New Developments in South Carolina Tourism Emerge in Traditional Locations as well as Undiscovered Places
Columbia, S.C. – Jan. 29, 2013 -- In South Carolina, new developments in tourism destinations, attractions and services continue to emerge in traditional locations as well as undiscovered places in 2012-13. New air service, festivals and restaurants, renovated hotels, and even a new homegrown bourbon distilled from corn, wheat, barley and rye, are highlights of the list.
SOUTH CAROLINA ACCOLADES
For a complete list of awards and recognitions, click here.
For the extensive list of new developments in Myrtle Beach, click here
First ever Bulls Bay Nature Festival – Awendaw, SC -- The first ever Bulls Bay Nature Festival – From the Forest to the Sea will be held on Saturday, March 23, at conservation centers, refuges and parks near Charleston. The festival raises awareness about the natural heritage of South Carolina’s coast. Activities, including a saltwater fishing derby, nature walks, archery, crabbing, cast netting and more, will be held at Cape Romain, Francis Marion National Forest and Sewee Center in South Carolina’s Lowcountry. For more information on the festival, contact the Sewee Center at 843.928.3368 or email Rustin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
JetBlue launches service to Charleston International Airport (CHS) with twice daily nonstop service from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and a daily flight from Boston’s Logan (BOS) on Thursday, February 28, 2013. Tickets are now on sale via jetblue.com/new.
Zero George Street, a European-style boutique hotel located in the Ansonborough neighborhood, opened in December 2012. Housed in five historic residential buildings built in 1804, the hotel features 18 guest suites. zerogeorge.com
Holiday Inn Express Charleston Ashley River, the 153-room hotel at 146 Lockwood Boulevard (previously the BEST WESTERN Plus Charleston Downtown), is nearing completion of a multi-million dollar conversion that includes significant enhancements in all aspects of the property. It is scheduled to open February 2013. charlestonhiexpress.com
Framing Charleston Harbor’s north shoreline, The Cottages on Charleston Harbor stands as an embracing waterfront retreat offering broad views of historic downtown Charleston, Fort Sumter and Sullivan’s Island. The resort consists of 10 spacious cottages – each just a few steps from the beach – plus a clubhouse that offers full concierge service, a lounge and continental breakfast, a harbor front swimming pool, a private beach and bicycles for touring the Carolina coastline and Patriots Point. 843-849-2300. www.thecottagesoncharlestonharbor.com
The Ordinary, the much-anticipated second restaurant from James Beard Foundation Best Chef Award-winner Mike Lata, who opened FIG in 2001, opened in early December. Billed as a classic oyster bar and seafood hall, The Ordinary is housed in an 85-year-old former bank. www.EatTheOrdinary.com.
The Upstairs Drawing Room at Croghan’s Jewel Box is the latest chapter in the story of Charleston’s oldest family-owned jewelry store, which is currently managed by the granddaughters of founder William Joseph Croghan. For more than 100 years, the 18th-century Charleston single house located on King Street has been the place for locals to purchase fine jewelry and gifts. The Upstairs Drawing Room is appointed with family heirlooms and available for private events. croghansjewelbox.com
Duvall Catering and Event Design recently relocated to a new building and opened a commercial demonstration kitchen that serves as a local food incubator serving food trucks, bakers and food entrepreneurs. The venue is also available for private events. www.DuvallEvents.com.
HILTON HEAD ISLAND
Lowcountry Produce, Market and Café, with one shop in historic Beaufort, has opened its second market on Hilton Head Island. The artisan market focuses on using farm fresh ingredients from local farms in South Carolina and Georgia. (843) 686-3003.
The Hyatt Regency Greenville is celebrating the completion of a multi-million dollar reinvention in January 2013 that has created a new shopping, dining and entertainment hub at NOMA Square in downtown. (NOMA is short for North Main www.nomasquare.com.) NOMA square will be home to several new retail shops, a Class A Office tower, a European style Waffle Cart, ROOST (a soil-to-city restaurant featuring local, seasonal cuisine,) and Studio 220, an art gallery that also serves as a meeting space. The hotel features 35,000 square feet of flexible meeting and event space, a renovated atrium with a 40’ artisan chandelier, the Upstate’s largest hotel ballroom, and 330 refreshed guest rooms. www.greenville.hyatt.com
Tupelo Honey announced it will open a new location in Greenville Summer 2013. The restaurant will feature Tupelo Honey’s signature performance/display kitchen, a full bar and outdoor patio seating. The restaurant will open next to Anthropologie in the ONE Project, a $100 million development. https://tupelohoneycafe.com/location/greenville
The Dark Corner Distillery released South Carolina’s first official Bourbon: Lewis Redmond Carolina Bourbon Whisky- distilled from corn, red wheat, barley & rye has been aging since October 2011 in charred, new American oak barrels.http://www.darkcornerdistillery.com.
The Greenville Zoo welcomed baby giraffe Kiko to the world on October 22, 2012. The world watched via webcam as Kiko was born weighing in at 118 pounds and 5’10”. Kiko will be living and on exhibit at the Greenville Zoo for at least one year. http://www.greenvillezoo.com/
The Greenville Convention and Visitors Bureau launched "Signature Experiences" featuring more than a dozen seasonal opportunities to get a different "insiders" look at many of the area attractions. This is the first initiative of its kind for any CVB. www.greenvillecvb.com
A bike sharing program is coming to Greenville Spring 2013. Greenville B-Cycle will have at least six bike stations and 28 bikes to provide community members and visitors an active way to get around town. http://greenville.bcycle.com/
COLUMBIA / LAKE MURRAY
South Carolina’s most popular zoo – Riverbanks – welcomed a baby giraffe last October. The calf, named Winston by his handlers, was 100 pounds at birth. When full grown, he likely will reach 18 feet tall and 2,600 pounds. He is the seventh giraffe birth at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden since February 2009. Winston and the rest of the herd can be seen at the zoo’s African Savanna exhibit. www.Riverbanks.org.
