Enjoy a little bit of small town living and experience fun things to do in Summerville, SC – a short drive from downtown Charleston. The town has history, dining, attractions and events so Charleston area visitors can easily spend a day soaking up the sights in what’s known as “Flowertown in the Pines.”
Brief History of Summerville
Charlestonians first came to Summerville in the late 1700s to escape the summertime heat, mosquitoes and disease. From May to September, plantation families gathered along the Ashley River. According to town history, other pioneer residents descended from those 1696 puritans who settled the nearby former colonial settlement of Dorchester.
The Town of Summerville became more modern in the early 1800s with the arrival of the railroad and the expansion of the area from a small village. Summerville became an official town in 1847, its first law was one prohibiting the cutting of certain-sized trees without permission, and fining offenders a then-hefty $25. That ordinance, one of the oldest of its kind in the United States, is still on the books.
Fun Things to Do in Summerville SC
If you’d like to experience fun things to do in Summerville SC, first experience more of the area’s history, visit Colonial Dorchester State Historic Site, marking the location of the trading town of Dorchester that flourished along the Ashley River. The town of Dorchester was abandoned at the start of the Revolutionary War and only a handful of the original structures remain, such as the brick bell tower of St. George’s Anglican Church.
Visit the site and catch archaeologists at work, unearthing the settlement’s history. With historic records and remains, they are painting a picture of life in colonial South Carolina.
The Timrod Library, located in the heart of downtown, is one of only two membership libraries in South Carolina. Governed by a board of directors, the historic library also relies on volunteers to maintain its collection of 50,000 volumes.
In 1897 a group of young Summerville women formed a Chautauqua Reading Circle, which later become the Timrod Library – named for Henry Timrod, poet laureate of the Confederacy. The women donated the books from their reading circle and the membership library was chartered on April 23, 1908. The library is open Monday through Saturday and hosts a number of events.
Carve out some time for shopping the many boutiques around Summerville’s Hutchinson Square. It’s the ideal place to pick up gifts and souveniors to remember your visit to this special place. Every third Thursday of the month, the stores stay open late for special events.
While you’re shopping, refuel with a latte and sandwich from Cuppa Manna on Main Street or take home a bag of locally roasted beans from Coastal Coffee Roasters. Keep the small town charm going with a stop at Guerin’s Pharmacy, home to an old-fashioned soda fountain where you can enjoy a hot dog and a milkshake with the kids.
No trip to Summerville is complete with a nice tall glass of iced tea. Dubbed “the birthplace of sweet tea,” the town last year celebrated National Tea Day by making the world’s largest sweet tea. Join the town again on June 10 as it once again attempts to break a Guinness World Record with a 2,500-gallon glass of sweet tea. Also check out the Sweet Tea Trail with stops all through town.
For some physical activity, take walk through the beautiful Azalea Park, blooming in the spring and home to the town’s annual Flowertown Festival with arts and crafts, food and entertainment. Sawmill Branch Multi-Use Trail starts at Gahagan Road or the parking area on Ashley Drive where you can walk or bike ride this flat, 10-foot wide paved trail, which follows the Sawmill Branch Canal and through a wooded area in the southern part of the town.
For more fun things to do in Summerville SC, check out http://visitsummerville.com/.