Just east of Augusta, GA along I-20 and west of Columbia, is South Carolina’s Thoroughbred Country. Comprised of Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg and Barnwell counties and bordered by Interstates 20, 26 and 95, this region showcases rolling countryside, equestrian events, wide open greenspaces, nature and history, in addition to picturesque downtowns with unique shops, restaurants, museums and lodging.
Enjoy downtown Aiken. Surrounded by a one-of-a kind parkway system and bordered by beautiful beds of flowers, historic downtown Aiken offers unique dining and shopping choices including art galleries, antiques, gift shops, a brew pub and a wide variety of restaurants. Several horses are on display as part of a public art project. Make a reservation for the Historic Aiken Trolley Tour for historic homes and churches, equestrian sites, the Civil War’s Battle of Aiken, the live oak canopy on South Boundary and the Winter Colony residences. Discover local artworks at the many galleries in the region, including Art & Soul of Aiken, Jim Harrison Gallery, Southside Gallery of Aiken, Aiken Center for the Arts, Arts and Heritage Center of North Augusta and the Little Red Barn Pottery & Art Gallery.
Intown, stay at The Willcox. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places and voted Southern Living’s 2021 World’s Best and Readers’ Choice, The Willcox has welcomed guests for well over a hundred years. Famous for its atmosphere, impeccable service and excellent cuisine this old-fashioned Southern hotel offers suites elegantly appointed with period antiques and deep soaking tubs. Enhance your stay with an after-hours spa and dinner, fireside s’mores and a horseback ride through Hitchcock Woods or a picnic for two.
For a countryside getaway, try these three. Equestrian couples can bring their steeds to Magnolia Shadows in Ridge Spring, where horse boarding meets bed & breakfast. Rooms in this 1985 plantation home are completely restored and surrounded by manicured pastures, magnolia trees and gardens. The convenient location makes it easy for guests to visit the world-famous polo, fox hunting and racing venues. Just 5 miles from Barnwell, SC in the small town of Snelling, Miss Alda’s Inn is a family home passed down through 5 generations. Guests can tour many nearby historic sites and take advantage of golf or hunting packages. Located in Blackville, Wisteria Cottage Bed & Breakfast is a rustic two-bedroom, one bath 1940’s cottage. Stroll through Lill’s Herb Garden, enjoy bird and butterfly watching, or ask to take tea in the garden. The proprietor is also happy to provide a traditional Mennonite breakfast upon request.
For a quirky throwdown, try Woodchuckers Axe Throwing. Backstory: upstanding family gets opportunity to open a business in Aiken’s fun district, The Alley. They were convinced that axe throwing was perfect. Their philosophy: memories are more important than things, and what better way to create memories with the people you love than throwing a sharp object at a target? For more traditional ways to express love and work off energy, play a round of golf or take a romantic walk along the Arboretum Trail and into Hopelands Gardens, a 14-acre former estate park featuring wetlands, an arboretum trail with cell phone tour and a labyrinth.
Craving Southern comfort dining, traditional Italian and Tuscan, a cozy wine bar or an over-the-top romantic meal? For ideas on dining throughout Thoroughbred Country, visit www.TBredCountry.org
For more I-95 travel information, visit www.i95exitguide.com, the Internet’s largest and most complete website devoted to I-95, America’s Interstate Main Street. Detailed exit service listings… discount lodging, camping, food, gas and more for every exit from Maine to Florida! Plus I-95 construction, real-time traffic and road news.