Small town has some sites worth seeing

June 09, 1996|By Christina Lee Knauss | Christina Lee Knauss,KNIGHT-RIDDER NEWS SERVICE

If you're one of those people who enjoys road trips during which you check out whatever shows up along the side of the highway, Walterboro (population 5,492), is ideal for you.

This quietly beautiful, often overlooked little town was founded in 1784 as a summer colony for rice-plantation owners seeking an escape from the diseases that wracked the banks of the rivers and marshes in Colleton County. The first homes in town were built by two brothers, Jacob and Paul Walter. That's where the town name comes from.

Walterboro is a fun place just to drive around. Fans of architecture will especially enjoy the gorgeous historic homes built as far back as the 1820s on Hampton and Wichman streets downtown. You'll also find the occasional odd touch -- like the man-made waterfall that cascades down one of the buildings on Washington Street.

Some things to check out:

The Colleton Museum, 239 N. Jefferies Blvd. This is the big white building downtown that looks like an old English castle. The museum is in the "Old Jail," built in 1855 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. See artifacts from the early history of Colleton County and Walterboro. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. (803) 549-2303.

Walterboro Water Tower, corner of Memorial Avenue and Washington Street. This 132-foot stone structure looks like a medieval fortress, but is actually a water tower built around 1915. It holds about 100,000 gallons of water and supplies downtown Walterboro. An eerie photo opportunity, especially if the sun hits it right.

Mount Carmel Herb Farm, Route 2, Box 581, Walterboro. Mount Carmel has hundreds of herbs on display and for sale, as well as herbal products and books on herb farming. Tours and lectures are offered, and you can picnic under the pecan trees. The farm is five minutes off I-95. It's off Mount Carmel Road, the first road on the east side of the Interstate. The farm is 3.5 miles down Mount Carmel Road on the left. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. (803) 538-3505.

Feeling hungry?

Two recommendations:

The Old House Cafe, off Highway 64 just off I-95. This laid-back eatery offers great, basic low-country and Southern cuisine. Check out the buffet, which features three or four different entrees daily as well as salads and homemade desserts. 6: 30 a.m. to 8: 30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, 6: 30 a.m. to 2: 30 p.m. Sundays. (803) 538-2614.

Washington St. Cafe, 242 Washington St., Walterboro. Features Italian and American food in a quaint European-style building. Open six days a week, closed Sundays. Call for hours and reservations. (803) 549-1889.

Pub Date: 6/09/96

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