Let's Talk Anderson Anderson Area Newcomer's Guide
Lifestyles Anderson, South Carolina
Home for Shrimp & Grits Lovers
Every town has that one dish that stirs up the tastes buds…
When frequenting Anderson Area restaurants, you will often find the state-wide delicacy of Shrimp & Grits on their menus. Multiple variations of the dish can be found throughout the state, from restaurants and even household chefs.
State legislators recognized the event, via resolution H. 5043, as the official shrimp & grits cook-off of South Carolina in 2014. The resolution recognizes the dish as an important part of South Carolina cuisine, and as a part of the Palmetto State’s cultural heritage. Grits, the coarsely ground boiled-corn treat, has been recognized as the official state food since 1976. Paired with shrimp, this unique dish has been served in diners and expensive restaurants alike for any meal of the day.
Annually, the Anderson Area Chamber of Commerce hosts the wildly popular Upstate Shrimp & Grits Cook-Off event at the Anderson County Civic Center. The event, in conjunction with the annual business tradeshow "Gain Momentum," hosts hundreds of Anderson residents and visitors from afar.
The event originated in 2010 as a bi-annual festival. After doubling in attendance every year, it has grown to become an annual showcase. Competition ranges from nationally recognized food-chains such as Longhorn Steakhouse, to Downtown Anderson favorites like Sullivan’s Metropolitan Grill. Reflections Café at AnMed Health, the cafeteria for the local hospital, won the competition back-to-back for the years 2014 and 2015. Even local education programs, like the Culinary Arts Program of the Anderson District I&II Career Center, have placed their hat in the ring to showcase their culinary skill.
Attendees enjoy the low-cost admission, allowing them to bring their friends and family. Live musical entertainment, give-a-ways, and family-friendly atmosphere offers them a great , fun evening out. In 2015, guests gathered in lines around the inside of the Anderson Civic Center as they met and interacted with fifty Anderson area businesses and organizations.
"Gain Momentum Business Expo," is a business showcase which provides an upbeat atmosphere for businesses and customers to connect. At "Gain Momentum", participating businesses can use the event to market their business to hundreds of potential new customers face-to-face, launch their new business or brand, and much more. Events like this, along with other programs and projects from the Anderson Area Chamber of Commerce, exist to foster a healthy economic environment in the Anderson Area, and the Upstate.
The business community enjoyed the crowd of 1,800, as they utilized the event as premiere exposure for their organization. To them, the event serves as an opportunity to meet and put their company out in front of the community. Some sold products, others created business leads, and many did quality networking.
Residents and businesses are already preparing for the next Upstate Shrimp & Grits Cook-Off event. It has made fans out of those who have never eaten grits, even some who dislike shrimp.
Anderson Area Lifestyle Located in the fastest growing area in South Carolina, Anderson County and its eight municipalities have worked to create recreation, shopping and arts events and activities to please most any taste. From music concerts, to festivals, to sports of all kinds, to recreational activities, the area provides something for everyone throughout the year. With the Blue Ridge Mountains within an hour drive, even the avid winter sport lover has several options to choose from.
Our beautiful lake community offers every imaginable water sport, making Anderson one of the most popular lake communities in the Southeastern United State. Lake Hartwell, with almost 1,000 miles of shoreline, brings water enthusiasts to the area each year for boating activities, fishing, and camping. Several marinas provide housing for million-dollar house boats, luxury cruisers, and sailboats. And several beaches throughout the area bring thousands of visitors here each year. Lake Hartwell is the most visited U.S Army Corps of Engineers lake in the nation with 12 million annual visitors. In 2015, the lake and Anderson County played host to the Bassmaster Classic, known as the Superbowl of bass fishing, and plays host to several major fishing tournaments through the year as well as three wakeboarding championships: the South Carolina and Georgia State Championships and the Eastern Region Invitational. Land sports are also plentiful. There are more than a dozen golf courses inside the county and many more in the surrounding area. The YMCA provides countless activities for local residents and the City of Anderson Parks and Recreation Department operates over 67 facilities locally for youth and adult sports leagues. Professional sports are offered in Atlanta, Georgia and Charlotte, North Carolina, only a few hours away, while collegiate sports are available in Anderson’s backyard. If you leave Anderson in the morning, you can have lunch with a view of the Atlantic Ocean. Just to the north, less than three hours away, are the Blue Ridge Mountains, home to white water rafting, hiking and rock climbing. Boredom is not an option.
According to the Anderson County Conventions and Visitor Bureau over 40 percent of their 1,000 plus visitors consider making Anderson County their home each year because of the many communities and other entertainment venues in the area. Restaurants, nearby equestrian facilities, and one of the largest state-of-the-art YMCAs in the Southeast, also provide recreation opportunities.