Historic Columbia Foundation installed a new welcome garden at the Robert Mills House named "My Mother's Garden" in April 2012. This expansion included new benches and pathways, a fountain, boxwood trimmed garden beds and new trees. The garden is located between the Gift Shop and the Carriage House on the grounds of the Robert Mills House at 1616 Blanding St. Visitors are encouraged to walk around the property free of charge during normal touring hours. A guided tour of the properties' gardens is available on the third Thursday of every month at 11 am for $6. http://www.historiccolumbia.org/site/visit/houses/robert-mills-house-and-gardens/overview/index
Historic Columbia Foundation installed a new garden at the Hampton-Preston Mansion in April 2012 comprising the first phase of a multi-phase garden restoration project at the property. This expansion includes a welcome garden, a fountain garden and a children's garden on the front side of the property. This garden is located at the Hampton-Preston Mansion, 1615 Blanding St, and is free and open to the public during normal touring hours. http://www.historiccolumbia.org/site/visit/houses/hamptonpreston-mansion-gardens/overview/index
Historic Columbia Foundation debuted the Mann-Simons Outdoor Museum in August 2012, which features five "ghost structures,” frames of buildings that once stood on the site, including a former lunch counter, grocery store, outhouse and residences. In early 2013, HCF will install interpretive signage that tells the story of the Mann-Simons family and the significance of this African American heritage site. This outdoor museum will be a first for the state of South Carolina and one of a handful of exhibits of its kind nationwide. The outdoor museum is free of charge and accessible 24 hours a day. Guided tours of the property are available Tuesday-Sunday for $6. http://www.historiccolumbia.org/site/visit/houses/mannsimons-site/overview/index
Marina Bay is a new lakeside resort development currently under construction at Lake Murray Marina in Irmo. Opening in phases, the resort will eventually feature rental apartments at the Residence at Marina Bay, a lakefront restaurant called Liberty Tap Room at the Lake, among other developments. www.MarinaBaySC.com
Located in a newly renovated building on the Courthouse Square in downtown Anderson, South Carolina, the Dickson Suites offers a modern twist on lodging. The two-story building at South Main and West Benson streets in downtown Anderson is going through a facelift, bringing a modern style to accent the early 20th-century buildings that are there now. Whether you are in town for a short family affair or an extended business trip, you will find the new accommodations to be a welcome surprise. Dickson Suites is within two blocks of restaurants, spa services, shopping and entertainment.
Opened in March 2012, Palmetto Moonshine becomes another popular Moonshine Distillery in the Upstate. The recipe for the moonshine was handed down through generations of retired moonshiners to Trey & Bryan Boggs who took the secret recipes and created their own brand of white lightening.
In the Palmetto State, the moonshine story stays strong. Long before we even had the Palmetto Flag, our ancestors were making moonshine. Palmetto Moonshine chose the blue label for the jars to symbolize not only the color of the SC flag, but what good moonshine should look like if lit to a flame. They are keeping the history of moonshine alive by selling the fine spirits in moonshine jars like they did back in the old days. The Boggs’s are striving to keep the process of creating the moonshine as close to the traditional methods as possible. Palmetto Moonshine Distillery is located in the heart of downtown Anderson, SC at 200 W. Benson St - ironically enough, directly in the backyard of the Federal Courthouse. The Distillery is inside a 100-plus-year-old brick warehouse that has been used for many different businesses (armored cars were built here, then a greyhound bus depot, and the first taxi cab company). Moonshine can be sampled at the distillery or purchased at their convenient liquor store.
Bart Garrison Agricultural Museum of South Carolina -- Once known as Pendleton District Agricultural Museum, this collection of farm and farm life implements and machinery, now has a state-wide mission and will feature new exhibits with 21st Century interpretation. When opened in June 2013, visitors will see five distinct exhibit areas plus a changing exhibit, a farm-to-table interpretation of Agriculture, and outreach programs. The focus will be on education about South Carolina’s proud agricultural heritage, with an emphasis on farm to table production and local, South Carolina grown food. Agriculture, always a growing industry, utilizes advances in science, technology, engineering and mathematics on a daily basis, so all disciplines will be part of the interpretation of the museum. A trip to the Agricultural Museum of South Carolina will fulfill STEM and History requirements for K-12 students, and beyond. Please stay tuned as we update our progress on the museum and the arrival of exciting, interactive exhibits. For more information, email Curator Les McCall at email@example.com, or call Pendleton District office at 864.646.3782.
A new pub, Old Bull Tavern, opened in November in downtown Beaufort, just off Bay Street. It offers a huge variety of beverages and pub food. (843) 379-2855.
A new tour for visitors to Beaufort focuses on film locations. The Beaufort Movie Tour takes you to sites and homes where the stars stayed in downtown Beaufort. Locations surrounding Beaufort such as The Gump Medical Center(funded by Forrest’s “gazillions” he earned running the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company), The National Cemetery where The Great Santini was buried and the big tree from Forrest Gump, where Forrest played with Jenny as children, under which he buried her, are stops along the tour. (843) 838-2746.
