I love it when I think I’m going one place and along the way there or heading back home afterwards I find an unexpected treat. That happened again as we were leaving Charleston a few weeks ago. We discovered the pretty town of Summerville, South Carolina.
It is only 24 miles northwest of Charleston. With a population of about 47,000, it is one-third the size of its more famous neighbor. Considering the housing prices in the big city, it is easy to see why many find financial refuge in Summerville.
The plan was to meet our friends at Five Loaves Cafe at noon (read more about it here), so we checked out of our inn (read about that wonderful inn here) a little early and drove on to Summerville, reasoning that we would snoop around a little before lunch. In less than an hour, we found a place we would love to have had more time to explore — historic downtown Summerville.
It’s a short block lined with shops, and other shops are behind the ones on this main drag. You have to find a parking place on the perimeter. Some of the most interesting shops we found were: Four Green Fields at 117 Central Avenue (that’s where we saw Sweet Tea Jelly), Bey & Eloise, a ladies apparel store at 143 Central Avenue, and The Village Knittery, one block over at 219 S. Cedar Street.
We spotted a beautiful mural painted on the side of a parking garage near Four Green Fields and learned later that it was painted by Hitnes, a Roman artist. Hitnes describes himself as being inspired by nature and John James Audubon. His mural is a part of the efforts of B.I.R.D.S., which stands for Birds in Residence: Downtown Summerville. Read more about that organization here.
I urge you to explore unexpected places to mine them for gold nuggets. So many places. So many enthusiastic business owners. So much loveliness and civic pride.