McCormick, South Carolina is a small town located near South Carolina’s western border along the Savannah River. It is about a 10-minute drive to the South Carolina-Georgia border, about a 1-hour drive to Augusta, and about a 1 hour and 45 minute drive to Columbia, South Carolina. The town’s motto is: “Working Together Works,” and it strives to match this motto in the town’s daily life. Travelers heading through McCormick can expect to see lots of sites that highlight the town’s local history.
1. Have a comforting cup of tea and delectable meal at the McCray House Tea Room and Gift Shop
A community staple, McCray’s is a step into the world of porcelain tea sets and cloth napkins. This small restaurant is home to some great teas, salads, soups, sandwiches, and desserts. Some standout dishes are the Mushroom Soup, Rueben Sandwich, Coconut Cream Pie, Chicken Salad Croissant, and Lemon Meringue Pie.
This restaurant is open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm, although the restaurant can schedule and accommodate a private party on any day of the week except for Sunday. Party size is determined by a group of 12 or more guests. When you’re finished eating, or while waiting for your food, guests are free to browse the restaurant’s gift shop that is stocked with jewelry, handbags, cards, knick knacks, and much more.
McCray House Tea Room and Gift Shop
Address: 4064 US Highway 378 W McCormick, SC
Facebook: McCray House Tea Room
2. Get some fresh air on the Savannah Valley Railroad Trail
If you are looking to get some outdoor time and see some local history, the Savannah Valley Railroad Trail is a great stop to do both. During the 1800s the Savannah Valley Railroad was the link for people and commerce from Anderson to Charleston. These days the trial is now a place for those seeking outdoor recreation near the Little River, and the Savannah River. The trial is technically a park, which just happens to be very linear. The path guests take is the same route the railroads once took. The trial is a mild grade, and is suitable for walking and mountain biking and is about 20 miles (32 km) long.
The trial covers a very scenic route. Guests can visit the whistle posts where train engineers were told what codes to blow through their train whistles. These establishments are over 120 years old. There are several historical sites along the trail, including: Pettigrew Plantation, Huguenot Worship, a 125-year-old train trestle, and Badwell Cemetery. Mile Markers are posted every half-mile (0.8 km) so that hikers can know how far they have trekked. The trial is often the scene of community events through the year, so it is a good idea to check their Facebook page (linked below) to see what is going on while you plan to be there.
Savannah Valley Railroad Trail
Address: Francis Marion and Sumter National Forests, 4913 US-221, Bradley, SC
Website: Savannah Valley Railroad Trail
3. Survey the local art scene at McCormick Arts Council at the Keturah
The McCormicks Arts Council at the Keturah, also known as MACK, is a local arts program run by the McCormick Arts Council. The council operates in the historical Keturah Hotel, and aims “to provide art, culture, and education to the region” by stimulating interest in cultural activities through events like exhibits, performance, and teaching.
The McCormick Arts Council runs a gallery that rotates its exhibits on a monthly basis. Different exhibit themes take place through the year. For example some exhibits feature a particular artist, or different types of art. So checking their schedule of events and exhibits is a good idea to plan when you would like to go. The gallery is open Monday to Saturday 10 am to 4 pm, and is closed on Sundays.
McCormick Arts Council at the Keturah
Address: 115 S Main St P.O Box 488 McCormick, SC
4. Learn about local history at the Underground Railroad Secret Quilt Code Museum
Another great option for those looking for local history, the Under Ground Railroad (UGRR) Secret Quilt Code Museum is an important look back on United States history. The museum’s goal is to preserve and teach about the diversity of African cultures and the records left by slavery and discrimination. The exhibit in question here is one that features quilts used by members of the Underground Railroad, an organization that led slaves in the southern United States to freedom in the North and beyond.
The quilts are said to have been a means of communication among members and those using the network of the Underground Railroad. On the quilts, different patterns meant different codes. Admission is 5 USD for adults and 3 USD for children. For guided tours an adult ticket is 10 USD and children are 5 USD.
Underground Railroad Secret Quilt Code Museum
Address: 201 S. Main Street McCormick, SC
5. Have an entertaining night at Norris Auction Company
This community auction is a busy site during the weekends as everyone gets together to join in the classic auction fun. The auction house is located north of McCormick, almost at the halfway point between McCormick and Greenville. The auction house holds general merchandise auctions every Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday night from 6 30 pm to 11 30 pm.
There is honestly no limit to what could be found on any given night at the auction. Items up for auction range from: furniture, kitchen supplies, sports supplies, large and small appliances, toys, antiques, and much more. Guests have said that the auction is very family oriented, friendly, and that travelers will surely get a taste of what country life is like by meeting the people that gather here.
Norris Auction Company
Address: 1032 Greenwood Hwy US-221, McCormick, SC
Facebook: Norris Auction Company
Community way of life
McCormick, like many other small towns that make up the United States, is a city that thrives upon the life made by the community. The people of the town are more than happy to get together for a nice meal, enjoy the weather, learn about local art and history, and have some competitive fun. It’s small things like these that keep communities alive for generations as they rediscover their purpose through time. Small towns like McCormick are great treats for travelers looking to feel at home, while far from home.
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