culture Family travel

Road Trip: Old 96, South Carolina

Although my blog mostly focuses on Atlanta eateries and entertainment, I do occasionally like to write about vacation eats and travels. So, last month, I was invited up to what is known as the Old 96 District of South Carolina. The Old 96 tourism organization hosted me and Mr. ARB for two days of fun.

The Old 96 is in the western part of South Carolina and is comprised of five different communities: Edgefield, McCormick, Greenwood, Abbeville and Laurens. Although it isn’t near the ocean, that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to do and see, including some water sports. So, here’s a quick over view of what Atlanta Restaurant Blog did on our whirlwind tour of the Old 96.

After a three hour drive from Atlanta we arrived at Hickory Knob Resort, located in McCormick, SC. Hickory Knob has a beautiful golf course and is a golf lovers’ paradise. Centrally located to many of the attractions, it is a great place to stay. There is a nicely updated entertainment room with flat screens, pool tables, and board games to keep the family occupied.

Traveling to Greenwood is about a half hour drive from Hickory Knob. There we were treated to lunch at the newest restaurant in town, Kickers. This small restaurant is owned and operated by husband and wife team Andrea and Abel Dimiati. Chef Abel came to SC to attend college on a soccer scholarship from his homeland of Zimbabwe and fell in love with local gal, Andrea and stayed and opened a restaurant. The restaurant churns out some delicious food and combines a mix of comfort favorites and new cuisine. Favorites were the Moroccan Turkey Burger, Samosas, and Mozzarella bites.

Full from our lunch at Kicker’s in Greenwood, we traveled to met with David Twiggs who operates the Savannah Lakes Village and Golf Club, which is rather close to Hickory Knob where we were staying in McCormick. He guided us on a kayak tour of Lake Thurmond, the largest man-made lake east of the Mississippi. This was our first attempt at Stand Up Kayaking.

Edgefield County

The next morning we started out bright and early to visit the National Wild Turkey Museum. Admittedly, I wasn’t too jazzed about this stop, but I truly did enjoy our visit. There are beautiful displays of all different kinds of species of Turkeys as well as helicopter flight simulation and hunting adventure. Definitely educational for the kiddies, as well as fun for the adults.

A quick detour, not our planned itinerary, afforded us a stop at Sara’s Roadside stand. And guess what they have here? Peaches, peaches, peaches. I feel a little guilty admitting this, but these peaches were about a thousand times better than any peaches I’ve had in Georgia, the Peach state. We even had some homemade peach ice cream – divine!

Sweet tooth fixed, we set out for our next stop, Old Edgefield Pottery. This is run by Steve Ferrell, who’s had an interest in pottery for decades. There’s an interesting story behind Edgefield Pottery – many of the pots were created in the 1800s by a slave named Dave the Potter, who was taught to read and write, something never done during the days of slavery. Fact: Rapper, 50 Cent is a descendent of the Dave the Potter and even made a trip to visit Steve at Old Edgefield Pottery. Shown above is operator, Steve Ferrell holding a brick engraved by 50 Cent. The pots are unique in that they are made of a special clay which can only be found in Edgefield. Pots that were fashioned by Dave the Potter sometimes sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Selected pieces are housed in the Smithsonian.

Next, we were off to have lunch at the Old Edgefield Grill. This restaurant is filled with historic charm. I couldn’t pass up the Shrimp and Grits. Beautifully presented, they were delicious too. Mr. ARB went a little bit lighter with the pork egg roll salad, which was equally tasty. As a side note, the late Strom Thurmond hails from Edgefield, and the restaurant seems pretty proud of this fact, going to so far as to name a room after him.

Other historic sites we visited were the Old 96 Historic Site, which is home of the first Southern battle of the Revolutionary War and the only Federal park in the Old 96 District as well as the Dr. Benjamin Mays Historic Preservation Site. – Dr. Mays was the president of Morehouse College in Atlanta and appointed by President Kennedy to the Civil Rights Commission. The site is dedicated to keeping his memory alive. It is amazing that to many he is relatively unknown.

Although we didn’t get to spend much time in Abbeville, only one evening, we did make the most of it. The highlight of Abbeville is the square with its colorful buildings and diverse restaurants. We foolishly thought we could just walk into one of the most popular restaurants an hour before the play and have dinner. Alas, it wasn’t to be, but we had a very satisfying meal at Maria’s Mexican restaurant just on the other corner and they were able to get us in and out in time for our play at the Abbeville Opera House.

We saw the play, Red, White and Tuna. Loved the beautiful décor of this historic opera house. And they put on some damn fine shows too. I loved how the entire play, which had about ten characters, was entirely done by two actors.

Again, there’s so much to do and see in the Old 96 district of South Carolina. If you like sports like water adventure or golfing then you will certainly be entertained. But there are also fantastic eateries and more cultural sight seeing things as well. With fall just around the corner, now is the perfect time to visit the Old 96. Many thanks to the Old 96 Tourism Department for hosting us and putting together a fantastic itinerary.

Kickers Takeout on UrbanspoonMaria's Mexican Restaurant on Urbanspoon

About the author

Malika Bowling

Malika is the author of several books including Culinary Atlanta: Guide to the Best Restaurants, Markets, Breweries and More! and the founder of Roamilicious. She is also a Digital Marketing and Social Media Consultant. Follow us @Roamilicious on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest for the content not shared on the blog. And don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter (subscribe box below) and never miss a contest, giveaway or the latest must visit restaurant!