Things to do in and around Camden
Inspected and Recommended by Select Registry and the South Carolina B&B Association.
Let Bloomsbury guide you through the great adventures offered in Camden and the surrounding area. All the attractions you see below are from five minutes to an hour from Bloomsbury. Use Bloomsbury as your point of departure as you explore South Carolina to discover fun filled days, great food, and the southern hospitality of our wonderful state…then return for a relaxing evening. Enjoy the unique experience of Bloomsbury…over 150 years of history, charm and elegance!!! Recommended resturants are featured at the bottom of the list of events.
Antebellum Homes, Camden, SC
Sherman spared Camden, but his troops carried off just about everything that wasn’t nailed down. At least the Antebellum houses remain for all to enjoy. Take an exterior walking/driving tour of the beautiful Antebellum homes in Camden. Use the guide book produced by the local historical society and spend the afternoon observing over forty homes built prior to the civil war, while reading about the city’s history. The "visitors" may have taken the silver, but they left behind Camden’s most precious possession…her architecture.
Antiques Galore, Camden, SC
Pick up the local antique guide, and start the hunt from Bloomsbury. There are over a dozen antique stores with dozens of booths to explore in Camden! Look for that special item to complete your collection or a souvenir from the Camden horse country. Compared to Charleston and Charlotte…Camden antiques are a steal. A great way to spend the day! www.camden-sc.org
Battle of Camden Site
Walk the grounds of one of the greatest defeats for the Colonies during the Revolutionary War. Yet, it was the turning point that eventually led to the victory at Yorktown. The people of Camden, Kershaw County, and many others in the state have worked diligently to make this into a national park, and they have successfully made the first step toward this goal. Hike among the pine trees on two miles of trails as you read about the battle on 12 interpretive signs. The Battle of Camden site is located just seven miles north of Bloomsbury. It includes a dozen signs on two miles of interpretive trails, plus another two miles of hiking trails.
Directions from Bloomsbury
Turn left out of the driveway of Bloomsbury and travel one mile until you dead in to Hwy 521. Turn right and about 6 miles north of town, veer left on Flat Rock Road (there’s a small, brown Battle of Camden sign). About a mile ahead, the historical marker and parking area are on the right. The trails are open during daylight hours, but the park isn’t staffed. You can’t beat the cost…it’s free. www.palmettoconservation.org
Beech Creek Golf Course; Sumter, SC
This James Goodson 18 hole course, 22 miles south of Bloomsbury and nestled among forests and hills, offers elevation changes of 100 feet, wetlands and dense woods for a feel of nature all around. At 6,805 yards, it is a good test. Best hole: Number 16, a 171-yard par-3 with a full carry over water to a canted back-to-front green guarded by bunkers forward and rear. Pro shop, snack bar, putting green, driving range, carts, lessons, club rentals, tennis courts are available. http://golf.discoversouthcarolina.com
Bloomsbury Protocol Institute, Camden, SC
Sign up for a course in etiquette/protocol with a nationally known expert. Learners receive intense, personal instruction and hands-on coaching, as well as group seminars. The Institute believes that protocol, etiquette, civility, social demeanor or call it by any other name—can be taught and can be learned. The etiquette workshops are certified programs of the Protocol School of Washington® and have been successfully presented and updated for over 30 years. The courses are not just for business, government, or education officials, but also designed for those individuals and families who are serious about upgrading their social skills. As Clarence Thomas once said, "Good manners will open doors that the best education cannot." www.bloomsburypi.com
Bob Doster’s Backstreet Studio and Gardens
This internationally renowned artist invites visitors to his working studio, outdoor botanical and sculpture garden and art gallery, featuring the works of many distinguished artists. Housed in a row of historic storefronts, this eclectic site is an art-lover’s dream come true. The private garden, complete with 55’ fishpond and waterfalls, is an oasis in the middle of downtown Lancaster. Groups and field trips welcome. Facilities are available for rental for special events. Located at 217 East Gay Street in Lancaster, the studio and gardens are only 39 miles from Bloomsbury. Visit at www.bobdoster.com or call 803-285-9190
Spend your afternoon in this small, rustic town nine miles south of Camden. Have lunch at the Boykin Company Grill (great catfish!) then walk across the street to the old mill which is still in operation grinding up Boykin grits. Walk next door to “The Broom Place and Craft Shop” located in a settler’s house built in 1740. See brooms being handmade on original broom equipment well over a 100 years old. Choose from many styles, from house to hearth to whisk. Observe the large wildlife preserve created by the Boykin Mill Pond. Though called a pond, it is the tenth largest privately owned lake in South Carolina. Return that evening to enjoy fine dining at the “The Mill Pond Steak House.” Talk to the innkeepers at Bloomsbury for more information and window-side reservations.
Buckley School of Public Speaking, Camden, SC
Few tell their students to throw out the crutch of Power Point, yet the Buckley School does and encourages that one-on-one contact with the audience without computer aids. Come to Camden and work on your public speaking and more!! The school reveals to professionals their potential to win audiences, write with élan, and otherwise organize their thoughts. In a mere 2 1/2 days, even the most fearful and flummoxed find that they are expressing themselves with clarity, wit, and confidence. You will learn to sway your supervisors, peers and subordinates; take on a verbal adversary (and win); and build that aura necessary to lead large and small organizations. At the end of the day you will have the opportunity to mingle with other students staying at Bloomsbury, discuss the salient points in your class, and more importantly, learn from each other in an informal structure. Check out www.buckleyschool.com and improve your personal potential…the Buckley school is a life altering experience.
Camden Archives and Museum, Camden, SC
The Archives and Museum are housed in the Carnegie Library built in 1915. The building is a fine example of Greek revival architecture. View exhibits of local and regional history including Camden’s restored original town clock, circa 1825. Equipped with a large and diverse collection of genealogical and historical research materials, the Archives provide a vital link to the heritage and history of Camden and Kershaw County. The staff is available to assist you. www.mindspring.com/~camdenarchives/index.html
The Ross E. Beard, Jr. Collection is now on display at the Camden Archives & Museum. The Collection includes examples from five centuries of firearms history. Wheel-locks, flintlocks, cap and ball, and modern semi-automatic claim the visitor's attention. The collection also features pieces from Mr. Beard's collection of Melvin Purvis and John Dillinger memorabilia and his collection of "Carbine" Williams 1941-43 M1 carbines. The Camden Archives & Museum is located at 1314 Broad Street in Camden and are open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is FREE!
