Monday, July 9, 2012

A Fine Day In Hartsville, SC

  This past week, in the nice breezy 80- 90-degree weather, I walked into town from my work a few blocks away for my lunch break.  Breezy? We're expecting between 102 and 107 this weekend........  So I'm enjoying the time in the low-heat environment while I can.. O.o

Hartsville, South Carolina

  In my wanderings downtown this week, I was reminded for the billionth time of all of Hartsville's small-old-town charm.  It's amazing how much you miss when you're constantly focused on going to the coffeeshop - and that's it.  There's nothing wrong with the coffeeshop, but there are so many more things to be doing aside from that one individual place in a town so charming and historic!

  I decided that I would take a mini-adventure through my little downtown Hartsville and share with the world a few wonderful local (non-franchise) places you can go to enjoy a nice relaxing day in a laid-back little town.  For starters: we don't have parking meters, and we have tons of free public parking lots - they're not hard to find, you just gotta find 'em.  For this adventure, we will be parking behing the pawn shop on Carolina avenue!  So imagine your car parked there...

Let's say you have Friday off :) [or this could be Saturday, if you'd prefer] But I like having Friday off ;)

The Midnight Rooster Coffeeshop and Eatery

For a good ending to your week, and a good start to your weekend, you wake up later than usual.  You want to have breakfast, but you don't want to make anything.  It's almost 9 o'clock, and you get showered and ready for the nice day away from the office (or wherever you work).  Who would be open for breakfast this late in downtown Hartsville? The Midnight Rooster Coffeeshop and Eatery!

Breakfast at the Rooster!
The Midnight Rooster is a home-grown, locally-owned coffeeshop and eatery that has served our town since 2002.  Inside, you will find yourself homely welcomed by a staff that is just as eclectic as their surroundings.  Take a seat on the various couches and randomly collected chairs and look at the menu offered.  I personally recommend the Tree Hugger crepe - a delicious thin pancake batter wrap stuffed with grilled mushrooms, savory pesto saice and creamy chunks of goat cheese, topped off with fresh diced tomatoes.  Of course, their menu, otherwise, is outstanding!  While you wait for your food, you can help yourself to a number of books - old and new - lying about, waiting to be read.  Magazines litter makeshift coffeetables, independant artwork by local aspiring artists clutter the walls for your enjoyment, and a slugh of independent music carries in the background.  To compliment your savory breakfast, you can also select from their many flavors of fruit smoothies, caffeinated beverages, and also side dishes and cheescakes.  Once your food arrives - bonne appetite!

Minnie's Giftique

Finishing up your late refreshing breakfast, you decide that you would like to take a look at some local shopping venues - maybe you deserve an update to your wardrobe!  Next door to the Rooster is Minnie's Giftique.  Around since 1979, Minnie's Giftique serves Hartsville with admirable fashion, and giftware for women.  Home decoratives, such as handmade pictures frames, scented candles, stained glass centerpices, and locally-blown lemonade glasses, are laid elegantly across the stoor.  Mixed within are beautiful dresses and blouses - often on-sale - from respected designers like Eva Franco, Free People, and Cape Madras (the Free People selection is usually my favorite!)  Hand lotions are opstions for the dry days, and perfumes of many scents are available for all days.  Take a look around and see if anything catches your fancy!

Leaving Minnie's, you want to enjoy a little walk to the next block before the sun gets too high in the sky.  You walk towards the corner of East Carolina and South Fourth Street and turn onto Fourth Street going behind the string of buildings.  Up ahead, and as you draw nearer, you notice an old building that is a church.  This is Welsey United Methodist Church - one of the oldest church buildings in Hartsville!  The church body was organized in 1893 when Hartsville was rapidly earning the title of 'city.'  As you marvel in its glamour and beauty (and maybe consider visiting on Sunday) you come to the next corner.  Looking to your right, you see the entrance to Hartsville's hometown (and international) college - Coker College.  Coker was founded by the Major, James Lide Coker in the later part of the 19th century.  It's roots were that of a Baptist High school for girls, and became a co-ed college in 1903.  Several of the Georgian-style buildings are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.  Looking to your left now, you see more stores tucked away into College Avenue.  Follow this sidewalk to these stores!

