Obviously visiting a new place means scouting a few new eateries and trying new dishes. Here are a couple of restaurants I tried on my trip. Don’t expect any international culinary extravaganzas but count on good old small town charm.
Starbucks, Greenwood – This will be your one location in the area and a fairly nice one too so mark it for reference.
Kickers - Interesting, mainly because it is owned by Abdel Dimity who came to the US on a scholarship and has stayed on now to run this restaurant. They have some regular fare but also things like Moroccan turkey burgers! The place was pretty packed for a weekday lunch, I hear they are expanding their location soon.
Nattys – Cozy crepe place/bar close to the square. Nice staff. Good options for dinner.
Edgefield Grille – On the square. Regular American fare. Popular with the locals, they had a good crowd lunchtime on a work day, and everyone seemed to know everyone!
Abbeville Grille – Dined alone on my last night out. Good service and food. Wait staff were terribly concerned I was alone and kept checking on me often. Sweet. Good dinner and drink specials.
Main Street Coffee Company – The one coffee shop there and it was spacious, nicely decorated, and even had their holiday specials on – I tried the fall warm apple caramel cider and it was lovely. Enjoyed the atmosphere and would have considered a good spot for working out of if I was staying longer.
I should have driven out today to check out more businesses on the square and some more historic touristy stuff but instead had to stop at Greenwood early to take advantage of the one Starbucks there so I could get some urgent writing work submitted to one of my clients. Freelance writing on the road! I will warn you though – if driving back into Atlanta then make sure that you don’t catch the evening traffic of interstate trucks. Being surrounded by trucks on the highway does not a pleasant journey make. The constant anticipation of one of them rolling right over you is quite too much tension for me to tolerate.
Moving on...Much as I love the comfort of hotels, I do enjoy the experience of staying at Bed and Breakfasts and Inns when I am traveling. I do believe it to be an American concept – growing up in India and the Middle East, I never got to experience this and don’t think it’s a much favored style of travel anyways. So here in America, I am always happy for a chance to experience a B&B and this time round, the Bernibrooks Inn in Abbeville was my choice. Abbeville has a few other B&Bs as well but this one is the closest to the square. They have parking just across the street and free wifi indoors. The lower level is where owner Karen and her husband reside with their dog Mr Moustache. Breakfasts are served in the dining area downstairs, by the very talented host! She was nice enough to check with me if ingredients she was using for the morning meal were to my liking.
Breakfasts are 3 course affairs here so be prepared. Along with my coffee and juice, day 1 involved pear and grape fruit plate, followed by an oatbran triangle and a baked pancake while day 2 starred kiwi and pineapple fruit plate, toast with homemade preserves and omelet with avocado and ricotta. See what I mean? I was fed like a king and set ready for my days of exploring. The lower level also has a casual living space where you could read or work, even entertain any visitors if you’d like. A staircase leading to the upper level offers 4 bedrooms, some with bath attached and a common bathroom down the hallway. All the rooms are done up in a casual style, nothing too antiquated, nothing too fancy or modern, but all comfy and well planned. Clearly, I enjoyed my stay here.
If I thought Abbeville was rural, I had another thing coming. Today I visited Edgefield. It’s a little bit of a drive but once you get there, lots of small town charm abounds. I visited two potters in the area – both with different styles.
Jane Bess does more commercial and seasonal pottery while Edgefield Pottery has some historic slant to the work they produce. Jane was lovely enough to demonstrate some of her techniques to me and has some interesting community causes she is involved with. More on that later. Meanwhile, Justin at Edgefield Pottery has a semi-museum of sorts going on in his space with found objects dating back to a few hundred years. All the pottery done there is with the special local clay abundant in the area and the designs date back to the days of when pottery first began in Edgefield and follow through on the works originally done by Dave the Slave. History nerd in me read up on that so check a later post for more info.
I also checked out the National Wild Turkey Federation Museum – yes it is located here, I am not sure why but I guess it’s a good thing for the area. I learned a lot about turkeys, more than I need to know, but the museum does share tons of info on turkey hunting and preservation, so if that’s your thing then this is a good experience.
A short break at Edgefield Grill for lunch and I was on my way to Emerald Farm to check out the Saanen goats, mini train workshop and surprise – peacock paradise! The goats are known for the milk, which is used in the soaps and lotions manufactured here. They have a hobby shop with all kindsa knickknacks in there. Kids and grown males will probably go berserk in here. Also the model railroad clubhouse is pretty neat. Its like fairy tale land, with train tracks all over. The attention to detail is commendable.
Once back in Abbeville, I did check out two of the historic homes there – the Burst Stark house and the McGowan Barksdale Bundy house before getting some coffee at the one coffee shop there and then dinner at the Village Grille. I do wish I had more time to check out additional attractions in the area including the Edgefield Inn, the Carolina Moon Distillery, the Palmetto Shooting Complex and the Turkey Shoppe on Main. I guess I will just have to go back sometime. If you have been, please let me know your thoughts.
Its funny when you can reach parts of other states faster than a city in your own state! So today was my 3 hour-ish drive to the Old 96 in SC – 5 counties make up the area but I visited only Greenwood, Abbeville and Edgefield. (It takes longer to drive from Atlanta to Savannah.) But then again, this isn’t exactly a tourist or holiday destination either – no beaches or mountains here. My drive in was pretty uneventful although I must recommend stopping halfway as you enter SC – the river sort of divides the two states and is really pretty, especially in the fall. I had lunch at Kickers.
It was then onto Greenwood – the most city-like among the different counties. I checked out the Benjamin E Mays complex here as well as their Emerald Triangle – not really a triangle though – consisting of their arts center, community theater and museum. Simple and small and sweet. An extension to the museum is at another location – the railroad museum. In fact, I would like to visit the railroad museum once it is all done up – they are working on the interiors of the cars they have and hoping to raise enough sponsorships to complete the project soon. They have seven vintage train cars, one acre of space and great plans. The cars date to the early 1900s and include a steam locomotive engine, a dining car, sleeper car, passenger car, office car and a caboose.
Greenwood is probably your best choice in the area for small businesses, restaurants or hotels. About a half hour away is Abbeville and they have a few nice B&Bs here that are worth staying at. It’s a small town with a square and all the residences around. First impressions – gosh, this is really small town Americana, pretty rural. They have one newspaper, and one guy who runs it. One Mexican place, one Chinese place. A few Dutch kitchens – and no it has got nothing to with the Dutch but more with Mennonite history, more on that in another post. A walk around the square for an hour was sufficient to cover some of their local historic venues. They do have a history tour you can do and all the important structures have plaques you can review about the events that occurred there. Unfortunately, it was a no-show period so despite the fact that Carrie-the musical was on at the Opera House I couldn’t watch it. Most places are also closed here on a Monday night so my dining options were pretty limited. Walked around the square and saw Nattys – a crepe place – was open for the evening and so that took care of dindin.