My husband and I bought our first house a couple of years ago and, like any homeowner will tell you, it’s a labor of love. There’s always a new project to take on, something to fix or improve. And we (well, mostly me) are constantly on the hunt for ways to make our home more functional and inviting for friends and family. While this process can be arduous, ultimately, it’s worth it because the home we’re cultivating will be the space where our most cherished memories will be made.
Memories are what vacations are all about, too. We all have those unforgettable experiences that stand out in our minds, the annual traditions we look forward to revisiting with our loved ones and the stories of vacations past we never get tired of telling. While I concede experiences are often more impactful than material things in regards to creating memorable moments, I also can’t deny the power a souvenir can have when it comes to recalling them. They’re called mementos for a reason, right?
On my day in South Carolina’s Capital City/Lake Murray Country Region I had the privilege of meeting up with local historian John Sherrer, Director of Cultural Resources at Historic Columbia. Not only did he take me on a tour and share his knowledge of historic properties like the Robert Mills House, he also helped me understand why history is such an important component of the travel experience.
Engaging with the stories of the people and places we visit gives us a deeper understanding of the destination, which in turn makes it more tangible to us. Thus, we have a more impactful—dare I say—memorable experience. There are all kinds of ways to experience history, from walking tours and events offered by organizations like Historic Columbia, to shopping for local wares. That’s what my day antiquing in West Columbia was all about—finding pieces of local history that sparked a memory.
We started our excursion at Old Mill Antique Mall, a two-story building hosting some 75 antique dealers. Each stall has its own focus and style and every booth tells a different story. As we meandered about, John pointed out various works of art, books and artifacts significant to the Columbia area and himself. We challenged each other to look for something that stood out to us. Mine was a piece of bakeware that reminded me of casseroles my mom would make each year around the holidays.
There were so many things that caught my eye, and it was amazing to have a historian walk around with me to point out various objects and share their significance. It made the whole experience so much more meaningful. I would recommend carving out a significant amount of time to delve through the shelves of Old Mill Antique Mall. There is so much to take in and you don’t want to miss any of it.
Next, we walked over to Ed’s Editions, a local bookstore featuring both used and new books. Have a hard-to-find, out-of-print, used or rare book in mind? Look no further. Upon entering, I immediately fell in love with the architecture of the building. From floor to ceiling, to the bookshelves in between, it’s evident Ed’s preserves plenty of history. You could spend hours upon hours just browsing and flipping through the pages, many of which tell the stories of South Carolina.
Before we left Ed’s Editions, I happened upon a book with a little blonde boy on the front cover that immediately caught my attention. It was called “Charley’s Columbia Backyard.” The boy reminded me of my son, Ezra, and I simply had to have it. Now, when I read the book to him at bedtime, I always think of my day antiquing and it makes me smile. So, the next time you visit a new place, make sure to explore and experience some of its history. And whether it be for your home or your heart, find something that reminds you of the time you spent there to take with you.