Thursday, June 19, 2014

A Visit to Barnwell County, South Carolina

01 In Front of Office
No visit to Barnwell County, South Carolina, is complete without a stop at Barnwell State Park. Park Manager Eddie Richburg and his crackerjack crew maintain the Park’s acreage and extensive facilities in top condition.
05 office
Last week I was able to spend a few days with the Aliner parked on one of Barnwell’s “full hook-up” sites. Level as a platter of – well, of water -- these full-hook-up sites feature both 50-amp electricity and sewer connections. In other words, they’re made to accommodate even those large motorhomes we often see. The Barton camp host family arrived during my second day. A great addition to Park Manager Richburg’s crew. Hope they can stay for a while.
04 path to swimming
More good news! In addition to Barnwell’s hiking, fishing, conference/picnic facilities, cabins, and peaceful campground, Swimming is Back! A decade or so ago, only few South Carolina State Parks maintained their swimming facilities. Now, more seem to be coming back. Barnwell is one. Good news for folks who don’t have country club memberships or live near large towns.
03 swimming beach
Did you know Barnwell is one of South Carolina’s original sixteen CCC state parks? I didn’t. Here’s a closer look at the informational sign in front of the Park Office.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Magnolia Blossoms in Spring Valley, Columbia SC

05b Full Blossom Painting
Why are magnolia trees like wind chimes?
Both are best enjoyed in a neighbor’s yard.
Magnolia trees are beautiful. But when their leaves fall they make quite a mess. Wind chimes are a delight to hear. But they’re best appreciated from a distance. Making them the ideal gift for a neighbor.
Here’s a short video featuring the blossoms of the remarkable magnolia tree.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Ridgeway South Carolina on a Sunday Afternoon

(Click any photo for a full-sized view)

We paid another visit to historic Ridgeway, South Carolina, early Sunday afternoon. That’s the spire of the old town hall building you see above, next to Ruff Furniture. Right on the main drag, Palmer Street. Be sure to mind those 25 mph signs as you drive through, now!

(Should the video above fail to play in your browser, click here to go directly to the YouTube version)

02 Old Station

Carol Allen of Laura’s Tea Room mentioned “The Old Station Restaurant and Produce” in one of her recent newsletters, and we hoped to have a look.

05 Old Station front

The Old Station’s not far, on the other side of the tracks. Just down from the New Town Hall. Be sure while you’re there to have a look at that impressive building when you visit.

03 New Town Hall

In the event, the restaurant and produce shop were closed when we arrived. Next time, maybe. Looks interesting. A fine example of innovation and ingenuity.

04 Waste Basket

Undeterred, we wandered back up to Palmer Street, headed toward Laura’s Tea Room for a nice pot of tea and a sandwich in the deli. On the way we passed one of the new litter baskets you see in the photo above. A minor detail, perhaps. But one that illustrates Ridgeway’s forward motion. This town is a determined beneficiary rather than victim of its history.

06 Cotton Yard Front

Thing is, you have to pass The Cotton Yard to reach Laura’s Tea Room. And it’s near-impossible to just pass by without going in. See that small oak rocking chair in the lower left corner? Well, that followed us home. In the back seat of the truck! Here’s a short Cotton Yard video:

(Again, click here should the video above fail to play in your browser)

The Cotton Yard thoroughly investigated, we crossed Palmer Street to Laura’s Tea Room.

07 LTR front

Look at this. Carol Allen has arranged an impressive WWII memorial display in her right front window. Lots of photos and memorabilia Take time for a careful look. In anticipation of Ridgeway’s June 6 commemoration of D-Day. Click here for details. These folks go all-out.

08 LTR side of window

We both had a terrific sandwich and pot of tea downstairs in the café this time, rather than High Tea upstairs. I think Carol has revised the café menu again. More choices. And somehow she manages to keep the prices well below what we’d expect to pay. Got to ask her about those recent changes when she can find the time to sit down for another interview. That’s one busy lady!

So, there you have it. Another delightful afternoon in Ridgeway, South Carolina. A small South Carolina town determined to make your visit a pleasure.