The City of Anderson celebrated the first year of operation for Carolina Wren Park in 2013. Located in the heart of downtown on East Whitner Street, the site is a lively venue for concerts and parties as well as a peaceful daily retreat. The green amphitheater with low stone walls to sit creates a delightful venue for planned events and spontaneous family outings. Home to "The Block Party" from April to October, thousands enjoy the park while listening to local bands. Children frolic in the interactive splash pad fountain as a multi-use facility lends itself to a wide variety of activities for people of all ages. Wren Pavilion located inside the park, is host to formal gatherings while the tables and chairs on the opposite site offer a spot for al fresco dinning with a view. The park has also become home to public art including bronze wrens and a quilt replica.
Green Pond Landing Event Center opened in 2015 when it hosted the SuperBowl of fishing, the Bassmaster Classic, on February 20-22, 2015. Built at a cost of $3.6 million, the first phase included parking for 150 trucks & boat trailers and parking for 113 spectators or co-anglers. The three lane launch ramp is 220’ long and extends to the 630’ elevation line on Lake Hartwell, making them the deepest launch ramps on the lake. Located just two miles from I-85 and nine miles from the hotels, restaurants and retail stores on Clemson Blvd., Green Pond is the total package for anglers and their families.
Downtown is the host for many events that bring tourists to us. They can enjoy special events suited to the season and appealing to a diverse audience while larger downtown celebrations mark the coming of each new season. The Anderson Area Chamber of Commerce and the Anderson County Convention and Visitors Bureau keep an up-to-date, comprehensive listing of all conventions, leisure activities and other events throughout the year.
The Anderson Recreation Center has a completed Phase II of a master plan including the addition of 200 parking spaces and two regulation-size youth baseball/softball fields, with quality lighting for night play. The tournament qualify fields will be used for regular season play Monday through Thursday and be available to house AAU/USSSA tournaments on weekends.
For the sports enthusiasts, use one or several of Anderson’s sports locations to maximize your tournament play. Softball, soccer, baseball, basketball or any other game, Anderson has the facility to meet your needs. Many of our communities within Anderson County also offer special event. Pendleton plays host to the Spring Jubilee and Old Farm Day, as well as the Christmas Crafts Event and Holiday in the Village. Belton takes center court when the Palmetto Junior Tennis Championships come to town, and is also home to the Standpipe Festival. The Springwater Festival takes place in Williamston Spring Park. Starr and Iva offer up Fall festivals while Honea Path offers their fall festival and other events throughout the year.
In 2013, the South Carolina Arts Commission Board recognized the City of Anderson with the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Awards for the Arts, the highest honor the state presents in the arts. Established in 1972, the annual awards recognize outstanding achievement and contributions to the arts in South Carolina. The South Carolina Heritage Corridor recently noted that "of all the communities along the Heritage Corridor, the City of Anderson embraces public art the best." Through judicious use of resources and carefully cultivated partnerships, the City of Anderson sets a standard for public art in South Carolina, the commission said. From bronze wrens located throughout the city, to stone plaques with quotes inserted into sidewalks, to decorated fish and large sculptures on city street corners, the city provides ample opportunity residents to enjoy the arts.
Anderson Arts Center For over 40 years the Anderson Arts Center has been known for encouraging and fostering the practice and appreciation of the arts. Annual programming includes nine rotating gallery exhibitions, Summer Arts Camp, Fall and Winter/Spring Arts School, satellite classes for senior citizens, art therapy for grieving children, and Arts in Education. Events are centered around the renovated Arts Center Warehouse on Federal Street and the Callie Stringer Rainey Gallery on Main Street. The onsite Bay3 Artisan Gallery is cooperative between the Arts Center and regional artists. The Anderson Arts Center is open 9:30 am – 5:30 pm, Tuesday through Friday. For more information call the Anderson Arts Center at (864) 222-2787 or visit www.andersonarts.org.
Anderson Arts Center Weddings and Events is a venue that offers exposed brick walls, heart pine floors and beams, A wedding or event can be as traditional or unique as anyone would wish. The Arts Center is located at 110 Federal Street in Downtown Anderson. The open floor plans of the art galleries and the light filled atrium allow for your choice of a large area or a unique space for a small intimate wedding. The Arts Center has preferred caterers; however, outside caterers are allowed. From the venue to the accessible parking your event is sure to be unique. For more information call the Anderson Arts Center at (864) 222-2787 or visit www.andersonarts.org.
