Four generations of the Wilson family have maintained Cotton Hills' sprawling homestead, which continues to yield cotton, wheat, timber, pumpkins, and other produce. Guided tours relax visitors with a 40-minute wagon ride through the twists and turns of a working farm and grant agricultural knowledge without the tedium of a scarecrow's memoirs. Patrons navigate the rustling halls of a corn maze and exchange greetings with barnyard animals in the crisp air. Visitors admire the farm’s 19th-century barns, which are steeped in pastoral history. Though not included in this Groupon, locally made ice cream and fresh produce from the adjoining market energize farm visitors more pleasantly than an early-morning phone call from a rooster.
Using hand-finished and hand-carved frames from all over the world, the crafty staff at Havens Framemakers & Gallery prepares artwork and memorabilia for perching stylishly on walls. While specialists stand by for free consultations, clients peruse more than 5,000 moulding samples and matting options of varying colors, textures, and scratch-‘n’-sniff scents. Diplomas can be framed for around $100, and small items such as cross-stitches and children’s drawings can be framed for $100 or less. From portraits and needlework to mirrors, framesmiths delicately handle all items in their large workspace and employ high-quality equipment for making accurate cuts on mats and frames. Also, Havens’ shadowbox-framing services help preserve three-dimensional prized possessions such as soccer trophies and medals from Law and Order: SVU marathon watching contests.
The museum is currently featuring the work of contemporary American artist Lesley Dill in the I Heard a Voice exhibit, which will run through January 23. An English major turned artist, Dill's artistic vision stems from her love of Emily Dickinson's poetry, her travels in India, and her interest in Buddhism—in this exhibition, she uses bronze work, photography, poetry, thread, wire, and paper to sculpt figures and build tapestries. Dill's 34 pieces provide a visual accompaniment to poetic texts by Dickinson, Franz Kafka, Salvador Espriu, and more. We are Animals of Language, a documentary created by Dill's husband, is also showing in the gallery to provide insights into the creation, background, and meaning of Dill's intriguing pieces, while providing a guide to speaking in dolphins’ native tongue. See the website for a list of regular museum and holiday hours.
Palmetto Outdoor Center promotes the preservation of natural rivers and forests. Because awareness is the best way to maintain the environment and cultural heritage, Palmetto spreads knowledge of local gems with river trips and walking tours. These organized tours and vessels for rent allow amateur explorers to discover South Carolina's uncluttered riverbanks while learning about how they can be protected. Civil War walking tours illuminate the history of the region, and canoe and kayak rentals plunge into the tree-lined waterways of the Congaree, which flows through protected national parkland with the continent's largest old-growth floodplain forest.
Adventure Carolina's skilled kayakers lead paddlers on 2.5-hour tours of the rugged Saluda River. As participants propel through icy waters and bob for trout or striped bass, expert guides steer the watercraft and narrate notable sights. Along the way, Saluda River's gurgling rapids sweep kayakers on strong currents, sending them soaring at heightened speeds. Due to the river's unpredictable water levels and large rapids, Adventure Carolina suggests that kayakers, like aspiring pickleball champions, have some paddling experience.
A mother horse and her newborn colt saunter up to the wooden fence, greeting the children eager to pet the creatures' noses. The team members of Graystone Ranch thrive on seeing these types of interactions. Managing 500 acres of woods and pasturelands that serve as a preserve and rehabilitation center for both domestic and exotic animals, the ranch hands form a nonprofit team dedicated to teaching children and adults how man and animals can live in harmony.
Concurrent with such educational programs as summer camps, the grounds also host abundant recreational opportunities with two spring-fed lakes, wooded hiking and horse-riding trails, zip lines, and a petting zoo. Further diversions range from a gem-and-mineral museum to a horse-painting program, which lets kids put their colored handprints or re-creations of a favorite Monet on the sides of a white horse.