2012 was the inaugural event storytellers and listeners alike traveled to Beaufort to laugh and learn. The BIG Story Fest and Liars Competition (scheduled for April 11-14, 2013) is headlined by Bil Lepp and Natalie Daise, nationally-recognized artists who are a whole lot of fun too. They will be joined by tellers in all styles and genres, as well as performing visual artists and a show of contemporary quilts in ARTworks' gallery. The BIG Story Fest is an esteemed gathering of those who shoot the breeze with the greatest of ease, of the lying liars and the audiences who laugh with them, including workshops, children's events, special theater events, concerts, and audience participation activities. It is a project of ARTworks, the arts council of Beaufort, Port Royal and the Sea Islands in South Carolina.
Contact info: ARTworks in Beaufort Town Center, 843-379-2787, www.artworksinbeaufort.org, @artseensc
The new LowCountry Habitat for Humanity’s High on the Hog BBQ Festival will feature cookers from around the South in a weekend competition June 7-8, 2013, at Whitehall Plantation on Lady’s Island. Last year’s inaugural event also featured live music. More than 1,300 people came throughout the weekeknd. Contact info: Brenda Dooley, LowCountry Habitat Executive Director, 522-3500, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The new Clemson Blues Festival features world-renowned Blues artists – a treat that Blues enthusiasts, and even those just mildly interested in Blues – will want to be sure to see. The festival dates are April 18-21, 2013, and performances will be held in various locations around the towns of Clemson and Central. Artists will include Mac Arnold and Plate Full O’Blues, Robby Ducey, Adam Gussow and Alan Gross---The Blues Doctors, Clemson’s Hoo Doo Hounds, and many others. Visit www.clemsonbluesfest.com for more information and official schedule of performances and locations.
Victoria Valley Vineyards opened near Table Rock Mountain in 2012. Sit on the terrace and enjoy the sun setting behind Table Rock Mountain or take a tour of the Vineyard’s European-style building where members of the Jayne family will guide you through the loving steps they take to bring out the best in the grapes grown on their 47-acre mountainside vineyard. Groups welcome by prior appointment. Open Monday – Saturday 11-5; Sunday noon-6. www.VictoriaValleyVineyards.com.
A new covered stage has been added to Lake Warren State Park near Hampton. The 500-square-foot space will be used for festivals, concerts, performances and other community gatherings. A nearby lawn provides seating for up to 1,200 people. In addition to the new stage, the park has also added a new gift shop called “The Wild Place,” where visitors can purchase nature-themed merchandise. http://www.southcarolinaparks.com/lakewarren/introduction.aspx
A new juried art show – Artfields -- will feature two- and three-dimensional original art from around the Southeast. Scheduled in Lake City for April 19-28, the 10-day festival will showcase artists from the Southeast who will vie for the largest cash prize in contests of its kind -- $100,000. Other highlights of the festival will include live concerts, celebrated chefs, artists’ workshops, a farmers’ market and more. For more information, visit www.ArtFieldsSC.org.
The new Chattooga River Festival celebrates the culture and ecology surrounding the mountain river that forms the boundary between South Carolina and Georgia, the Chattooga, which was featured in the move Deliverance. With the breathtaking backdrop of pristine mountain vistas, the festival is held in Long Creek’s Chattooga Belle Farm. Spotted throughout the vineyard are bands playing Bluegrass, Folk, and Old Time music. Enjoy the fare of food vendors, a beer tent, guided raft trips down the Chattooga, Nature Walks, and a special for eco-tourists – River Clean-Up Day. www.ChattoogaRiverFestival.com.
The Jocassee Gorges was featured in National Geographic magazine’s recently release special edition "50 of the World's Last Great Places - Destinations of a Lifetime". The publication makes note of Jocassee's "intense concentration of waterfalls" in more than 43,500 acres of a remarkable eco-system that is home to black bears, bob cats, wild turkeys and the "highest number of salamanders found anywhere in the world." It also home to the Oconee Bell, a rare flowering ground cover that does not grow anywhere else in the world.
The Chattooga River Resort and Campground opened in November in Long Creek. The resort has hotel rooms, RV and camp sites on the banks of Long Creek, as well as a restaurant and bar with live music. The resort provides white water rafting, fly fishing, hiking, bird watching and customized team building. www.ChattoogaAdventures.com.
The Hampton Inn & Suites broke ground in Seneca in 2012. The new hotel will have 110 rooms and suites with a 4,000 SF meeting facility. It is expected to be completed by September of 2013.
Closed for renovations since 2008, Hunter’s Store, originally a General Store on Pendleton’s historic downtown square, re-opened in March 2012 as the headquarters for the Pendleton District Commission. The building serves as the regional Visitor’s Center for Anderson, Oconee and Pickens counties, as well as housing the Local History Research Library and Archives for the tri-county area. For tourists, genealogists, and history enthusiasts alike, a stop by Hunter’s Store is a must. Located in the heart of South Carolina’s beautiful and historic Pendleton District, in downtown Pendleton, S.C – at “the” traffic light. www.PendletonDistrict.org.
Recently opened by young men with a passion for fine whiskey, Six and Twenty Distillery focuses on distilling sweet sipping whiskey made from local wheat in South Carolina’s Upstate. “To us it’s all about the things that make us different, and that means only the things we can find locally” states the Six and Twenty website. Owners David Raad and Robert Redmond keep it all local – from their source for wheat to their locally sourced wearables and the great gift items in their store. “For us, it means showing you our community’s best.” Groups welcome by prior appointment. www.SixandTwentyDistillery.com.
