From Columbia travel up Hwy. 321 to Hwy. 3. Enjoy the rural scenery through Springfield. As you approach Blackville you will start to see the signs for Healing Springs. Turn left on the road and it will take you past the Menonite School. At the springs be sure you have a container for the water. Artesian wells supply legendary mineral waters to pilgrims seeking help for all kinds of ailments. Historical accounts and legend date the springs back to pre-European era when Indians considered the waters sacred and bathed in them for healing when sick or hurt. Tradition relates that during the American Revolution, four mortally wounded British soldiers were left here in the care of two able bodied men until they died and were buried. Six months later, all six returned to their garrison in Charleston, further perpetuating the springs’ legend for healing*. People travel from all over to fill containers with Healing Springs water. Many profess it has healing powers. You be the judge! Talk with some of the visitors there about their healing springs stories.
In Blackville enjoy the laid back pace of this small town. When you get hungry the only place to go is Miller’s Bread Basket. Run by Menonites for the past 25 years, it’s excellent Pennsylvania Dutch food with a Southern touch. Enjoy a cafeteria lunch from 11 am till 2 pm Monday through Saturday and dinner buffet from 5 pm till 8 pm Thursday and Friday. Check out Miller’s Mini Mall with arts, crafts, antiques and some delicious bread for you to take home.
Drive through Barnwell State Park and hike trails, fish and camp.
Blackville sponsors several events including First Saturday in the middle of Main Street.
For the trip home go up Hwy. 3 to Hwy. 78 to Denmark. In Denmark you’ll find Jim Harrison’s Art Gallery, Caroline Collection Antiques and The Diner. Follow Hwy.78 through Norway, Neeses, North and Swansea as you make your way back to Columbia.
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*SC PRT website
Small town charm is in abundance in Little Mountain, Prosperity and Newberry. An easy, pleasant drive from Columbia on Hwy. 76, and you’ll find antique shops, great restaurants and other downtown shopping in all three locations.
Take Hwy. 76 out of Irmo through Chapin and Little Mountain. Stop and browse the Little Mountain Antique Mall. They have a sister store before you get to the mall called the Store on the Corner.
Wander up to Prosperity and visit the antique shops and other places there on the square. For outstanding German food there’s Gasthaus Zur Elli in Prosperity. Menu is limited to what she wants to cook that night but it’s a treat! Best to call for reservations as she gets very busy and it’s a small restaurant. The Blend Coffee Shop can satisfy that caffeine craving you have and is a showcase for area artists. Area residents say the Stable Steakhouse (on the square) has wonderful food.
Follow 76 on into Newberry for a great time exploring the downtown shops and wonderful restaurants. Newberry is home to Newberry Opera House, Steven W’s, The Bank. The Cabana and other great restaurants. Stroll the street checking out the shops. If you love orchids, don’t miss Carter & Holmes Orchids! They are shipped all over the world.
For the wine lovers, Enoree River Winery is a great stop. Open Tuesday through Saturday you can enjoy wine tastings there.
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One of our favorite road trips is to Ridge Spring. It takes you through beautiful peach country and Batesburg Leesville, home to the SC Poultry Festival and my hometown! Ridge Spring is a very pretty town with a number of shopping opportunities especially for those of you who enjoy antiquing and junking. Everything is centrally located on Main Street or very near by. For such a small community, Ridge Spring can fill a day trip with shopping and eating. And don’t forget the Hwy. 23 Yard Sale that happens on Saturday, June 2. From Leesville through Edgefield, you’ll find hundreds of yard sales.
My best finds at this yard sale were a mirror (now in our master bath) for $5, a very nice floor lamp (also for $5) and one of my grandmother’s glasses for a dime. Anyone who knows me, knows I have an obsession with these glasses!
To get to Ridge Spring from Columbia we generally go up I20 toward Augusta and get off on the Long Pond Road exit. Traveling through the Walter Rawl farm is always a treat no matter what time of the year. Take the exit turn right and cross the RR track. Turn left there at the four way stoplight and bear right till the road ends. You’ll turn right and meander through the “farm”.
When you come to Hwy. 23 turn left and head through the outskirts of Gilbert and Murray. There’s a great vegetable stand across the road from the IGA in Murray. When you approach Leesville bear to the right on Hwy. 23. You’ll go through downtown Leesville. At the first stoplight look to your right and you’ll see the Mi Rancho ice cream shop. Don’t miss it on your way home if you come back this way!! All homemade ice cream and Mexican fruit waters. The coconut ice cream is the best I’ve eaten!!
On Main Street Leesville you’ll find The Attic Gift Shop and cafe, several other interesting shops including a consignment shop there on the corner opposite Economy Furniture. In Batesburg, Neighbors Cafe is also another great option for lunch with outstanding salads and sandwiches. For BBQ you can’t beat Hite’s or Shealy’s….both well known for great BBQ.
Enjoy the scenery as you travel up Hwy. 23 to Ridge Spring through Ward and Monetta. Ridge Spring has several antique stores, a great junk store, Stuff and Such, the Nut House and Cones Meat Market. Explore all the great shops but don’t miss lunch at Juniper’s! You’ll find the best corn chowder there along with sandwiches, salads and other delicious items. They are also open for dinner and Sunday brunch. HOWEVER, they are not open on Wednesdays. Before you leave Ridge Spring check out Cones Meat Market. You’ll find stuffed and bulk onion sausage there!
For all things with nuts visit The Nut House on Main Street. On Saturdays there is a farmers market in the parking lot on Main Street where you can get fresh vegetables, plants and day lilies from the day lily farm in Ridge Spring. Near Main Street there are several other antique shops you will want to visit as well as the Ridge Spring Art Gallery behind the Baptist Church.
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