Antiquated storefronts painted in colorful hues rise like flowers in a garden against a Carolina blue sky as shoppers stroll brick lined streets, stopping to chat along the way. The scene is reminiscent of days gone by; however, it is reality in the small town of Abbeville, South Carolina.
This remarkable town has managed to preserve its past while incorporating the present resulting in a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere. The heart of town is ‘the square’ with brick paved streets circling a center park.
A variety of businesses exist including antiques shops, children’s clothing, a florist, insurance agents, even an Amish grocer where you can purchase meats and other fare in the manner done decades prior. On Trinity Street, one of the side avenues, is the wonderful establishment of Breezy Quarters. One can find all-natural soaps, hand creams, scented candles, and essential oils for both men and women. Although the shop is located in a 19th century building, the business practices are 21st century allowing online purchases for those who do not reside locally. (I personally enjoy the hand scrub and hand cream in the Wildflowers scent-it’s very light and feminine).
Numerous antiques stores are located on and off the square (Crate and Quill on Trinity Street across from Breezy Quarters and Just Off Main at 101 Church Street), all of which are well worth the visit.
(Images of Just Off Main and Crate and Quill, respectively, from their Facebook pages).
Downtown hosts a variety of restaurants including Chinese, Mexican, Wings, or Crepes. We dined at Natty’s on Trinity Street.
The atmosphere was inviting with a loft like feel sprinkled with antiquities and French accents.
The upstairs is furnished with antique sofas and chairs providing the perfect spot to curl up with coffee and a good book.
The staff was friendly, treating us like regulars (I almost expected Norm to walk in). But the highlight was the food! I had the veggie crepe while hubby indulged in the club sandwich. It was delectable and I ate every bite!
Afterwards we strolled the square, stopping in a lovely antique store across from the Belmont Inn. At the front of the shop is a menagerie of gift items and a glass fronted case boasting various gourmet chocolates while the back section and upstairs are filled with antiques. From there we walked through the Belmont Inn, an historic hotel with a bed and breakfast atmosphere.
We also toured the historic Opera House.
Being a sweltering July afternoon it was only natural to get ice cream at the Roughhouse. Entering the building was like walking into the scene of an old movie.
A turn-of-the-century cabinet loomed against the wall sporting a corded telephone (yes young people-phones were actually attached to walls in the old days), stained glass inserts, and a kaleidoscope of memorabilia. The ice cream bar welcomed us to sit a spell and enjoy a frosty treat. I indulged in the maple cookie ice cream and it was divine!
Afterwards we drove around town admiring the beautiful historic homes with architectural styles ranging from Victorian to Georgian to Arts and Crafts to Italianate. Some were modest gingerbread trimmed cottages whilst others sprawled across manicured lawns with turrets and towers reaching toward the sky.
Historic Burt-Stark Mansion
Historic churches also grace the streets.
One of the most notable aspects of Abbeville is its hospitality. The people not only greet you but also spend time chatting and sharing the highlights of the town. We truly felt welcome.
Historic Abbeville Visitors Center
Needless to say, I am quite taken with Abbeville. There is much more to this town than what I’ve mentioned but it would take days to cover it all. Treat yourself to a weekend in this tiny southern treasure. Take in a show at the Opera House, stroll the streets, tour the infamous Burk-Stark Mansion, and dine in one of the many eateries (definitely try Natty’s). Abbeville is like going home, where everybody is welcoming and will probably remember your name.
The Quintessential Victorian gives Abbeville, SC a Five Parasol rating!