Moments in Time is a new store that will cater mainly to the living history community and people interested in all-natural cloth, yarn, and fibers. Besides ready-made and custom clothing, they will also sell scarves, mitts, and handmade jewelry, and they plan to offer just about anything a reenactor/interpreter may need. Owners Keith and Janet Fields as well as the entire staff will be dressed in period costume, and the visitor will see demonstrations such as spinning, weaving, and woodworking. Moments in Time is located at 153 East Main Street in beautiful, historic downtown Rock Hill, SC. More than 100 years ago, the building was home to the Postal Telegraph Cable Company. Moments in Time's mascot is a restored 1881 dress form named Nellie (named after a young lady who lived in Rock Hill in the 1880s.) Come see the original Nellie's autograph book and sign the new Nellie's book! email@example.com.
Three major features of the new Rock Hill Outdoor Center in the Riverwalk community – a 2.25-mile trail along the Catawba River, the Giordana Velodrome and 8 miles of mountain bike trails -- are complete and open, having hosted major events in 2012. Future amenities for the center include a BMX Supercross track, a cyclocross course, a closed road course, athletic fields, parks, gardens and other greenspace.
The Giordana Velodrome is a 250-meter oval track with 42-degree banked turns, used for track cycling. The facility provides training and racing opportunities for all ages and levels of experience. It opened on March 17, 2012 to a crowd of 800+ who attended a grand celebration event. As part of the event, local youth took the first official ride on the track led by Olympic cyclists Lauren Tamayo and Bobby Lea. The Olympians also set track records during their visit, setting the bar for other cyclists to exceed. On August 17-18, the Velodrome hosted the USA Cycling Elite Omnium National Championships and Masters Omnium with 78 participants from all over the country and an estimated 3,200 spectators. For more information about the Rock Hill Outdoor Center, visit www.RockHillOutdoorCenter.com.
Carowinds recently broke ground on The Grove, a new events facility with a capacity for hosting up to 15,000 people a day. The Grove will greatly expand the capacity for catered events at the park; luncheons, company gatherings, school field trips, and family reunions are just a few types of events possible in the new facility to be completed Spring 2013. Visitors will enjoy a new and improved space for gatherings and benefit from updated kitchen facilities. Carowinds’ catering staff will have the ability to serve up to 3,000 meals an hour. They will also introduce a new menu offering everything from barbeque sandwiches to prime rib to customized cakes for dessert. Carowinds also will open “Dinosaurs Alive!” in the Spring of 2013. The new attraction will feature 32 roaring, moving dinosaurs along a trail stretching across 5 wooded acres. It will be the largest animatronic dinosaur park in the Southeast and will have a number of interactive features, some dinosaurs will move and roar on command, and kids will be able to explore their own dinosaur dig site. www.Carowinds.com.
The old Cactus Creek restaurant in Manchester Village will soon be renovated into a banquet hall. The new banquet hall will be called “Events at Manchester”. It will hold 700 people seated for weddings, meetings, receptions, and other gatherings.
In 2013, the Baxter Hood Center at York Technical College will begin major renovations to include modern décor, technology and more. The Hood Center will shift from a self-service conference venue to a full-service professional conference destination. www.HoodCenter.com.
Hampton Inn in Rock Hill has just completed painting the exterior of part of their building. Hampton Inn also received its 6th consecutive OUTSTANDING status on its Quality Assurance audit performed by Hilton.
Part of the Spartanburg Marriott’s (www.SpartanburgMarriott.com) three-year renovation has been completed, including a new concierge lounge on the 8th floor, new laundry facility on grounds (they will manage all linen in-house,) The Terrace outdoor patio dining and entertainment area, and wireless internet added throughout the facility and in guest rooms.
The Summit Pointe Conference and Event Center extended its meeting room square footage with the addition of Summit 805, a venue for cocktail receptions, lunches, dinners or bridal showers.
The Courtyard by Marriott is undergoing a $2 million renovation with a completion date of mid-February 2013. The lobby of the hotel will be transformed to the Courtyard Refreshing Business concept with a Bistro serving breakfast, including Starbucks, and evening food and beverage. The lobby will also consist of an interactive Go Board to search for directions, weather, local restaurants, places of interest and many other options. The Courtyard will offer a local library, small individual media pods and a home theater to watch the game. In addition to the lobby area, the guest rooms will be transformed with all new soft goods, bedding and hard goods throughout the hotel. http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/spach-courtyard-spartanburg
The Howard Johnson in Rock Hill renovated its property in September 2012. The property has new furniture, bedding, carpet, AC units, and more. Also, all rooms now have free WIFI and 70 channels.
YORK and YORK COUNTY
A new festival in 2012 takes its visitors on a weekend tour to see and learn more about farms and folk art. The Ag+Art tour is a self-guided tour through peach, vegetable, dairy and other farms. It also includes a “porch tour” that takes you to the front porches of the historic district of York to see handmade quilts on display. http://agandarttour.com/summer-2012-tour/
The Spring of 2013 will mark the highly anticipated debut of Inman Farms as an agri-tourism destination rich in agricultural and generations of history, and a small meetings / weddings venue. A soft opening is scheduled for May and will offer an introduction to Inman Farms with a presentation, guided tours, and reception. The Market at Inman Farms will be open and be available for local growers and artisans late April/early May thru Dec. The Market at Inman Farms will debut during the 2nd Annual York County Ag + Art Tour June 8-9.
The Arts Council of York County launched the UnderExposed Film Festival at the Community Performance Center, which was a huge success right out of the box. The Arts Council accepted nine competition films (juried from 14 entries), and many other ringers (award winning films) which were acquired from Cannes, Tribeca and Sundance Film festivals. Beginning in February 2013, the Arts Council will have a film series, showing a film once per quarter. If the audience remains as enthusiastic as at the festival, the Arts Council will add additional opportunities throughout the year.
