gatorland, which this summer will open the world’s first zip line to race over giant alligators and crocodiles. If you’re looking for something to do that’s a tad more relaxing, consider a visit to downtown Photo/Courtesy Orlando where Visit Orlando you can peruse the museums and art galleries, or take a walking tour on which you can enjoy architecture that dates back to the 1880s and ranges from Queen Anne to Mediterranean revival to art deco.


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Order Up Lake Murray restaurants offer Vacation 2011


big part of any trip is experiencing the local food. Fresh ingredients make a big difference and a growing number of chefs across the Palmetto State are making a point to buy ingredients from local suppliers to prepare dishes ranging from rabbit to littleneck clams. You’ll find regional favorites for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and everything in between, no matter what part of South Carolina you are visiting. This issue, we take a look at several restaurants on Lake Murray in the Midlands of South Carolina. Charlie’s Fisherman’s Wharf serves seafood as well as hand-carved steaks. Main Street Café Bar and Grill features Italian and Greek fare, all made from scratch. And the Rusty Anchor and the Quarterdeck at Lighthouse Marina offer some of the best lakeside dining, as well as a healthy serving of entertainment. For a peek at other regional South Carolina favorites (including a banana split made with 15 scoops of icecream!) turn to page 14.

casual dining and signature foods By Kay Gordon Photography by Jeff Amberg


ake Murray has often been called the Jewel of South Carolina. The lake located northwest of Columbia has more than 500 miles of shoreline and is a well-known spot for boating, fishing and other water-based activities. After a day out on the water, quench your thirst and your appetite with a meal at one of the many restaurants in the Lake Murray area.

Charlie’s Fisherman’s Wharf

Charlie’s Fisherman’s Wharf has been a landmark for nearly 25 years offering a low-key atmosphere as well as good food and service. Part of the low-key atmosphere is the restaurant’s outdoor seating area on a covered dock. Inside, the restaurant features nautical décor. In addition to the main dining room, the restaurant offers a tavern and a smoking section. In the summertime,

One of the most popular dishes at Charlie’s Fisherman’s Wharf is the seafood platter.

the restaurant kicks it up a notch with live entertainment. Lunch offerings include sandwiches and burgers. Nightly dinner specials include spaghetti, fried or grilled quail, steaks, cat-

fish stew and clam chowder. A salad bar and an array of desserts are also available. But through the years, owner Charles Adams said the restaurant’s most popular dishes continue to be the homemade hush pup-


Vacation 2011

pies, seafood platters and rib-eye steaks. “People come for the relaxed atmosphere and the food,” said restaurant manager James Metts. “We are proud of our hand-carved steaks and the seafood is great — all handbreaded.” Charlie’s Fisherman’s Wharf is located at 3224 Highway 378, Leesville, SC 29070. 803-532-1205.

Main Street Café Bar and Grill

Main Street Café is a family-owned and operated restaurant in downtown Lexing-

ton that specializes in Greek and Italian cuisine. George Trifos owns the restaurant with his sister Nitsa Trifos. Adding to the family atmosphere, George and Nitsa’s parents, Catherine and Bill Trifos, are regulars. Catherine hails from Sparta and Bill from Corfu in Greece. The café has been a main fixture on East Main Street for 12 years. The setting is warm and casual and offers indoor and outdoor dining. Part of the restaurant’s draw is that everything is made from scratch. Their signature dishes include spanakopita, lasagna, chicken and pork souvlaki, and there are new lunch and dinner specials every day. George’s wife, Monique Trifos, makes most of the desserts, including a four-layer chocolate Kahlua cake and a bananas Foster cheese cake. Entertainment is provided in the bar Wednesday through Saturday evenings. Entertainment includes live music, Greek bands and karaoke. The restaurant is “a lot of fun,” George Trifos said, adding he and his sister have acquired a good following of folks who like their “little neighborhood restaurant and bar.” The restaurant is open Monday-Saturday and is closed on major holidays. The exception is New Years Eve when Main Street Café offers a special lobster dinner featuring 175 live lobsters shipped from Nova Scotia.


Main Street Café is located at 131 East Main St., Lexington, SC 29072. 803-8085886.

