Sunday, January 8, 2012

Hickory Knob State Resort Park

Table of Contents for This Series

Everyone – well, at least everyone in the Carolinas and Georgia – has heard of Hickory Knob State Park. Including me. But I never paid a visit until late November last year. What everyone says is true. It’s a real treat, and I’ll be back as soon as I can fit it into the travel schedule.

02 mapHickory Knob is right on the shore of Lake Thurmond. Just under 100 miles and about two hours west of Columbia. South Carolina’s “West Coast.” Sort of … A good distance to travel, even when not pulling a travel trailer. But the miles go by quickly on Highway 378.

I’ve mentioned Highway 378 before on this program. It’s a great drive. Parenthetically, I suggest you don’t stop in McCormick when you pass through. There’s so much to see there you’re bound to be late for your Hickory Knob arrival! Save McCormick for another trip! Just a suggestion …

The drive through the Park to the Visitors Center offers another treat. It’s worth making even if you don’t have Park reservations. Be sure to observe the speed limit, even down hill. On the way back from the Park restaurant one night three deer appeared suddenly at the side of the road. They looked to be deciding whether to cross the road in front of my car or behind it. I slowed to give them the option. And deer aren’t the only critters you’ll encounter here. Lots of wild turkeys, and all sorts of other interesting animals.

Much of this Park road skirts the 18-hole golf course. This is one of only two golf courses maintained by the State Park system. The other is at Cheraw State Park on the other side of the State. I’m not a golfer and didn’t take time this trip to visit the Hickory Knob Course or its Club House. But they have their own website. Click here to access it, if golf is your game. It includes a hole-by-hole video that should give you a good sense of the course.

Don’t be misled by the bargain rate prices. 18 holes, according to the website, is only $15 during the week, and $20 on weekends. A cart will cost you $15. But even a non-golfer can tell that this is no hardscrabble, minimally maintained public course. So have a look.

Not far from the Visitors Center, you’ll pass the Guillebeau House. A renovated 18th century log structure erected in 1764 by Huguenot immigrant, Andre Guillebeau. The house was moved here from its original site in 1983. It’s been renovated completely, with heat and air conditioning. And is available to rent! Nightly rates range from $87 to $135. Click here for more detailed information and a few photos of the original property.

The Guillebeau House is only one overnight accommodation option at Hickory Knob. They also maintain 18 large cabins, and a 76-room resort-style lodge like you see above. This in addition to the RV campground and tent campsites.

I didn’t get to see the lodge rooms this trip [next time!], but heard they are just what one would expect at a far more expensive commercial resort. Here, the price per night is only $50-$82, depending on the time of year. Hard to beat. A good place to bring those campophobic family members

And that entitles visitors to use all of the other Park facilities, including the pool and tennis courts. Ideal for an inexpensive family vacation.

I haven’t even mentioned the Visitors Center yet. I’ve never seen anything like it in any of the other Parks. It includes a full restaurant that serves three meals a day, seven days a week, with a serious award-winning chef. Be sure to try at least one of the soups. Folks drive in from the surrounding community just to have breakfast, lunch, or dinner here. I met a few of them during my “research” visits to the restaurant ….

The Great Room, or gathering room, also is something you have to see to believe. It’s huge, first of all. Large enough to accommodate comfortably several parties of several people at one time.

And even includes a small grand piano! Be sure to take time to look carefully at the paintings along the walls. There are quite a few. Each was done by one of Hickory Knob’s Artists In Residence. Another unusual touch.

Recalling Music Man Harold Hill’s admonition, I probably shouldn’t mention the two pool tables. Well, these may even be “billiard tables,” given the luxurious surroundings. But here they are. I haven’t played in years, of course, but it was a temptation …. Something to do on a rainy day.

There’s much more to see at Hickory Knob State Resort Park. But I’m out of time. Next we’ll take a look at the RV campground, and then, if time permits, enjoy an ElderHike along the Park’s Beaver Run Trail. So stay tuned.

Click here for the next post in this series.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, even the "campophobic" like me will like this park. Accommodations look great and good idea to add the pricing, very helpful.