5 of South Carolina’s Best Kept Secrets

So what is worth seeing in SC, other than the popular Charleston Aquarium, Riverbanks Zoo, or the football stadiums? Quite a few places actually. But I have narrowed it down to the 5 that most people have never heard of (even the locals!).

1. Gaffney Premium Outlets

Because what Southern girl doesn’t love shopping? And ok, maybe this isn’t exactly a secret. But I feel like this gets way less attention than it deserves simply because of the remote location. However, these 75 stores are well worth the drive! And of course, you can’t miss the iconic marker for the area, commonly referred to as the “Peach butt” (the Peachoid Water Tower).

**Fun Fact: South Carolina is the nation’s leading peach producer and shipper east of the Mississippi River.

2. Campbell’s Covered Bridge

Constructed in 1909, Campbell’s Covered Bridge is the only remaining covered bridge in the State of South Carolina. It’s owned by Greenville County now, and is a great site for photography shoots and picnics!

3. The Stumphouse Mountain Tunnel

The Stumphouse Mountain Tunnel was started in 1856 by a railroad company and is bored for more than a mile into the granite heart of fabled Stumphouse Mountain. The coming of the Civil War in 1859 ended the work on the project. Some years ago, Clemson University made Blue Mold Cheese in the tunnel successfully for the first time in the South. The Tunnel is still owned by Clemson University, but is managed by the city of Wahalla.

4. Bomb Island, Lake Murray

Bomb Island on Lake Murray each spring and summer is the home of a very unusual event. Each year thousands of Purple Martins return to this island to roost for the summer. The island has been declared a bird sanctuary and it is quite a sight to watch these birds return to Bomb Island each day around sunset.

5. Atalaya Castle and Huntington Beach State Park

Located in Huntington Beach State Park, you’ll find Atalaya Castle, a stunning tribute to the Spanish Mediterranean built as a winter home by philanthropists Archer and Anna Huntington. Beyond indulging Mr. Huntington’s passion for all things Spanish, the beachfront hacienda included an atelier for Mrs. Huntington, who was an accomplished sculptor, as well as a stable for animals she used as models. Atalaya stretches some 200 feet on each side, with 30 interior rooms framing a spacious Andalusian-style courtyard. The structure’s eponymous tower—in Spanish “Atalaya” means “watchtower”—housed a 3,000-gallon water tank.

Personally, the beach and board walks located within the state park are my favorite. It is located just south of Murrel’s Inlet and Myrtle Beach, but is much less crowded and trashy. Check out some of my shots from the park here.

But let’s be honest, 5 places can barely begin to cover all the wonderful destinations in beautiful South Carolina. So I want to hear about your favorite spots bellow! Have you ever visited any of my top 5?  Are there any “secret” spots that you love to visit? Let us know!



Southern Remedies

One thing that I’ve noticed from working in healthcare is that everyone has their own solution to problems. In the south, advice and solutions begin coming the moment your mother announces that she is expecting. Every woman seems quite confident that she can instruct you on how to best care for your baby. And then there are the solutions for childhood illnesses. Tips for cleaning the house. Remedies for ridding your yard  from pests. Tricks to keep that young and beautiful radiance. The Farmer’s Almanac to instruct you in planting your garden and harvesting crops. Signs for predicting the weather. Advice and remedies never run scarce down here.

I know that the following remedies and tips will barely scratch the surface (my Great Grandma would have been much more qualified to write a post like this), however, I truly believe that there is value in more than a few of these tips! Others I simply included because I found them somewhat amusing.


Cures for the Common Cold and Other Illnesses

1. Sweat it out: Hydrogen Peroxide and Ginger Detox bath

1. Run a hot bath. (It  supposedly opens pores and prepares body for cleansing.)

2. Add three pints of hydrogen peroxide (3%). This oxygenates the body and helps purge toxins. It’s also antibacterial and antiviral.

3. Add two ounces of ground ginger, a natural anti-inflammatory that increases blood circulation and helps promote the elimination of toxins through sweat.

