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Summerville Has Plenty to Offer Off the Beaten Path

Bob Gillespie Bob Gillespie
Bob is a former sports writer at Columbia’s The State newspaper. He enjoys golf at South Carolina’s 360-plus courses, and after a round, sampling craft beers from the Palmetto State’s breweries.
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What constitutes a hidden gem? In most communities, it's those cool spots frequented by locals but often undiscovered by visitors. Summerville is no different—and also completely different.

If you’ve dined, hiked, biked and shopped until you’re exhausted, here are a few places you might have missed but shouldn’t.

Start with Summerville Farmer’s Market. In an era when everyone wants fresh and local food, this place has you covered with plenty of homegrown produce, meats, seafood and baked goods. Open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays in the parking lot of First Citizens Bank at 200 South Main St., it’s a taste of Summerville like nowhere else.

It’s hard to beat Summerville’s collection of antique shops, offering everything from furniture to kitchenware, linens and more. Start with Summerville Antique Gallery on North Main Street, boasting more than 10,000 square feet and 100-plus booths of "antiques and uniques.” Check in with the friendly staff at the door for help finding whatever you desire, or just wander to your heart’s content.

Also worth a look are Main Street Antiques & Consignment, with 6,600 square feet of antiques, jewelry, candles and other artisan crafts; and Relic Revival Antique Shop, specializing in furniture and glass, kitchen and barware.

Ready to satisfy your thirst? Summerville has been happily caught up in the nation’s craft beer craze with two spots catering to brew fans. The city’s own one-of-a-kind spot is Oak Road Brewery, featuring a wide selection of its beers on tap (the Jogglin Board Munich Helles Lager is a favorite) and TVs for watching sports.

If you want to sample a number of brewery offerings, visit Homegrown Brewhouse, a downtown pub where the ultimate goal is to have every South Carolina brewery represented with everything from four-ounce samples to 12-ounce pint pours to 64-ounce growlers you can take home. The Charleston area alone has 30-plus breweries, so it’s an ambitious goal—but one worth supporting.

Should your beverage tastes run to less potent potables, never fear. Summerville is the birthplace of Southern sweet tea and home to the Sweet Tea Trail. Visit the Summerville Visitors Center to see “Mason,” the Guinness Book of World Records title holder for largest sweet tea container, or check out other locations along the trail, including the James F. Dean Theatre, Azalea Park, Linwood Gardens, Sawmill Branch Bike Trail and Colonial State Park. You'll find the historic beverage of the South being served up fresh and cold in restaurants all over the city, so be sure to stop and enjoy a glass.

Not a tea fan? An alternative that almost everyone loves is good coffee, and Coastal Coffee Roasters in the downtown can satisfy the most avid caffeine lover.

There are plenty of places to shop in Summerville, but one not to miss is ETC (Every Thing Chic). Antiques, candles, jewelry, hand-cut soap and even custom faux painting—it’s all here, with items difficult to impossible to find elsewhere.

Finally, having found the locals’ favorites in every other category, you may have worked up an appetite. Restaurants abound, but for something different, something intimately Southern, make your way to the Low Country Fish Camp on Central Avenue, voted the best seafood place in town.

Indulge in buffalo shrimp, grouper bites, hush puppies and fried pickles to your heart’s content—and enjoy beer, wine, margaritas, mimosas and sangria. Talk about the end of a perfect day.

Bob Gillespie
Bob is a former sports writer at Columbia’s The State newspaper. He enjoys golf at South Carolina’s 360-plus courses, and after a round, sampling craft beers from the Palmetto State’s breweries.