Wondrous Winter Getaways
You needn’t travel far to check out of your routine – and check in to a picturesque place where you can relax, regroup and let someone else fix breakfast.
By Linda H. Lamb
Let’s be honest: Being in the Midlands in the dead of winter is not that bad. Actually, it’s not even that dead. There’s green in the parks and on the Riverwalk. There’s lots to do. And even in January and February, high temperatures can nudge toward 60 degrees.
And yet, when skies are gray and the azaleas won’t be blooming for months, a little getaway can lift the spirits. How about a couple of days at a bed and breakfast?
Depending on the amenities at your destination, you might enjoy some South Carolina history, a nature trail, a horse farm, antiquing, golf or a romantic Valentine’s Day. And there’s nothing like starting the day with a delicious breakfast served with heartfelt hospitality.
Here are some ideas for great B&B getaways. Most places will arrange for romantic perks (such as fresh flowers and Champagne). Your hosts will happily advise you further on how to have exactly the midwinter escape you want.
Honeysuckle Acres Bed and Breakfast
70 Honeysuckle Lane, Winnsboro, SC 29180
“It’s a nice getaway, but it’s easy to get back when you need to,” innkeeper Harold Frish said. He and wife Patricia remodeled the dignified home in 2002, creating a peaceful retreat befitting its setting on 7 parklike acres.
Ambience: The gorgeous approach may remind you of Tara; furnishings mix European, American antiques.
Breakfast possibilities: Pecan pancakes, frittatas, candied bacon, homemade jam; they’ll assemble a picnic basket for mild-weather jaunts.
Amenities include: Evening desserts; serene gardens, gazebo, library; excellent nearby eateries.
Phone: 803.635.7583, 800.387.1112
Rooms: 3 (third room available as part of suite)
Rates: $100 to $130
The Farmhouse at Bush River
3111 Highway 56 South, Clinton, SC 29325
“This area was founded by Scots-Irish and we tried to fit our theme into that,” said Janet Henley, who runs this charming stone and stucco B&B with husband Greg. Lovely pastures surround a home modeled on one they saw in Ireland.
Ambience: Clutter-free tranquility enhanced by work of local artisans, stained glass, iron work; Irish pub game room.
Breakfast possibilities: Chef Janet offers gourmet creations like gingerbread pancakes, boursin-egg frittata, smoked salmon crepes; dinners can be arranged.
Amenities include: Near Presbyterian College, Newberry Opera House and Musgrove Revolutionary War site.
Rates: $135 to $160
Wavering Place Plantation
427 Adams Hayne Road, Eastover, SC 29044
“It’s just minutes from Columbia, but feels a world away,” one visitor said. The B&B actually is an outbuilding on the grounds of a Greek Revival house built in the 1800s and still occupied by members of the same (Adams) family. It’s on the National Register of Historic Places.
Ambience: Pastoral. The restored cottage sits near the main house with its stately columns, a brick kitchen house, slave cabin, smokehouse and barn.
Breakfast possibilities: Pastries from Columbia’s Crust bakery, fruit, cured meat, Greek yogurt, espresso.
Amenities include: Exquisite sense of privacy, nature walks among native magnolias and cypress; Cedar Creek; close to Congaree National Park.
Rooms: 1 cottage for maximum of 4 people; private bath
Camden House Bed & Breakfast
1502 Broad Street, Camden, SC 29020
“Camden missed Sherman’s March, so you have a lot of untouched, very old homes,” said innkeeper Paul Hrabovsky, who has welcomed people to the spacious Camden House for 10 years along with his wife, Sharon. It’s in the heart of the historic district.
Ambience: Antebellum beauty; whirlpool tubs for relaxation after a day of antiquing, kayaking or golfing.
Breakfast possibilities: Southern spread may feature one of Sharon’s specialties, a croissant French toast stuffed with sweetened cream cheese and jam.
Amenities include: History everywhere; guests enjoy good local restaurants, events at the Fine Arts Center, local horse training areas.
Phone: 803-713-1013, 888-713-1013
Rates: $135 to $175
1707 Lyttleton Street, Camden, SC 29020
Fascinating for its association with famed Civil War diarist Mary Chesnut – “She did a lot of her writings here,” innkeeper Katherine Brown said. She and her husband, Bruce, did a top-to-bottom renovation.
Ambience: Expansive entryway tells you to expect Southern elegance and luxury; soothing period colors.
Breakfast possibilities: They serve their own coffee blend; “Dutch baby” pancakes; perfect biscuits that Katherine brings to the table in her grandmother’s iron skillet. Evening social time with light hors d’oeuvres.
Amenities include: Nearby Boykin mill that still makes grits, Battle of Camden site, Dark Water moonshine. Check out an exhibit of unusual weapons at the Camden museum.
Rates: $169 to $199
Elloree Bed & Breakfast
660 Hampton St., Elloree, SC 29047
“There’s a story in every room,” innkeeper Jack Lane said of the Old South colonial built in 1906. He and wife Cindy often welcome travelers off I-95 or I-26, and some who use quaint little Elloree as a launching spot for visits to Charleston or Savannah.
Ambience: One room features 150-year-old antiques, but the atmosphere is relaxed and congenial. “We go out of our way to make friends with everyone who stays with us,” Jack said.
Breakfast possibilities: Amid candles and crystal, specialties include a sausage, egg and cheese casserole, and banana pancakes with pecans from their own tree.
Amenities include: Antiquing; the Elloree Trials horse race (March); splendid little Elloree Heritage Museum re-creates bygone days.
Rates: $89 to $125, depending on room and day.
Kilburnie, the Inn at Craig Farm
1824 Craig Farm Road, Lancaster, SC 29720
“I think the uniqueness is the beauty of the surroundings,” said innkeeper and European-trained chef Johannes Tromp. On the verge of demolition in 1998, the once-gracious landmark was relocated from downtown Lancaster to the historic Craig Farm. Restored with a Victorian front, it’s on the National Register of Historic Places.
Ambience: Relaxed elegance in a lovely setting. “Historic” doesn’t have to mean froufrou; the atmosphere here is sophisticated.
Breakfast possibilities: Johannes’ recipes – shared on the inn’s website – include banana muffins, Southern pecan peaches, soft-baked eggs in ruffled ham cups, and a favorite of repeat guests – oven-shirred eggs.
Amenities include: Romantic dinner packages arranged through Charley’s Café; spacious honeymoon suite; nature trails, Landsford Canal State Park; Lancaster Native American Studies Center. All the privacy you want.
Rates: $169 to $219, depending on room and day
The 1425 Inn
1425 Richland St., Columbia, SC 29201
What if you’d like to “escape” into Columbia, rather than away from it? One option is this B&B in the city’s Historic Preservation District. It’s a lovely retreat as well as your home base for exploring downtown options including historical homes, museums and an array of restaurants.
Ambience: “Each room has a different character,” said Margaret Sellers, one of the 1425 innkeepers. Some are traditional, some more contemporary, but each room reflects South Carolina history with names such as the Gervais, the Capitol and the Rivers Suite.
Breakfast possibilities: Favorites include a fluffy omelet with bacon, cheese and onion, and a French toast sandwich with bacon and a fried egg. Make arrangements for dinner, if you don’t want to go out.
Amenities include: Snacks and beverages; special packages for romantic occasions and celebrations; displays of original artwork through the Trenholm Artists Guild.
Rates: $129 to $249