Our second week on the road took us through Columbia, SC and Atlanta, GA. Our home in Columbia was Sequicentennial State Park. Upon arrival we are greeted by motivational signs and a variety of footprints on the road, that lead us around the park. The park has a serene lake with a boat house that offers a variety of rental options to get out on the water. There is a trail to hike all around the lake and there are a number of trails that you can hike further into the woods. There is plenty to see and do at this scenic park. You can read our full review here,
We spent half a day at Congaree National Park, where we hiked the Watson Lake Trail. There are several trails with options for every level of hiker. If you are just looking for a short stroll in the woods, most of their trails start at the elevated bridge loop. Our trail was fairly easy and the forest there is unique. We kept joking about how it reminded us of a combination of Yoda's Home and the Fire Swamp. I kept waiting to see a Starfighter floating in the air or Rodents of Unusual Size to run by. But seriously, it was quite and peaceful. We didn't see any wildlife short of a few squirrels, cardinals, and a woodpecker.....unless you count the swarms of mosquitoes! We can't complain though...the park did warn us! Prepared with bug spray, it created a wonderful force field that kept the mosquitoes at bay and neither of us received a single bite. You can read our full review here.
We did leave the serenity of the forest to drive into Columbia and check out the sites. We found the Tunnel Vision Mural, the Largest Fire Hydrant sculpture, and the Never Bust Chain sculpture, all done by Blue Sky. We then visited Finlay Park to see this beautiful fountain that is there, which unfortunately was not running. This park in the city still had some really nice views with a large pond with a regular fountain. Heading back to the campgrounds we saw a sign off the highway that said "Guaranteed Worse in Town". It definitely peaked our interest so we had to turn around a go find it. Come to find out, it's a store called Cromer's that has been in business since 1935, selling peanuts, popcorn, and candy. We stocked up on our snack supplies and headed back to camp. You can find our review of Cromer's here.
On our last full day in the Columbia area we decided to take a drive in the country to explore a few places off the beaten path. We traveled about 80 minutes to Blackville, SC where we visited God's Acre Healing Springs. We filled up our water bottles, because we could use a lot of healing, and then we headed up the street for lunch. Miller's Bread Basket is an Amish-Mennonite buffet in Blackville. We enjoyed a delicious lunch made from scratch as well as some German Chocolate and Shoo-Fly pie! The people here were very friendly too! From there we drove about 10 minutes to a town call Barnwell. This quaint town has some old architecture as well as the oldest free-standing sundial in the U.S. You can see reviews on all of these places here.
We really enjoyed our time in Columbia and the surrounding area, and feel it is a great area for a weekend getaway, especially if you enjoy the outdoors. The State and National Parks are a must see and there are plenty of things to see and do to fill your weekend with fun!