Lynn & Cele Seldon (Seldon Ink)
It’s hard to believe we’re in the homestretch of our training for Bicycle Across South Carolina (BASC) 2021, which starts with a party on Thursday, October 14th, followed by three days of varied rides in the historic area of South Carolina known as the Old 96 District. And we can’t wait!
Now in its third year and with a new format (participants are based in one place the entire time), this will be our first Bicycle Across South Carolina, which is organized and sponsored by The Post & Courier. Cyclists get to choose a “short” or “long” ride each day, with all of the loop rides featuring both pavement (about 20%) and dirt and gravel portions (around 80%), with full medical and mechanical support. We’re both celebrating our 60th birthdays this year and we’re generally “flatlander” cyclists (we live on Beaufort’s bucolic Spanish Moss Trail), so we’re opting for the short rides of 24 to 31 miles each day.
This year’s exciting BASC Basecamp is Hickory Hill Milk, which is situated on quiet Faulkner Mountain Road about 15 minutes north of Edgefield, which we hear is a great little town that we look forward to exploring on the way to BASC or during one of our post-ride free afternoons. We actually pursued a “training” ride there a few months ago and can’t wait to return. The fourth-generation state-of-the-art dairy farm features tours and an honor system for buying milk and famed Clemson Blue Cheese (which is made with Hickory Hill milk). We finished our training ride with a pint of cold chocolate milk, and we can’t wait for more during BASC.
The modest registration fee (participants can opt for one, two, or three days of riding and about 350 participants are expected this year) includes camping (more on that later), live music, farm tours, locally-sourced food and beer, campfires, and more. We are really looking forward to the opening night party and the camaraderie during and after the rides, while enjoying the food, drink, music, and more.
However, we honestly weren’t much looking forward to the camping, camaraderie or not. After decades of mostly enjoyable tent camping across the country, we now opt for a hot shower or bath and a soft bed after a day of cycling or, well, anything. So, we’ll be staying at Inn on the Square in bustling Greenwood, just 30 minutes northwest of Hickory Hill Milk. We stayed there after our training ride and can’t wait to return (including a big, jetted bathtub that has our name on it).
During our free afternoons, we’re looking forward to exploring more of the Old 96 District. Edgefield possibilities we’ve found thus far include: Old Edgefield Pottery*; unique shopping at August & House; Old Edgefield Grill (located in a 1906 Victorian-style house); TLC Confections & Gifts (“where no crumb is left behind”); Carolina Moon Distillery (which seems like an ideal post-ride reward!); and the National Wild Turkey Federation’s Winchester Museum (home of the world’s largest turkey call and much more).
Up in Greenwood, along with our Inn on the Square base (and that tub), we’re looking forward to exploring the Civil Rights movement at Dr. Benjamin E. Mays Historic Preservation Site, as well as a return to The Mill House for tasty brick oven pizza and creative beers from adjacent Good Times Brewing. If we have time, we’re also going to try to check out Abbeville (for more shopping and dining), Hickory Knob State Resort Park (the only resort park in the state), and Revolutionary War history at Ninety-Six National Historic Site and Battle of Musgrove Mill State Historic Site.
We’re huge fans of agritourism (see our recent The Atlanta Journal-Constitution feature about southeast agritourism destinations here, including South Carolina’s Chattooga Belle Farm in the Upcountry (yet another South Carolina region we’ve grown to love). So, along with exploring (and sampling) Hickory Hill Milk even more, we also hope to visit Emerald Farm for their goat milk soaps and more.
Sara’s Fresh Market in Ridge Spring (less than a half-hour south of Hickory Hill Milk) is another agritourism goal for us. It’s located at famed Titan Farms, the largest peach grower on the east coast (the Old 96 District features serious peach country).
We’ve enjoyed many Titan Farms peaches over the years, so we hope to sneak in a Sara’s visit after one of our rides. With jams, jellies, preserves, fruit spreads, pickled items, chow chow, bread, sauces, local honey, ciders, and much more here. There are also seasonal Sara’s locations in Aiken and Trenton, which re-open come spring
Also on the food front, we are going to try to connect with a fellow foodie, Belinda Smith-Sullivan, aka Chef Belinda®. Also based in Trenton, Smith-Sullivan is the monthly food contributor to South Carolina Living magazine (we’re also frequent contributors) and has many tasty videos on the magazine’s great website. An active member of the Southern Foodways Alliance, the International Association of Culinary Professionals, the American Culinary Federation, and Les Dames d’Escoffier, Chef Belinda also sells an interesting line of spice mixtures on her website, as well as her three books, Just Peachy, Let’s Brunch, and Southern Sugar (her most recent book).
But back to Bicycle Across South Carolina. This ride has been on our South Carolina bucket list since we heard about it in 2019. That bucket list also includes visiting all 47 South Carolina state parks, through the state’s Ultimate Outsider program, as well as eventually traversing every mile of the still-growing Palmetto Trail. But first, it’s time to ride on, South Carolina-style!
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*Updated 9/27/2022: Justin has recently shut down the Old Edgefield Pottery studio inside of Edgefield’s City limits and is focusing on his “country studio” that is located near Bettis Academy. The studio will be open periodically throughout the year for openings and events so if you would like more information on these you can check out his page on Facebook or at www.oldesgefieldpottery.com Justin notes that they are still in the transition stages currently and plans to have more capability to do online sales and open studio events closer to Christmas. Justin can also be reached by email at guypottery@com.