Rusty Anchor and Quarterdeck at Lighthouse Marina

For seven years, the Rusty Anchor restaurant on Lake Murray in Chapin has been named the best lakeside dining by Columbia Metropolitan magazine. With a commanding view of the lake, the Rusty Anchor creates a vacation-like atmosphere, with a little help from its adjacent restaurant called the Quarterdeck. Restaurant manager Tod Deming said the two restaurants offer a variety of options. The Rusty Anchor offers a full menu, while the Quarterdeck offers more casual light bites. Executive chef Daniel Wood offers seafood entrées and mouth watering prime-cut beef. Signature dishes include the blackened grouper with shrimp, scallops and cream sauce, apricot salmon and a 12-ounce sirloin topped with fried onions. The Quarterdeck is open from the first weekend in April through mid-October and features live entertainment on the weekends. The Rusty Anchor is open yearround but has abbreviated hours in the off-season. The restaurants are located at 1925 Johnson Marina Road, Chapin, SC 29036, next to the Lighthouse Marina. 803-749-1555.

Nightly specials at Charlie’s Fisherman’s Wharf include spaghetti, fried or grilled quail, catfish stew, clam chowder and handcut steaks.

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Straight from the source

State farmers markets connect patrons with fresh food grown on local farms


or some, visiting the farmers market or a farm stand is a weekly ritual. Buy-local proponents flock to state and regional markets alike to find the freshest local produce as well as purchase arts, crafts and other locally made products. The state of South Carolina owns and manages three regional state farmers markets across the state. They are located in Columbia, Florence and Greenville. In addition to offering produce and products, each market also holds plant and flower festivals each spring and fall. While you are meandering through the state on vacation this year, be sure to check out what the state farmers markets have to offer. Organizers say locally-made soaps, as well as handmade pottery and jewelry are among popular items travelers purchase to take back home. You may also want to check the local listings for regional farmers markets and be on the lookout for roadside stands.

is a school bus drop-off area, an RV park and a 400-seat amphitheater. The market also includes a bakery and two restaurants, including Judy’s at the Market where they proudly claim “We make everything from scratch, even the hamburger buns.”

Photo/Courtesy S.C. State Farmers Market

South Carolina State Farmers Market 

3483 Charleston Highway West Columbia, SC 29172 Open year-round. Hours: Monday-Saturday 6 a.m.-9 p.m., Sunday 12-6 p.m. The Columbia farmers market opened in its new location in Lexington County in the fall of 2010. The market includes a section for wholesale vendors, another for retail and another for farmers. There also

Admission and parking are free. Originally built in 1949, the Greenville farmers market includes a 14,400-square-foot retail sales building and a 10,000-square-foot drive-through farmer/trucker shed. Located in downtown Greenville, the market offers locally grown produce, as well as some imported items. Organic products are also readily available.

Pee Dee State Farmers Market

Greenville State Farmers Market  1354 Rutherford Road Greenville, SC 29609 Open year-round. Hours: Monday-Saturday 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

2513 West Lucas St. Florence, SC 29501 Open year-round. Hours: Monday-Saturday 8 a.m-6 p.m. The current farmers market was established in 1983 to bring vendors together on one 55-acre property located on U.S. Highway 52 in between Florence and Darlington. The market also features a variety of ornamental plants and shrubs.

Regional fare: Innovative cuisine and old-time favorites Cajun seasoning over stone‐ground grits. “The Charleston area is one of the nation’s most popular vacation destinations largely because of its innovative cuisine and beautiful attractions, such as Mount Pleasant’s Old Village,” said Dick Elliott, president of Maverick Southern Kitchens. “The Old Village Post House serves as the anchor of this charming, historic neighborhood, offering guests the opportunity to experience Lowcountry fare and Southern hospitality at its best.”