South Carolina Accolades!
For a list of Myrtle Beach accolades, click here
· Charleston was named #1 U.S. City and Top World Destination by Conde Nast Traveler in the publication’s 2012 Readers’ Choice Awards.
· Kiawah Island near Charleston was named #1 Happiest Seaside Town by Coastal Living.
· Charleston was ranked #2 in a list of Top 10 Downtowns by Livability.com.
· Charleston was named third best Weekend Getaway destination by U.S. News & World Report.
· Travel + Leisure named Charleston the fourth best city in the U.S. and Canada in its 2012 World’s Best Awards.
· Broad Street in Charleston was named a top 10 Great Street by the American Planning Association
· Renovation of the Charleston City Market won the Society of American Travel Writers’ 2012 Phoenix Award for its conservation, preservation, beautification, and environmental accomplishments related to travel.
· Wild Dunes Resort near Charleston was ranked one of the top 3 Family Hotels in the U.S. by Travel + Leisure magazine's World's Best Readers Choice Awards.
· Wild Dunes Resort was awarded Trip Advisor’s 2012 Certificate of Excellence Award.
Wild Dunes Resort was named among "WeddingWire Bride's Choice Awards" in 2012
· Wild Dunes Resort was named one of the top 121 Golf Resorts in the U.S. by Conde Nast Traveler's Readers' Poll in 2012.
Wild Dunes Resort was named the #2 Best Charleston, SC Public Golf Course by PGA.com fans in 2012.
· The Links Course at Wild Dunes was named one of the 30 Best Courses in South Carolina by the South Carolina Golf Course Ratings Panel in 2012.
· The Links Course at Wild Dunes was cited by Golfweek as one of the Best Courses You Can Play in 2012.
· The Isle of Palms was named the Best Southeast Beach in the American Shore & Beach Preservation Association’s Best of the Best Restored Beaches poll in 2012.
· TripAdvisor ranks Charleston as the #4 Food and Wine Destination on the Rise and a Top 15 On the Rise Destination in 2012.
· Charleston was named by Fodor’s Travel Guides in 2012 as one of the Top 21 Places to Visit.
· Historic Columbia Foundation’s Connecting Communities through History initiative received the 2012 Award of Merit from the Confederation of South Carolina Historical Societies. The initiative also received the 2012 Historic Preservation Heritage Tourism Award from the Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation, S.C. Department of Archives and History, and the Office of the Governor.
· Fluor Field at the West End, home of the Greenville Drive, has been selected by the SportsTurf Managers Association as their 2012 Professional Baseball Field of the Year. http://www.milb.com/index.jsp?sid=t428
· Rock Hill was named one of the Top 10 Soccer Cities in the nation by Livability.com. The city made the list for its impressive collection of fields and complexes and for its commitment to soccer and youth sports. The city hosted the 2012 US Youth Soccer National Championships in July, hosting 60 soccer teams from 20 states.
· Rock Hill’s city parks, recreation and tourism department and the Rock Hill / York County Convention and Visitors Bureau were given a 2012 Readers Choice award by SportsEvents Media group for exemplary creativity and professionalism toward the sports event groups they hosted.
· Rock Hill was named as a 2012 Playful City USA community from national non-profit KaBOOM! for efforts to increase play opportunities for children. This is the second time that Rock Hill has received this designation.
· The League of American Bicyclists designated Rock Hill as a Bicycle Friendly Community at the Bronze level in 2012. This award is given to communities with remarkable commitments to bicycling.
· Rock Hill was named one of America’s Promise Alliance’s 100 Best Communities for Young People presented by ING. The national award was given to Rock Hill for outstanding and innovative work in addressing the high school dropout crisis, and for programs and services that make it an outstanding place for youth to live, learn and grow. As a fifth-time 100 Best winner, Rock Hill continues to earn a spot on this list because of dedication and focus to provide youth with community service, health programming and educational opportunities.
· Glencairn Garden is featured in the National League of Cities 2013 Calendar for the month of April. Cities from around the country submitted photo entries and Rock Hill’s Glencairn Garden was one of 12 selected for the 2013 calendar.
New Developments in Myrtle Beach
~Airline, Airport & Technology~
International Technology and Aerospace Park (ITAP)
ITAP is a 460-acre class A aviation and technology park owned by Horry County and located on the Myrtle Beach International Airport property. The park has a public entrance in the Market Common district, known for upscale shopping and dining. Phase 1 of the park was completed in November 2011. This included the installation of utilities, access roads, storm drainage and landscaping. It is expected that as growth in the region continues and technologies flourish, the Myrtle Beach International Technology & Aerospace Park will be one of the most sought after locations along the east coast. For more information visit www.mbitap.com.
Myrtle Beach International Airport Expansion
To accommodate growing numbers of visitors arriving by air, Myrtle Beach International Airport will welcome the completion of a $113 million expansion project in the winter of 2013. This massive project, which will extend the passenger terminal from six to 13 gates, is expected to increase the airport’s capacity and efficiency for vacationers, business travelers and locals alike. Around 39,500 square feet of glass is being installed as part of the design including several new dining facilities. M.B. Kahn Construction is serving as the program manager for the passenger terminal expansion. The expansion also includes new parking areas and a new rental car facility. For more information visit http://www.flymyrtlebeach.com/news.
