Historical Boutique Hotel in the Heart of the Five Points District
A weathered sign stamped atop two stories of vintage red brick proclaims "Claussen's Bakery", a relic leftover from the building's former life as a bakery dating back to 1928. The warehouse-cum-hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and vestiges of its past have endured in the form of original hardwood floors and vintage moldings. Each morning, guests awaken to breakfasts of freshly baked bread, an homage to the building's heritage.
As a cornerstone to an entrance of Columbia’s vibrant Five Points district, The Inn at Claussen's cuts an imposing brick figure, trimmed with palmettos. The boutique hotel comprises 28 rooms outfitted with four-poster beds. Traditional rooms incorporate a regal palette of burgundy and gold and are appointed with period furniture. In a traditional loft suite, guests can ascend the spiral staircase to the loft bedroom and toss candy to imaginary spectators gathered below. Each evening, the innkeepers host a wine-and-cheese reception in the double-height lobby.
Columbia, South Carolina: Capital City with Small-Town Charm
Columbia, located just 3 miles from the exact geographical center of South Carolina, was founded as a compromise capital in 1786 to satisfy both Lowcountry and upstate factions. Although much of the city was torched in 1865 on General Sherman's march to the sea, Columbia was rebuilt and thrives today as a historic state capital with wide streets and abundant greenery, thanks to its location near the confluence of three rivers and the massive Lake Murray. In downtown Columbia, the Congaree Vista district centers on the old Adluh Flour Mill, with nearby warehouses and railroad stations repurposed as indie restaurants, galleries, and boutiques in a thriving arts community.
Northwest of the city, Riverbanks Zoo and Garden hosts more than 2,000 animals from across the world, including lions, siamang apes, and ring-tailed lemurs. Zebras and giraffes roam across 2 acres of simulated African savannah, and reptiles and sharks swim and slither in the 20,000-square-foot Aquarium Reptile Complex. At the kangaroo walkabout, visitors can mingle with marsupials and discover the many uses of their pouches, besides child rearing and shoplifting.
Less than 20 miles outside the city, Congaree National Park beckons outdoor enthusiasts with elevated boardwalk trails that meander through floodplains. Park rangers lead free tours on land and water, with guided hikes through leafy forests and canoe trips beneath bald cypress trees.