Anderson Arts Center Bay3 Artisan Gallery is located on the lower level of the Anderson Arts Center Warehouse. Bay3 is a co-operative gallery between the Anderson Arts Center and the gallery partners. Opened in 2006, the gallery features work by local and regional artist-partners including: acrylics, oils, watercolors, assemblages, pottery, sculpture, mosaics and stained glass, and jewelry. The gallery is open Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm and Saturday from 10:00 am until 1:00 pm or by appointment.
For more than 32 years the award winning Anderson County Museum (ACM) has preserved and shared our history for present and future generations. In being the second largest county museum in the state, the AMC is a key element in the cultural arts scene and contributes significantly to the intellectual landscape of Anderson County through our exhibits and programs. We value education and offer opportunities for the community to gather and learn in an environment ripe for exploring and discovery.
ACMs admission free 12,000 square foot Fred Whitten Gallery includes 13 permanent exhibits, a temporary gallery and multiple changing exhibits that showcase items from our 25,000 plus artifact collection. We provide docent led tours and programming designed to educate diverse audiences. Our preschool programs are geared for ages two to five years and the American Girl Club reaches children between the ages of eight and twelve. Our Roper Research Room boasts more than 2,500 books and is a resource for teachers and researchers. We have more than 15,000 items cataloged in our database with pictures attached for researchers. The ACM accepts artifact donations at the discretion of the Curator of Collections. If you have an item you would like to donate, please call and schedule an appointment at (864) 260-4737.
From its beginning as the Anderson Library Association over a hundred years ago, the Anderson County Library System continues to grow as it moves forward into its second century of service. Thanks to the wonders of technology advancement, the library system is now part of SC Lends, a consortium made up of 10 libraries state-wide, using open-source integrated library system. Stop by or visit their website at www.andersonlibrary.org.
Formed in 1991, the Greater Anderson Musical Arts Consortium Inc. (GAMAC) is a nonprofit, tax exempt, musical performing arts and education organization serving the Upstate. The consortium is comprised of eight musical ensembles which perform as part of an annual concert series in addition to various events throughout the community. For other information, please call the GAMAC office at (864) 231-6147 or visit www.gamac.org.
Those seeking a more cultured experience for their entertainment can routinely be found at one of the many productions in Anderson University’s Rainey Fine Arts Center, where top-notch theatre, symphony, and musical productions take place throughout the year. And the shows are noteworthy. In 2013, Anderson University’s production of BARNUM was selected to be showcased at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in Albany, GA.
Recreation and Sports
Anderson area residents have access to 17 Division II NCAA sports at Anderson University, including nationally ranked men and women’s basketball teams. Additionally, sports such as soccer, volleyball, tennis, wrestling, softball and baseball, attract sports fans throughout the area. Anderson University’s Trojan compete in the South Atlantic Conference of NCAA Division II.
The Anderson Area YMCA has been a cornerstone of the Anderson community for over 65 years. The Anderson Area YMCA provides three locations: the main facility off of Reed Road, the Ducworth/Tucker Sports Park, and the Lake Hartwell Day Camp. The YMCA provides many opportunities for the community, from teaching children to swim, offering a wide variety of youth sports, to serving the fitness and wellness needs of our community. We pride ourselves on offering something for everyone, from babies to our older adult population, and everyone in between.
Our facility includes many different types of amenities, including: a 6,800 square foot wellness floor, with constantly updated and maintained equipment, a gymnasium, two indoor pools, an outdoor splash pad, a CrossFit gym, aerobics studios, an indoor walking/jogging track, and locker rooms with a steam room and sauna. We also provide up to two hours of free child watch daily, and Youth Wellness for children ages 6-12 (which provides physically stimulating games and activities), so that parents can enjoy their workout while their kids have fun too!
The City of Anderson Park and Recreation Department offer programs and facilities designed to meet the needs of Anderson residents. The main facility is at 1107 North Murray Avenue, which is a central location within the city. This $5.2 million 32,000 square foot building houses the department offices, two gymnasiums, cardio/weight rooms, an indoor track, and rooms that can be rented for various uses. Yearly fitness memberships are available at very reasonable rates. Various instructors use space at the facility to teach such classes as Zumba, karate, tai-chi, baton, tumbling, and dance. The department also offers athletic programming for youth and adults. There are several parks located within the City where people can enjoy picnics and time with family and friends. One of the parks is Darwin Right Park and is located on Lake Hartwell and has shelters that can be rented for reunions, company or church outings, or other occasions.
Clemson University’s athletic teams are "All In," always striving torwards ACC and National Championships. The program has won four team national championships in its history and has more football and baseball ACC championships than any other league program. The Clemson football team recently played for the 2016 National Football Championship, and has had a minimal 11-win season for the past five years.