Spirit Airlines Starts Seasonal Service to Five Markets Early
Spirit Airlines moved up the start dates for its 2013 seasonal service to/from Myrtle Beach to five markets all beginning in February and March. Daily nonstop service will begin on Valentine’s Day February 14 from Chicago O’Hare and Detroit and three weekly nonstop flights from Latrobe/Pittsburg with service increasing to daily on April 24. Two weekly nonstop flights from Niagara Falls, N.Y./Toronto will start on February 15 and two weekly nonstop flights from Charleston, W.V. will start on March 2 with service increasing to three weekly flights on April 25. www.spirit.com
VisitMyrtleBeach.com Website Relaunch
In order to continue to meet the online and mobile demands of consumers, the Myrtle Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau has undergone a brand new website redesign of VisitMyrtleBeach.com. The project focused on three areas of improvement; providing a better user/visitor experience, maintaining brand positioning and growing business for community stakeholders with more website referrals. To improve the visitor experience, functionality has been added to include improved search and navigation, vacation and group planning management and special offers and deals. The site also has a new contemporary, fun and vibrant design which matches key messaging for leisure travelers and groups. The site also features increased social media integration and an expansion of the destination’s blog to include “behind-the-scenes” articles.
~Attractions and Museums~
Horry County Museum
The Horry County Museum is expanding and plans to move to a historical landmark on the National Historic Register in Conway, the former Burroughs School. This $6.4 million renovation of 10,000 square feet will present a walk through time of the key points in the county’s history. Two galleries will be focused on the American Civil War and two will be permanent but changing exhibits. There will be roughly 800 custom display cases for historical artifacts and a new 600 seat auditorium which will be used for public programming and educational events. The new museum plans to open by spring/summer 2013. For more information visit www.horrycountymuseum.org.
Ripley’s Aquarium Expansion, Believe It or Not Museum Upgrades
Ripley’s Entertainment is putting the finishing touches on plans for a large expansion to Ripley’s Aquarium in Myrtle Beach as well as upgrades to its Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum. Construction is planned to start on the aquarium expansion after Labor Day 2013 with plans to open by summer 2014. Details are still being finalized.
Dining in Myrtle Beach International Airport Expansion
The Myrtle Beach International Airport Expansion project will also include some new dining, some of which are inspired by local fare. Two restaurants are Bubba’s Fish Shack and Nacho Hippo, locally run by the Divine Dining Group which will include local barbeque, Carolina Coastal Cuisine and a Latin twist on traditional local dishes. Boardwalk Café will also join the dining scene as a complete restaurant with bar. Also completing the restaurant landscape will be national chains Dunkin’ Donuts and Steak n’ Shake.
Sloan’s Ice Cream
With four locations already in Florida, this unique luxury ice cream shop will we opening a new location in Myrtle Beach in the next 12 to 18 months. This nearly 14 year old company opened with a goal of creating an ice cream utopia for the young and young at heart. Sloan’s has several unique flavors made with the finest ingredients. They also have an entire wall of bulk candy, chocolates, chocolate apple and whimsical gifts. The décor is over the top with pink walls, twinkling chandelier, moving trains and magical glass bathrooms. For more information visit www.sloansicecream.com.
Carolina Comedy Club
A new comedy club plans to open in March 2013 at the former Stool Pigeons bar inside Broadway at the Beach, a large entertainment and attraction complex in Myrtle Beach. The Club will feature performances by stand-up comedians and Carolina Improv Company. The 150-seat club, which will also include a Backstage Bar & Grill, is the first comedy venue at Broadway at the Beach. For the latest progress and updates visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/carolinacomedyclub.
Christian Teen Club in Historic Former Movie Theatre
Ground Zero, a local youth ministry nonprofit has taken control of the historic Rivoli Theatre in downtown Myrtle Beach to convert the space into a Christian teen club. Ground Zero plans to renovate the 14,000 plus square foot facility to a club for teenagers which will offer a theater, game room, coffee shop, and conference room and office space. The Rivoli Theater first opened in June 1958 frequently showing top Hollywood movies. In 1967 it held the world premier of “Don’t Make Waves” starring Tony Curtis, David Draper and Sharon Tate but in recent years has been an empty building. Click here for more information.
Long Bay Symphony Anniversary
The Long Bay Symphony, Myrtle Beach’s only professional orchestra is currently celebrating their 25th anniversary season. Special events will include a Mad Hatter Mania celebration on February 2featuring dance music and an outrageous hat contest. In addition the symphony will be hosting Disney in Concert: Magical Music from the Movies June 23, 2013. For the regular concert schedule and anniversary events visit the website at https://www.longbaysymphony.com.
Two New Shows at The Palace Theatre
As part of its 2013 schedule, the Palace Theatre will be offering two new live entertainment productions. Running March through August, Masters of Illusion is an exciting new show consistently rated the top touring illusion production in the world. Featuring illusionist Rob Lake, this full scale production show incorporates dancers, special effects and elaborate scenery. The second production “Jersey Nights” will run several times throughout 2013. Jersey Nights takes a nostalgic trip down memory lane to celebrate the hit songs of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. The show delivers first class musical arrangements, perfect harmonies, authentic costumes, and all of the Four Seasons greatest hits. For a complete schedule and more information visit www.palacetheatremyrtlebeach.com.
City of Myrtle Beach 75th Anniversary
March 12, 2013 marks the 75th Anniversary of the City of Myrtle Beach. To commemorate this occasion throughout the year and promote the area to visitor’s events and activities are currently being planned and an anniversary branding process is underway throughout the city.