Lulu's Boutique

Walking past one of the many free public parking lots, you can see the back of the buildings you were just in.  Many of the buildings have appartments attached, and you can often see their residents coming and going, or talking on their iron patios.  Neat, right? Well look across the street; there's a sign that says Lulu's - and you see another chance for some shopping!

Lulu's is a rad-fashion boutique for (particularly) juniors, and other women of any age.  Inside, you will find high-class style, and a cozy atmosphere to experiment with.  Although prices are usually a bit high, they often have sales that are amazing!  And the clothes you'll find are just plain great!  The attendants are very stylish as well, so if you need a second opinion, they'll be happy to help!  Spend some time adding new additions to your wardrobe if you haven't already - it's your day off, right? You deserve it!

Vintage Wine Boutique

When you're done fitting into a new dress, you walk outside Lulu's and the first thing to catch your eye is across the street in a purple building!  You are looking at Vintage Wine Shop.  Although this proper hangout has not been here long, I have heard many good things about it, and have also known of upstanding people to visit it on occasion.  Inside, the owners of the boutique keep good aged and new wine ready for you to sip throughout a hot, sunny day.  People of all sorts come through and join you in a delightful experience of tasting wine.  Although you may not be hungry just yet after your hearty breakfast, you figure a little wine sipping would help keep you cool and refreshed.  Take your pic!  And enjoy the light atmosphere!

After spending some time resting in the cool air of the Vintage Shop, sipping on some cool wine, you step out into the more heated part of the day.  As you make your way towards the stop light at the end of the block, look left and see Fifth street go back down to the street you first started on.  Walk that way!

Indigo Salon and Day Spa

Walking down fifth street, you can see some shops lining the sidewalk, shaded by purposefully planted trees.  Among them, you will seethe Playzone, for kids, Hughes Photography, and Juice - a children's boutique.  Among these little attractions, there is a spa - it is called the Indigo Salon and Day Spa.  Step inside!  It's hot out, and maybe a nice manicure or pedicure, or a haircut to let some breeze on your neck, or even a little massage might be a good way to relax a little more after the wine you had!  Lucky for you, you called them yesterday to schedule an appointment!  (*Be sure to schedule an appointment at least 24 hours before you go!!)  Specialists will revamp your mood and attitude about the weather and you will surely be pleased with the way you look and how relaxed you feel!  Once you're done here, you feel like it's time for a late lunch.  Where should you go to eat? When you leave the salon, turn left going towards Carolina Avenue!

Hobnob Gourmet

When you get to the stoplight, cross the street heading towards the old classy building known as the home of the J.L. Coker Co.  Next, head right up Carolina Avenue, you'll see a little garden and fountain!  This garden belongs to the city of Hartsville, it is called Centennial Park.  Look closely as you pass: names of people who helped this part of Hartsville to grow are on the bricks you walk on, and surrounding them are the blossoms of constant hard work and care in each flower bed!  The first little shop you'll find is Hobnob Gourmet.  Although Hobnob is not necessarily an ideal place to eat a big meal, it can definitely be a satisfying small appetizer!  Typically a gift registry, guests are welcome to sample types of coffee and little pastries to satisfy an empty stomach and a sweet tooth.  Since 2003, Hobnob Gourmet has been open to Hartsville and her visitors to enter a dainty, aromatic atmosphere in Southern hospitality.  Pick up some feshly baked cookies, and maybe a bag of coffee beans to take home for later!

The Village Cafe

Moving on down Carolina Avenue, you come to a little gap in the wall where a fresh aroma carries out to the street.  What is this place you're beside?  The Village Cafe!  With Daily Specials, the Village Cafe is a newer excitement of Hartsville with the familiar friendly environment.  They serve fresh cut deli sandwiches, and pannini's to satisfy your craving.  Go on in and take a seat at their quaint comfy tables and wait to be served a fresh and refreshing lunch!  Their menu is full of surprises and delectible food - so many that it's hard to pick in this mid-day meal!  But as you wait for your sandwich, you are helped to drinks and coffee of your choice, and a good window view of the theatre across the street... maybe you'll go there next? ;)

Burry Bookstore

Once you have finished your tasty late lunch, you step back out into the hot Southern summer air.  Whereto next? Turn left and continue walking down Carolina Avenue.  Soon you will pass City Hall and the Hartsville Police Station, both naturalk landmarks in our heritage.  Beside that, however, is a large opening where a building once stood... however, the building has been replaced with a garden!  This is a small piece of the Hartsville Community Garden!  In an effort to encourage community bonding and in an effort to promote being "green," the city of Hartsville has been planting and growing gardens in various places throughout town to encourage fellowship among its people.  This is simply the fruit of it!  Looking across the street, you can see a longer piece of building that says, "Burry Bookstore" - you can guess, that is our bookstore!