Photo/Courtesy Maverick Southern Kitchens

Lowcountry flavor Shrimp and grits

Shrimp and grits is a classic dish in the Lowcountry of South Carolina that combines the very regional flavors of fresh shrimp and stone-ground grits. If you’ve tried the dish more than once, you’ve probably noticed every recipe is a little different. Some say their secret is using yellow grits instead of white. Others believe a layer of melted cheese is the perfect topping. And still more prefer to serve the dish with tasso gravy. The Old Village Post House, a neighborhood tavern and inn nestled in Mount Pleasant’s historic Old Village, has its own version of the Lowcountry favorite, which includes shrimp, andouille sausage, country ham, tomatoes, green onions, garlic and

Old Village Post House 101 Pitt St., Mount Pleasant, SC 29464 843-388-8935

Photo/Courtesy SCPRT

Midlands flavor Barbecue

When it comes to barbecue in South Carolina, it seems there are as many topsecret recipes as there are restaurants. And almost anywhere you go, the same question is asked: “Do you want mustard-based or ketchup-based sauce?”

Hudson’s Smokehouse in Lexington offers mustard- and ketchup-based sauce, as well as a vinegar-based sauce founder Robin Hudson said is probably what got the business started. He and his wife Barbara started out simply enjoyed barbecuing at home on the weekends. But they soon discovered they had something special. The hobby grew into a restaurant, in which their boys Clay and Clint became involved, as well as a catering business. And then awards started coming in, among them, Turner South’s “Blue Ribbon Award” as one of the top four barbecue joints in the South. Their offerings include a Southern-style buffet featuring barbecue that has been slow-cooked in a hickory wood smoker for 16 hours, sides that change daily, as well as salads and desserts. You can also order a ½-pound barbecue pork sandwich, a smoked hot dog, ribs, a brisket sandwich and even a shrimp po’ boy. Hudson’s Smokehouse 4952 Sunset Blvd. Lexington, SC 29072-9254 803-356-1070

Upstate flavor Iced tea (and more)

For some, the preferred beverage for washing down a meal is iced tea. Sweet tea, to be exact.

The Beacon Drive-In in Spartanburg claims to be the single largest seller of iced tea in the U.S. They go through 3,000 pounds of sugar per week and make 62,500 gallons of tea each year. The Beacon has been serving its special-recipe tea for more than 50 years and in 2001 began selling 16- and 64-ounce bottles of the tea at various grocery and convenience stores. In addition to its famous beverage, the Beacon, which is the second largest drivein restaurant in the nation, also serves plenty of food including Photo/Courtesy SCPRT barbecue and burgers that can be ordered as just the sandwich or “A-Plenty,” which means it comes with a generous portion of fries and onion rings. They also serve seafood, salads and chicken. Desserts include peach cobbler and a banana split that is served with 15 scoops of ice cream. The Beacon Drive-In 255 Reidville Road Spartanburg, SC 29306 864-585-9387 Take-out phone: 864-585-9387


Vacation 2011

The Southern Patriot sails its way into the heart of the Midlands By Marc Rapport Photography by Jeff Amberg


rom the South China Sea to the South Carolina Midlands, the Southern Patriot and the Downs family have come together to make their mark on Lake Murray. The Southern Patriot is the 65-foot former trawler that now serves as a doubledeck charter boat, plying the waters out of Lake Murray Marina and, as it approaches its 20th year in business here and 60th year afloat, firmly establishing itself as an icon on the 50,000-acre reservoir on the Saluda River. The boat was originally brought to the lake by Joe Agnew, a local dock builder who bought the Desco trawler – which began its sea service decades earlier in the Gulf of Mexico – from its Maryland owner in Chesapeake Bay. Agnew motored the boat down the Intracoastal Waterway to Charleston and shipped it inland to Lake Murray. There, he renamed it from the Patriot to the Southern Patriot.

About 10 years ago, the Agnew family sold the boat to the Downs family, who arrived in the Midlands via an even more circuitous route. Jay Downs owns and operates the boat with the assistance of his mother, Joy, and his brother, Randy, and sometimes their children. Joy Downs said she and her late husband, Larry Downs, raised their family on the water. Larry Downs’ business took him to Singapore, where the boys learned their boating on the South China Sea, and then to Atlanta, where “we spent countless hours “boating, water skiing, you name it, on Lake Lanier,” Joy Downs said. She and her husband then moved to Charlotte and lived on Lake Norman before they discovered Lake Murray. “It was so beautiful and such a great place to live, it’s where we decided we wanted to be,” she said. After his father passed away, Jay Downs – who was working as city parks director in Roswell, Ga. – made the move to Columbia to be near his mother. He now is superintendent of operations and facilities at the