4. Soak for about 30 minutes.

5. Drink lots of water; You need to replenish what’s being pulled out of your system because you will begin to sweat profusely.

2. Caster oil


Still not sure, but some sources suggest that it aids with skin and hair health, muscle aches, and constipation.

3.  A “Hot Tottie”

A hot brew that consists of equal parts whiskey (or tea, preferably green tea, if you would like to drink it), honey and lemon juice.   This can also be made for homemade cough syrup.  You can take them hot or cold from what I have read.  Usually about 2-3 tsps at a time (about 1/2 oz).

4. Eat Garlic

After looking into it, Research has shown that garlic is an antioxidant and can shorten the life of a cold. Also, Allicin, an ingredient found in garlic, is a decongestant that will help clear your blocked nose and sinuses.

5. For a congested chest:

Smear a sheet of brown paper or flannel in goose fat/lard and stick it to the patients chest before bed. Some people say that sprinkling it with nutmeg also helps. An earlier incarnation of rubbing Vick’s on the chest, perhaps?

Cures for getting rid of Pests

6. Grits 

I hate fire ants. There is no worse way to ruin the summer barefoot experience. So how would grits kill them? Well, the scout ants or whatever they are called, bring the grits into the colony, they get fed to the queen, and she expands after eating them and basically explodes. For some evil reason, that brings a smirk to my face.  Is that bad? The colony can’t live without their queen and they all end up dying.  Or eating grits and you get more explosive ants.
Go get ya some ants.  Southern Style.

7. Salt

Personally, I hate this one. I hate watching the poor little slugs shrivel up from a fatal chemical reaction. But it works.

8. Ivory Dish liquid

Ivory liquid dish washing detergent can act as a natural insecticide. Dilute with water until it is a 1 or 2 percent solution and then spray on plants.

Other Stuff…

9. Aspirin

Crush up aspirin and add water to make a paste that will relieve itchy bug bites. Ammonia has been said to work as well.

10. Aloe Vera

Growing up we had a huge one of these in a pot on the back porch. Whenever we burned ourselves we just broke off a piece and rubbed the gel on the burn site. This is the same plant gel that is sold to soothe sun burns. Apple cider vinegar can also be used to relieve burning, especially the pain from a jelly fish sting.

11. Duct Tape

You aren’t southern unless one of your solutions is Duct tape. It can be used to fix anything and everything. Some people even claim that if you leave duct tape on a wart for 2 weeks, it will kill it.

12. Frozen vegetables

…they make great ice packs for injuries. Or headaches.

How about you? Have you tried any of these? If so, what were the results? I would love to hear your additions and comments bellow!

100 Words and Sayings Commonly Used in the South

One of the most important aspects of any culture is the language (and I’m not just saying that because I’m a linguist). To truly understand the people of any culture, you must first understand the language. With this being said, … Continue reading

Sweet and Southern – Coming Soon!


The South.

A place that gets in your blood and stays forever.

A place full of history, lazy summer afternoons, cotton fields, bonfires, barbecue, football, friends and family.

There are so many words that could describe the South.

So many memories and stories that could be told.

In reality, the southern states have their own culture – unlike anything else in the world.

Many people tend to stereo-type us:




Narrow minded.

Southern Baptists.


These generalizations often prevent people from seeing the beauty of Southern culture.

So prepare yourselves!

Over the next few weeks I will be taking you on a journey: a journey down dirt roads, through the cotton fields, across the creek, over the railroad tracks, through the states, and back in time.

To many of you this journey will be like reliving yesterday. To others it will be as strange to you as traveling in a foreign land.

But to me, it’s home. So pull up a chair, pour you a glass of sweet iced tea, and get ready to sit a spell. I’ve got a lot of stories to tell.

Welcome to my home, y’all.

10 Months in [more than] 10 Pictures.

Since my last post was toward the beginning of August, I’m doing a 10 month re-cap starting in August, up til now, the last hours of May! (The pictures are mostly what everyone wants to see anyway, right? ;) 1. … Continue reading