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SCIWAY News No. 54 – April 2008


Previous Issues of SCIWAY News


In This Issue

  1. A Morning in McClellanville
  2. April's Top Ten – Notable SC Websites
  3. Branchville Railroad Museum Survives Tornado
  4. SC Picture of the Month
  5. Roll Your Windows Down – The Pooch Can Come Too!
  6. Upcoming SC Festivals & Events
  7. Brookgreen & Atalaya: A Fairy Tale Unfolds

1. A Morning in McClellanville

Nestled between the forested expanses of the Francis Marion National Forest and the marshy vistas of the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, McClellanville remains true to its roots as a fishing village and a close-knit community.

Located roughly halfway between Charleston and Georgetown on US 17, McClellanville is a welcome stop from the monotonous highway and makes a wonderful daytrip destination. Its quiet streets, arching grand oaks, and picturesque houses will draw you in. A variety of shops, a small cafe, and a seafood restaurant will further convince you that the village of McClellanville is worth the trip. Still need another reason to go? Consider the 32nd Annual Lowcountry Shrimp Festival, which takes place May 3rd.

A good place to start a visit is at the end of Pinckney Street, McClellanville's main road, where you will find a playground, town hall, and a boat landing. If you happen to visit on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday, be sure to check out the Village Museum. It is located right next to town hall and features exhibits on local history and lore. If you have one, bring a bike or kayak to see more of McClellanville and enjoy its natural surroundings.

T.W. Grahams Jeremy Creek McClellanville House
T.W. Graham & Co. Jeremy Creek McClellanville House

Established in the mid-1800s by the McClellan and Morrison families, McClellanville developed along Jeremy Creek, which today harbors a fleet of fishing vessels. The bounties of the sea and the marshes have always played an essential role in sustaining this small community. Even when the ocean brought the destructive fury of Hurricane Hugo in 1989, McClellanville's residents were keen to restore their village while preserving its unique personality.

Seeing how well the village's character has been maintained throughout time, it is clear that McClellanville residents care greatly about their community and wish to keep it that way. From preserving their natural surroundings to fostering genuine relationships amongst each other, the people of McClellanville may have perfected the art of coastal living.

Learn More about McClellanville: Return to Table of Contents

2. April's Top Ten – Notable SC Websites

Animal and Wildlife Rescue in SC - Life-saving contacts to have on hand - just in time for spring babies!

High School Sports Network - Find schedules, scores, and statistics for your favorite high school teams

Innovista - Columbia - Research and innovation district for public and private sectors; intertwined with residential and commercial areas

Lowcountry Africana - Explores and documents the lives of enslaved Americans and how their traditions live on today in the Gullah-Geechee culture

Lowcountry Local First - North Charleston - Businesses working together to promote environmental issues and advance local agricultural economy

Palmetto Clean Energy - Provides utility customers the opportunity to fund renewable energy with tax-exempt donations made through participating utilities

SC State Spending Transparency - Budgets for state agencies broken down by use and source

SC Works Information Guide - Data on employment trends, wages, and occupations in the state

Summer Camp Guide - Find summer camps for children throughout the state, from sports camps to residential adventure camps

Tax Resources Guide - Forms, answers to FAQ's, important numbers, and how to get help filing taxes

Return to Table of Contents

3. Branchville Railroad Museum Survives Tornado

Last month a wide swath of tornadoes touched down in 20 South Carolina counties, causing an estimated $43 million dollars in damage. Small towns such as Branchville, in Orangeburg County, were hard hit.

The heart of Branchville's downtown took the brunt of the EF-3 tornado. The century-old town hall had to be demolished, leaving many town employees to operate out of the maintenance building. Winds equaling that of a Category 4 hurricane destroyed several businesses and left stunned residents without power or water.

Branchville is unique for being the oldest railroad junction in the world. SCIway had the fortune of spending a morning in Branchville this winter, where we were given a personal tour of the Branchville Railroad Shrine and Museum. The building, which was heavily damaged by fire in 1995, was lucky to escape damage in the March 15th tornadoes.

