Explore Lake Murray Podcast

Welcome to the Explore Lake Murray Country Podcast

Your Guide to Come Alive in the Jewel of South Carolina

There’s so much living to be done, especially in the Capital City/Lake Murray Country region! Explore Lake Murray Country is a podcast built around one grand, meaningful, enriching invitation— “Come Alive!” Join us as we hear fun, uplifting and unique stories about living life to the fullest from Palmetto State locals who call Capital City/Lake Murray Country home. There’s endless adventure out there to be found — what are you waiting for?!

For more information about the region explore LakeMurrayCountry.com or call 803-781-5940 | 1-866-SC-Jewel.

Episode 1

Come Alive in Lake Murray Country

Miriam Atria, President & CEO of Capital City/Lake Murray Country, joins host Kelly Hughes on the first episode of the Explore Lake Murray Country Podcast! Miriam discusses her 40-plus-year history with the organization and how she grew Capital City/Lake Murray Country into the tourism destination it is today. The conversation then shifts into a discussion of all the fun things to experience in Lake Murray Country, from food to golf to fishing, and the Southeastern BBQ Showdown coming in June of 2024. Miriam also gives listeners a look behind the curtain at the origin of Capital City/Lake Murray Country’s “Come Alive” jingle.

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Episode 2

Experiencing Nature in Congaree National Park

Jon Manchester is the chief of visitor services at Congaree National Park, a hidden gem in South Carolina, and he joins Kelly on today’s episode. Tune in for a look at the history of Congaree that dates back to way before the park’s establishment. Jon also details the various attractions and events offered at the park, like the firefly synchronization, and shares some valuable advice for potential visitors.

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Episode 3

Take A Walk on the Wild Side at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden

Open to the public since 1974, Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is one of the top attractions in South Carolina with a wide variety of animals in its care. Tommy Stringfellow, the president and CEO of Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, joins Kelly on today’s episode to give a rundown of everything you can experience at Riverbanks, including the newly opened Aquarium and Reptile Conservation Center. Tommy also talks about the new “Wild Lights” experience at the Zoo this winter, where you can discover nearly 60 larger-than-life handcrafted lanterns inspired by nature.

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Episode 4

Paint The Town with Artist Michael Geddings

In Episode 4 of Explore Lake Murray Country, Kelly sits down with Michael Geddings, a local mural and portrait artist in the area. Tune in to hear about Michael’s history with art and what its creation means to him. Michael also details his process when creating murals and portraits as well as his involvement in the colorful Cayce Arts District.

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Episode 5

Make Waves with Palmetto Outdoor

Located in West Columbia, Palmetto Outdoor offers tubing and kayaking experiences across the Lake Murray Country region. Owner Micahel Mayo sits down with Kelly to talk about why he started his company and his passionate mission to get people outside in nature. Michael also talks about the different tours that he offers and what to expect when you book a trip with Palmetto Outdoor.

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Episode 6

Party With A Purpose at Taste of Lake Murray

In Episode 6, Vickie Davis, Senior VP of Special Events & Funding at Capital City/Lake Murray Country, joins Kelly to give a rundown and history of the annual Taste of Lake Murray fundraiser for the 4th of July Celebration on Lake Murray. Tune in to learn about Vickie’s background, her involvement in the fundraiser, and the sentiment of these events to our local community and the village of volunteers it takes to put on the event.

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Episode 7

Turn Up the Heat at the Southeastern BBQ Showdown

In Episode 7, Kelly is joined by Chef Brian Duffy and Olympian Mark Henry, who are celebrity judges at the Southeastern BBQ Showdown in Columbia, SC. Chef Duffy, known for his appearances on Food Network and Spike TV’s Bar Rescue, shares his background, his love for The Band Alabama, how he met co-judge Mark Henry and the secrets to a perfect plate of barbecue. Later in the show, Mark Henry, an Olympic weightlifter and former wrestler, talks about his journey into weightlifting and cooking, and reveals his favorite barbecue dish.

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Episode 8

Bird is the Word with John Tjaarda

In Episode 8,  local birder John Tjaarda joins Kelly and talks about how he became a “bird nerd”. He also gives the scoop on the different bird species you can find in Capital City/Lake Murray Country, his favorite bird species and the different bird walks he hosts.

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Episode 9

Aboard the Spirit of Lake Murray with Captain Rick Crout

The Spirit of Lake Murray is a charter yacht that offers tours and can be rented out for weddings and birthday parties. Captain Rick Crout, one of the co-owners of the Spirit, joins Kelly on today’s episode to talk about the different charters you can take, such as sunset cruises, watching the Purple Martins and renting out the ship for different events.

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