Road Trip: Traveling U.S. 178

A three-in-one excursion through Upcountry South Carolina
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Map by John S. Dykes

Can’t decide if you’re in the mood for a quiet country escape, an exciting city adventure, or a majestic mountain getaway for your next vacation? Fortunately, thanks to a nearly fifty-mile stretch along South Carolina’s U.S. Highway 178, you don’t have to choose. All you have to do is hop in the car and head out for a road trip that will leave you feeling like you’ve seen and done it all. With stops in three cities along the way—Belton, Anderson, and Pickens—you’ll find an array of can’t-be-missed sites and attractions. When you get home, you’ll probably find it hard to believe that you only took one vacation. With three amazing and unique experiences, you’ll be ready to hit the road again soon.

Grits and Groceries
Grits and Groceries owners Heidi and Joe Trull

Belton: Country Comfort Off the Beaten Path

Grits and Groceries
Housed in an old country store at Saylors Crossroads, this much-loved restaurant, owned and operated by Heidi and Joe Trull, is proud to offer “real food, done real good.” From Cajun and Creole to straightforward Southern cooking, it’s comfort food at its finest. Saturday brunch has become a local tradition, drawing crowds from as far away as Atlanta, Georgia and Charlotte, North Carolina. gritsandgroceries.com

Callaham Orchards peach
Callaham Orchards

Callaham Orchards
This 120-acre family farm yields some of the most delectable fruits and vegetables in the area. Harvested peaches, strawberries, nectarines, plums, watermelons, muscadines, tomatoes, squash, pumpkins, and more can be purchased at the farm’s famous roadside stand. You can even pick your own blackberries and figs when they’re in season. agriculture.sc.gov/agritourism-farms/callaham-orchards

 

Anderson: A Sparkling Time in the Electric City

Palmetto Moonshine distillery
Palmetto Moonshine

Photograph by Jeff Hammond

The Bleckley Inn
Located in the heart of Anderson, this elegant boutique hotel is as cozy as it is sophisticated. The inn’s fourteen well-appointed rooms offer a host of creature comforts—and who doesn’t love a free breakfast? It’s an ideal place to stay when visiting the Electric City, a moniker bestowed upon Anderson in 1895 when it became the first city in the South to transmit electricity over long distances. bleckleyinn.com

Palmetto Moonshine
For something unique, visit South Carolina’s first legal moonshine distillery. Free tastings of Trey and Bryan Boggs’s 105-proof White Lightnin’ moonshine (made on-site in copper moonshine stills), as well as their peach, blackberry, and apple pie varieties, will add a kick to your trip. And stop by the gift shop to purchase a few Mason jars of moonshine to take home. palmettomoonshine.com

Split Creek Farm
This Grade-A goat dairy is located less than twenty minutes from downtown Anderson. Pop over to see the farm’s 350 goats in action, and pick up some award-winning feta and goat milk fudge. You can also enjoy the farm’s products at local restaurants such as the upscale Sullivan’s Metropolitan Grill or the casual SummaJoe’s Searing Pans & Homemade Pizza. splitcreek.com

Split Creek Farm
Split Creek Farm


Pickens Environs: Blue Ridge Mountain Majesties

Jocassee Gorges (Lake Jocassee and Devil’s Fork State Park)
Comprising more than 43,500 acres, the Gorges are a natural wonder marked by rugged forests, mountain streams, and one of the largest concentrations of waterfalls in the eastern United States. National Geographic included the area in its “50 of the World’s Last Great Places.” Devils Fork State Park, nestled along the shores of Lake Jocassee, offers access to kayaking and hiking, as well as boat tours that take you right up to the lake’s renowned waterfalls. Owner and guide Stephanie Couch of Lake Jocassee – Keowee Boat Rentals offers a four-hour tour that is not to be missed. dnr.sc.gov/managed/wild/jocassee

Three Pines View
A ten-minute drive from the Lake Jocassee’s main access point is Salem’s Three Pines View, a five-star guest-rated boutique lodge owned and operated by Steve and Diane Hayes. With panoramic mountain views from four spectacular rooms, Three Pines View is intimate and inviting. In harmony with nature, the owners grow organic produce for their gourmet breakfasts (try the eggs benedict) and even planted 300 trees on the property. threepinesview.com

Aunt Sue’s Country Corner
Right off Scenic Highway 11 is Aunt Sue’s Country Corner, a charming restaurant where you can have fried green tomatoes and a juicy burger with a side of spectacular mountain views. Sit in one of the high-backed rockers on the large porch and enjoy a set list of folk songs played by local musicians. Then peruse the on-site shops for a selection of mountain crafts from quilts and jewelry to handmade wooden toys. And snag a fresh whoopie pie from Aunt Sue’s Kitchenware & Bakery. auntsuescountrycorner.com

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