Moncks Corner

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Saturday past I decided to adventure down to Moncks Corner, South Carolina.  Have you been?  The back roads are great!  Cotton fields, autumn foliage, very little traffic, great small towns/crossroads are just some of the things I saw by taking the back roads to Moncks Corner.

The White House Church.  A previous structure on the property was known as the White Meeting House and was given, along w/4 acres of land, to the Methodist Episcopal Church in the 1720s.

Providence Methodist Church built 1919-1920.  However, the cemetery dates to 1856.

My first stop was Biggin Church Ruins.  Clara the Second (remember her?) was not feeling a trip to Moncks Corner and refused to find the location which signaled the use of my hand written directions.  Does anyone else prefer an actual map or hand written directions instead of navigation thingies?  I'm starting to!  Anyway, I made it to Biggin Church Ruins...yippee!  And by made it I mean I passed it, turned around, parked on the side of the road, walked down a gravel road, climbed up these not so safe steps, and walked up to the ruins.  (As a side note:  there is a gate entrance that you can drive into the cemetery/ruins area that I didn't see until after I had Indiana Jones'd it up those steps!) 

The Biggin Church Ruins are very haunting (not haunted we'll get to the haunted part of the day in a moment) in their appearance.  Biggin Church was originally built as part of St. John's Parish in the early 1700s and made of logs.  However, a brick building was constructed early 1710s which replaced the original log church.  However, the 1710s brick church burned in a forest fire.  The community/congregation re-built the church only for it to be burned AGAIN by the British in 1781.  The church was built again (for the last time) after the fire in 1781 but burned AGAIN by forest fire in 1899.  Depending on where I was standing I could smell the burnt area.  It's interesting how smells stay with a place.  There is a cemetery surrounding the church that includes many older (1700s/1800s) graves along with more recent graves.

Not far down the road from the ruins is Mepkin Abbey.  A dream!  For serious, can I live here and read by the Cooper river and have picnics, and eat all of the creamed honey with cinnamon.  I spent quite a bit of my day here just wandering around.  Mepkin Abbey was built on the site of Mepkin Plantation.  Mepkin Plantation was home to Henry Laurens (1712-1792).  In 1936, Henry and Clare Luce purchased the property (they are also buried on the property).  Henry Luce (Life, Fortune, Sport Illustrated, etc.) was married to the Clare Booth Luce, the author of The Woman.  The Woman, a play turned into a film, is an amazing all female cast film.  The 1939 film version is my favorite even though the remake (2008) with Meg Ryan is pretty good as well.  Mepkin Abbey was established on the property in 1949.  It is a community of Roman Catholic Monks who are part of the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance.  Their history goes all the way back to the 6th century in Italy.

Below are woodcarvings located in the garden area of Mepkin Abbey.

After I reluctantly got in my car to leave, this was the view of the entry/exit.....I mean seriously would you want to leave????

The last stop (or so I thought) was Strawberry Chapel.  This chapel is a chapel of ease built in 1720 as part of the Childsbury settlement.  Like Biggin Church Ruins, this chapel was part of St. John's Parish.  Childsbury appears to have been a planter community and the chapel was built as a convenient location for the farming families to worship (instead of travel miles and miles to attend worship services).  I've read that the silver that was used for services at Strawberry Chapel was buried for safe keeping when Sherman entered South Carolina in 1865.  However, the silver was not unearthed until the 1940s.  It was found under a rice mill on a nearby plantation.  The silver can be seen today (very cool!) as it is housed at the Charleston Museum (Side Note:  Have you been to the Charleston Museum?  It is amazing!). 
And of course with most really old structures a ghost story can be found and Strawberry Chapel's spooky story doesn't disappoint (but does lead to many questions).  I would like to point out that when I turned down the road to the chapel (which is located in the middle of nowhere) there was a LARGE fish head laying in the middle of the road (spooky sign #1).   Ok so from what I've read a young girl haunts the chapel.  Which of course is sad because again this place is pretty isolated.  She was said to have been chained to a tombstone by her father & left to die (ummm pretty sure he didn't receive any father of the year awards).  As it is with everything in my life, 1 statement leads to 25+ questions that I have about the subject and my abundance of questions concerning this 'haunting' is ever growing!  Where were the other adults in her life?  Who's tombstone was she chained to?  Was it her mother's tombstone?  Was her father consumed with grief or possibly angry at the person who died that he in a moment(s) of complete insanity chained his child (or was it his child...maybe some big secret was revealed hence the anger) to the tombstone and said see you on the other side????  See many questions!
I am always excited to visit a historic stop but even more so if it has a ghost story to go with it.  This haunted historic chapel was perfect BUT - give me a minute to get on my soapbox - ok so this entire site is gated & the gate is locked (and by locked I mean multiple locked locks), there are private property you will be persecuted signs everywhere and surveillance cameras.  While I hated that I couldn't get close to the chapel and I couldn't explore the cemetery, I completely understand the reason why it is locked/videotaped/gated/private.  Soapbox speech are you ready?  Once upon a time people could walk right up to the chapel and explore the cemetery but that all changed when individuals started going there late at night and vandalizing graves and the chapel.  Because of other individuals stupidity and lack of respect for property, I (along with many many others) cannot explore this property.  It makes me mad!  It only takes 1 bad apple to ruin it for everyone else.  I knew before I went about all the private property matters but still wanted to see what I was able to see standing outside of the gate.  However, I was still mad because of course I should have know that just being able to see it from the gate would leave me feeling like I had missed out on something really great that was just on the other side of the gate.  However, I'm not a rule breaker so on the non- private property side of the gate I stood (end of soapbox speech).  BUT I did notice that crows are very present at Strawberry Chapel.  In certain areas that I would walk the crows would become very vocal and at times it seemed like I was getting ready to be in a scene from Hitchcock's The Birds. (spooky sign #2)

