We chose to travel to the rural northwest corner of South Carolina based on research we did online. This area had lots of state parks, lakes and waterfalls which we found very appealing. Reservations for our cabin were made after comparing different state park lodging in the area. Being “peak season” we had to find places that would allow us to book for less than a week as we were on a limited budget as always. Oconee State Park fit all of our requirements and was within our budget.
On the first day of our trip we traveled from our home in eastern North Carolina through the central part of the state and into the northwest corner of South Carolina. We began our trip around 7:30 in the morning after coffee and packing the car. On the way we stopped at our favorite spot for a quick and tasty breakfast on the road-Bojangles. After gobbling down our “healthy” breakfast, we continued our trip westward.
Sometime after noon, we needed to get gas and also grab some lunch. Ashley spotted an inviting Spinx gas station on the road and we pulled in. I topped the car off with gas and we made our way inside. This was our first time in a Spinx although it reminded us of our favorite gas station Sheetz which has locations throughout the Mid-Atlantic. We browsed the store and considered our options for lunch. There were a variety of cold sandwiches, wraps available but there was also an ordering station where you can order hot food. I chose two hot dogs and added some mac and cheese while Ashley ordered a spicy chicken sandwich. Our food was done very quickly and we made our way outside to their outdoor seating area. Overall the food was good and we would definitely stop here for lunch in the future. I enjoyed watching a farmer mow hay across the street as we ate our lunch. The sweet smell of freshly cut hay reminded me of my youth.
After lunch Ashley pointed the car west toward Oconee State Park. This part of our trip took us through rural South Carolina. We saw lots of farms, hills and winding roads along the way. Just outside of Pickens we spotted a huge flea market called Bargain Exchange which was not open at the time. It did however look interesting. Further down the road we passed a nuclear station on the right. This was the first time that we’d come so close to a nuclear power station.
We arrived at the park around 2 and made our way to the office to check in. The office was located in an old building, which like most of the park, was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The check in process was easy and fast. We received a park map and some brochures of the surrounding areas. We then made our way down a short winding road to our cabin that meandered around a small lake. Ashley parked the car and we made our way down a staircase to our cabin which was on the edge of the lake.
Our initial impressions of the log cabin were great. It had a huge screened porch with rocking chairs and a stone floor. We noticed a CCC sign over the top of the door and learned that the cabin was made of native stone and wood, built between 1935 and 1936 and also is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Later on we made our way around a 1.2 mile trail around the lake. Along the way we saw lots of butterflies and got a good look at the parks amenities. There was a boathouse, picnic pavilion and a swimming area. We found lots of appealing rocking chairs and Adirondack chairs along the way and we tried them all! We also noticed what looked to be bird houses built around the lake although they had a bat emblem on the outside. We weren’t sure if these were built for bats or not and Ashley definitely didn’t want to hang around to find out. (She really, really HATES bats!)
Dinner consisted of smoked sausages grilled on a charcoal park grill outside of the cabin and fried potatoes. I took care of the grilling while Ashley cooked the potatoes inside on the electric stove. We enjoyed dinner on the screened in porch with a craft beer (or two). The sound of bull frogs and peepers made for a relaxing experience while we sat in rocking chairs and enjoyed the rest of the evening.