Camden Revolutionary War Park, Camden, SC
Located less than three miles from Bloomsbury is the Historic Camden Revolutionary War site, a 98-acre outdoor museum complex, including the site of Colonial and Revolutionary Camden, several restored and refurnished period houses, and reconstructions of military fortifications and patriot Joseph Kershaw’s new mansion, which was used as British headquarters. The site includes log cabins w/exhibits, museum grounds, gift shop, picnic area, and nature trail. www.Historic-camden.org
Camden Shopping District, Camden, SC
Spend your afternoon browsing the shops in downtown Camden to include antiques and arts. Stroll through 1011 Broad Street and view the latest kitchen products, clothing, and antiques. If you love horses and everything about them then you need to visit the Tack Room just north of the downtown district. At lunch visit one of our many restaurants. Continue your day with more shopping to include Andries Van Dam Arts and Antiques which include European and American paintings, silver, and oriental art. It’s easy to enjoy more than an afternoon in Camden. www.camden-sc.org
Camden Military Academy, Camden, SC
The official military academy of South Carolina! Less than five miles from Bloomsbury, you can drive through the campus of this premiere, nationally known institution and on some days witness a “pass in review” of the cadet corps. Camden Military Academy’s mission, first articulated by Colonel James F. Risher, headmaster of Carlisle Military School and founder of Camden Military Academy, is to accept young men of unfulfilled promise and lead them to a future of success. This philosophy, with its roots firmly established at Carlisle, has served young men at Camden now for half of a century. Cadets learn to practice the concepts of honor, integrity, and duty as they grow in their everyday lives on campus. They learn to accept responsibility for their successes and failures in the classroom, on the athletic fields, and in their military roles. Cadets are encouraged to develop their own individual strengths and talents, while at the same time to respect the rights of others. www.camdenmilitary.com
Camden Cup Polo Match, Camden, SC
Occurring in the first week of May, the Camden Cup Polo Match is held on the local Camden polo field. Take a trip back in time when Camden was one of the country’s most illustrious polo centers. The Sunday polo match features players from around the world and will evoke images of Camden in the early 1900s. Come enjoy May’s warm weather and the timeless excitement of a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants event. www.fineartscenter.org
Carolina Downhome Blues Festival, Camden, SC
Usually held in the first week of October, come tap your feet to the best blues music you’ll ever hear! The Carolina Downhome Blues Festival offers three jam-packed nights of the most authentic, gritty blues artists around. There’s so much to choose from: dinner, concerts, blue plate lunches, happy hours and more, in over a dozen different venues around Camden. www.fineartscenter.org
Carolina Motorsports Park, Kershaw, SC
Come see the race cars and motorcycles! For a nominal charge you can watch the track as Porsches, BMWs, Corvettes, and even Mustangs zip past. Maybe you would like to take a spin yourself. The Park now has a Kart track that is open to the public. Take the 16 turns on the .70 mile track and test your skill. You can’t beat the thrill and adrenaline from real racing!! Or, if you are corporate, give your customers and employees an experience that will last a lifetime. You can customize a ½ day or full day package, seven days a week, priced to fit every budget. Use the clubhouse, have lunch catered, create group competitions, or work on team building. Located 17 miles north of Bloomsbury. www.carolinamotorsportspark.com
Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge
Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge was created in 1939. Its original purpose was to provide habitat for migratory birds, to demonstrate sound management practices that enhance natural resource conservation, and to provide wildlife-oriented recreation opportunities. Carolina Sandhills is comprised of 47,850 acres, including fee ownership of 45,348 acres, and nine conservation easements totaling 2,502 acres. Numerous small creeks and tributaries, along with thirty man-made lakes and ponds and 1,200 acres of fields, support a diversity of habitats for wildlife. The refuge supports a wide variety of plants and animals including 190 species of birds, 42 species of mammals, 41 species of reptiles, and 25 species of amphibians. There are picnic locations, a driving tour through the refuge, and three hiking trails (1/2, 1, and 3 mile) for the nature lover to follow. The Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge is approximately 32 miles from Bloomsbury. Go to carolinasandhills.fws.gov for more information.
Carriage Ride through Camden
Take a carriage ride through Camden! Depart Bloomsbury and explore the historic district as Joy tells you the history of Camden’s big white houses. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time as the carriage transports you through the picturesque streets of historic Camden amid graceful antebellum homes. Relax to the sounds of jingling harness and the clip-clop of horse’s hooves. Ride in the open air carriage and see why Camden is the sister city of Charleston. www.camdencarriage.com
Cheraw State Recreation Area, Cheraw, SC
Cheraw State Recreation Area is so fantastic that we had to place it in our things to do even though it is over forty-five minutes away. Located 57 miles from Bloomsbury, you are in for a treat. Cheraw State Recreation Area uniquely combines outstanding recreational opportunities: equestrian trails, hiking and biking trails, boating, sailing, fishing and golf. Cheraw State Recreation Area provides a championship 18-hole golf course designed by Tom Jackson, with a layout so unique that no two fairways are adjacent to the other. The park also protects habitats for the threatened Red cockaded woodpecker and migratory birds. Lake Juniper covers 360 acres with bass, bream, crappie, and catfish for the dedicated fisherman to chase. Whether you are hiking, fishing, boating, golfing, or picnicking, this is one of the finest parks in South Carolina. www.southcarolinaparks.com
Chester County Historical Society Museum
Located in the old 1914 Chester jail, the museum includes notable collections of Native American artifacts and firearms from Revolutionary Era to the present, period costumes and relics of the War Between the States. No admission charged. Open Wednesdays 1100 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. or by appointment at other times. Located 107 McAliley Street in Chester, SC about 61 miles from Bloomsbury. 803-385-2330
Chester County Transportation Museum
Opened in 2007 in the 1888 Freight Depot the museum contains buggies, wagons, a 1925 school bus used in Chester County, a 1934 Ford, a collection of license tags from the first issued in 1917 through 1975, a 1896 wooden rim bicycle and many car and train related items. The museum was created through a Department of Transportation Grant. Opened Tuesday to Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Sunday from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Located 60 miles from Bloomsbury the Museum can be found at 157 Wyllie Street in Chester, SC. 803-385-2330.
