The Spirit Of The South: Visiting Lake Murray Country
October 12, 2018
Nowadays, it’s hard to find a region that captures the classic feelings of the South. While visiting Lake Murray Country, I felt an overwhelming since of passion from everyone I met. I talked to business owners who grew up in the area then never left and parents who raise in their kids in Lake Murray Country. From the charming town of Newberry to the Millennial vibes in Columbia that blend with historic landmarks, it’s a great destination to visit.
No matter what time of the year you’re visiting, there is always an event. While the hustle and bustle of the capitol city attracts tourists weekly, I prefer the hidden pockets of solitude you can find on the lake or at the park. There is something for everyone. The area is conveniently located off Interstates I-77, I-20, I-26 which makes it central for many travelers.
Coming from an Atlanta-based girl who loves Southern travel, here are my must do picks of Lake Murray Country.
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Must Do Destinations While Visiting Lake Murray Country
Conagree National Park
Whether you want to enjoy the pristine natural beauty of this park on foot or boat, they’ve got you covered. Conagree National Park is the perfect destination for an outdoor adventure. They offer hiking, kayaking, fishing and camping. It’s the state’s only national park. The marshlands are a beautiful backdrop to a camping getaway.
Two Gals and a Fork Food Tours
One of the trendiest ways to see the city of Columbia also involves some delicious eats! You’ll be in great company as the owners, Gloria and Janet of Two Gals and a Fork Food Tours, show you the hottest food trends coming from the kitchens of swanky eateries. You’ll log some miles and leave with a full belly. Check their calendar for the latest tours.
Historic Columbia Houses
Venture into the past at a Historic Columbia House Tour. See what life was like for families that helped shape Columbia into the city it is today. The Hampton-Preston Mansion just celebrated it’s 200th anniversary and underwent a holistic rehabilitation. It features an updated interpretation, new exhibits, hands-on interactive elements, expanded public gardens, a new exterior paint scheme and further improvements to the site’s structure and grounds.
Newberry Opera House
World class shows visit weekly at the historic Newberry Opera House, making it one of my favorite must do destinations. Each season boasts an impressive line up that ranges from modern dance to musical theater and contemporary jazz. Enjoy dinner on the square at Figaro the Dining Room, then catch an evening show at the opera house.
Boating Magazine named Lake Murray one of the top 10 places to boat and live. Hike along the shore, celebrate Independence Day on the water or start your morning with fishing at sunrise. The lake is known as the “Jewel of South Carolina” and it’s home to the Purple Martin Phenomenon – where it’s estimated more than one million birds roost on Lunch Island in the lake. Bird watchers can enjoy them from the end of June to the beginning of August.
Riverbanks Zoo & Garden
One of the most educational and fun spots for families is the Riverbanks Zoo & Garden. This nationally recognized zoo houses more than 2,000 animals in natural habitat exhibits. Guests can learn about conservation, take part in feedings or visit during one of their seasonal events. Feeling adventurous? Ride the zip line canopy tour is the best view while visiting Lake Murray Country.
Carter and Holmes Orchid Farm
Tour 18 greenhouses and enjoy 93,000 sq. ft. of tropical beauty in one of the largest orchid nurseries in the world. While the majority of the Carter and Holmes Orchid Farm business is online, guests can still purchase orchids on property and speak with a specialist about caring for your new orchid. It’s a hidden gem of Newberry and an oasis for gardeners to enjoy while visiting Lake Murray Country.
Spotted Salamander Cafe
This popular lunch spot serves innovative Southern cuisine with a “Deviled Egg of The Day” on the menu. Select from fresh salads, mouthwatering burgers, deli sandwiches and homemade desserts. Everything is made from scratch and uses the highest quality local ingredients. The Spotted Salamander Cafe is the perfect lunch spot for a girl’s date.
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