Take the magnetism and history of Charleston and put it into a small town and you have the beautifully quaint city of Abbeville. Officially incorporated as a municipality Dec. 20, 1832, Abbeville has experienced a plethora of exciting and turbulent events, including the Civil War, and that legacy remains immaculately preserved.
This paramount town is known as the “Birthplace and Deathbed of the Confederacy.” Secession Hill, the meeting which launched the state’s secession from the Union, took place Nov. 22, 1860. Fast forward five years to when President Jefferson Davis and his cabinet decided to dissolve the Confederacy at the Burt-Stark Mansion, a majestic home located right off Abbeville’s Historic Court Square.
Today, time seems to stand still in the downtown square. Its paved roads leading into town turn to brick streets, which slows down traffic to help you savor Abbeville's distinct character and appeal. Its “Rainbow Row” of colorful buildings, dating back more than a hundred years, perfectly frames Trinity Episcopal Church, a tall, pink-hued, gothic-style cathedral built just before the Civil War. It looks similar to a church you might find in South Carolina’s “Holy City” of Charleston.
Whether you’re in town for a few hours or a few days, there’s plenty to discover in Abbeville. The town takes great pride in its Visitors Center, located in the former First Bank of South Carolina. The walls of the main room are lined with paintings from as far back as 1922, depicting 100 years of the town’s history. Whether you need directions or information on local events, shops, B&Bs, recreation or restaurants, the ambassadors at the Visitors Center can provide them and more.
Here are a few examples of must-see spots: Abbeville’s Opera House for entertainment, the Burt-Stark Mansion for South Carolina history, Rough House or The Village Grill for lunch or dinner, Urban 2 Country for vintage keepsakes, Calhoun Falls State Park or Lake Russell for recreation and The Belmont Inn or Veranda on Main to rest after a busy day of exploring.
Abbeville is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of life and enjoy the Southern hospitality found in South Carolina's small towns.