Cleveland School Fire Memorial
Visit the site where Cleveland School stood until the fateful day it burned, claiming the lives of 77 South Carolina residents. The Nation’s reaction to this tragedy shaped modern building codes, as the huge loss of life at the school prompted legislations requiring structures to provide more efficient escape routes. At nearby Beulah Methodist Church, a monument and enclosure mark the mass grave of many of the fire’s victims. Every family in the southern part of Kershaw County lost someone in this fire. Let Bloomsbury guide you to the monument that is located on Cleveland School Road. It pays tribute to the many lost lives and their community. The tragedy occurred on May 16, 1923 during a school play when a candle tipped over and ignited curtains. The fire resulted in some of the most sweeping changes in U.S. fire codes. The two-story Cleveland School was constructed of wood. Only a single, narrow stairway led to the second floor auditorium which was packed the night of the play. As the result of this fire, the greatest loss of life in a public building at the time, fire escapes, doors opening to the outside, increased stairway widths, flame retardant materials became mandatory for public buildings.
Columbia River Walks
Cutting through the heart of the Columbia Riverbanks regionh, the Saluda and the Broad Rivers meet in a rush of rapids churning over giant boulders, then mellowing out to form the Congaree River. One can get a true appreciation of the beauty of this area by walking alone the riverbanks using the Three River Greenway. Observe herons and egrets, leaping fish or grazing deer. The Greenway is currently comprised of 3 river walks, with lighted and paved trails, boardwalks and overlooks. Granby Park is a 24 acre stretch located at the end of Catawba Street off Huger Street on the city of Columbia side of the Congaree. The West Columbia River Walk is accessed by a parking lot off Meeting Street. The Cayce Riverwalk connects to the West Columbia River Walk and its parking lot is located off Axtell Drive in Cayce. The Three Rivers Greenway is open for walking, running, or bicycling. Maps are available at www.riveralliance.org or call 803-765-2200.
Congaree Swamp National Park
Welcome to the largest remnant of old-growth floodplain forest remaining on the continent! That is correct, you cannot experience this anywhere else in the US. You will enjoy national and state champion trees, towering to record size amidst astonishing biodiversity. Walk, paddle or just relax within this dynamic floodplain ecosystem. Beauty and tranquility reign supreme in the midst of this natural treasure. Congaree National Park houses a museum quality exhibit area within the Harry Hampton Visitor Center, a 2.4 mile boardwalk loop trail, over 20 miles of backwoods hiking trails, canoeing, kayaking, fishing and more. Take a pleasant drive through South Carolina backcountry as you travel the 42 miles from Bloomsbury to the magnificent Congaree Park. www.nps.gov/cong
Cotton Trail of South Carolina
High Cotton!! Spend the day following the Cotton Trails of South Carolina. Discover how cotton shaped a whole way of life. Explore the legacy of “High Cotton” when times were good. Learn about the lean years and the boll weevil. Find out what those odd machines were doing and how a cotton gin works. Ramble through historic market towns, farms, and field, museums and gardens. Start at Bloomsbury and follow the trail. The South Carolina Cotton Trail meanders through Bishopville, Hartsville, Society Hill, Cheraw, Bennettsville, and Clio. If you want to understand southern history, you need to understand cotton. www.sccottontrail.org
Columbia Museum of Art, Columbia, SC
South Carolina’s premier international art museum houses an extraordinary collection of European and American fine and decorative art that spans centuries. In recent years, the Museum’s collection of Asian art and antiquities has grown through generous gifts to the collection. Founded in 1950, the Museum opened its new building on Main Street in 1998 by transforming an urban department store into a sleek and airy, light-filled space with 25 galleries. The collections include masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance and Baroque from the Samuel H. Kress Collection, works by significant furniture and silver makers, as well as modern and contemporary art from the present time. Of particular interests are Sandro Botticelli’s Nativity, Claude Monet’s The Seine at Giverny and art glass by Louis Comfort Tiffany. The Museum also offers changing exhibitions from renowned museums and educational programs that include group and public tours, lectures, films and concert series. Located 35 miles from Bloomsbury at Hampton and Main streets, go to www.columbiamuseum.org for more information.
Darlington Raceway and Museum, Darlington, SC
NASCAR fan? Come for a race or visit Darlington Raceway and Museum. Most visitors to Darlington Raceway’s Joe Weatherly Stock Car Museum aren’t quite sure what to expect: old cars or modern ones, a history lesson, or a fresh look at a most contemporary and constantly evolving sport? The answer: the Weatherly Museum offers all this, and a lot more. Just as Darlington Raceway had originally been constructed in 1950 to give stock car racing a platform to rival that of the Indianapolis 500, the Weatherly Museum was intended to do the same for the history of the sport. The facility was officially dedicated on May 2, 1965, and still stands as a testament to the greatness of the sport of stock car racing and those who compete in it. A walk through the museum is not only a trip through the history of Darlington Raceway, but of the entire sport. At the end of a line of classic cars, looking like a prop from a 1940s film, sits the 1950 Plymouth Johnny Mantz drove to Victory Lane in the very first Mountain Dew Southern 500. Mantz was the slowest qualifier for the race which he eventually won by 15 laps, over second-place finisher Fireball Roberts. In the rear of the building visitors can find the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) Hall of Fame, filled with photos, memorabilia and interactive exhibits showcasing the sport of NASCAR racing and the personalities who have inhabited it over the years. Alan Kulwicki, David Pearson, Junior Johnson, Lee and Richard Petty, Neil Bonnett to name a few. Located 45 miles from Bloomsbury, all NASCAR fans should visit Darlington. For more info go to www.darlingtonraceway.com
Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County
Founded in 1974 by three independent groups (Camden Art Association, Camden Music Association, and the Camden Community Theatre), the Fine Arts Center is the cultural focus of the county and serves as the local arts agency as well as an umbrella organization for affiliate clubs. Covering over five acres and housed in three buildings, the Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County is incredible with what it brings to the community in art, music and theatre. See the Bloomsbury calendar of events or go to www.fineartscenter.org for more information. It’s worth a trip to Camden just for one of the Fine Arts Center events!!