Stopped for a quick lunch, then it was back on the road when I came across Eutaw Springs Revolutionary War Park. 

If you happen to find yourself in Moncks Corner, definitely stop by the ruins, Mepkin Abbey, and Strawberry Chapel (please respect the private property signs).  They are great places full of history to learn and see.

Happy Travels,

The Other Store

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Even though I've lived in Columbia, SC for 13 years, I just recently discovered The Other Store (I know, I know!).  I discovered this deli while reading this article.  We decided to stop by the other day while running errands to grab some lunch to go.  I had to have Clara the II (remember my gps) tell me how to get there because The Other Store is located on the corner of what appears to be a neighborhood.  I was a little hesitate that I was in the correct place based on my surroundings BUT we parked and made our way inside.

The deli is located in the back of the store.  I guess we really looked like newbies because the very kind man helping take orders and preparing orders, walked up to us with menus and introduced himself, gave us the lay of the land, and gave us the 'locals' favorites.  After reviewing their pretty awesome menu, we placed our order then walked around getting a feel for the place.  There are 2 inside seating sections and a outdoor deck when the weather is nice to enjoy lunch outside.
They have a book exchange which I adored!
And then as we were walking back to get our order, I saw it.......
DO YOU SEE THAT?!?!?!?!?  DECAF!!!!!!  As a girl that (1) LOVES sweet tea and (2) cannot have ANY caffeine (some of you are already asking how I'm alive, it wasn't voluntary, it's a medical condition) this sign was a dream come true.  I have NEVER been to a place where decaf sweet tea was an option.  It was at that moment that I decided that even if I didn't like the food, I would be back for the biggest glass of decaf sweet tea I could purchase. BUT who was I kidding, the food was amazing!  I mean people who are kind enough to think about us non-caffeine people will pour that kindness into the food they make, right?  You bet!  The food was so good!  A Rueben for him and a Turkey Melt for me.

And yes, there were homemade desserts.  They had Coconut Cake, Sour Cream Pound Cake, mini Banana Bread loaves, and German Apple Pound Cake.
 We both decided on a slice of German Apple Pound Cake.  It was heavenly.

Local or not, you should stop for a bite at The Other Store, you won't be disappointed.

Happy Travels,

History with a Side of Sweet Potato Crunch

Friday, October 27, 2017

Bright and early and on the road again!  This adventure day I'm headed to Clemson University to tour the John C. Calhoun residence, Fort Hill.  While I'm not a sports person (don't hold that against me!) I've been to Clemson University many times and the campus is BEAUTIFUL!  Have you been?  Even if you're not a sports fan (I say that with hopes that I'm not just a party of 1), take a stroll through this lovely campus, you won't regret it!

Clemson University was built around the Fort Hill (named for Fort Rutledge).  I enjoyed seeing the campus and Ft. Hill side by side!  The plantation originally started as a 4 room home to Rev. James McElhenny known as Clergy Hall (built 1803).  Once the Calhoun's moved in, Floride, Calhoun's wife (and first cousin once removed), began adding rooms.  She added an additional 10 rooms turning it into the plantation we see today.  John C. & Floride's daughter, Anna Maria, married Thomas Green Clemson.

