Outdoor

Marie McAden

SOUTH CAROLINA INSIDER

 

Chattooga Belle Farm one of the prettiest spots in the S.C. foothills

Posted 8/31/2010 1:48:00 PM

On a recent trip to Wildwater Rafting’s Chattooga River outpost, I got an inside tip on one of the prettiest spots in all of the Carolina foothills. Located on the back roads of rural Oconee County, I was a little skeptical until I pulled into the driveway of Chattooga Belle Farm in Long Creek.

This 138-acre u-pick plantation — once owned by actor and comedian Groucho Marx — offers stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Just as beautiful are the exquisitely maintained fields of peach and apple trees, grape and muscadine vines and berry patches.

Weaving through the rolling hills of crops is an 18-hole disc golf course featuring major elevation changes and water hazards. Upstate Frolfer, a disc golf website, rated it B+ for the variety of holes, A+ + + + for natural beauty. Cost to play the course is $3 per game. If the farm store is closed, just drop the fee in the pay box.

The farm’s other major attraction is the Lomax Observation Circle, a giant compass rose surrounded by a stacked-stone sitting wall. On clear evenings, amateur astronomers can often be found with their telescopes gazing at a sky full of stars. Day or night, you’ll find the rose holds a surprise if you stand in the center and speak. Very cool!

Farm store hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and until 1 p.m. if there’s a scheduled event in the barn. But not to worry, visitors are invited to walk-in anytime.

We had the place to ourselves when we visited the farm on a Saturday evening in August. Sitting in rocking chairs under the barn’s covered patio, we enjoyed the panoramic vista as the sun set behind the mountains.

There’s no better time to visit the farm than in September when apples are ripe for the picking. Among the available varieties are Liberty, Golden Delicious, Pink Lady, Granny Smith, Gale Gala, Ginger Gold, Honey Crisp and Fuji. The fall harvest also includes seedless Concord, Thompson and Vanessa grapes, muscadines and scuppernogs.

Got you tempted? Find out more about Chattooga Belle Farm at www.chattoogabellefarm.com or call (864) 647-9768.