Fryar’s Topiary Garden, Bishopville, SC
Just a pleasant 23 mile ride through South Carolina farm country to Bishopville is Fryar’s Topiary. Fryar’s Topiary has been featured on Oprah and other nationally syndicated programs. Now the subject of a movie “A Man Named Pearl”, Pearl Fryar’s Topiary garden is magnificent! Topiary is the art of sculpting living plants into designs, and long before he knew the definition of topiary, Pearl, started his artistic adventure. While visiting a local nursery, he spied a simple topiary and inquired how to shear a plant in the same design. Trying to win a local yard of the month contest, he started his topiary garden. Located on his property surrounding his home, you will be amazed at what he has done. Graceful arches, spirals, and geometric designs complement even more unusual images as one garden leads into another. Visit his gardens, and don’t be surprised if Pearl walks out to see you. www.fryarstopiaries.com
General Sherman’s March on Columbia, South Carolina Self Guided Tour
In many ways, the city of Columbia remains much as it was in 1865. Because it was a planned city, all the streets are essentially the way they were when Sherman and his troops arrived. A number of the buildings and houses that survived the fire are still there. All of this offers one the ability to actually follow the route Sherman took into the city and stand where events took place within Columbia .
Visitors can start at Congaree Creek where Union and Confederate forces fought and proceed to the Gervais Street bridge where Union troops first saw the city and fired upon it. The ruins of Columbia Mills and the remnants of the Saluda River Bridge are next on the route before moving to the Broad River Bridge , essentially the same point where Sherman ’s Arm crossed to advance on Columbia.
A marker where Columbia ’s Mayor surrendered the city then sets the stage for the turn on the road leading directly in to the city. This view, minus the tall office buildings, is exactly the one Sherman and his men had as they approached the city. The granite State House, which Sherman spared, still bears the scars of Union cannon fire and dominates one’s view at the end of Main Street.
As described by David Conynham, Columbia still is a beautiful city today. One can easily walk the streets and be transformed back to the pre-fire days of 1865. The State House was completed and fulfills Major George Ward Nichols prediction, the Confederate Printing Plant was restored using the original brick walls, and General Oliver Howard’s headquarters still stands along with other pre-fire homes and mansions.
The start point is a 35 minute drive from Bloomsbury. See the innkeepers for the handout to view 20 locations or go to www.shermansmarch.com for more information. 803-217-0071
Goodale State Park, Camden, SC
Just six miles from Bloomsbury are tall cypress trees that enchant the eye, a 140 acre Civil War-era mill-pond that abounds with wildlife, and a nature trail waiting to be explored. Goodale State Park near Bloomsbury is home to these attractions and hidden surprises, such as a 3-mile cypress canoe trail that takes paddlers quickly back into a world they didn’t know existed so near to town. A longtime community favorite, Goodale also offers shoreline fishing, canoe rentals, picnicking and hiking. Two picnic shelters along with a community rental building are available for family or other group gatherings. The park has a 1.7 mile nature trail. www.southcarolinaparks.com
Ghosts and Legends of Columbia
Join the walking tour for an intriguing, sometimes chilling, the 90 minute encounter with the region’s restless spirit world. Our fully narrated tour is filled with stories from Columbia’s spectral past and enduring folklore tradition.
Thirty Six miles from Bloomsbury, you will saunter among monuments on the beautiful South Carolina State House grounds, visit historic Trinity Episcopal Cathedral and its adjoining graveyard, pause in the shadow of the Town Theater – the oldest of its kind in America – and skim the northern fringe of the University of South Carolina campus. With the variety of sites comes a variety of stories involving ghosts, legends, and the bizarre. Reservations Required 803-765-1837. www.americabyfoot.com
Green Hills Golf Course, Lugoff, SC
Looking for a quick 9 holes with a bit of a challenge? This is it…the 9-hole "Green Hill" course at the Green Hill Golf Club facility in Lugoff, features 2,980 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 36. The course rating is 36 and it has a slope rating of 120. A challenging nine hole layout that rewards accuracy, Green Hill Golf Club winds its way through 70 acres of mature pines and hardwoods. Water comes into play on eight of the nine holes and the greens are small and undulating, so a good short game is needed to score well. The Restaurant at Green Hill combines a casual, relaxed atmosphere and delicious food to create an unbeatable dining experience! Green Hill opened in 1962 and has been the delight for local golfers wanting to work on their short game. Check out http://golf.discoversouthcarolina.com and travel the short 10 miles from Bloomsbury to this fun course.
Hampton-Preston Mansion, Columbia, SC
The Hampton-Preston Mansion epitomizes the lives of the planter elite in Antebellum South Carolina. Both the Hamptons and the Prestons moved in the highest social and political circles of Columbia society. Their wealth came from cotton plantations in Columbia and sugar cane plantations in Louisiana, on which hundreds of slaves labored. Located 35 miles from Bloomsbury, the Hampton-Preston Mansion was restored in 1969, and the mansion was opened in 1970 as an historic house museum. The mansion’s collection represents fifty years of occupancy. The rooms reflect an evolving interpretation from the Federal period to the early postbellum years. Many of the objects in the mansion belonged to the Hamptons and Prestons, objects that they acquired both domestically and abroad. For more information go to http://historiccolumbia.org/history/hampton_preston.html
Horse Farms of Camden
Let Bloomsbury guide you to a driving tour of Camden’s famous horse farms. First, drive south on US 521 and tour Tombfield Road and Cantey Lane. Take the opportunity to view the horse farms, barns, and training arenas where over 500 thoroughbreds train every year to race and compete in all disciplines. Then come back to US 521 and head north back through the city of Camden and drive down Red Fox Road to see the horses grazing and the facilities that support them. Returning to US 521, turn on Knights Hill Road to stop at the Steeplechase Museum. There, you will be able to view the great displays of steeplechase history. Then back on Knights Hill Road and drive through the Springdale Race track grounds. To your left are the training grounds, and to your right are the paddocks and the race track. Then make a stop at “The Tack Room” the largest tack shop on the east coast. Over 30,000 square feet of about everything you can think of for horses. You’ll view over 300 saddles, hundreds of bridles, harness, clothing, jewelry, furniture, and other unique gifts. It is definitely worth the stop even if you don’t ride. People come from all over the country to visit “The Tack Room.” After your tour and shopping, return to Bloomsbury to relax in the Hunt Room with all the horse paraphernalia and read about how to train your own horse.
