A DAY IN THE LIFE OF YORK, South Carolina-
BEST OF THE SMALL SOUTHERN TOWNS
Have you ever bought a hammer while enjoying a slice of cheese or a bagged lunch to go? Where can you get the best take-out rotisserie chicken in the southeast- while you are filling your car with gas at the local filling station?
If you have never been to York, SC, you are denying yourself a blast from the past. Just a short 45-minute drive from Charlotte, NC, this small southern town has been called "The Charleston of the Up-Country” for good reason.
With family and friends, begin your journey on historic N. Congress Street, York’s main business thoroughfare. The morning may be the perfect opportunity to undertake the free walking tour. This tour lists the historic homes and sites on York’s tree-lined streets. York has one of the largest historic districts in the Southeast, and is the county seat of York county. The tour begins at the Railroad Department/Chamber of Commerce office on E. Liberty Street.
York is called the “White Rose” city. Many of the elegant homes represented on this tour resemble southern plantation homes. They feature large windows and doors opening onto piazzas to enjoy the cool night air. Some of the homes originated in the 1700’s, and all are currently lived in.
When you stop for lunch, check out O’Shea’s Pub serving 50 different kinds of beer and wine, or the Cotton Gin Tavern, featuring steaks, ribs, and burgers.
After a hearty lunch, it’s time to shop. A walk directly across the street is a step back in time at Miss Coleman’s Trading Post. The store sells frying pans, overalls, blue jeans, and corn bread pans for over 50 years. In the market for an old-fashioned washtub? This would be the place to find one. Need a washboard or a
new pair of overalls? You guessed it- they’re waiting for you here.
Our stroll along tree-lined N. Congress Street continues at the quaint Ivy Hill Antique Shop. An assortment of lovely and unusual gifts, cards, and scented candles for the discerning buyer are represented here.
Worth a peek a few doors down is the Sylvia Theater. If you’re in town for the afternoon or evening, this theater, billed as a “singer/songwriter showcase and performance venue,” features live local and nationally known entertainment, while serving beer and wine in
the lobby. Check sylviatheater.com for show times.
Also, have the gentlemen in your party check out the Men’s Shop, featuring fine clothing for men since 1948. And no trip to York is complete without a visit to Ferguson & Youngblood. This landmark hardware store supplies all your hardware needs, as well as bagged lunches to go.
The savory aromas from the gourmet restaurant, The Garden Café, beckon us for dinner. This outstanding French country restaurant is a top choice. Meals are served on local pottery, and feature low-country cuisine at their finest. Leave room for dessert- Buttermilk Pie is a favorite.
Visiting in the summertime? Take the short drive to the Peach Tree Orchards. Patrons are encouraged to slice and savor the large assortment of peaches sold here before they buy. After you make your selections, stop next door for a peach ice cream cone.
Just down the road from the Peach Tree is Stacy’s, the largest grower of perennials in the Southeast. All colors and varieties of pansies are available, and these colorful blooms can also be shipped. Inside is a full service restaurant and garden center.
A visit to John Leake’s remarkable furniture showroom always draws gasps of surprise from first-time visitors. John describes himself as a one-man band. He is a
furniture craftsman specializing in 18th century, Queen Anne style reproductions. He crafts all of his furniture special order, and works with solid woods of walnut, cherry, and maple. As he lives directly across the street, he casually mentions that he also uses his showroom as his living room. “I simply have a street that runs across my living room,” he explains.
Before you leave this charming town, there is one more coveted secret from the locals. Stop back to N. Congress Street at Woodland’s grocery for a take-out rotisserie chicken to go. You can also fill your car with gas for the trip home at their filling station. But be warned, the smell of the chicken will have you devouring it before you ever leave the city limits.
Staying the weekend? Enjoy Historic Brattonsville, an easy ride from York. Besides Living History days, the historical programs include the Christmas candlelight tours, Battle of Huck’s defeat, African-American history, and the Heritage Breed farm program.
SUMMERFEST is held annually in downtown York on the fourth Saturday in August.
This event has been designated by the Southeast Tourism Society as one of the top 20 events in the entire southeast. Events include an exceptional craft fair, children’s activities, fireworks, a car show, golf tournament, and a large assortment of food vendors. A parade starts off the festival.
The Duke and Duchess of York are announced, and get the added privilege of riding around in a golf cart while enjoying the festivities of the day.
For further information visit:
*Author’s note: Please check these businesses mentioned to be sure they are open and operating when you plan to visit.
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF YORK, South Carolina-