If you’re an avid or even beginning golfer, you will be quite pleased with the numerous golf communities and golf clubs in our area.
Lodging With over 2,000 hotel rooms, Anderson is definitely accommodating. Larger groups can utilize meeting space like the Civic Center of Anderson. Smaller groups have a range of options, from hotel meeting spaces to historic venues. Whatever the size, your group will be meeting in a destination that appreciates your business. Our facilities offer a vast array of accommodation options with many offering banquet and meeting rooms, fitness centers and more. The Paragon Hotel Company was built on hardwork, determination, and a team concept through our knowledge of hospitality management training and systems. Today, PHC owns and manages multiple properties with over 2,100 rooms. Paragon Hotel Company’s portfolio includes hotels within Hilton Worldwide, Marriott, Intercontinental Hotels Group, Choice Hotels International, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Best Western, and Wyndham Worldwide franchises. Anderson locations include: Hampton Inn at 120 Interstate Boulevard, Comfort Suits at 118 Interstate Boulevard, Country Inn & Suites at 116 Interstate Boulevard, Holiday Inn at 3509 Clemson Boulevard, and Hampton Inn Alliance Business Park at 411 Alliance Parkway.
The Bleckley Inn, located in the heart of historic downtown Anderson, offers guests a touch of sophistication, a glimpse into Southern history, and a journey into the elegance of boutique hotel experience. Wooden floors and exposed brick from more than 100 years ago, combined with the technology and conveniences of today, create a perfect combination of simplicity and splendor. Currently featuring 24 luxurious rooms and suites, with five event venues to meet all wedding, social, and corporate events needs. Construction is underway on an extended stay facility, ideal for business travel and corporate relocation. Adding to the overall "Bleckley Inn Experience" is the abundant and delicious breakfast which is also open to the public Monday through Friday, 7-10 am and Saturday – Sunday 8-11 am. Request information for catering, corporate functions, and special events (weddings, rehearsal dinners, baby showers, etc.) by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or (864) 225-7203.
Microtel Inn & Suites/Clemson located at Exit 19B, the second right next to McDonalds, and is the closest hotel to Clemson from Anderson. The hotel features 69 Award-Winning designed, guest rooms all with the "Dream Well Pillow Top" bedding experience. Microtel Inn & Suites is the award-winning chain of all newly constructed, interior corridor hotels and one of the country’s fastest growing hotel brands. All rooms include a 32" HD Flat Screen TVs with HBO ESPN, free local and long distance within continental U.S., and free high-speed wired and wireless internet connectivity. All suites include a granite bar with a microwave, a refrigerator, a coffee maker and a sink. Guests also enjoy a free continental breakfast, guest laundry facilities, meeting facilities for up to 40 people and a beautiful outdoor heated salt water pool. The hotel is within walking distance to many fine restaurants including Fatz Café, J Peters Bar and Grill, Hooters, Cracker Barrel, several fast food restaurants, a 14-screen stadium-seating movie theater. Additionally, they offer special corporate rates.
Travel Service Spotlight
Over fifty years ago, the seeds were planted for what is known today as Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport – Roger Milliken Field. Since that first flight which took place in 1962, GSP has earned a reputation of safety and has grown into one of the finest airports in the country.
The GSP terminal building has in excess of 226,000 square feet of space, third level jet bridge boarding, and thirteen departure gates.
The airport has a significant presence in the Upstate, benefitting the Anderson area economy. Businesses and residents enjoy the convenience of being local, whereas airports in Charlotte and Atlanta are both two hours away. Direct flights, and more contribute to their commitment of finding new ways to advance the economic prosperity of the region by providing a safe, convenient, user-friendly, and cost-competitive air transportation system connecting the region with the nation and world.
The latest runway extension, completed in June of 1999 extended the runway to 11,001 feet making it possible for GSP to accommodate any aircraft in operation today.
The north end of the airport is home to a 120,000 square foot FedEx facility. This facility, completed in the late summer of 2001 provides FedEx with the capability to sort up to 3000 packages per hour. Prior to the completion of this new facility, FedEx was only capable of sorting 1,000 packages per hour.
More than 1.8 million passengers per year are served by 5 major airlines offering 49 non-stop average daily departures to 15 major cities and 18 airports across the U.S. A connection in one of those 15 cities makes access to the world easy from GSP International.
