One of my favorite places to relax and refuel after hiking in the Upstate is Aunt Sue's Country Corner in Pickens.
Just off the Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway (S.C. Hwy. 11), 2 miles east of Table Rock State Park, this family-friendly village center features a restaurant, ice cream parlor, pizza eatery and a unique assortment of shops.
Although my first stop is usually the ice cream store, fall's cooler temperatures on my most recent visit put me in the mood for a warm freshly made cobbler. The season's selections included cherry, blackberry and peach. I went with peach. My husband went with cherry. We both went for vanilla ice cream on top.
I don't know why, but decadent desserts always taste so much better after a good outdoor workout. With burned-off calories in the bank, you can eat guilt free and enjoy every bite of delicious gooey goodness.
After our post-hiking indulgence, we took a seat in a couple of rockers on the restaurant's front porch to soak in the fall ambiance.
Housed in a rustic wooden building, Aunt Sue's has a country store feel that fits right into the mountain setting. There's even a checkerboard table inside the parlor of the ice cream shop ready for a friendly game of checkers.
In the less-busy winter season, Aunt Sue's offers several weekend specials. Fridays the restaurant hosts Bluegrass and Seafood Night, with local musicians playing on the front porch. On Saturdays, the menu favorite is sandwiches and barbecue. And Sundays there's a very popular meat and veggie buffet.
In the ice cream shop, you'll find a variety of Blue Bell ice cream flavors, along with homemade fudge, hotdogs with chili, drinks and chips. The shop is open Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The village is also home to the Black Bear Pizza Den and an eclectic array of gift shops, including the General Store, Lighthouse and Back to the Wild.
For a schedule of hours and upcoming events, click here.