Branchville Railroad Museum Best Friend Replica Johnny Norris & Luther Folk

Museum president Johnny Norris and vice-president Luther Folk are willing to share their extensive knowledge and historic treasures with anyone who's interested, and it's definitely worth your time. We saw demonstrations of original communication methods, heard first-hand about early railroad trials and errors, and saw old memorabilia including a velocipede. This is not your ordinary museum visit; Norris and Folk recount early railroad operations in a way that makes one marvel at the ingenuity of the era.

If you visit on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday, you can stay and have dinner at The Eatery at the Depot (803-274-8001), a restaurant adjacent to the museum. It has hosted many important diners, including three presidents, and the menu looks pretty darn tasty. Unfortunately, one of the locals' long-time favorite dessert locations didn't fare well in the storm; The Churn (an aptly-named ice cream shop) was destroyed, but we hear there are plans to rebuild.

Fortunately there were no fatalities in Branchville, but the damage was excessive. If you'd like to help residents of the town, the Farmers and Merchants Bank's Branchville office is taking donations for uninsured and underinsured damages to private property. You can contact them at 803-274-8831 and ask to donate to tornado relief.

If you'd like to visit the Branchville Railroad Shrine and Museum, call the Branchville Town Hall to schedule a tour: 803-274-8820. For more information on the Branchville musuem and the old Branchville train depot, visit the following links: The South Carolina Emergency Management Division provides suggestions for a Family Emergency Supply Kit in the event of tornadoes or other natural disasters.

Return to Table of Contents

4. SC Picture of the Month

Grand oaks stand guard as the springtime sun filters through the draping spanish moss.

Boone Hall Avenue of Oaks
—  Boone Hall Avenue of Oaks  —

The Boone Hall Avenue of Oaks is in full bloom as shown in this photo by Julie Rowe of Charleston. Boone Hall Plantation is located in Mount Pleasant, a few miles north of Charleston. Thanks to Julie for sharing this spring shot with us! You can discover more of her photos at Julie G. Rowe Photography.

Contribute your shot to the SC Picture Project or see our most recent photo submissions.

Return to Table of Contents

5. Roll Your Windows Down – The Pooch Can Come Too!

If you've ever found yourself reluctantly foregoing a mini-vacation because you don't want to kennel Fido for the weekend, read on. With a little extra planning, you can set out across SC with your four-legged friend in tow. Our dog friendly travel guide has a list of dog parks and their websites, regulations for taking your pets to SC beaches, pet-friendly B&B's, and helpful tips and resources for traveling with your dog.

Our one request ... send us other ideas for SC travel destinations where dogs are welcome. If you have a favorite nature trail, restaurant, or park that also happens to be your dog's favorite, email us at service@sciway.net so we can pass the information along.

Return to Table of Contents

6. Upcoming SC Festivals & Events

For a complete calendar of South Carolina festivals and events, visit http://www.sciway.net/calendar.html. Here are just a few of April and early May's highlights:

Historic Pendleton Spring Jubilee - Arts and crafts, music, dancing, food, plantation tours - April 5-6

Lifeways of the Cherokee Indians and Colonial Settlers - Ninety Six - Living history and family fun - April 5-6 - page no longer exists

Indie Grits Film Festival - Columbia - The Southeast's best in low-budget independent film - April 9-13

World Grits Festival - St. George - Parade, contests, entertainment, 5K run - April 11-13

Puddin Swamp Festival - Turbeville - Carnival, music, food, crafts, pet contest, and "Swamp Stomp" - April 17-19

South Carolina BBQ Shag Festival - Hemingway - Music, dancing, cook-off, kids' rides, fireworks - April 17-19

Charleston Race Week - Mount Pleasant - International sailboat regatta - April 17-20

Come-See-Me Festival - Rock Hill - Music, parade, fireworks, family fun - April 17-26

Artisphere - Greenville - International arts festival - April 18-20

Battle of Charleston - Johns Island - Civil War reenactment - April 18-20 - page no longer exists

Colleton County Rice Festival - Walterboro - Entertainment, crafts, food, road race, cooking contest - April 25-27

Scottish Country Fair and Celtic Festival - Sumter - Athletics, music, dance, food - April 25-27

Treasures of the Tidelands - Georgetown - Nine days of art, music, food, history - April 25 - May 3 - page no longer exists

