breaking news

'Stay off the roads,' snow and threat of ice linger

A weekend in Columbia, S.C.


Columbia’s streets are etched in civil rights and Civil War history. Visit the South Carolina State House or the area’s antebellum homes. The small yet impressive South Carolina Military Museum exhibits items from the Revolutionary War to present day. scmilitarymuseum.net Young visitors will love the EdVenture, the largest children’s museum in the South. The nationally acclaimed Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is home to more than 2,000 animals and one of the nation’s most inspiring botanical gardens. The lush 170-acre site blends natural habitat exhibits, scenic river and valley views, and historical landmarks. riverbanks.org.

Columbia is about a three-hour drive east of Atlanta. Nonstop Delta flights from $258 with a 21-day advance purchase.

BUDGET

Stay: The newly renovated Hampton Inn on the Lake at Harbison offers complimentary bikes and helmets to ride the paved trail around the lake. The lobby is a relaxing gathering spot and the outdoor living room has a fireplace and gas grill. The hotel is walking distance to the city’s largest mall and shops and 8 miles to downtown. Rates start at $130, which includes a hot breakfast. 101 Woodcross Drive, 803-749-6999, hamptoninn.hilton.com.

Eat: Vista is located in the warehouse district, once a railroad station and textile mill. This downtown district is now an eclectic destination for shopping, dining and culture with more than 45 restaurants and bars and 60 art galleries and specialty shops. 701 Gervais St., vistacolumbia.com. Try Pearlz Oyster Bar for raw bar shellfish and seafood, Lowcountry fish & chips, burgers, steaks and pasta. 936 Gervais St., 803-661-7741, pearlzoysterbar.com.

Experience: Slow down and watch the fireflies light up the night sky at the State’s only national park, Congaree National Park, just 30 minutes southeast of Columbia. See thousands of fireflies simultaneously light up. There are only three other known places in the United States that experience this type of magical light show. The best time to view this spectacle is May 14-June 14. The park preserves the largest tract of old growth bottomland hardwood forest left in the United States. No entrance fee. 100 National Park Road, Hopkins, 803-776-4396, nps.gov/cong/index.htm.

MODERATE

Stay: Soak up Southern hospitality with a stay at the Inn at USC Wyndham Garden on the University of South Carolina’s campus, only walking distance to downtown. The restored turn-of-the-century home features Georgian and Gothic art influences. Rates from $160. 1619 Pendleton St., 803-779-7779, wyndhamhotels.com.

Moderate Eat: Dinner menus change daily at Motor Supply Company Bistro. Entree choices (up to $32) on handwritten menus could be European or Asian inspired with house-made or local farm ingredients in an upbeat setting. 920 Gervais St., Columbia, 803-256-6687, motorsupplycobistro.com.

Moderate Experience: Take a narrated dinner cruise for 2 hours and 30 minutes aboard an 80-foot, 149-passenger vessel, Spirit of Lake Murray. The tour on the water will take you to historic Bomb Island, where nearly 1 million Purple Martin birds circle and swoop in at sunset and roost on the largest Purple Martin sanctuary in North America. Offered during six dates in July. From $69 per person. 317 Shadowood Drive, Ballentine, 803-730-3044, lakemurraycruises.com.

SPLURGE:

Stay: Walk to the city’s museums and attractions from The 1425 Inn located near the State House. Private guest rooms, which feature en suite bathrooms, are named for specific aspects of South Carolina history. The Gervais room — named after South Carolina statesman John Lewis Gervais — features a four-poster, king-size bed with luxury Frette linens and views from bay windows. Rooms range from $189-$389 and includes hot breakfast on weekends. 1425 Richland St., 803-252-7225, 1425inn.com.

Splurge Eat: Experience downtown’s Main Street a bite at a time on a 3-hour walking food tour. Learn about the capital city while sampling dishes from five to seven locally owned restaurants. Held most Saturdays at 2 p.m.; $42 per person, $37 for military. 1100 Gervais St., 803-760-2618, columbiafoodtours.com.

Splurge Experience: Challenge yourself to the ultimate adventure while whizzing through the seven treetop courses, crossing a rickety bridge and zooming 1,000 feet above the Saluda River on Riverbanks Zoo and Garden’s zip line tour. The canopy tour also gives riders a scenic view of the more than 170 acres of the zoo’s exotic animal-filled grounds and botanical gardens. For the ultimate contest, take the moonlight zip through October. Prices range from $65-$80. 500 Wildlife Parkway, 803-779-8717, riverbanks.org.

Clara Bosonetto is a retired travel consultant.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Travel

Raising the bar in competition

After years of planning and construction, the Winter Olympics and the World Cup are generally regarded as the marquee sporting events of 2018. But there is an abundance of events throughout the year for sports enthusiasts around the globe, from the British-centric Commonwealth Games to the rough-and-tumble Rugby World Cup Sevens to the refined World...
Airline employee orders passengers to delete videos of a dispute or risk arrest

Passengers left stranded at Boston's Logan International Airport after last week's winter storm say an airline employee ordered them to stop filming near the carrier's gate counter and delete videos from their phones. The employee threatened to call police and have them arrested if they failed to comply.  At least one passenger on the Toronto-bound...
Southern states join to promote civil rights tourism
Southern states join to promote civil rights tourism

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Southern states that once fought to maintain racial segregation are now banding together to promote civil rights tourism at sites including the building where the Confederacy was born and the motel where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. died.  Fourteen states stretching from Kansas to Delaware, including all of the Deep...
The next airline IT outage could happen at any time - are you prepared?

For Gojko Adzic, it's not a question of if, but when, the next airline IT outage will happen.  He should know. As the author of "Humans vs Computers," a book about ordinary people caught between wrong assumptions and computer bugs, he's had a front-row seat to several recent technological meltdowns. And as a London-based software expert...
What should you put on your personal travel bucket list?

Question: I recently retired. My wife and I have traveled throughout Europe but want to visit more far-flung destinations now that we have time and are still healthy. Cost is not a primary concern. I’m more interested in nature than my wife; comfort is definitely a criteria. What are your top suggestions?  — Doug H., Miami  ...
More Stories