  Master Bedroom.  The quilt on the bed was made by John C. and Floride's daughter, Cornelia.  The portrait over the bed is of Floride Calhoun.
 State Dining Room.
 Parlor.  Anna Marie and Thomas were married in this room.
 Parlor.  Portrait over the couch is of Anna Maria Calhoun Clemson.
 George Washington's chair.

Beautiful lamp located in an upstairs bedroom.

Upstairs Bedroom.

John C. was Vice President during the reign (too much?) of Andrew Jackson.  He had great political aspirations until Mr. & Mrs. Eaton.  Anyone remember the Petticoat Affair?  Short version:  Mr. & Mrs. Eaton were shunned by the women of their social circle (Floride Calhoun included) & not long after the first shunning (shunning is such a tragic word) their husbands followed suit.  The reason for the shunning was due to rumors/gossip about the Eaton's marriage (had they had an affair when Peggy was married?  had Peggy's husband killed himself when he found out?)  It was quiet the scandal (where is Olivia Pope when you need her?!)  BUT but but Andrew Jackson took sympathy on them & stood up in protest to the way they were being treated.  Martin van Buren (yes, that van Buren) saw this as a political move...."if I side with the Eaton's, President Jackson will see that I'm on their side and I'll get the corner office I always wanted," I put quotes because in my mind this is what took place when MVB pledged his allegiance to the Jackson/Eaton party of 3, now 4.  Anyway, John C. eventually resigns as VP.  John Eaton becomes the US Minister to Spain, and in 1837 MVB becomes President (see how well that worked out for him!).  Oh rumors/gossip, they'll get you every time!  OH and before I forget, after John Eaton dies, Peggy marries for a third and final time to a young (much much younger) artist who after several years runs off with not only ALL her money but also her granddaughter.  SCANDAL!  Side note:  I was talking about the Petticoat Affair during dinner with my people the other night and the looks I received from people who walked by....not sure why I received those looks as this is normal dinner conversation, right?

I am always looking for the hidden, back road, secret treasure to visit and boy did I hit the jackpot with Mac Smith's Country Store and Grill in Pendleton, SC.  This place is adorable, the people are extremely friendly, and it is seriously in the middle of nowhere.  I remember when my family moved from the 'city' to the 'country' and I was asked many many times (you know who you are) if we had to pump our own sunshine, well this is definitely that kind of place which makes it my kind of place. 

The absolute hands down BEST hamburger I've ever eaten!  And their sweet potato crunch, did you hear me? their SWEET POTATO CRUNCH!!!!!!  Apparently I've been eating sweet potato crunch my entire life but had never in my life heard it called crunch.  My grandmother made sweet potato soufflé for any holiday and it was amazing!  Pretty sure my love for all things sweet potatoes started with her soufflé.  Since my grandmother passed away, I've had some good sweet potato soufflé but never as good as hers until today!  Holy sweet potatoes was this stuff amazing!  There were pecans and oats and syrupy goodness and sweet potatoes served in this small side container that was I'm sure an early Christmas present from Mac Smith to me!  Hungry yet?  Wanna go to Mac's?  So in case you don't go to Mac's right after reading this you need to go as soon as possible!  You won't regret it!  I'm already planning what I'm going to order next time.  What am I even saying, it's going to be sweet potato crunch!

After an out-of-this world lunch, I began my journey to Ninety Six National Historic Site.  However, this wouldn't be an adventure day if I didn't see a sign to some other historical site and now I'm taking a detour.  Cokesbury College (Old Cokesbury and Masonic Female College) built in 1824.

Ok, back on the road to Ninety Six.  From what I've read no one really knows why the town is named Ninety Six.  Ninety Six is a cute small town with a very loved national historic site.  This national historic site is one of the best I've visited.  I visited a few months back but was short on time so I didn't get to explore the entire site.  This trip I had plenty of exploring time so I got to utilize the sites wonderful features.  A walking self-guided map, paved pathway, informative reading rails along the one mile path, silhouttes, and trail maps are features that make this Revolutionary War site a great place to visit.

Have y'all visited either the John C. Calhoun's Fort Hill or Ninety Six National Historic Site?  Sweet them/hate them?  Are you already planning your lunch date to Mac Smith's?

Happy Travels,