Quick, name the ten counties that make up the Upstate. It isn’t as easy as it seems. Just because they don’t come readily to mind doesn’t mean that they don’t have wonderful places to visit and wonderful stories to tell. That is why we want to highlight some of the communities in the Upstate that don’t get as much exposure as their larger counterparts. Here are Five Off the Beaten Path Downtowns You Should Probably Visit.
Abbeville – While the entire county of Abbeville is nice, we are zeroing in on the beautiful historic downtown area of the town of Abbeville. Speaking of historic, Abbeville was settled by French Huguenots in 1764 and officially incorporated in 1840. There are plenty of historic buildings to tour (coupled with some gorgeous architecture). The Trinity Episcopal church was constructed in 1860. This town is also home to the Abbeville Opera House. The Opera House was constructed as a stop for many traveling theater companies who would be bringing their shows from New York to Atlanta. Speaking of architectural marvels, Abbeville is home to South Carolina’s tallest structure, the Prysmian Copper Wire Tower.
Landrum – To reach the next Downtown on the list you’ll need to travel to the very top of Spartanburg County, almost to the state line between South Carolina and North Carolina (but don’t go into NC, this isn’t In The Know North Carolina). One of the first things you’ll notice upon arriving in Landrum is just how gorgeous the Blue Ridge Mountains look year-round. Really, they are right there. You can almost touch them (it’s like a 3D movie). Other than nature’s splendor, you’ll be greeted with a plethora of cute shops and galleries that feature works by local artists as well as intriguing antiques. While visiting Landrum, be sure to take a short trip outside of the Downtown area to see Campbell’s Covered Bridge, one of the few covered bridges left in the area.
Walhalla – In the foothills, tucked away in Oconee county you’ll find Walhalla. Walhalla has a large German presence as it was settled by Germans who left from Hamburg (if you want to get specific). In fact, the name “Walhalla” is Germanic. Sound familiar? It should, as the anglicized version of the word is “Valhalla” (any Thor fans out there?). For those searching for more history, visit the Oconee Heritage Center. The center has a nice museum that is both informative and exciting (and the staff is extremely friendly). Right outside of Walhalla is one of the most unique sites in the Upstate, Stumphouse Tunnel. The tunnel started life with the intentions of going through the mountain (completely). Now it is just spooky but still worth a visit.
Pendleton – You know a town is good when it is featured as a “Small Town We Love” in Southern Living magazine. With so much history, it is hard not to be in awe of Pendleton. Located in Anderson County, Pendleton has one of the largest National Historic Districts in the country, you read that correctly, the country. That is because almost the entire town is part of the Historic District as well as on the National Register of Historic Places. In all, the Historic District covers an area of over 6,300 acres. This includes sprawling plantations such as Woodburn and Ashtabula as well as the Old Stone Church and Cemetery (hello, Eliza).
Greenwood – The largest town on our list, Greenwood is a burgeoning college town (it is home to Lander University). If we are being totally honest, Greenwood calls its downtown area “Uptown” (is that cheating?). Regardless, there are plenty of cute shops and restaurants in Uptown Greenwood that would make for a perfect day trip. Mill House Pizza is both incredible in their pizza and their dedication to local ingredients. Uptown Greenwood also boasts a robust art center and the Community Theater is well known for its spectacular productions. We’ll also let you in on a little tip, Greenwood has been frequently honored for their Christmas lights and parade. So plan ahead for December and gear up for some Christmas fun in Greenwood.