Automotive Services Anderson Auto Parts serves as Anderson’s NAPA store. More than 85 years ago, the National Automotive Parts Association was founded to meet America’s growing need for an effective auto parts distribution system. NAPA has been the industry leader ever since and an invaluable partner in the flow of parts from manufacturers to NAPA AUTO PARTS Stores. The store is located at 508 South Main Street in Downtown Anderson.
Snappy Premium Express Car Wash a private family owned business, is leading the industry with the fastest, safest, highest quality and most cost-effective wash technology available. They currently have four locations, with two new locations opening in 2016. In addition to their wash packages, Snappy Express offers Unlimited wash packages through their ZoomPass membership. They hire only courteous and motivated staff who are trained to deliver outstanding customer service. They pride themselves on making it their mission to "give back to the communities we serve." Visit their website snappywash.com or follow them on social media today @SnappyExpress!
If you’re shopping for tires, Welborn Tire Pros and Automotive, Inc. is a good place to visit. In 1944 the Welborn’s grandfather, Keys Welborn, and a partner began a tire business serving the Anderson area. His son, Gerald Welborn, took over the business in 1954, known then as Welborn Tire Service, Inc. Gerald added a second store, Welborn Truck Services in 1988. In 1997, Wes and Reid Welborn formed a new corporation named Welborn Tire and Automotive, Inc., and moved the location from downtown to Salem Church Road. Here they continue to bring to Anderson and the surrounding area the very best service and tires available while maintaining the integrity that their grandfather instilled in their name. They are a third generation business and proud of their heritage. Tire Pros is the nation’s largest network of independent locally-owned tire dealers. When you buy local, your dollars stay in your community and helps create jobs, and that feels good. They invite you to give them a try. Their experience speaks for itself.
Along with the vast industrial growth, many new retail developments and stores are finding a new home in Anderson County. Small to very large retail strip centers are moving to Anderson at a rapid pace. For your shopping convenience, you will find chain retail stores, Anderson Mall and unique local shops throughout the county. Shopping venues continue to draw people to Anderson from near and far.
Diamonds-N-Gold Direct is a locally owned independent jewelry store that has been in business since 1994. Jim Sitzman and his family opened a store that has offered Anderson, SC a chance to buy a quality product at an affordable price.
Diamonds-n-Gold Direct provides one of the largest selections of diamond, gemstone, and gold jewelry in the area. A jewelry repair center that consists of 3-full time jewelers, a Laser welder, and a computer engraver allows them to offer quality repair in a timely manner. Diamonds-n-Gold Direct strives to provide a superior customer experience!
Orian Rugs The Rug Outlet- Celebrating 35 Years in Anderson, SC Orian Rugs is a family-owned premier manufacturer of innovative, decorative area and scatter rugs established in 1979. The desire to produce fashionable rugs with a global appeal sparked the creation of Orian Rugs’ state of the art facility located in Anderson, SC. The facility has rapidly expanded from 50,000 square feet to 550,000 square feet over the last 35 years. The Orian Rugs’ team is committed to world-class design, service and innovation. For more information go to: www.orianrugs.com
Walmart offers two convenient locations in Anderson, South Carolina. Walmart helps people around the world save money and live better – anytime and anywhere – in retail stores, online and through their mobile devices. Walmart employs 2.2million associates worldwide and they consider it their responsibility to make a positive impact in the community they serve. Whether it’s through the grants they provide to the thousands of organizations that share their mission or through the inspiring volunteer efforts of Walmart associates, they are passionate about helping people live better. In 2013, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation gave $1.3 billion in cash and in-kind contributions around the world, surpassing 2012’s total by more than $244 million.
Anderson Restaurants/Dining Spotlight
Krispy Kreme is an international retailer of premium-quality sweet treats, including its signature hot Original Glazed doughnut. Headquartered in Winston-Salem, NC, the company has offered the highest –quality doughnuts and great-tasting coffee since it was founded in 1937. Krispy Kreme is proud of its Fundraising programs, which for decades has helped organizations raise millions of dollars in needed funds.
Born of fire, tested by ice, confirmed by legions of loyal guests each day, LongHorn Steakhouse has grown to become the undisputed home for great steak done right. Founded in 1981 in Atlanta, Georgia by George McKerrow, Jr., the restaurant became with one man’s passion for perfect steak, but very few guests to convince. Then a freak snowstorm hit Atlanta in 1982, stranding motorists and drawing them to one of the only hospitable places available – a restaurant then called LongHorn Steaks Restaurant & Saloon. Tales of expertly grilled steaks soon spread like wildfire, and the legend of LongHorn was born. At LongHorn, they have a passion for grilling inspired by the American West. Their passion is reflected in their legendary steaks and extends beyond streak to chicken and fish that are fresh, never frozen.
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