I.C. Thomas General Merchandise Store in Ridgeway
Begun as the I.C. Thomas Company by Issac Thomas in 1885, the store sold general merchandise of every description. The present brick store was erected in 1911, and is still owned by a fourth generation member of the Thomas family. Shop the general store and browse through the many different lines of gourmet foods, including Paula Deen’s, Gullah Gourmet and Low Country Produce. You can find hand made rugs, quilts, baby items, aprons plus soap and lotions. Many of the items are made locally. Also offered are beautiful table clothes from Mountain Weaver, hand carved spoons from Jonathan’s Spoons, tea pots and even dog treats! Come and visit and receive the same excellent customer service you would have gotten from the Thomas family a 100 years ago! www.laurastearoom.com
Iris Gardens of Sumter, SC
The beautiful black waters of Swan Lake form the setting for the spectacular Iris Gardens just 28 miles south of Bloomsbury. The lake is dotted with colorful islands, and wildlife is abundant. The only public park in the United States to feature all eight swan species, Swan Lake-Iris Gardens is also home to some of the nation’s most intensive plantings of Japanese iris, which bloom yearly in mid to late May and last until the beginning of June. The garden also hosts many other floral attractions, including colorful camellias, azaleas, day lilies, and Japanese magnolias. The gardens come alive with color during the Christmas season with the nighttime Fantasy of Lights display, featuring more than 1,000,000 varicolored sparkling lights in an array of colors and shapes. www.sumtersc.gov/VisitingUs/SwanLake.aspx
Kalmia Gardens, Coker College, Hartsville, SC
Located in the Pee Dee region of South Carolina on a former 19th century plantation, Kalmia Gardens is a 35-acre private botanical garden and historic house open to the public. The Thomas E. Hart House, built in 1820 with timber cut from the property, and surrounding gardens are on the National Register of Historic Places. Only 41 miles from Bloomsbury, Kalmia Gardens boasts a wide array of rhododendrons, camellias, azaleas, wisteria, tea-olives, dogwood and the Gardens’ namesake — Kalmia latifolia, the Mountain Laurel. It also features a daylily display garden recognized by the American Hemerocallis Society. Kalmia Gardens is part of the scenic SC Cotton Trail and is the gateway to the 796-acre Segars-McKinnon Heritage Preserve. Kalmia Gardens of Coker College has been open to the public since 1935 and includes many exotic ornamentals planted by Mrs. David Robert Coker, the garden’s founder. When the Coker family acquired the land in 1932, “Miss May” began transforming what was then a desolate area into a place of tranquility and beauty, creating many trails that lead down to Black Creek. She gave Kalmia Gardens to Coker College in 1965 as a memorial to her late husband. www.coker.edu/Kalmia/
The Kendall Mill Historic District is centered around the Wateree Plant and associated structures that date from 1899 to 1923. The district contains eight properties of key historic or architectural significance and 113 supporting properties which illustrate the growth of the companies which utilized the plant through the years. The mill village to the south and southeast of the plant was built between 1900 and ca.1925 and is a virtually intact reminder of the importance of the textile industry to South Carolina. The mill faces Kendall Park, a ten-acre landscaped park. On the eastern border of the park are the mill supervisors’ houses, built between 1900 and ca. 1925. The operatives house consist of one-story, one-and-one-half-story, and a few two-story frame houses which date from 1900 to 1923. The district also includes Kendall Lake, north of the mill. The Dekalb Cotton Mill was organized in 1899. The Dekalb Mill building, designed by W.B. Smith Whaley in the Romanesque Revival style, was considered a model of textile architecture. The original plant building is a four-story rectangular brick building with a back stair tower and an imposing six-story front stair tower. The west addition to the plant, which is in keeping, architecturally, with the older buildings, was constructed in 1964. Listed in the National Register March 19, 1982.
The Kensington Mansion was placed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1971 and is located 22 miles from Bloomsbury. The Mansion is an Italianate Revival structure, furnished with the Scarborough-Hamer Collection of decorative arts from the Victorian Period. Matthew Richard Singleton (1817-1854) completed Kensington Mansion in 1854. Charleston architects Edward C. Jones and Francis D. Lee designed Kensington Mansion. It has 29 rooms and 12,000 square feet of floor space. The raised basement contains a massive cistern that held 10,000 gallons of water for household use. The original kitchen building stands beside the main house. Located in lower Richland County, South Carolina, it is an architectural and historical treasure. Normally open only Fridays and Saturdays. Go to www.kensington.sumtercountymuseum.org for more information on when open and hours of operation.