Myrtle Beach Pelicans 15th Anniversary
Minor League baseball’s Myrtle Beach Pelicans, an Advanced Class-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers are celebrating their 15th Anniversary in Myrtle Beach. A number of events throughout the 2013 season are being planned for fans throughout the year at TicketReturn.com field. The field was recently featured on and used for filming the fourth season of HBO’s Eastbound and Down.
U.S. Open Pro Mini Golf Tournament
The Myrtle Beach area of South Carolina is not only known as the miniature golf capital of the world with over 50 courses, it will also play host to the 2013 U.S. Open Pro Mini Golf Tournament May 17-19 at Hawaiian Village Miniature Golf in North Myrtle Beach. This tournament is one of two major tournaments that the U.S. Pro Mini Golf Association holds each year and brings out serious miniature golfers from all over the country to compete. For more information visit www.prominigolf.com.
The Hilton Myrtle Beach Resort at Kingston Shores is currently under renovation. The 385 guest rooms are being painted to give it a fresh and modern look. New furnishings will replace the desks, armoires, headboards, chairs and ottomans. Fresh bed skirts will dress the new beds, and new lighting will be installed throughout the rooms. The bathrooms will be updated with new tile, contemporary vanities, with room to hold additional towels and hair dryers, and the bathtubs will be resurfaced. The rooms will have new refrigerators, and the doors will be replaced with new safe-lock systems. The renovations will be complete by spring 2013. For more information about the Hilton click here.
Springmaid Beach Resort
Springmaid Beach Resort has recently completed a $7 million dollar property wide renovation and plans to spend another $2 million on renovations in 2013. The property has renovated and remodeled their guest rooms, oceanfront conference center, property outlets and landscapes. The resort was founded in 1948 undergoing many changes, but this is the first major renovation the resort has ever had. Specifically, renovations to Springmaid Beach Resort’s Live Oak guest rooms feature décor with new carpet and porcelain tile; new window treatments; new American-made furniture; new wooden cabinetry, Five Diamond Series mattresses with plush bed toppers, pillows and linens; contemporary artwork; granite countertops; all new energy efficient lighting fixtures; new appliances; flat panel televisions; and new balcony flooring. The Resort’s Live Oak tower features new corridors, elevators, refurbished parking areas and newly renovated pool areas; resurfaced and tiled water features, resurfaced decorative pool decks; new pool furniture and landscaping. Renovations currently being completed are currently being completed are new bathrooms to include tubs and tile work in all 492 guest rooms, new exterior paint to the Palmetto Building, a new lobby and added amenities in the public areas to include a new courtyard area. For more information visit www.springmaidbeach.com/springmaid-beach-resort-renovations.
~Myrtle Beach Boardwalk Downtown~
Boardwalk Extension and area Revitalization
In May 2010, the newest boardwalk in the United States opened in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The oceanfront boardwalk and promenade located in the heart of Myrtle Beach spans 1.2 miles of oceanfront property and kicked off a revitalization of the classic downtown area. The revitalization efforts have sparked new business and attractions including the new iconic landmark the Myrtle Beach Skywheel, a 200 ft high observation wheel with 42 temperature controlled glass gondolas providing breathtaking views of the coastline. In the summer of 2012 a new 4,800 square foot oceanfront Mexican restaurant named Banditos opened just passed the northern section of the boardwalk and they are paying to extend the boardwalk about 400 feet to adjoin the restaurant and include a small city park by March 2013. The Mayor of Myrtle Beach went on the record in the fall of 2012 that he wants to eventually make the Myrtle Beach boardwalk the world’s longest by extending it to 4.6 miles with the use of public/private partnerships.
Entertainment Complex on Boardwalk
A new entertainment complex featuring a miniature golf course named “Shark Attack” and restaurant is being constructed on the former site of the historic Chesterfield Inn in downtown Myrtle Beach. The new entertainment complex will include the only mini golf course located on the new boardwalk. It will also feature backlight golf that will run through the old cellar of the inn which was originally built in the 1930s. The complex is planned to open by the end of February 2013.
I Love Sugar Candy Shop
As part of the new revitalization of the downtown Myrtle Beach boardwalk area, a 1940s building was recently demolished to make room for a new 6,000 square foot building that will house a candy store and ice cream shop dubbed I Love Sugar. The new store, which plans to have a colorful, candy-inspired façade plans to open by late spring 2013.
Shopping Complex Next to Coastal Grand Mall
Construction is in the works for a new 10,000 square foot shopping center next to Coastal Grand Mall, the largest mall in South Carolina. Upon completion in summer 2013, it will be home to three new tenants; a Chipotle Mexican Grill, Aspen Dental and Mattress Firm.
The Myrtle Beach area, popularly known as the Grand Strand, stretches from Little River to Pawleys Island, comprising 12 distinct cities along the South Carolina coast. Home to world-class golf, 60 miles of sandy beaches, an assortment of entertainment and family attractions and Southern hospitality, the Myrtle Beach area presents the quintessential vacation experience.
MYRTLE BEACH AREA RECEIVES
PRESTIGIOUS ACCOLADES AND AWARDS
The Grand Strand holds records ranging from “World’s Tallest Sandcastle,”
to “Favorite Destination for a Family Vacation” and more
TOP 10 BEST BREWERY TOURS IN THE U.S.
In October 2012, Tripadvisor named Myrtle Beach based New South Brewery one of the top best brewery tours in the United States. Based on their sites popularity index, New South was ranked number 7 of 10. Visitors to the area can tour the brewery, try samples and purchase their favorite brews to take home.
WHERE TO RETIRE MAGAZINE
TOP 15 LOW COST TOWNS
For its Sept/Oct 2012 issue, the magazine included Myrtle Beach in its profile of low cost towns for retirees. Towns in this ranking were chosen for their below average living costs, affordable homes and low taxes.
