After NYC and Washington, DC we found ourselves in Anderson, SC.
Twenty years ago my parents moved from the Chicago suburbs to Anderson because of my step-dad’s PhD work at Clemson. See, the quit your job in your 40’s and go back to graduate school idea is not new in our family. 😊 When he was deciding where to do his PhD, my mom, brother and I went along on his trip to MIT where they were courting him. We spent a week in Cambridge and Woods Hole and had one memorable fancy lunch in MIT’s faculty dining room, I was sold! When he declined their offer and chose Clemson I knew there had to be good reasons.
Besides his unique area of research at the time and Clemson’s expertise that matched, my mom found the lifestyle in Anderson more livable. Anderson was meant to be a soft landing spot while my parents took a sabbatical from their Chicago lives but it has turned into their adopted home. My step-dad has been a professor at Anderson University for many years and now that my mom is retired from her lifelong career as a designer and florist, she spends her time entertaining her charge, my adorable nephew Brady and tending to their beautiful garden.
There are so many good things that have come from their lives in Anderson. Most notably my brother Chase met his incredibly smart, kind, and interesting wife Tarna and I got two awesome nephews out of this union, Corbin and Brady. But we’ve also had a chance to explore this part of our country that we otherwise probably would have missed. Despite the South’s horrific history of slavery, there are some beautiful things to appreciate from this part of America. The manners, hospitality, appreciation for a slower pace, bbq and bluegrass music are just a few of my favorite things about the South. Oh, and those cute accents. The confederate flag I can do without.
The historic plantations are an excellent way to learn about the history of how this part of our country was built. And often you learn specifics about the lives of salves that will bring even more compassion to your heart for the people who endured this barbaric treatment and their ancestors who live in this country today as a part of their legacy. This history is not that old and I’m often struck when I am in the South just how much lingers from this chapter.
If your find yourself passing through Anderson, The Electric City, The Friendliest City in South Carolina, and an All American City according to the National Civic League, stop and smell the roses. Anderson was one of the first cities in America to have electricity in the late 1800’s! Go to their historic downtown and visit their arts center and then have a meal in one of their delicious restaurants. Drive to the Clemson Botanical Gardens and enjoy the many beautiful trails along with the geology museum and historic log cabin. Try to visit Ashtabula House, a historic plantation and take a tour, you won’t be disappointed.