Carmike Cinema Twin

Burry Bookstore, serving the city of Hartsville and surrounding area since 1975, has been a beacon of literature provided for local and national authors to meet with fans, as well as provide a great opportunity to find a great book!  Whether for school reading, informational education, or mere pleasure, Burry Bookstore has a little bit of everything for every age.  Go inside and see what book might spark your interest!  You never know when you might find a book that really makes you think!  Leaving the quiet atmosphere of the bookstore, you make a left and find yourself smelling freshly popped popcorn.. where is this coming from?  As you walk further down, you realize that you saw the theatre from across the street! 

The Hartsville Carmike Cinema Twin is a larger hangout and attraction in Hartsville!  It is the only theatre, containing two cinemas, that the people of Hartsville can enjoy at the most affordable rate - possibly in all of the Pee Dee!  Well, again, it is hot outside (probably over 100 degrees by now!) so let's get back into the cool air again!  Check and see which movies are playing!  Matinee shows are usually only $2.00 and if you get drink and popcorn, they should be $5!  Amazing, right?  So let's spend a few hours letting the rest of your food digest and enjoy some entertainment!

Wow! It's already the late afternoon!  That was a good movie!  What else can you see in Hartsville to wrap up your day off?  You'll need food again soon - but not yet.. Maybe somewhere you can sit for a little while and enjoy a small crowd... Turn left out of the theatre and walk mack towards the stoplight. 

Frets and Necks Guitar Repair
and Lutherie
Before you reach the corner though, you look into the window shop on your left - the smell of fresh cut wood, and old metal lingers lightly outside the door.  Do you own a guitar or a wooden instrument of that nature?  Do you want to? Or do you want lessons??  This is Frets and Necks Guitar Repair and Lutherie!  It might not be open this late ofter the movie, but you can always check it out!  Frets and Necks is operated by people who are skilled in the art of making guitars, as well as playing them and teaching others how to play!  When you walk in, wood shavings are everywhere behind the counter, and if you ever need your guitar, mandolin, ukelele, or banjo fixed - these guys got your back!  The people here are experts at the guitar trade. 

After crossing over Fifth Street, keep walking back to your familiar starting point, the Midnight Rooster.  Boy, has a crowd gathered!  Inside, you can hear some singing and guitar playing. Local artists and independant artists and musicians from all over come to the hometown coffeeshop and use the stage inside as a revenue to advertise their music and art!  People come from all over to play, so people come from all over to see.  So many interesting people!  You wait around for a little while and enjoy some live entertainment, and maybe even meet a few people who are enjoying their time as well.  Pretty soon, you decide you're hungry for dinner.  You would love to eat at the Rooster again, since they serve dinner on Friday nights, but you want to keep up your trend of trying new thigns.  Across the street is a blue building that also booming with night life.  You can smell the thick fragrence of freshly cooked food lingering across the street to where you stand.  Welcome to the smell of Bizzell's!

Bizzell's Food and Spirits

Always sparking conversation among locals, and a regular meeting place for thousands of people every week, Bizzell's has gained a reputation for its outstanding service and even more outstanding food!  Home grown straight out of Hartsville, Bizzell's Food and Spirits has been serving the community of Hartsville for over a decade.  Go in and take a seat at one of their comfy booths or chairs and enjoy the light, talkative atmosphere.  Take a selection from their pastas and salads, or maybe a nice appetizer or sandwich.  Ranging from everything, you have a wide selection of homemade foods made as soon as you ask for it!  Enjoy your evening with the nightlife crowd, and maybe sip on some beer too! 

Once you are stuffed with your delicious dish, you think it's about time to head back home.  Leaving Bizzell's and heading for your car parked across the street behind the pawn shop, you look down the street to your left and think about the amazing day in Hartsville you have had, remembering every place you've gone to try new foods, and find some comfort and relaxation.  Ah, what a day it has been and you are glad you had the opportunity to experience Hartsville's small-old-town charm.  All it's charm has worn you out and now you're already thinking of returning agin soon!


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