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Bountiful Bakeries: Pee Dee

Libby Wiersema Libby Wiersema
Libby Wiersema lived in California and Alabama before settling in South Carolina 38 years ago, where she's covered the state's best culinary offerings and tells the stories behind the food.
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The aroma of freshly baked bread fills the Hartsville air thanks to Griggs Circle Bakery.

The smells. The sights. The flavors. The freshness. The voices. Together, these qualities define the bakery experience. If it’s a good one, your visual, olfactory, gustatory and auditory senses will spring to life the second you walk through the door. Intoxicating aromas should be in full bloom. A well-stocked bakery case should visually delight the eyes.

Your taste buds should stand at attention as you consider your options. And your ears should fill with the sounds of a warm welcome. If you stopped by such a bakery for fresh-baked bread, a donut or muffin, rest assured you’ll be walking out with at least five or six more goodies. Your lack of resistance is a sign that good bakery protocols have been put in place.

The Pee Dee region might be known for its agricultural roots and the Darlington Raceway, but there are other things to commend it, namely all the bakeries that dot the area from Florence to Hartsville to Cheraw.

If there’s one thing the people here hold true to, it’s an appetite for good, old-fashioned eating. Here is a list of bakeries that work hard to sweeten the Pee Dee. 

Rich and chewy turtle cookies from Connie’s Bakery will make your tummy smile.

Connie's Bakery, Kingstree 
Where’s the cake? If that’s your mantra, head to Connie's Bakery where you can have your heart’s delight by the slice, the half or shoot the moon and take home a whole cake. There are also cupcakes, cookies and other sweets, all homemade.
Treats to try: Turtle cookies, cinnamon rolls, carrot cake

Artsy Cakes & Bakery, Kingstree 
This full-service bakery is known for making some of the most creative custom cakes around. You’ll also find everything from cheesecake to cinnamon rolls to delectable donuts.
Treats to try: Banana pudding cheesecake, 7-Up pound cake, pumpkin spice cinnamon rolls

CJ's Cakes and Catering, Hartsville 
This family-run operation has been serving the Pee Dee since 1996, helping to make any occasion truly special. That’s a whole lot of cakes, pies, cookies and desserts.
Treats to try: 12-layer chocolate cake, cream cheese pound cake, Derby pie

Griggs Circle Bakery, Hartsville 
The people of Hartsville are more than happy to have this Griggs Circle Bakery in their midst. The breads, pies, pastries and such are simply divine because they are made with quality ingredients.
Treats to try: Fresh baked breads, brownies, sweet potato pie

Pans of cookies, pastries, cakes, pies and more fill the Freeman’s Bakery case each day.

Freeman's Bakery, Florence 
Since 1964, this bakery has been Florence’s go-to for everything sweet. In the tradition of full-service bakeries, the cases at Freeman’s are filled each day with some of the best scratch-made baked goods around. Bet you can’t try just one thing.
Treats to try: Caramel cake, cream cheese coffee cake, apple fritters

Icing Ink, Florence 
Simplicity and high-quality ingredients go into everything baked at Icing Ink. This is one of Florence’s favorite sources for birthday cakes, pies and pastries.
Treats to try: Mounds brownies, pecan pie, Southern 12-layer fudge cake

Palmetto Bakeshop, Florence
This small-batch operation is bustling with flaky pastries but you better show up early to snag your favorites. heart and soul. Enjoy croissants, muffins, cookies, buns, tarts, pies, cakes and more fresh from the oven and in a variety of flavors.
Treats to try: Almond croissant, ham and cheese croissant, ginger plum danish, pecan pie brownie

The cupcakes at Sweet are pretty to the eye and more than pleasing to the taste buds.

Sweet Bakery & Cafe, Florence 
Small-batch baking and the best ingredients are the calling cards of this robust little bakeshop. Not only will you find a variety of gorgeous and tantalizing cupcakes, but the macarons and cheesecakes will send you sweetly swooning, too.
Treats to try: Paint the Town Red Velvet cupcake, salted caramel cupcake, bourbon butter pecan cheesecake

Sweet Tooth, Florence 
Made from scratch and served up fresh, the cakes, cookies, cupcakes and other baked goods will please your craving for something sweet and delicious. Sweet Tooth Bakery really lives up to its name.
Treats to try: Mississippi mud bars, lemon-blueberry cupcakes, red velvet cake

River's Edge Cafe & Bakery, Cheraw 
If variety is the spice of life—yours, in particular—then head to this cafe and bakery for an array that will get your mouth watering. Warm cinnamon rolls, pies and cakes are favorites here.
Treats to try: Red velvet cake, strawberry cake, Bob pie (toasted coconut caramel cream cheese pie)

Libby Wiersema
Libby Wiersema lived in California and Alabama before settling in South Carolina 38 years ago, where she's covered the state's best culinary offerings and tells the stories behind the food.