Something I have looked forward to for a long time. Vacation is usually a stay-ca at home with time to clean out the closets and take care of the chores I had put off for later.
Not this year.
This year, I am going on a true vacation and I plan to share everything with you. All the places I get to eat, the sites I see, and my experiences. For the next 14 days I am going to be an open book.
I hope you’re ready.
Vacation Day 1
Stop #1: Poinsett Bridge
Located in Travelers Rest, South Carolina, Poinsett Bridge was just a hop, skip, and jump away from my home. 40 minutes from the heart of Greenville, South Carolina, Poinsett Brige is a must see destination.
The bridge was named after Joel Poinsett (1779-1851), a South Carolina native and diplomatic minister to Mexico. The Poinsett bridge was constructed in 1820 and remains the oldest surviving bridge in South Carolina to date.
The Gothic architecture is amazing. The Poinsett Bridge will be celebrating its 200th birthday next year, 2020. It is built over Gap Creek. The archway is about 15 feet high and offers a great spot for pictures (that is if you don’t mind getting a little muddy).
There is also a short hiking trail through the woods that loops back to the main road. Although the hike isn’t impressive, it is worth doing as there are good places for picture taking and wildlife viewing along the way.
Small waterfalls are relaxing to the ears as you walk through the wooded paths. The mountain laurel and natural vegetation is also wonderful for picture taking or for a fun day of adventure with the kids.
Stop #2: Caesars Head State Park
Next stop of the day is at Caesars Head State Park. The views here are absolutely breath taking. Standing on the stone terrace at 3208 feet, you can see out into parts of Georgia and North Carolina.
Caesars Head is a great place to go if you enjoy bird watching. During the months of September through November, you can see the migration of the hawks, an extraordinary event worth seeing.
There is a short trail off to the side of the large stone terrace that will take you to Devil’s Kitchen, a large crack in the rock on the side of the mountain. The walk to Devil’s Kitchen is short, but the steps leading down deep into the crevice between the rock are extremely steep. Also, if you are a “wide” person, you might find it hard to fit through the crack of the rock. The space in the crevice is extremely cold compared to the terrace above. The path leads to a small hiking trail that takes you around to another scenic lookout.
There is an old legend about how the crack in the rock formed. The legend goes that the area was settled by bootlegging Irish immigrants. According to the legend, the Devil himself concocted his own brew of alcohol and spilled a drop on top of the rock. From the tremendous heat, the rock split into two.
There is restrooms and a small gift shop located at the entrance to the park. The gift shop has some cute little trinkets that make good keepsakes. There are also multiple tables along the path where you can have a nice quiet picnic.
Stop #3: Aunt Sue’s Country Corner
Located at the base of Table Rock, Aunt Sue’s Country Corner is a staple in Pickens County. Featuring an assortment of small stores, Aunt Sue’s is like a small country community combined into one community square.
There is a nice little restaurant where you can sit in the air conditioning and enjoy the view of the mountains outside. Or if you decide to brave the summer heat, there are several tables with umbrellas outside on the wooden terrance.
After you enjoy your meal (I highly recommend the grilled reuben or the grilled rachel) you can browse the small shops for natural rocks and handmade wooden toys. The best piece of artwork I found was a birdhouse attached to the end of a shovel. It would be a unique addition to the garden. After shopping you can enjoy rocking in the high back rockers and playing a game of porch chess or head on over to the ice cream shop and get a couple scoops of Aunt Sue’s delicious ice cream.
Stop #4: Stumphouse Tunnel
Talk about big and creepy, this tunnel was awesome! The Stump House Tunnel is one of three along the unfinished Blue Ridge Railroad of South Carolina. Cold air can be felt continuously flowing out of the tunnel.
The tunnel is unlit, wet and cold but it is a fun little adventure for kids and adults alike. You can go a ways into the tunnel until you come across a locked fence door. Some of the tunnel collapsed around where the first air shaft–hence the locked fence.
Water drips down from the tunnel ceiling and long the rock walls along the inside so make sure you wear the right shoes. Also take your phone or a flash light with you. The inside gets so dark you can’t see 2 inches in front of you.
Outside of the tunnel is an old piece of railway track with the bones or a rail car. You can climb up on top of the rail car (at your own risk) and take some cool pictures.
An interesting fact about Stump House Tunnel: Clemson University purchased the rights to use the tunnel in 1950s. They took advantage of the constant 50 degree temperature and high humidity to grow blue cheese up until the 1970s.
Stop # 5: Issaqueena Falls
Located in Walhalla, South Carolina, The Issaqueena falls is just a short walk away from the Stump House Tunnel. There is parking available right next to the boarded walkway to make it easily accessible for wheel chairs. There is a small wooden platform and a couple of picnic tables with a nice view of Cane Creek. It is a short walk from the parking lot to the top of the wooden platform. You can look out over the edge and see the 100 foot drop to the forest floor below.
Walking to the end of the pathway, you get a good view of the falls but you are not quite able to see the whole picture. Braving a bit of a steep climb, I descended further down a small dirt path. Using the trees and exposed roots, I traversed the rugged terrain until I came to the bottom of the falls. The hard climb was worth it for the experience.
The falls were beautiful at the bottom. I couldn’t even see the pathway or the boarded walkway above. The water cascaded down the rocks in soft pillows of wet as I stood there and took in the serenity of the moment. I think I could have stayed down there for hours and it wouldn’t have been enough. But all good things must come to an end. After saying my goodbye to the beautiful scenery and taking a few pictures, I climbed back up to the pathway.
Traversing through the mountains of North Carolina was a fun and memorable experience. I look forward to taking this trip again. The drive was beautiful and exciting as we traversed the side of the mountain. There were a couple of scenic stops along the way that were good for picture taking.
The mountains of the Carolina’s possess a majestic beauty and have the ability to make a person forget the busy hectic world they left behind. Traveling along the scenic highways and taking in the beauty of nature is a great way to recharge after a long hard work week.
If you live in the Carolina’s or are thinking about visiting, I highly suggest you take a day to explore the mountainous areas and have an adventure of your own. Until then, my boys and I wish you safe travels….
There are more adventures to come. Remember to subscribe to my blog to receive a first look at my many adventure straight in your inbox.