Landsford Canal State Park
You will find just 55 miles northwest of Bloomsbury the fabulous Landsford Canal State Park. A broad river, rich history and rare, hardy wildflowers come together at Landsford Canal State Park. Stretched along the Catawba River along the South Carolina fall line, the park is home to the well-preserved remains of the canal system that made the river commercially navigable from 1820 to 1835. Locks, a mill site and the lockkeeper’s home are among the numerous intact structures from that era. Out in the river is one of the largest known stands of rocky shoals spider lilies, tough plants that hang tight in the swift water and bloom spectacularly in a huge blanket of white in late May and early June. An easy-to-walk trail along the river leads to a viewing deck. This crossable spot on the river (that’s what a ford is, of course) also played a role in the Revolutionary War, as both British and American troops under Cornwallis and Sumter crossed here before and after pivotal battles. Fishing, picnicking, nature watching (including the resident pair of bald eagles) and studying the canal structures and the interpretive signage all are favorite activities at this park in the Piedmont. www.southcarolinaparks.com
Lee State Park, Bishopville, SC
Nestled in a floodplain forest along the scenic Lynches River, Lee State Natural Area (2800+ acres) has been serving South Carolina since it was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. Now conveniently located just off Interstate 20 and only 28 miles from Bloomsbury, visitors can camp, fish, ride horses and hike and explore along the park’s nature trails. Lee State Natural Area’s artesian springs, millpond and sandhills add to its diversity as a natural setting. Deer, raccoons and red foxes are among the permanent residents. The park also features an environmental education center with exhibits about its natural setting in Lee County, a library and historical documents, including newspapers, from the days the park was built during the Great Depression.
Mann-Simons Cottage, Columbia, SC
The Mann-Simons Cottage has statewide significance as one of only a few houses in South Carolina once owned by free African-Americans in antebellum days and now preserved as a historic house museum. Celia Mann and her descendents owned the house from the mid-nineteenth century until 1970. Located 35 miles from Bloomsbury, the collections in the cottage reflect the entrepreneurial spirit of free African-Americans. In the Mann-Simons family were bakers, tailors, seamstresses, and musicians, and in the 20th century, educators. An exhibition presents information on Celia Mann and her descendents, the restoration of the cottage, and the archaeological excavation at the site. http://historiccolumbia.org/history/mann_simons.html
McKissick Museum at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC: McKissick Museum is located at the heart of the historic Horseshoe on the Columbia campus of the University of South Carolina. It was established in 1976 by the University Board of Trustees to bring together under one roof the many object collections housed in various departments and colleges throughout campus. These collections are located 36 miles from Bloomsbury and date back to 1801. They provide insight into the long and illustrious history of the University. McKissick Museum is accredited by the American Association of Museums, operating within their guidelines for the proper care and safekeeping of these historical artifacts. The building itself is a Works Progress Administration structure erected in 1939 as the University’s library. It stands on the site of the first president’s house built on the Horseshoe and removed to make room for the library building in 1937. A plaque commemorating the house lies in front of McKissick Museum at the edge of the grass bordering the plaza in front of the building. Currently the Museum has two main galleries located on the second floor of the building, a new gallery on the third floor, and the small gallery of Baruch Silver located within the space of the University’s Visitor Center on the first floor. Exhibitions change periodically so go to the McKissick web site for more information. www.cas.sc.edu/mcks/
McLeod Antique Museum, McBee, SC: Take a stroll down memory lane at the McLeod Farms Museum where visiting the past is fun! The museum is home to over 20 antique cars, including a 1920 McLaughlin, 1930 Lincoln, Model T’s and Model A’s. The museum, located 28 miles from Bloomsbury, includes automobiles from each decade since the horse and buggy, antique farming equipment, such as old tractors and plows. The museum has it all from fabulous antique autos to butter churns and phonograph players! Antique sewing machines and other replicas are displayed as well. There is much more to see at the Mac’s Pride Antique Museum. The museum is right next door to the McLeod Farms Roadside Market. www.macspride.com
McLeod Farms Roadside Market, McBee, SC
“Life’s a peach” is more than a slogan for the McLeod family of McBee, South Carolina. The McLeods operate one of the largest peach orchards in the area, growing 22 varieties on 650 producing acres on sandy loam outside the small town of McBee SC. The orchards are just 28 miles from Bloomsbury and have been in the McLeod family since 1916. Attend either the strawberry or peach festival….you won’t go away hungry! Today, Kemp McLeod represents the fourth generation to work the family orchards. He learned the operation from his father, Campbell McLeod. It takes about 30 employees to run the farm year-round. However, during the harvest season, from the end of May to the end of August, the numbers swell to over 200. Workers can be found picking, grading, packing, and shipping millions of pounds of peaches to all parts of the U.S. and Canada. At the height of the season, a 15-hour workday is not unusual. Fresh strawberries, peaches, and vegetables right off the farm. If you like, you can even pick the fruit yourself. Visit the bakery for ice cream and gifts. Go to www.macspride.com for a great web site!
National Steeplechase Museum
The National Steeplechase Museum is located just a couple of miles from Bloomsbury on the grounds of the historic 600 acre Springdale Race Course. The mission of the Museum is to foster public interest in the sport of American Steeplechasing and reaching the broadest audience through public events, publications and exhibitions. The Museum is a repository for documents, photographs, trophies, memorabilia, interactive exhibits and film…all of which entertain and inform. It is the only institution in the United States dedicated solely to the national story of steeplechasing and to the horses, people and places that have influenced its history. Don’t miss this wonderful opportunity to visit a unique and fascinating museum that is fun for both horse riding enthusiasts and those that just love horses. Visit www.nationalsteeplechasemuseum.org to learn more.
Potter’s Raid, Camden, SC
Spend the afternoon following the routes and battles of Union and Confederate Forces as the Yankees marched through Kershaw, Sumter and Clarendon counties from April 8 -21, 1865. See the site where the last Union officer was killed (at least that is our story here in South Carolina) during the war at the Battle of Boykin’s Mill Pond. The Innkeepers at Bloomsbury will be happy to provide you with the brochure.
Quaker Cemetery, Camden, SC
Early Quaker settlers established themselves about the site of Camden first know as Pine Tree Hill, about the year 1750. One of that sect, Samuel Wyly, in 1759, conveyed four acres of land for a period of 999 years, and for a rental of “One Pepper Corn per Year” to the Quakers for their house of worship and burying ground. Several Quakers are buried there and are identified by the long brick arched graves with no headstones. The cemetery has grown from four acres to its present day size of 50 acres. The Cemetery includes Dr. George Todd, brother-in-law to President Lincoln, Sgt Richard R. Kirkland, the Confederate hero who took water to wounded Union soldiers at the Battle of Fredericksburg, two Congressional Medal of Honor winners, in adition to the original Quaker graves.
