Posted On November 4, 2022

Small Town Charm –  Big Town Amenities

By Katherine Pettit

Take a short drive up I-26 toward Greenville, turning off at Exit 76 and heading straight into a delightful and walkable southern town.  I’ve visited Newberry more times than I can count, and enjoyed every one, but perhaps it’s time to plan a bit of a getaway, including a sumptuous overnight or multi-night stay at the Newberry Manor, a beautiful historic home built in 1895.  Lovingly restored and filled with antiques, it’s a comfortable retreat provided by Joy and Warren Sheppard. (Joy also provides breakfast and snacks – to rave reviews on Trip Advisor.)

For many guests, it’s a charming way to extend their experience after an evening enjoying another historic treasure in the town – The Newberry Opera House.  In the heart of downtown, the opera house can be spotted by its 130-ft tower and town clock.  Dedicated in 1882, it showcased artists Tallullah Bankhead, Tex Ritter, and members of entertainment royalty before giving way to the talkies and inevitable age.  Today, it combines “historical accuracy with a state-of-the-art performance space equipped with superior lighting and sound systems.”  It beautifully accommodates Broadway and operatic productions as well as intimate performances. World-renowned stars often entertain here.

In 2023, you may be lucky enough to get tickets to see the Ukraine National Symphony Orchestra, the Atlanta Pops Orchestra with Balsam Range, The Tams, music of John Denver, and so much more – over 150 events next year including dance, theatre, country music, rock and the classics.  It is intimate in the best way, and professional in every way.  Good times.

Before or after the performance, you’ll want sustenance and there are many options, including Figaro's the Dining Room, The Grille on Main Street, and StevenW’s.  Each offers a distinctive menu.  Figaros is known for its beef, lamb, pork and duck.  The Grille on Main features specialty sandwiches and salads, as well as marinated chicken and sesame ginger fresh-cut salmon, among other items.  StevenWs is a longstanding restaurant with a casually elegant atmosphere.  A number of menu items are excellent, but the pecan crusted chicken with blackberry sauce remains a personal favorite.  All are within walking distance to the opera house.  

The next day, stroll the streets, among more than 40 specialty shops, bars and restaurants.  The Newberry Arts Center offers great local and regional pieces, perfect to gift yourself, or others. Down side streets and around corners are magnificent historic homes, built during Newberry’s heyday when the town contained textile mills, as well as an automobile manufacturer and so much more. The Newberry Museum offers a glimpse into the town’s history. One exhibit features the Pomaria Garden Homes, including Rose Hill Plantation, Diamond Hill, and several more. For a bit more information on some of the historic town homes, ask the front desk if you can peruse Newberry as it was, in two volumes. It’s sure to whet your appetite for more.  There’s a lovely Japanese garden downtown, worth an exploration, for sure.

Not far from town, Enoree River Vineyards is open year round, Thursdays – Sundays, frequently with entertainment. A variety of wines are fun to taste and you can purchase your favorite for a chilly evening back home.

There are trails for more rural exploration, including the Palmetto Trail, which passes through town and Lynch’s Woods.  Newberry College is very close to the B&B and often features public performances in the arts and sports.

Just a bit out of town is Carter & Holmes Orchids, world famous for its beautiful plants and open for visitors.  Their greenhouses are worth a visit and plants can be purchased to take home and delight friends and family. (And again, it’s a good thing to treat yourself with an orchid that will bloom for weeks!)

If you’re lucky, the Newberry Community players may be putting on a performance for your second night in town.  Their productions are held in the Ritz Theater, a National Registry site and downtown’s 1930s era movie house.

So there you have it.  A winter getaway so close to Columbia, with attractions and amenities for every taste.  Like the innkeepers at Newberry Manor, you may find yourself drawn to return, for the opera house performances and the people up and down Main Street.  And when it’s time to return home, you’ll be back before dark!