10 Unique Experiences in Thoroughbred Country, South Carolina
THOROUGHBRED COUNTRY, SOUTH CAROLINA – JUNE 2019 – Civil War sites, plantation homes, antique shops and beautiful countryside is what you’ll find in Thoroughbred Country, South Carolina – just east of Augusta, Georgia, along I-20 between Atlanta and Charleston. This region also features a number of unique experiences that will stir visitors to return for future fun and frolic over and over again.
Mennonite culture is very appealing to many folks as they seek out places where they can experience it authentically. God's Acre Healing Springs in Blackville is a powerful place for those, like the Native Americans, who believe in the healing powers of the springs. Come drink from the artesian well and learn about this group who brought wounded Revolutionary War soldiers here to drink and be well.
Just down the road from Healing Springs is the Wisteria Cottage Bed & Breakfast, a rustic 1940s cottage with two bedrooms and a bath. The ideal setting in the beautiful countryside is reason enough to book a stay here. Be sure and peek at Lill’s Herb Garden and request a genuine, fresh Mennonite breakfast.
You must eat when traveling and staying within the Mennonite community. Check out Miller's Bread Basket where you’ll fuel up with yummy meat and threes. Just down the road from Healing Springs, the restaurant is convenient and offers Amish-Mennonite cooking for lunch and dinner along with salads and homemade bread.
Find alternative lodging just a little ways from Blackville at Barnwell State Park. The park was built in the 1930s on a coastal plain and offers three lakes, five cabins (equipped with bath and bed linens, cooking and eating utensils, satellite television and many other amenities), 25 campsites, water and electrical hookups and space for a handful of RVs. Onsite activities include a nature trail, fishing, boating, picnic shelters, seasonal swimming and meeting facilities.
Attractions and tours
Redcliffe Plantation State Historic Site in Beech Island offers visitors a glance at days gone by through an 1859 Greek Revival antebellum mansion belonging to James Henry Hammond and four generations of his family. See the house filled with furniture, decorative arts and more. Don’t miss a look at two slave quarters and a stable as you reflect on the African-American culture that resided in these rooms. Redcliffe Plantation offers special programs throughout the year and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Monetta Drive-In (otherwise known as the Big Mo) is one of only two operating drive-in movie theaters in South Carolina. Although the Monetta theater has roots dating back to 1951, it was later closed before being revived in 1999. Currently the theater sports three screens and shows double features.
Aiken State Park, in the town of Windsor, was built in 1934 on US 78 (16 miles east of Aiken) and offers a myriad of activities. Located on the Edisto River, the park has both river swamp and dry sandhills. You’ll find good facilities here including campsites (primitive and RVs), a nature trail, a canoe trail and picnic shelters. Guests to Aiken State Park enjoy birding, hiking, fishing, paddling and boating, and water toys may be rented onsite.
No visit to Thoroughbred Country is complete without a visit to Barnwell County Courthouse & Sundial. Built in 1789, the original courthouse was succeeded by several buildings on the present-day site which was constructed in 1878-79. A state Senator from Barnwell, Joseph D. Allen, gifted the town a unique vertical sundial in 1858 and it remains a sought out town icon even today. What a gift.
See the works of 35 South Carolina artisans at the Little Red Barn Pottery & Art Gallery. Also in Barnwell, the historic building, dubbed Little Red Barn Gallery, was moved here in the early 1950s. Master Potter, Liz Ringus, moved her pottery business to this location in 1998 and today you can view her hand-turned Paw Print Pottery as well as the showcased works of local artisans onsite.
Folks young and old love to float down the South Fork of the blackwater Edisto River from three different launches in Bamberg County: Claude’s Landing, Bobcat Landing and Brabham’s Landing. The Bamberg Chamber of Commerce organizes Edisto River Trips throughout the year and you can call for dates and locations. For more information on these and other Thoroughbred Country adventures, check out www.TBredCountry.org.