TOP 5 FAMILY BEACHES ACROSS AMERICA
Away.com included Myrtle Beach is its top 5 list of family beaches in America in 2012. The accolade highlights the great weather and wealth of family friendly activities one of the top family beach destinations in the US.
Myrtle Beach was voted best spring break destination by readers of 10Best.com. It was given the honor for its endless entertainment options for families and 60 miles of coastline.
“BEST YOU CAN PLAY”
Nine golf courses in the Myrtle Beach area were selected among the top 15 “Best You Can Play” in South Carolina by Golfweek, including a third place ranking for Caledonia Golf and Fish Club and top-10 honors for The Dunes Golf and Beach, True Blue Golf Plantation, Tidewater Golf Club, TPC Myrtle Beach and Barefoot Resort’s.
“CHEAT SHEET OF BEST BEACH FOR 2012”
Away.com included Myrtle Beach in its list of just eight “best beaches” for 2012, calling out the Grand Strand for its “for the whole crew” appeal – citing the destination’s family-friendly offerings like the SkyWheel, the Boardwalk and WonderWorks. According to the website, Myrtle Beach is “a no-brainer for the active family on a domestic-trip budget in 2012.”
U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT
US News & World Report honored Myrtle Beach in multiple categories, including #6 Best Family Beach Vacations, #6 Best Family Vacations in the U.S.A., #7 Best Affordable U.S. Vacations, and #9 Best Beaches U.S.A. Myrtle Beach was described as “one of the best East Coast family vacation destinations” and notes that “Southern hospitality is alive and well at Myrtle Beach”.
NATIONAL TRAVEL ASSOCIATION/COURIR MAGAZINE
“2012 DISTINGUISHED DOZEN: FAVORITE DESTINATION FOR SUN & SAND”
The Myrtle Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau has been selected for the Silver award in the “Favorite Destination for Sun & Sand” category in the NTA/Courier’s Distinguished Dozen awards. These awards are selected through a survey of NTA tour operators, in which they share their favorite NTA supplier partners or destinations in 12 categories. The Carolina Opry has also been selected as the second favorite theater/show venue in the country and named the Silver award winner in the “Favorite Theater/Show Venue” category.
BETTER HOMES & GARDENS REAL ESTATE
“AMERICA’S MOST FUN, AFFORDABLE CITIES”
Real estate company Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate selected Myrtle Beach as one of 25 areas in the United States with affordable living and the greatest number of bars and restaurants. One of numerous tourism destinations to make the list, Myrtle Beach is noted for its restaurants, dinner theaters, coffee houses, and nightlife.
“Top 10 U.S. Properties for Jet-Set Pets”
Myrtle Beach’s Ocean Park Resort was named among TripAdvisor’s Top 10 pet-friendly properties in the U.S. TripAdvisor noted about Ocean Park: “For travelers seeking to enjoy an ocean-side outing with their furry friend, this Myrtle Beach property gets the thumbs and paws up. ‘Brought our two dogs with us and were never made to feel anything but welcome with them there,’ said one TripAdvisor traveler.”
“America’s Top 10 Water Parks”
TripAdvisor named Wild Water & Wheels in Surfside Beach, South Carolina one of “America’s Top 10 Water Parks”. The travel site described the water park as small, but with enough quality rides to keep a family entertained. Wild Water & Wheels boasts 24 water slides.
Coastal Living Magazine
“Top Ten Public Gardens America”
Brookgreen Gardens in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina was selected as one of the “Top Ten Public Gardens America” by Coastal Living Magazine. The Alabama-based magazine serves more than three million readers and is a leader in lifestyle information. Brookgreen Gardens is open to the public, and is located on US Highway 17 between Myrtle Beach and Pawleys Island.
“Top 10 Vacation Spots”
Travel Channel listed Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, as one of the top 10 vacation spots. The site listed the destination as a town that “teems with summertime action along the Strand with beaches, amusement and water parks, restaurants and live entertainment and a host of hotels ready to pamper guests young and old.”
“Top Ten Most Popular Destination for Holiday Travel and World Travel”
Yahoo! Travel included Myrtle Beach as one of its most popular destinations. The destination ranked on both the top list for holiday travel as well as world travel. The vast number of offerings and attractions in the area provide for an ideal travel destination for all travelers.
“Ten Best Beach Towns in America”
Smarter Travel listed Myrtle Beach in its “Ten Best Beach Towns in America”, specifically naming it the “Best Beach Town for Golf”. Highlighting the town’s many beautiful and challenging greens, Smarter Travel praises Myrtle Beach as a prime destination for golfers of all levels.
“Top 10 U.S. Boardwalks”
National Geographic named the newly-launched Myrtle Beach Oceanfront Boardwalk and Promenade one of its Top 10 U.S. Boardwalks. With arcades, souvenir shops, and nightly live entertainment, the boardwalk is hailed as the town’s hub of activity.
TRAVEL + LEISURE MAGAZINE
“America’s Best Beach Boardwalks”
Myrtle Beach’s oceanfront boardwalk was named by Travel + Leisure Magazine as one of America’s Best Beach Boardwalks. Lined with shops and attractions on the north end, the boardwalk charms visitors and “revitalizes” downtown Myrtle Beach.
“Top 9 Family Golf Resorts”
PGA.com readers voted the Myrtle Beach area as the number two spot in a round-up of the top nine family-friendly golf resorts. The destination was recognized for its plethora of golf resorts, plus the additional activities and offerings that families can enjoy while on vacation.