Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Colleton State Park, South Carolina. Part II More of the Park

Click here for the first post in this series.

csp river view 1 After walking the Cypress Swamp Nature Trail at least once with your brochure, and taking a look at the river from the Canoe Dock, follow the signs toward the campground.

csp campground 1 The campsites here are more open than those at Givhans Ferry. Less private. And not as level. Though certainly not crowded together like most commercial campgrounds. Somehow, though, it’s still inviting.

I stopped and chatted with a few campers. Asking what they liked and disliked about camping at Colleton State Park. None offered any complaints. One family said they camp here regularly, even though they live not far from Edisto Beach State Park! One of the State’s most popular campgrounds, and certainly one of my favorites. Especially during the winter months.

primative camp area Every camper I met mentioned that the Park personnel all are friendly and helpful. Calling each staff member by their first names. A real tribute. Another way a State Park under severe budget pressure can appeal to and maintain its visitor base without spending a lot of money. Though it takes sustained effort and people skills to build that reputation.

bath house As usual, I took a close look at the bath house and its facilities. It’s one of the older models. And there’s only one here for the whole campground, as at Givhans Ferry. Inside, though, it was spotless. Oh, and look closely in the photo above at the brown box just in front of those electrical connections.

comment box It’s a “Comment Box.” Something I’ve not often seen at South Carolina State Parks. Good idea! Campers with both genuine and frivolous complaints are free to record their thoughts and insert them in the box. Confident Park management will read them all. As well as their positive comments, of course. A good way to keep track of performance.

rec building The Colleton campground area also includes another CCC-built facility. A screened “recreation building.” As with most of the Park System’s CCC buildings, this one has been well maintained, but kept as close to the original as possible.

path to river Just before leaving, I walked down the access path to the river bank. This path is somewhat steeper than the Cypress Swamp Trail path, and more of a challenge for less mobile folks. Used mainly by swimmers, I imagine. You’ll find just as nice a view of the River from the Canoe Dock on the Cypress Swamp trail.

park sign So, there you have it. An unexpected visit to Colleton State Park. Another of South Carolina’s “hidden gems.” Where I’m sure you would enjoy RV camping and walking in the woods.

It was well past lunchtime by the time I left the Park. Ranger Larry earlier on had recommended the fried chicken at the Penny Pincher Mart on the corner. So, it seemed only sensible to stop. In the name of culinary research, doncha know.

penny pincher mart So, stop I did. Ms. Ernitha, the fried chicken chef, was at the counter. She served up four pieces of fried chicken – well, one has to be sure about these things! – and several long-sliced fried potatoes. They were delicious. Fully justifying Ranger Larry’s evaluation.

The Penny Pincher Mart has done business on this corner since the 1920s. This is the new building. The original store burned a number of years ago. This building also houses the Candays Post Office.

canadys crossroads Construction of I-95 had a profound effect on the commercial potential of this Canadys crossroads location. But the Penny Pincher Mart has managed to hang on. Serving such good fried chicken, it’s no wonder! Thanks, Ms. Ernitha. I’ll be back.

That’s all for now. But stay tuned for an interview with Colleton State Park Manager, Eugene Moore. It’s a good one.

Click here for the next post in this series.

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