From barbecue to opera, set sights for an unforgettable adventure in the Palmetto State’s City of Friendly Folks—Newberry
When you pull up to historic downtown Newberry, South Carolina, it’s clear you have escaped the common and entered the exceptional. Located just 45 minutes from the capital city of Columbia, ornate details abound amongst the preserved buildings that give this slice of the Midlands its treasured flair. Explore the pre-revolutionary war to more modern-day history that sweeps through the palmetto trees, plantation homes and concert venues characteristic of Newberry.
1) Wavering Place
First stop—Wavering Place. This stunning plantation home was built in 1768. Before the American Revolution, owner Joel Adams acquired extensive property holdings along the Congaree River, establishing 25 plantations, including Wavering Place. The family-owned plantation is still in the Adams’ family today. The Greek revival home is a breathtaking sight with its large white columns and three stories of porches. The National Historic Registry property is surrounded by lush gardens on all sides, making it the perfect place for a wedding, reception or even a backdrop for professional portraits. Looking for a place to lay your head? The Wavering Place does not disappoint with its stunning bed and breakfast, The Kitchen House. Sign up for a tour through Historic Columbia and stroll the grounds, feel a sense of the past while relishing in the beauty of the present. Discover your trip at WaveringPlace.com.
2) Newberry Opera House
Built in 1881, architect C.L. Norman designed the Newberry Opera House inspired by the French Gothic style. Intended to be both a place for city government and entertainment, the Opera House evolved into a locale for both work and play. The first floor housed the fire engine room, council chambers and even three jail cells. Despite its utilitarian use, the building quickly became known as, “The Entertainment Center of the Midlands,” hosting New York plays, variety shows and even boxing matches. In 1992, the city of Newberry vacated the building and a six million dollar reconstruction project began. Today, the restored jewel hosts hundreds of new performers every year, dazzling the 426-seat audience with comedians, musical groups and stage theatre, while keeping it’s old world feel intact. Check out the show schedule by visiting NewberryOperaHouse.com.
3) Historic Downtown Newberry
Newberry was one of six counties in South Carolina that were created in 1785. By 1801, the first courthouse was built in what is now known as the Historic Gowntown Newberry. Stroll through the square where the streets are lined with picturesque shops and restaurants and nearly every building within view is on the National Register of Historic Places. Crack open a book at the Newberry-Saluda Library built in 1911, and walk in the Old Hotel originally constructed in 1880, today hosting the Newberry Art Center. Visit the Newberry Firehouse, originally built in the early 1900s and later modeled in the Art Deco style, or learn about the area’s Civil War history with a stop by the Confederate memorial constructed in 1880. Today the firehouse holds hot events with its preserved feel but modern amenities. Everywhere you look, there’s a (his)story behind each building in this charming downtown. Plan your visit at CityofNewberry.com.
4) The Green Book of South Carolina
The Green Book of South Carolina is the first mobile travel guide to African American cultural sites across the state. Created by the South Carolina African American Heritage Commission, it provides residents and visitors from around the world a user-friendly guide to discovering and celebrating black history. There are several historic sites and markers in and around Newberry. Discover the grounds of Peoples Hospital—the first and only hospital for African Americans from 1937 to 1970, say a prayer at Miller Chapel AME— a historic black church, or step back in time at Howard Junior High School—a segregated four-room building built back in 1924 in neighboring Prosperity. Let the Green Book app be your guide towards a deeper understanding of our nation’s past as you tour historic registered sites and landmarks around the area. Learn more about the app at GreenBookOfSC.com.
If you go
In the middle of your many history lessons, make sure you stay fueled with good food, drink and fun. Take a seat and sip the night away at the new Bar Figaro. This novel spot lights up the night with handcrafted cocktails, delicious small bites and live music. At Figaro the Dining Room, savor a scrumptious meal in the heart of Newberry morning, noon or night with entrees like crepes for breakfast, crisp salads at lunch and steaks for dinner.
Surround yourself in beauty at Carter and Holmes Orchids. A hidden gem just three miles from downtown Newberry, schedule a guided tour of the greenhouses. Take in the gorgeous colors and mesmerizing smells of the intricate blooms while a professional grower discusses the different orchids housed here. Tours are $6.00 per person and are by appointment only, visit CarterAndHolmes.com to book.
If festivals make your heart sing, plan your trip around one of Newberry’s many annual events. Kick up your feet at the Irish Fling held around St. Patrick’s Day, complete with live music, drinks and dinner specials around town. BBQ fans can’t miss Pork in the Park. The best grill masters from across the Southeast travel to Newberry to show off their culinary prowess in April. Relish the live music and kid’s activities while indulging the palate. In May, enjoy The Taste of Newberry, a quintessential small town event featuring taste bud-tempting dishes and drinks from area restaurants. Celebrate Newberry’s German heritage during Oktoberfest with German beer, art and music at the city’s most attended event each October. End your year right with North Pole Nights when, every Friday from the end of November through December, it snows in Memorial Park while Santa and Mrs. Claus provide a story time for the children. For more events, visit CityOfNewberry.com.