Less Traveled 2010

Tracy Pou

SOUTH CAROLINA INSIDER

 

Small Town Spotlight -- Walhalla

Posted 5/17/2010 2:12:00 PM
If small-town South Carolina is what you're looking for, consider wandering to Walhalla. Founded in 1850 by German immigrants, Walhalla means "garden of the gods." And with so many shops, cafes and other interesting sites, the town is truly a heavenly place to visit.

Walhalla's Civic Auditorium is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A former school auditorium, the restored building currently serves a first-class facility for theater events, conferences and seminars.

In addition to having a vibrant community arts scene, there also are many historic attractions in Walhalla. There's the Oconee Heritage Center, a local museum that explores the history of Oconee County Native Americans, immigrants, agriculture and more. Walhalla'a Patriot's Hall Veterans Museum houses an extensive collection of artifacts from both world wars and the Korean and Vietnam wars.

You'll also find breathtaking natural beauty just outside of Walhalla. Isaqueena Falls, named after a Native American girl, is a waterfall with a nearly 200-foot cascade.

Another interesting site, Stumphouse Tunnel, is located nearby. Stumphouse is an abandoned railroad tunnel that was supposed to connect Charleston to Midwestern cities by rail. Lack of funding and the Civil War ended construction at the site. Today the 17-feet-wide by 25-feet-high structure is a part of the local park system.

And no trip to Walhalla would be complete without a visit to Kudzu Kabin Designs. There, artist Nancy Basket crafts all things kudzu. You'll find kudzu paper, baskets, lamps and more. In fact, the artist's studio is a restored 100-year-old barn with walls that are made of stuccoed kudzu bales.

If after taking in all of Walhalla's history and natural beauty you find yourself a little hungry, be sure to stop by the Steakhouse Cafeteria. Don't be misled by the name. Steakhouse isn't famous for steak. Locals say the restaurant's 'Arabian Rooster' fried chicken is the best around.

If you're thinking of planning a day trip to Walhalla, see www.walhallachamber.com/news.php for more information on the town.