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Bed & Breakfast Getaway: Midlands

Libby Wiersema Libby Wiersema
Libby Wiersema lived in California and Alabama before settling in South Carolina 30 years ago, where she's covered the state's best culinary offerings and tells the stories behind the food.
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Charming, elegant and oh-so-inviting, South Carolina’s bed and breakfasts are known for being destinations in and of themselves. While you may be tempted to simply bask in all that Southern comfort and hospitality (and who could blame you?), taking time out to explore the surrounding area should be a part of your getaway plan. Dining discoveries, outdoor adventures, exciting attractions, natural beauty and cultural points of interest will deepen your South Carolina experience and ensure a treasure trove of memories to take with you when you go.

The Midlands of SC is the perfect place to find a hideaway where you can refresh, relax and enjoy what the area has to offer. These three B&Bs are situated in some of the region’s most interesting towns. While each has its own flavor, you’ll find they deliver the same warm welcome—one that defines the friendly spirit of South Carolina.

 

Veranda on Main, Abbeville 
Locale: Historic small town with quaint shops, boutiques and cafes, and home of Abbeville Opera House.
The inn: Southern Greek Revival with columned porches, within walking distance of downtown.
Rooms: Four guest rooms with elegant appointments, antique furnishings and private baths featuring Italian marble tile.
Amenities: Egyptian cotton sheets, Jacuzzi tub, gourmet Southern breakfast, porch rockers.

Where to go and things to do:
Experience 1800s Abbeville: Go back in time as you move through the rooms and splendid gardens of Burt-Stark Mansion.

View the awe-inspiring, gothic architecture of Trinity Episcopal Church

Tour the Queen Anne-style McGowan-Barksdale-Bundy House and its grounds, which include the Heritage Garden and servant quarters. 

Go fishing: A short drive away, Calhoun Falls State Park is a fave of anglers of all experience levels. Catch bass, crappie, bream, catfish and other finned swimmers from the fishing pier extending into Lake Russell; rods and reels available for loan; SC fishing license required. 

Where to eat:
Village Grill: Tasty appetizers, house-made soups, fresh salads, chicken, ribs and more; prime rib is a pleaser as are the pies with homemade ice cream. 

Schwartzentruber’s Bakery: Not-to-be-missed Mennonite bakery churning out awesome pound cakes, breads, pies, pastries and more. 

The Rough House: Have a local experience at the town’s oldest eatery where hot dogs have been the main attraction for nearly 90 years. For a topping, go full-on South Carolina with homemade liver hash. 

 

1912 Bed & Breakfast Inn, Sumter 
Locale: Agricultural town serving as the county seat and home of Shaw Air Force Base. A revitalized downtown features fine dining, live entertainment venues, and cultural and historical points of interest.
The inn: Columned, restored home with original hardwood flooring, tile and other preserved features. Antique furnishings with modern appointments. Within walking distance to downtown.
The rooms: Four lovely guest rooms, each with a private bath, flat-screen TV, mini fridge and coffee maker.
Amenities: Memory foam mattresses, premium linens, heated tile floors in some rooms, Wi-Fi and a full breakfast served each morning.

Where to go and things to do:
See an art exhibit: Catch art exhibits at Sumter County Art Gallery and the four galleries at the University of South Carolina-Sumter

Be entertained: Catch a play at Sumter Little Theatre or pick up tickets to see live musical acts and more at the historic Sumter Opera House.

Go for the green: Hit the links at one of Sumter’s three public courses: Beech Creek Golf Club, Crystal Lakes Golf Course or Links at Lakewood. Not a golfer? Then pack a picnic and head to Swan Lake Iris Gardens, home to all eight species of swans and a magnificent Japanese iris display in late spring. 

Where to eat:
Hamptons: Acclaimed restaurant in historic downtown offering elegant dining with an Italian-influenced menu. Wonderful brunch, too. 

Sidebar: Cozy local favorite serving up the four “Bs”: barbecue, brisket, bourbon and beer. 

Willie Sue’s Food and Spirits: Lively restaurant with ample seating and a something-for-everyone menu featuring fried oysters, fried green tomatoes, steaks, burgers, wraps, salads and more. 

 

Carriage House Inn, Aiken 
The locale: Pretty town with equestrian roots and an attractive downtown; once a popular winter destination for the wealthy.
The inn: Circa 1872 main inn with an additional two guest houses; the Pendleton Guest House has three stories and an elevator; the main inn and Laurens Guest House offer second-floor, walk-up accommodations.
Rooms: Beautifully outfitted rooms with custom-designed furnishings, private baths (some with single or double whirlpool tubs), and suites with sitting areas (some with kitchens and/or balconies or veranda access); pet-friendly rooms available for an extra fee.
Amenities: Coffeemaker, cable TV, high-speed internet, microwave or mini-fridge upon request; Laurens Guest House offers a shared mini-fridge and microwave in a common area; concierge services; daily hot breakfast.

Where to go and things to do:
Take a trolley tour: Learn all about Aiken and see historic homes, churches, equestrian and war sites, gorgeous gardens and more. A guided tour through the Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame & Museum is also available. 

Talk to the animals: Take a short drive and see zebras, camels, antelope, water buffalo, emu, llamas and even an African Watusi at Eudora Farms Drive-Thru Safari. Concessions available or bring a picnic. 

Snag an artistic masterpiece or rare book: Local artists rent gallery space at Art & Soul of Aiken to exhibit and sell their creations. Stained glass, paintings, pottery, jewelry and more are among the many kinds of “high, creative” art you will find. Bibliophiles won’t want to miss Caroliniana Rare Books, specializing in antiquarian and collectible books. You’ll find antiques and primitives, too.

Where to eat:
Prime Steakhouse: Downtown restaurant that embodies the tradition of old-school steakhouses. Aged beef, whole lobster and classics like shrimp cocktail, beef stroganoff, meatloaf (made with filet mignon) and creamed spinach impart a culinary nostalgia.

Aiken Brewing Company: Popular gathering place for craft beer, live music, tasty bites, hearty sandwiches, soups, salads and more. 

Casa Bella: Cozy old house-turned-restaurant serving Italian delicacies such as arancini, chicken rollatini, marsala, piccata, parmigiana, scampi and other classic pasta dishes. Romantic courtyard dining, too. 

Libby Wiersema
Libby Wiersema lived in California and Alabama before settling in South Carolina 30 years ago, where she's covered the state's best culinary offerings and tells the stories behind the food.