I’m going to break with previous posts a little bit and write about an accidental find in the US. They certainly exist here too, but I don’t take advantage of them nearly as often as I could. A few years ago my friends and I decided to meet up a at a midway point for all of us. We looked at the map, picked a midway point that was right off the highway, and booked a hotel room for a weekend in Santee, South Carolina.
Part of the joy is traveling is who you share the trip with. With the right people pretty much any place can be fun, but beyond that I also have great memories of Santee because the activities there were not things I would normally have done. Here are a few great things in Santee:
1) A boat tour around the lake looking for alligators (or crocodiles, I can never remember the difference). The scenery was beautiful, the guide was entertaining, and because we were out on the water it wasn’t horribly hot. We only caught a glimpse of an alligator, but did get to see some remarkable birds.
2) Blueberry picking. We stopped by a farm on the road that advertised blueberry picking, and we spent the afternoon gathering more blueberries than we could possibly eat. The farmer’s stand also sold other fruits and vegetables from the farm. I’m sure at different times of the year you can pick different things, so you could go multiple times if you wanted and it wouldn’t be the same. This is probably only exciting for suburban or city folks who see this as a great and unique way to spend an afternoon and not as work.
3) Outside of town there is a petting zoo that is awesome. You can feed a lot of the animals. I liked the lemurs the best – their little hands are so soft and funny feeling when they take the food out of your hands! There was one monkey that had a pail outside of his enclosure and he pulls it along a rope towards himself when you put the food inside. There were also these tiny deer-like creatures that I had never seen before. At one point later on I learned what they were, but of course other information has pushed that little factoid out of my brain. (Any one have any ideas?) There is also a store on the property that sells, among other delicious things, local honey.
4) Restaurants. There is one that you can’t miss because it has a giant shark jumping out at you over the entrance. I had pretty much the world’s best peach daiquiri there. A Mexican restaurant close to the HoJo has fishbowl margaritas that are a little dangerous, but good.
There are lots of other things to do in Santee, particularly in the outdoors. I think it is popular for fishing and boating on the lake, nature tours, golf, hiking, etc. We also drove around and wandered through some shops in other old-fashioned town centers. Don’t be afraid to check it out for yourself! There is a tourism office on the edge of town – be sure to stop by to find out about these and other attractions in the area!