Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas Time at Laura’s Tea Room Ridgeway, South Carolina

141221 Laura's Tea Room Christmas (24)

Last Sunday we visited Laura’s Tea Room in Ridgeway, South Carolina, to see the Christmas decorations. Had lunch too, of course. I don’t know how Carol and her staff find the time to do all of this.

The photo above [click it for a better view] is the first floor viewed from near the door. Here’s where you’ll have lunch if you don’t have time for high tea upstairs.

141221 Laura's Tea Room Christmas (3)

Every table’s a treat. And some of the special designs are even for sale! We try to sit at a different table each visit.

141221 Laura's Tea Room Christmas (5)

Fair warning. If you eat downstairs, all through lunch you’ll tempted by must-have gifts lining the shelves and counters on both sides of the first floor. So don’t choose the downstairs cafĂ© just to save a few dollars. That’s unlikely to happen!

141214 Looking Upstairs

141221 Laura's Tea Room Christmas (6)

Climb the stairs to the second floor to reach the heart of Laura’s Tea Room. 141221 Laura's Tea Room Christmas (7)Pass by Manuel, on leave from Fawlty Towers, and you may be joined by special guests. Our last visit, for example,  we were surprised to be joined by  ….. Well, never mind. We’re supposed to keep quiet about it. And all guests are special at Laura’s Tea Room.

141221 Laura's Tea Room Christmas (8)

Upstairs it’s even more beautifully decorated than usual. The Christmas spirit in full swing. Look at this place setting!

141221 Laura's Tea Room Christmas (11)

Everything perfectly arranged. Each setting waiting to impress a Tea Room guest.

141221 Laura's Tea Room Christmas (9)

141221 Laura's Tea Room Christmas (12)

I don’t know how long Carol and her staff will keep these Christmas decorations. So hurry on over before it’s too late. Remember to call 803-337-8594 for a reservation, though, if you’re planning to eat upstairs. This is a popular spot for folks from Columbia, Charlotte, Charleston, Atlanta … And even some international guests. So call ahead or you’ll be eating downstairs. With all of those temptations lining the walls….

Friday, December 12, 2014

South Carolina’s Scenic Highway 11


Next time you visit Keowee-Toxaway State Park, or even if you’re somewhere else in the Western part of the State, take some time to enjoy the scenery up and down Scenic Highway Eleven.

It’s a remarkable stretch of road. Two lanes of blacktop all the way, with nice wide shoulders, as you see above. A 55 mph speed limit most of the way. And, even better, remarkable views of Western South Carolina’s forests and mountains around every curve.


Late this afternoon I spent a few hours driving toward Table Rock State Park on this remarkable strip of road. The Long Shoals Wayside Picnic Area is well worth a stop.


Plenty of parking in two areas, and a trail down to Little Eastatoee Creek. Not for folks with mobility problems. But I made it down and back up with no difficulty.



Here’s the sort of thing you get to see at the bottom. This time of year the creek’s low enough to display much of its water-worn granite bed. A photographer’s delight. Wish I’d had more time.



Remarkable. No wonder the CCC selected this area to quarry the granite they used when creating Table Rock State Park, just a few miles down the road.


And, speaking of Table Rock, here’s a view of it and the “Stool” that I snapped from the window of the truck. Pulled well over on the shoulder, of course. How could anyone resist?

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Lakeside Cabin at Keowee-Toxaway State Park South Carolina

The cabin on the shore of Lake Keowee at Keowee Toxaway State Park in western South Carolina is, I believe, the largest in the South Carolina State Park system. Three bedrooms, two full baths, and that's just upstairs.

Downstairs there's a fold-out sofa and a half bath. Plus the fully equipped kitchen we've come to expect in State Park cabins. All recently renovated. Granite counters, no less.

This cabin accommodates up to ten people!

Working fireplaces upstairs and down make this cabin ideal for any time of year. Families with lots of children, or even two or three smaller families, would be comfortable here

Two of the three bedrooms have views of the lake, and doors leading out onto a wide deck. Don't know if you can see it through the trees in the attached photo, but the cabin rental includes a private dock. Bring along a boat and enjoy the whole lake.

The only disadvantage of this cabin is that it stays rented throughout the year. Probably because the rent is so low. So, make your plans early and get to enjoy both the thousand acres of Park woods and Lake Keowee. It doesn't get better than this.