Ridgeway Auction House, Ridgeway, SC
Ridgeway Auction House is located in the quaint, picturesque town of Ridgeway, SC. The building has been in existence since the early 1900’s, being an A-Model Ford dealership and later used as a cotton warehouse. After major renovations, the building is now a spacious, fully climate-controlled gallery with a uniqueness that compliments the fine antiques and furnishings. The registration/cashier window came from the old Camden Courthouse, the carriage lights on the front of the building came from one of the old Winthrop College buildings and the "sold" room boasts a real jail door. The heart pine window front was crafted from timbers salvaged during the renovation. Only a hop-skip-and a jump away, you can view antique furniture of all types, art work, carpets, silver, and glassware. Jump in the auction and grab that treasure. You won’t find a better auction in the state!! Just 24 miles from Bloomsbury, you can find more information and auction dates at www.rhlee.com
Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens of Columbia
From elephants and koalas to penguins and sharks, formal gardens to natural woodlands, Riverbanks Zoo and Garden promise new discoveries around every corner! Riverbanks Zoo & Gardens not only serve to protect rare and endangered wildlife and wild places, but also safeguards a number of South Carolina’s significant historical landmarks. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1973, Riverbanks’ 170-acre site has a deep-rooted history dating back to the early 1800s with South Carolina’s textile industry and the Civil War. Located 37 miles from Bloomsbury, visitors can view structural remains that reveal this rich past from several vantage points within the Zoo & Garden. Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is open every day except for Thanksgiving and Christmas days. www.riverbanks.org
Robert Mills Courthouse, Camden, SC
Designed in 1825 by "South Carolina’s Architect" Robert Mills and completed in 1827, the courthouse features a copper roof, brick floors, vaulted central hallway and double arched ceilings downstairs, and vestiges of its original radiant heat systems. Built to be fireproof, the walls of the structure are 22-inch-thick masonry at the base covered by plaster, tapering to about fifteen inches thick at the second floor. T he courtroom is restored to conform to an 1845 renovation, when wide pine plank floors were installed to cover the second story brick floor. The judge’s bench and witness stand are as Mills designed them. The original ornate woodwork is visible above period silk and damask window treatments. Housing the Kershaw Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center, visitors will find all the rack cards they need to visit the sights of Camden and Kershaw County. A must visit…go to http://www.camden-sc.org/robert-mills-courthouse-sporting-life-gallery.php for more information.
Robert Mills House, Columbia, SC
The Robert Mills House exemplifies the skill of the United States’ first Federal architect. Robert Mills designed some of the nation’s most prominent buildings, including the Washington Monument. Ainsley Hall, a wealthy Columbia merchant, hired Mills to plan the Columbia townhouse in 1823. Mills designed few private residences. The house (located 35 miles from Bloomsbury) reflects the architect’s preference for the classical revival style, with a large portico dominating the north façade. Like many of his public buildings, the Mills House is a brick structure with a symmetrical exterior and interior. The collection in the house displays decorative arts of the early 19th century, including American Federal, English Regency, and French Empire pieces. The basement contains service rooms with objects used for the storage and preparation of food. http://historiccolumbia.org/history/mills.html
Saluda Shoals Park
Saluda Shoals Park is a premier, natural, environmentally sensitive riverfront park that invites visitors to experience the treasures of the Saluda River through exceptional educational, recreational and cultural, opportunities. Saluda Shoals Park sets a precedent of quality and innovation in development of the river greenway. Located 42 miles from Bloomsbury, Saluda Shoals Park runs along the banks of the beautiful Saluda River in Irmo, SC. This 277-acre regional park offers Saluda Splash, a zero depth playground, canoe and kayak rentals. Paved and unpaved trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding, picnic shelters and more! http://www.icrc.net/Default.aspx
Sesquicentennial State Park, Columbia, SC
Sesquicentennial State Park (over 1400 acres), situated in the middle of the Sandhills region, features a beautiful 30-acre lake surrounded by trails and picnic areas. The park’s proximity to downtown Columbia and interstate highways attract both local residents and travelers. Sesqui, as it’s affectionately known, is heavily used for family reunions and group campouts. It also features dog park and well-attended interpretive nature programs, as well as a dormitory, meeting facility and ropes course popular for corporate retreats and team-building. Once a drive out to the country but now a green space in the Columbia suburbs, the park was originally built by the men of the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. Evidence of their craftsmanship remains today, including the distinctive white stone blocks that mark the front gate. Only 25 miles from Bloomsbury, things to do include birding, hiking (3.5 mile Loop Road Trail), 1.9 mile Sandhills Hiking Trail, and .4 mile Jackson Creek Nature Trail), and biking (6.1 mile Mountain Bike trail). www.southcarolinaparks.com
South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum, Columbia, SC
For over a century, the SC Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum’s mission has been to collect and preserve the military history of this state. When you enter Columbia’s oldest museum, you uncover the state’s martial tradition from the Revolutionary War to the present War on Terror. Explore the military campaigns that South Carolinian soldiers have participated in over the past three hundred years. Discover one of the country’s most inclusive battle flag collections and see the expansive weapons and uniform collections with examples from nearly every American conflict. Travel the 36 miles from Bloomsbury and experience military culture with artifacts on display from an extensive collection. www.crr.sc.gov Return to Bloomsbury to see a life-sized, signed lithogrpahy of General Curtis E. Lemay, two USAF shadow boxes, and much more relating to the histories of Bruce and Katherine Brown, owners, Bloomsbury LLC.
South Carolina Cotton Museum, Bishopville, SC
A major interpretive site, the museum preserves the legacy of cotton and rural life. Well worth the 22 mile trip from Bloomsbury through South Carolina back country, the museum displays farm and manufacturing equipment spanning two centuries that allow visitors to experience the cotton culture way of life from field to factory. If you want to understand the South then you need to understand the effect cotton had on her way of life. The 1902 James House is adjacent. Unique cotton items are available at the gift shop.
