or months, my husband, Dan, and I spent every evening and weekend working on the house—a magnificent 19th century plantation house we’d purchased located in South Carolina’s Lowcountry.
We worked with electricians and plumbers to modernize the home’s dated systems. We tore out old tile, dingy plaster and rotten planks of wood, replacing it all with materials and items that were modern but still true in style to the home’s original look.
After 6 months we completed the refurbishment. Now, it was time to add the decor to match the 19th century beauty.
We knew there was one place we had to visit—Walterboro, The Front Porch of the Lowcountry, a treasure trove for antiquers like us, where their red rocking chairs are a symbol of southern hospitality. We made a habit out of shopping in Walterboro for atmosphere and deals.
This one-of-a-kind spot is known for its wild and wonderful items including large statement pieces.
We had another reason to head to Walterboro. After months of sawdust, sweat and sandpaper, we needed a mini vacation! Thousand-year-old live oaks lined the streets we strolled of this small town’s antique district and enjoying a few authentic southern meals was the perfect reward for our hard work.
We arrived in the morning and started our trip with a visit to the South Carolina Artisans Center. This campus of old buildings is the official folk art and craft center for the state where about 300 artisans sell their crafts, including garden sculptures, sweet grass baskets, pottery, blown glass pieces and other handmade items.
You name the medium and I guarantee they have an artist who works in it!
Best of all, the shop offers great buys with prices just a fraction of those in nearby art galleries in Charleston and Savannah.
During our visit, I fell in love with a beautiful oil painting of a giant oak in an antique frame. It reminded both Dan and me of the stately moss-draped oaks on either side of our own house. We had to have it! Next we headed to Bachelor Hill Antiques.
This one-of-a-kind spot is known for its wild and wonderful items including large statement pieces. Many of its furnishings come from older, historic homes so we were optimistic about finding quality antique furniture that would be authentic to our home’s beginnings.
I knew we were in luck from the moment we entered the front door and I spotted the perfect empire sofa for our sitting room. It had come out of a celebrated house in Savannah, Georgia and dated back to the 1880s—the same period as our home. Dan found beautiful 19th century side tables that were a perfect match.
Our excursion left us hungry for lunch. Wanting fresh, local fare, we went to the Colleton Museum & Farmers Market. After browsing the open-air farmers market, we headed inside. We checked out the Colleton Museum for a dose of Lowcountry culture and found some local homemade pepper jelly in the gift shop to take home. Dan had a roast beef sandwich on a homemade cheddar herb biscuit, and I enjoyed my strawberry arugula salad. We shared a Blenheim ginger ale. It’s a very popular, fiery ginger soda that’s made in South Carolina. Among the vast selection of baked goodies from the in-house Atol Bakery, we picked up some French macaroons for the road.
Afterward, we headed over to Hiott’s Pharmacy, a soda-fountain relic that’s a treasure in itself. Here, we ordered the time-tested classic: malt shakes.
I sipped my thick chocolate malt through a straw. Leave it up to Walterboro to keep such an amazing throw-back dining spot alive and kicking! The friendly wait staff made us feel like locals.
Once our bellies were full, Dan and I decided we could make one more stop before calling it a day. We walked over to The Golden Daffodil, a cozy shop that offers a wide array of antiques and fine art. Its owner, Erik Lindstrom, was a great host and shared his passion for upholstery work, which we could see was high quality. We liked his work so much that we’re thinking about hiring him to re-upholster our dining room seat cushions.
After that, we headed back to our bed and breakfast for a good night’s sleep.
Even though it was spring, no trip would be complete for us without a stop at the Old Bank Christmas & Gifts.
We were up early the next morning, ready for more shopping action.
Even though it was spring, no trip would be complete for us without a stop at the Old Bank Christmas & Gifts. Housed in a remodeled bank, this shop with a giant clock out front specializes in holiday decor. As the name implies, their specialty is Christmas, though they sell collector items for all the major holidays.
The Christmas ornaments, wreaths and tree toppers always get me in the holiday spirit. It was a treat to shop for Christmas decor that would work for the mantelpieces and nooks of our house.
I wound up buying a trio of Santa Claus figurines, gold garland, and a couple of Easter trinkets. Those are great, but my real prize purchase was something I couldn’t even fathom finding. It was a Christmas moose carved from wood. On its own, it was all sorts of cute with large antlers and a green and white scarf, but it was so similar in style to a Christmas mouse that I inherited from my grandmother that it became an instant holiday friend. Everything else went carefully packed in the back of our covered truck. The moose, though, I let sit beside me in the cabin.
We took time to enjoy a nice meal before heading home. Carmine’s Trattoria is where we feel like we step into Italy as we cross the threshold. Chef Giuseppe brought his talent from the southern end of the boot. We always start with fresh bread and olive oil for dipping followed by authentic entrees and ending with the tiramisu. This time, I had a creamy, savory risotto con Portobello, and Dan went with his favorite—lobster ravioli.
With stomachs full of good food and a truck full of antique finds, we drove home.
Excited by our new treasures and refreshed by the atmosphere, I felt truly successful with our quick getaway.
Discover treasures of your own in Walterboro, South Carolina!