The Great Outdoors Vacation 2011

Irmo Chapin Recreation Commission. His mother, meanwhile, is the long-time executive director of the Lake Murray Association, a group focused on the health, safety and welfare of the lake and its surrounding community. Their sense of civic responsibility and engagement extends to the operation of the Southern Patriot. While it caters primarily to private charters, it often takes special needs and similar groups out on the lake “for the price of fuel,” Jay Downs said, and the captains and crew make education a part of the price of going along for the ride. “We follow state curriculum guidelines so we can handle school groups and teach the history of the lake, for instance, such as Doolittle’s Raiders and Bomb Island, and of course, there are the purple martins,” he said. Hundreds of thousands of purple martins. In fact, Bomb Island is home to one of the largest known summer rookeries of the mosquito-eating feathered flyers in See PATRIOT, Page 16

Jay Downs owns and operates the Southern Patriot with the help of his mother Joy. Locals and visitors alike climb aboard the 65-foot vessel, especially during summer months, to tour Lake Murray.

16 THE GREAT OUTDOORS PATRIOT, continued from Page 15

Vacation 2011

the world. When they swirl en masse, their numbers are great enough to leave quite an impression on both viewers in person and on the radar screens at the National Weather Service at nearby Columbia Metropolitan Airport. “We always show people a picture of that screen. It’s pretty cool. That also occurs at dawn, and most of our cruises are at night, but it’s still a pretty amazing scene when they come in for the evening,” he said. And it’s all part of the life on the lake. “Lake Murray is more than just a body of water. There’s a community atmosphere that this boat has become a part of, and it’s a way for the whole Midlands to come out and enjoy our lake,” Jay Downs said. The 65-foot trawler turned 100-passenger party boat also has been good for the local economy, accommodating more than 10,000 guests a year, including a fair amount of out-of-town visitors. “The Southern Patriot has been one of the leading businesses that have turned our lake into a vacation destination,” said Miriam Atria, president/CEO of the Capital City Lake Murray Country Regional Tourism Board. “They’re just so supportive of everything we try to do.” Atria said the boat has hosted numerous travel writers and group tours for her over the years and plays a key role in one of the region’s most popular events, the Fourth of

The Southern Patriot plays a key role in events, including the Fourth of July celebration.

July boat parade and fireworks celebration at the lake. “They lead the boat parade and the parade judges sit on her deck to watch all the other boats pass by. People from all over the state come to participate in the parade and to watch it and the fireworks every year,” Atria said. “And one of the best things about the Southern Patriot, in my opinion, is that it’s an open boat. When you’re out on the lake, you

really get the feeling of the vast openness of that lake, with the air and the wind.” Jay Downs agrees. He said one of his more memorable outings was with a group that included primarily blind people. “They had the best time standing along that rail, feeling the wind on their faces while we described what they would be seeing. They told me a lot, too, and I sure got a lot out of that experience,” he said. The Southern Patriot has also seen its

shares of engagement, wedding, anniversary and memorial gatherings, but one of its more unusual bookings was for a “divorce party,” Jay Downs said. “A couple that had gotten married on the boat before I bought it decided to get a divorce. They had a party on our boat with their friends and had a divorce ceremony that included throwing their rings into the water,” he said. Most outings are more routine but still a lot of fun, the Downs family said. “The whole Southern Patriot thing is just kind of a family affair,” Joy Downs said. “And I don’t mean just our family. It’s such a part of the community. I feel like everyone on Lake Murray sort of owns the Southern Patriot.” The Southern Patriot is docked at Lake Murray Marina in Ballentine. Chartered dinner cruises and private outings are available nearly year-round while public purple martin cruises are held every Sunday and Monday in July and August.

