story by Hunter Frazer
Beat the Heat in Hartsville
If you’re like me, the onset of summertime can rival the busyness of the holiday season. Between weddings and cookouts, family vacations and beach trips, each year I feel like it’s gone before I can blink! This summer, however, my personal goal is to stop and soak in my hometown surroundings in the midst of the craziness—there’s so much right here at our fingertips, especially this time of year! To give myself, and especially you readers, some inspiration, I’ve put together my ideal Saturday in Downtown Hartsville and hope you enjoy all of the lovelies this town has to offer!
Stop One: Morning Stroll through Kalmia Gardens
Crisp morning air, paired with the sights and sounds of Hartsville’s own botanical garden, makes for the perfect start to a Saturday morning. The 35-acre gardens boast beautiful blossoms and surround a nearly 200-year-old historic home, the Thomas E. Hart house. Feeling adventurous? Take the plunge down into the floodplains of Black Creek, where miles worth of trails lead you through swamp life and an array of interesting vegetation. If you’re feeling really saucy, hop on your bike and take the path straight on into downtown for our next stop!
Stop Two: Brunch at The Midnight Rooster
Affectionately known as “The Rooster”, this coffee shop and eatery has been a Hartsville staple since 2002. Since then, it has blossomed into a hip spot for coffee dates, eclectic lunches, and my favorite, brunch. Available every Saturday, the menu ranges from decadent beignets to biscuits and gravy, with a few salad options for you health-conscious folks! My favorite? The Pedros Rancheros grits bowl. Grits, topped with pimiento cheese, avocado, pico de gallo, and a scrambled egg…what’s not to like? Pair it with a mimosa and you’ve got my go-to Rooster order. Seriously, every time.
Stop Three: Shopping Around Downtown
If you catch downtown on a “second Saturday”, you’ll be greeted with a number of street vendors participating in the Hartsville Farmer’s Market. From fresh meats and produce to hand-crafted artisan goods, you’re bound to find something to take home with you. On any and all Saturdays, wander the streets from Carolina around to Fifth for some one-of-a-kind boutique shopping. Check out Minnie’s Giftique for anything from home décor to ladies clothing and everything in-between. And be sure to take them up on their gift wrapping service…it’s to die for! Then, scoot on down to COAST on Carolina to see my girl Johnna and get summer ready! COAST is your one-stop for all things beachy and breezy. She can help you get your glow on with a quick spray tan, too! While you’re in there, be sure to check out products from Cotton Patch Hemp—Hartsville’s latest CBD company! From there, hang a right and find yourself at Mahala Reese. If you can get past the gorgeous interior, peruse Amy’s collections for some equally stunning finds. From special occasion dresses to stylish sneakers, you’ll be sure to find something unique.
Stop Four: Cocktails and Dinner
Let’s be honest. That mimosa kicked in, and retail therapy paired with the heat of the day led you to a nice afternoon siesta. Perfect! You’re ready for round two.
Now that you’re rejuvenated, head on over to the Rooftop at the Mantissa for a delicious cocktail. My favorite is the Ruby Red Greyhound! Enjoy the gorgeous view of downtown in the sophisticated but relaxed setting, and if you really want to indulge, book one of their luxe-but-affordable suites for a local “staycation”.
After cocktails, it’s time for some local grub! Depending on your personal palate, there are a few options I love:
• For the Burger Enthusiast: Hoof and Hound is your spot! Build your own or choose one of their hand-crafted burgers (my favorite is the Smokehouse!) For those with different tastes, the quesadilla is also SO good!
• For the Foreign Foodie: Bow Thai is a Hartsville hidden gem that you’d surely miss if you weren’t seeking it out! This small space boasts big flavor at incredible prices. I recommend the Pad See U on a Level 2 for a little kick!
• For, Well, Anyone: Sam Kendall’s has quickly become a standard for dining out in Hartsville. Whether it’s apps and drinks during happy hour, a romantic night for two, or ladies’ night, there’s a little somthin’ for everyone. You MUST get the Red Hot Shrimp (I like spice, okaaay?) as an appetizer, and the Kingston Cut for your main and I promise it won’t disappoint.
If you’ve still got a little bit of life in you, round out your perfect Saturday with a nightcap from Vintage or Retrofit. We like to call Vintage our “Cheers”. There’s always a familiar face and a cold beer waiting on you. Retrofit is another favorite, offering tasty beverages and beautifully refurbished furniture waiting for a home. And since it’s Saturday, be sure to warm up your pipes for some karaoke!
Whew. Wasn’t that fun? So this summer, when you’re itching to run out of town for the weekend, just remember: sometimes, the very best vacation spot is right there in your own backyard; you just have to embrace it. I hope you enjoy each and every stop on my Perfect Saturday Hartsville Guide! Be sure to follow The Hunt for Style on all social media platforms to keep up-to-date with Hartsville Happenings and beyond!
Stay Stylish and Enjoy the Hunt!