By Bonnie and Bill Neely
Although I grew up only an hour from this charming little town of Newberry, SC, I had never been there, but it is certainly worth a visit. The home of the pretty Newberry College, the town has well-restored historic buildings and many really good eateries and restaurants..
On the town square we discovered the best known of the landmarks, Newberry Opera House, open for daytime tours. Evening and matinee entertainment of all kinds is recognized for miles around and it is advisable to purchase the reasonable tickets well in advance. The acoustics are very good and everyone who attends an event there continues to talk about it for weeks! Quite a reputation for a little town!
For those attending plays and concerts at the Opera House you will want to make reservations also at the well-known restaurant Figaro, just across the street. The meals are delicious!
If you love to browse antique shops, this is the place to find many to delight you. It is always fun to find affordably priced valuables from yesterday on pretty display and ready to go home with you!
The Carter & Holmes Orchid Nursery here is a few miles out in the country and well worth the drive. In the many greenhouses you can see thousands of orchid plants, in various stages of growth. The blooms are magnificent from tiny, inconspicuous pale-colored ones to giant blossoms of brilliant colors. Most times of year you can purchase plants to take home, and the clerks in the gift shop give good growing instructions. Some the unknowledgeable friends had advised me to place an ice-cube a day on my home plants…not sound advice since orchids do not grow in frigid climates and because they do not like wet feet! Ask the attendants and they will tell you just what to do to keep your prize orchid plants blooming year after year to keep your home beautiful.
Another unique place in Newberry which is not to be missed is the incredible Summer Hardware Store, a town landmark for three generations of Summer family men since 1928 and now run by Bill Shull, grandson of the founder, Clarence T. Sumner. We wandered around the vast store and saw fascinating items (some dust-covered or rusty), which must have been here since the store opened! The items of yesteryear seem to sell almost as well as necessary modern hardware items, which Bill can find for you somewhere in the amazing maze. Before leaving with whatever treasures you can’t live without, be sure to ask Bill to tell about his father’s 1994 Nobel Prize for Physics. Bill will proudly show the bronze copy of the medal his dad, Dr. Clifford G. Shull received in Stockholm, Sweden, for his research in establishing Neutron Diffraction Techniques at Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Dr. Shull was the son-in-law of C.T. Summer who founded this Hardware store nearly a century ago. I asked how on earth Bill ever does inventory for tax time!
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