No substitute

A day on a lake in South Carolina is a day well spent


usty White, a fishing guide on Lake Wylie, likes to say, “There’s no substitute for time on the water.” Indeed, White believes whether he’s fishing in a tournament in 27-degree weather or looking for a new fishing spot on a hot summer day, a day on a lake in South Carolina is a day well spent. South Carolina is home to 12 major lakes, most of which offer the public a combination of boat access, fishing access, campgrounds, picnic areas and more. Most lakes also have several marinas where you can buy or rent most anything you’ll need for a day on the water. The state’s largest lake is in the Midlands. Lake Marion covers 110,000 acres and is known for its big fish and abundant wildlife. Of the state’s 12 largest lakes, Lake Jocassee is one of the smallest at 7,565 acres. This manmade lake in the Upstate offers views of mountains and waterfalls. Here’s a list of the 12 largest lakes in South Carolina: • J. Strom Thurmond Lake spans nearly 71,100 acres and lies on the border of South Carolina and Georgia, flowing in McCormick County and Abbeville County. It is the largest

• •

• Rusty White (left) and Ron Farrow fish a tournament on Lake Wylie. (Photo/Richard Rudisill)

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project east of the Mississippi River. • Lake Greenwood serves as the dividing line between Greenwood County and Laurens County and extends south into Newberry County. The Lake Greenwood State Recreation Area hosts the South Carolina HalfIron Man Competition each fall. • Lake Hartwell is located on Anderson County’s western border. The lake

comprises nearly 56,000 acres of water and boasts some of the best waterskiing in the state. • Lake Jocassee is located in Oconee County and Pickens County and covers 7,565 acres. It is known as one of the state’s clearest lakes with high visibility year-round. • Lake Keowee spans 18,500 acres. The lake is located predominately in Oconee County, but it also extends

• •

into Pickens County. It offers views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Lake Marion covers about 110,000 acres of land in five counties: Berkeley, Calhoun, Clarendon, Orangeburg and Sumter. Lake Moultrie runs alongside Lake Marion. Lake Moultrie covers about 60,000 acres in Berkeley County. Lake Murray is 50,000-acre body of water known for its striped bass fishing. Located mostly in Lexington County, the lake also is located in Saluda, Newberry and Richland counties. Lake Russell spans 26,650-acres and creates a border between Georgia and South Carolina. The lake is located in Abbeville and Anderson counties. Lake Monticello spans 7,100 acres in Fairfield County and is known for its abundance of catfish. Lake Wateree is one of South Carolina’s oldest manmade lakes. It spans 13,250 acres and is known for crappie, bass, catfish and bream. Lake Wylie is the oldest lake along the Catawba River. It spans 13,400 acres in York County.


Vacation 2011

All for fun Calendar of Events

A selection of events being held across South Carolina Summer happenings

Upstate Shakespeare Festival at Falls Park May-August Falls Park on the Reedy, Greenville The Taming of the Shrew, written by William Shakespeare and directed by John Fagan, will be presented May 26-29; June 2-5; June 9-12; and June 16, 18 and 19. Cymbeline, also written by William

Shakespeare and directed by John Fagan, will be presented July 14-17, July 21-24, July 28-31 and Aug. 4-7. The festival is a chance for theater lovers to bring a picnic basket to Falls Park on the Reedy and a play in a beautiful outdoor setting. All performances begin at 7 p.m. Freedom Weekend Aloft May 27-30, 2011 Heritage Park, Simpsonville 864-399-9481 Freedom Weekend Aloft, one of the nation’s largest hot-air balloon events, attracts balloonists and their crews from all over the country for twice-daily mass balloon launchings and competition. Arts and crafts, carnival rides, concerts and fireworks round out the fun. Piccolo Spoleto May 27-June 12, 2011 Downtown Charleston 843-724-7305

Vacation 2011 Focusing primarily on artists from the Southeast, Piccolo Spoleto is a complement to the international scope of its parent festival, Spoleto Festival USA. Piccolo Spoleto’s traditional program offerings include visual arts exhibits, classical music, jazz, dance, theater, poetry readings, children’s activities, choral music, ethnic cultural presentations, comedy, crafts and film.

Downtown Charleston 843-579-3100 For 17 days and nights each spring, Spoleto Festival USA fills Charleston’s historic theaters, churches and outdoor spaces with more than 120 performances by renowned artists, as well as from emerging performers in opera, theater, music theater, dance, chamber music, symphonic music, choral music, jazz and the visual arts. Lexington County Peach Festival July 4, 2011 Gilbert Community Park, Gilbert 803-892-5207 Held on July 4th for more than 50 years, this festival offers a full day of fun with a parade, arts and crafts, rides, fireworks and a variety of food available for purchase.