South Carolina Equine Center:
The South Carolina Equine Park (SCEP) is a 40-acre center that has been specifically designed for a full range of activities, breeds and users, such as hunter/jumpers, quarter horses, paint horses, dressage, ranch horse shows, breed shows and youth events. This Park is Phase One of the SCEP. The Foundation, a non-profit organization 501(c)(3), aims to acquire additional land, expand the stabling, and build an enclosed, all-weather show pavilion to attract large audiences. The pavilion could host a variety of non-equine events as well. SCEP is proud to offer an equine facility in central South Carolina that is accessible by several nearby interstates including I-20, I-95, I-26, and I-77. For more information go to www.scequinepark.com
Springdale Race Course, Camden, SC
Springdale Race Course is home to the Carolina Cup held the last Saturday of March each spring, the Marion DuPont Scott Colonial Cup held the third Sunday of November every fall and the National Steeplechase Museum. While visiting Camden take the opportunity to visit the grounds of the Springdale Race Course and walk through the National Steeplechase Museum displaying trophies, jockey colors, and history of the great sport of steeplechase. www.carolina-cup.org
State Museum, Columbia, SC
Just 36 miles from Bloomsbury and housed in the historic 1893 Columbia Mill textile building, the "biggest artifact," the South Carolina State Museum tells the story of South Carolina through many exhibits and programs. Come to enjoy art, cultural history, natural history, science and technology. Many of the museum’s displays are interconnected. You will find there is history in art, artistic beauty in natural history and science, and history behind technology. Go to www.southcarolinastatemuseum.org. for the latest exhibitions.
Victoria Susan's and The Garden Gate Gallery, Camden SC
These two beautiful new shops recently moved to the Greenleaf Villa...moved to a wonderful location. Victoria Susan's continues to offer wearable art: clothing, adornments, jewelry. The Garden Gate offers some art accessories and great framing.
White Pines Golf Course, Camden, SC
Bermuda greens and winding fairways around strategically placed water hazards make this one of the most improved courses in the area. The signature hole #16 is a 164-yard par 3 with a lateral water hazard that comes into play on the fairway. The most difficult hole, #7, is a 414-yard par 4 because of an extremely narrow fairway. This course’s medium-sized greens are slightly sloped and sand bunkers are spread throughout the entire design. Easy to get in a quick 18 with it only six miles away!
The newest and the hotest restaurant located in downtown Camden is iSalud! Mexican Kitchen and Tequila Lounge. Each entree, sauce, dip is made fresh...there is something for everyone on the menu. Patrons are raving about there fresh salads and homemade specialities. Over 100 of the finest tequilas are sold on-site, and all drinks are made by hand. In addition to the large, open dining area, the upstairs lounge area offers comfortable seating. From the lighting to the fountain, from the seating to the meal, this is the finest Mexican Kitchen in the area. Check their website for the live music calendar of events. 803.425.4850. http://saludmexicankitchen.com/
Laura’s Tea Room
Laura’s Tea Room is located in the restored general merchandise store of I.C. Thomas Company. Go to Ridgeway, S.C (only 24 miles from Bloomsbury) and enjoy Laura’s Tea Room. Come and have a light lunch Tuesday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m.to 2:00 p.m. There lunches include delicious sandwiches, salads and a wonderful side. All lunches include a cup of hot tea or a glass of refreshing ice tea of the day. Served on beautiful china dishes, you can sit upstairs overlooking Ridgeway. If you are not a tea drinker, Laura’s Tea Room also has a coffee shop. Sit at their large community table and read the orders that were found in a desk drawer in the store from 1886 to 1889. A beautifully restored building and wonderful ambiance! 803-337-8594 www.laurastearoom.com
Located 11 miles south of Bloomsbury at 11 Main Street (US 521), Rembert, SC. Lilfred’s was reopened under new management in February of ’08; the new owners previously ran the Fireplace Grill. Signature appetizers include fried mushrooms or mussels in curry sauce. Beef and seafood are mainstays of the menu. You will also find oysters, shrimp and scallops on the menu. Usually, Lilfred’s offers tables for one sitting per dinner evening making for a very leisurely time. Reservations are recommended. 803.432.8750 www.lilfreds.net
Mill Pond Steak House
The Mill Pond Steak House is the only fine dining steakhouse in the midlands and is located on the 10th largest privately owned lake and nature preserve in South Carolina. The very rustic buildings take you to a time past. . They offer the best Certified Angus Beef that is aged for 40 plus days before it is served to the guest. They have a well developed and seasoned staff that is committed to your dining experience. It starts from the time you pick up the phone to make a reservation to the time you are welcomed at the front door and lasts forever. They host a superb wine list. The restaurant is composed of three historic buildings established in the early 19th century. The kitchen was the old Post Office, the bar was the old General Store and the main dining room was another General Store relocated to its present location. From the heart pine floors to the reclaimed lumber that was once walls of several cabins in Boykin, you realize that you are surrounded by history. Mill Pond Steak House offers rustic elegance with southern hospitality and a one of a kind dining experience. Located nine miles south of town at 84 Mill Pond Road in Boykin, SC, let Bloomsbury make you a reservation. 803.425.8825 www.themillpondsteakhouse.com
Upscale, yet cozy, Sam Kendall’s delivers classic and contemporary American food in its restored 1880’s building. Only a mile away from Bloomsbury and built in the center of Camden, the non-smoking facility has a beautiful bar and booths looking out on the main street of Camden. Sam Kendall’s features USDA choice steaks, seafood and a variety of house specialties with daily features including lamb, veal and specially prepared seafood. It also provides a full service bar including Kershaw county’s largest wine selection. Sam Kendall’s is a "can’t miss" if you are dining in Camden. Reservations are accepted but not required. Visit Sam Kendall’s at 1043 Broad Street in downtown Camden. 803.424.2005. www.samkendalls.com
There are over 90 dining locations in the Camden area. We will be happy to make additional recommendations if you desire.
Plenty to do while staying at Bloomsbury: cruise the day enjoying the sights of South Carolina, eat in one of many of Camden’s superb restaurants, then relax in a spacious room…and wakeup to a three course gourmet breakfast. As the famous Civil War diarist Mary Chesnut states in her dairies: “Bloomsbury, home again.”