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Pickens Celebrates Southern Mountain Traditions

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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With its Appalachian craft traditions, historic home and history museums, and bluegrass concerts, Pickens offers visitors a delicious taste of mountain culture. Below are some of the offerings available in this Upstate community:

Pickens County Museum of Art & History – Located in the old Pickens County jail, the museum building is as interesting as its exhibits. The turn-of-the-century architecture features hand-rolled brick with a crenelated turret and copper-colored roof. Inside you’ll find an eclectic collection of artifacts chronicling the history of Pickens County and the Upstate. Along with the permanent historical exhibits are three galleries showcasing the work of regional artists. The museum also includes a native plant garden, performance areas and a studio classroom.

Hagood Mill – For more than 120 years, the two-story mill built by James Hagood on a tributary of Twelve Mile River served as a gathering place for Pickens County residents. Today, the mill is the centerpiece of the Hagood Mill Historic Site & Folklife Center. Other buildings on the site include historic cabins, a blacksmith shop, a moonshine still and cotton gin.

On the third Saturday of each month, Hagood Mill comes alive with artisans and craftsmen demonstrating Southern Appalachian traditions, from lace and quilt making to chair caning and bowl carving. But it’s the 1845 gristmill that’s always the big headliner. Using water from the creek, it’s put to work grinding grain into flour, grits, oats and cornmeal that are sold on-site in the Hagood Mill gift shop.

Other events are held throughout the year, including Hagood Mill’s Ole Time Fiddlers Convention featuring the South Carolina State Fiddling Championship held each October.

Hagood-Mauldin House – Built in 1856 on land west of the Keowee River, this Greek Revival home was disassembled and moved to the “new” town of Pickens in 1868. Visitors can tour the home filled with 17th- and 18th-century furnishings and art collected by its last owner.

Granger Fiber Arts – Housed in the Hagood Community Center, this organization specializes in the craftsmanship of the fiber arts, offering classes in sewing, quilting, knitting, rug hooking, felting and braiding.

Young Appalachian Musicians – Led by local musicians dedicated to preserving the mountain culture and its traditional music, the group offers instruction taught “by ear” on Appalachian instruments like the fiddle, guitar, mandolin and banjo.

Music on the Mountains – Enjoy bluegrass jam sessions held the second Saturday of each month from May to December inside Table Rock State Park’s historic lodge. The acoustic jam sessions, featuring local musicians, are free.

Pickens Amphitheater –  Throughout the year, the city of Pickens hosts a number of events in its amphitheater. Among them is a popular summer concert series.

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.