Spoleto Festival USA May 27-June 12, 2011

See CALENDAR, Page18 ➤



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18 Calendar of Events CALENDAR, continued from Page 17

Vacation 2011

South Carolina Peach Festival July 14-16, 2011 Downtown Gaffney In July, Gaffney goes all out for the Peach Festival, which celebrates the fresh peach industry in Cherokee and Spartanburg counties. This three-day festival includes parades, sporting events, truck and tractor pulls, concerts by nationally-known country music artists and plenty of food, topped off with delicious peach desserts. Beaufort Water Festival July 15-24, 2011 Downtown Beaufort 843-524-0600 More than 100,000 visitors flock to Beaufort for the annual Water Festival, which includes water-oriented activities, antiques and food. Pageland Watermelon Festival July 15-16, 2011 Pageland 843-672-6400 This festival offers music, a car show, a rodeo, a watermelon-themed parade and a variety of food options, including watermelon, of course. Carolina Panthers Summer Training Camp July 28-Aug. 18, 2011 Wofford College, Spartanburg Enjoy professional football “up close and personal.” The NFL’s Carolina Panthers roar into Spartanburg for summer training camp at Wofford College. Practice sessions are free and open to the public. Ed Brown’s Championship Rodeo Aug. 5-6, 2011 Blackburg 864-839-6239 A full championship rodeo including bareback riding, saddle bronco riding, calf roping, steer wrestling and more.

S.C. State Fair (Photo/Courtesy SCPRT)

South Carolina Pelion Peanut Party Aug. 12-13, 2011 Pelion Community Center, Pelion 803-606-9522 This party began 30 years ago as a way to celebrate the annual boiling of the peanuts. Each festival includes a Princess Pageant, craft show, parade, a variety of food, a “Peanut’s Your Way” tent and amusement rides.

Other S.C. events you won’t want to miss Okra Strut Sept. 23-24, 2011 Downtown Irmo 803-781-6122 This two-day okra celebration includes a street dance, parade, arts and crafts, rides, a petting zoo and food vendors. Southern Living Taste of Charleston Oct. 8-9, 2011 Boone Hall Plantation, Mount Pleasant 843-577-4030 Sample food from 40 of the Charleston area’s finest restaurants. S.C. State Fair Oct. 13-24, 2011 S.C. State Fairgrounds, Columbia 803-799-3387 or 888-444-3247 Started in 1869, the S.C. State Fair continues to uphold its agricultural roots while offering fun, food and educational exhibits.

28th annual Lowcountry Oyster Festival January 2012 Boone Hall Plantation, Mount Pleasant 843-802-3084 Named one of the Top 20 Tourist Attractions by the Southeast Tourist Society, this annual festival offers all the oysters you’d ever want to eat, barbecue and chili, plus entertainment and activities for all ages.

The Charleston Wine + Food Festival showcases unique recipes and traditions at a variety of venues and events. Seminars, food tastings, a dine-around and a culinary village are highlights of the weekend.

Third annual World Beer Festival January 2012 Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center Enjoy beer samples, music by local bands and educational sessions by industry experts. Southeastern Wildlife Exposition Feb.17-19, 2012 Downtown Charleston 843-723-1748 A three-day celebration of nature that has earned a reputation for excellence, the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition now hosts the world’s foremost experts in wildlife and nature art, conservation research and environmental education. The event attracts more than 400 artists and exhibitors from around the globe and draws more than 40,000 attendees. Charleston Wine + Food Festival March 1-4, 2012 Marion Square; various venues around Charleston 843-727-9998

Photo/Leslie Burden

Charleston Fashion Week March 2012 Marion Square; various venues around Charleston In true New York City style, the latest designer fashions will be flaunted in enclosed tents on Charleston’s historic Marion Square. 27th annual World Grits Festival Mid-April 2012 St. George 843-563-7943 Experience the only World Grits Festival, where you can enjoy grits meals, arts and crafts, a corn toss, the Sweetwater Cloggers and a grits eating contest.


Vacation 2011

Stay Awhile

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Vacation 2011

2011 Vacation  

South Carolina has it all. From the mountains to the coast, our diversity provides endless possibilities to enjoy vacations with friends a...