Point of Interest: Swan Lake Iris Gardens
Our next county stop was Sumter. Bryan grew up in Sumter and his parents still live there so we have actually visited Sumter a number of times. We had lots of fun visiting with grandparents and Swan Lake. It is the only public lake in the United States to feature all eight swan species. They also host a number of festivals throughout the year, including the Iris Festival which is over Memorial Day weekend when the Iris are in full bloom. We saw a number of beautiful, but stinky swans on the lake side of the garden. We then crossed the bridge to the other side of the road and walked along the boardwalk through the cypress swamp. We finished up our visit at the Recovery Wing, a 18 foot stainless steel statue by Grainger McCoy. While the visit to Swan Lake was enjoyable, I believe the favorite part of this county visit was grandparents!!
In Lee County we had two stops. Our original plan was to head to the SC Cotton Museum, but we also passed an interesting attraction that caught our attention. The Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden is located on a small residential road in Bishopville. All of the plants have been sculpted and there is”junk art” sculptures scattered throughout. Pearl Fryar, a local resident, built the gardens that has been internally recognized.
Next was on to the Cotton Museum. As odd as it sounds, one of the main reasons for visiting the Cotton Museum was to see the statue of the bullwievel. We recently read in a book how the bullwievel destroyed the cotton crop across South Carolina. The girls were fascinated to see what one looked like. It actuality, the bullwievel is rather small, but the statue was able to show the details of this beetle. The museum featured the different steps in the production of fabric starting from growing the cotton. The girls were given a very brief background in cotton and able to feel the cotton seeds in the plant. We also learned that Lee County is home of Doc Blanchard, the only Heisman winner from South Carolina.
Point of Interest: Summerton Diner
As we turned back south to head home to Beaufort, we stopped in Clarendon County for lunch at the Summerton Diner. The diner is known for it’s southern cooking and meat and three options. We arrived around noon and the diner was packed but the service was still fast and very friendly. Leslie and Hunter (and me) filled up on the delicious corn bread muffins and biscuits. Avery especially loved this stop since the kids menu also featured a smaller size meat and three option and she devoured the pot roast! This is an easy stop off the highway and is far better than all the fast food restaurants you typically find.
Next stop is the Grand Strand!