Air Expo - Charleston - Free! - US Air Force Thunderbirds, US Army Golden Knights, and much more - April 26 - page no longer exists


Yellow Jasmine Festival - North Augusta - Garden expo plus music, dancing, fireworks, food, and fun - April 26 - page no longer exists

Return to Table of Contents

7. Brookgreen and Atalaya: A Fairy Tale Unfolds

The year is 1929. Depression sweeps the land. He is 51. She is 45. He is a millionaire philanthropist, the son of a railroad tycoon. She is a nationally-acclaimed artist, a sculptor of great fame. Neither have ever married. They meet and fall in love.

Tuberculosis strikes. Husband and wife sail down the Intracoastal Waterway in search of a warmer clime. Their boat lands in Georgetown County. They buy four plantations – 10,000 acres of pines, oaks, swamps, and the Atlantic Coast.

She recovers. Together they build a Moorish castle on the beach and one of the largest public gardens in America, a place for art, animals, and plants to thrive. A place of conservation, a living museum. The jobs they create enable nearby communities to survive this dark time. After a long and happy life, the childless couple bequeaths their land and home to us, the citizens of South Carolina!
If you think this sounds like a fairy tale, so do we! But it's all true,* and anyone who has ever visited Brookgreen Gardens knows what a lucky day it was that brought Anna and Archer Huntington to our shore.

Here at SCIway, we had long heard tale of the Huntington's legendary gardens and seaside home. This month we decided to go see them for ourselves, and we couldn't have been more pleased. Located across the street from one another, Brookgreen Gardens and Huntington Beach form what just might be our state's most perfect April adventure.

Brookgreen Oaks Atalaya Watchtower Huntington Beach

The heart of Brookgreen is its 30-acre sculpture garden. With a collection of over 900 works by world-famous artists from near and far, it truly offers something for everyone. Our own favorite is the children's garden, full of fun sculptures of foxes, bears, billy goats, and bats! Flowers abound all over the property of course, with azaleas and dogwoods in full bloom.

The heart of Huntington Beach is Anna and Archer's winter home, studios, and stables – Atalaya. The name is Spanish for watchtower, the dominant feature of the castle-like structure that Archer designed based on memories of his travels to the Mediterranean Coast. There are no known blueprints for this sprawling fortress. Archer conveyed his ideas to the contractor verbally, revealing a little more from his imagination day by day. After awhile, the contractor is said to have joked, "Mr. Huntington, if you tell me much more, I'll find out what you are building."

Nevertheless, the result is spectacular! There is no furniture left inside, and the walls and open windows have been left exposed to the elements. Wandering down the cool corridors and roaming from room to room – there are 50 in all! – is a welcome respite from the sun and sand. It also makes a magical maze for children to explore.

Over 9,000 acres remain between the two properties, and the land serves primarily to protect nature and wildlife. Brookgreen features a small zoo, and there are plenty of nature trails and wildlife viewing opportunities at Huntington. Its three miles of undeveloped oceanfront – a rarity in South Carolina – are alone worth the trip.

Established formally as "A Society for Southeastern Flora and Fauna," the gardens and accompanying park more than live up to the name. We can't recommend the trip highly enough. With the sun warm and the sky blue, there just isn't a better time to head outside and enjoy our beautiful state!

* Note: Time is slightly compressed for effect. Anna and Archer were formally introduced in 1921; they married in 1923. (They were both born March 10th, exactly six years apart. They were 51 and 45 when they met, 53 and 47 when they married, and 59 and 53 when they arrived in South Carolina.) They first landed in Georgetown County in 1929, but Brookgreen was not chartered until 1931. Tuberculosis is a chronic condition, but Anna's illness was arrested and she was able to recuperate and enjoy a long life, creating new sculptures into her nineties. Thanks for allowing us this poetic license!

Learn More about Brookgreen Gardens and Huntington Beach: Return to Table of Contents

© 2008 SCIway.net, LLC. "SCIWAY News"™ is written by the team at SCIWAY – with a lot of help from people throughout South Carolina. ISSN: 1527-3903.

Our mailing address is PO Box 13318, James Island, South Carolina 29422.

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