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Discover Pickens’ Hidden Gems

Marie McAden Marie McAden
A former staffer with The Miami Herald, Marie moved to SC in 1992. She is passionate about the outdoors, and enjoys exploring the state’s many natural treasures from the Lowcountry to the Upstate.
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After you’ve visited Pickens’ marquee destinations—Hagood MillTable Rock State Park and the Doodle Trail—spend some time visiting some of its lesser-known, but itinerary-worthy attractions.

Here is a sampling of spots not to miss:

Table Rock Tea Company – One of less than a dozen tea farms in the Southeast, this husband and wife operation produces premium, small-batch tea grown in the Cherokee Foothills at the base of Table Rock Mountain. Tours of their 17-acre plantation and processing facility are offered Thursday through Sunday. And, of course, you can purchase their tea at the farm as well as online. Varieties include WinterLeaf Cold-Harvest Green Tea, Marathon Single-source Kenyan Black Tea and Bear Claw Dark Oolong Tea.

South Carolina Petroglyph Site – With the accidental discovery of centuries-old petroglyphs at the old Hagood Mill in Pickens, visitors now have convenient access to this ancient rock art generally found in the remote and rugged wilderness of the Blue Ridge Escarpment. The center was built over the sloping granite rock where 32 carvings—18 of them human figures—were discovered below a historic dirt road. An automated light show in the climate-controlled viewing room provides details on some of the most interesting of the Native American carvings.

You Drive Me Glazy – This fun downtown shop offers custom mini gourmet donuts along with ice cream cups, cones and floats—or go big with a donut sundae! Create your donut in three easy steps—pick your glaze, pick your topping and pick your drizzle, and voila! You have instant happiness. But it’s not as simple as it sounds. With six types of glazes, 19 toppings and eight drizzle choices, you’ll have a tough time deciding what makes the perfect donut.

The Table Rock Lodge – With so much to do at Table Rock State Park, it’s easy to miss one of its most beautiful amenities. The Depression-era log building, now known as the Gaines Lodge in tribute to former park system director Phil Gaines, was built in 1938 by the Civilian Conservation Corps and lovingly restored in 2005. Typical of the “parkitecture” style developed by the National Park Service, it was constructed with local timber and stone, complementing the natural surroundings. The exterior features natural logs with chinking and stone chimneys; interior elements include hand-hewn beams and heart of pine floors. But it’s the patio and second-floor balcony at the back of the house that gets all the attention with its breathtaking view of Table Rock Mountain.

Marie McAden
A former staffer with The Miami Herald, Marie moved to SC in 1992. She is passionate about the outdoors, and enjoys exploring the state’s many natural treasures from the Lowcountry to the Upstate.