Called “the jewel of South Carolina,” shimmering, man-made Lake Murray is approximately 50,000 acres in size with more than 600 miles of shoreline. The lake is named after William Murray, the chief engineer who conceived what was “the world’s largest earthen dam” at that time. Although the lake was originally completed in1930 as a hydro-electric generating facility, it has come to be known as a premier recreation destination in the Midlands of South Carolina.
Boating on Lake Murray
While Lake Murray stills supplies electric power and drinking water for Columbia, it is also the water playground for the South Carolina Midlands. Some 41 miles long, there are no shortage of scenic routes and coves to enjoy a boating outing. Water adventures on the lake include boating, sailing, canoeing, fishing for striped bass, water skiing, swimming.
After an early breakfast, we headed to the marina for our boat tour. Stunning scenery zipped by as we passed homes of all sizes along the shore. It is good to keep in mind that lake squalls can really stir up out on the open water so remember to bring something to protect the gusty winds. Captain Kenney did a good job of skirting around the “big water” to make sure we didn’t get wet, windy….and whiney!
Lunch at Liberty
After our exhilarating time on the water, we had a delicious lunch on the marina at Liberty on the Lake. An extensive and diversified menu was only outdone by the panorama of the boats and water.
Wine Tasting at Enoree
Enoree River Winery is a great place for a relaxing sip or two on the outdoor porch overlooking eight acres of lush vineyards. The scenic winery serves local, hand-crafted wines. Tastings include samples such as Gewürztraminer Riesling, Curiously White Muscadine, and a blackberry wine.
Stroll Historic Newberry
First settled in 1785, Newberry is a charming little town rich in history and rural beauty. It’s a community with both a preserved past and a pulsating present. The Newberry Opera House, Newberry Arts Center, and private Newberry College are located here.
The old-fashioned historic downtown is the centerpiece of the community. The main thoroughfare is brimming with antique stores, unique boutique shops, and small cafés. Festivals and events take place in the main square.
Dinner at Figaro
Just a few steps from the Opera House in the historic center, Figaro is upscale southern dining at its best. The eclectic menu offers selections from “horns,” “hooves,” “feathers,” and “gills.”
I had the special of the day, an 8-ounce ribeye steak, smothered in hollandaise sauce, with savory mashed potatoes and topped with fried oysters. It was delicious….both nights (portion so large I was able to take half home for another meal)!
Live Performance at the Opera House
Built in 1881 at a cost of $30,000, the Newberry Opera House was known as “the entertainment center of the Midlands.” Renovated in 1996 at around $5,500,000, including a 10,000 sq. ft. addition, there is not a bad seat in the house. The small, 426-seat setting of the historic building ensure that live performances are very intimate.
Edwin McCain was on stage when I was there. From my seat in the balcony, I felt like I was right over the performers, which may or may not have been the reason McCain’s jokes were especially funny!
Associated with the Figaro restaurant but in a different building down the street, Bar Figaro is a unique cocktail bar in the center of Newberry’s quaint downtown. If for no other reason, stop in to admire the antiques, mammoth stained glass light, and cozy interior design.
Stay at the Marina
Why make the effort to travel after a day so jam-packed with fun? The Residence at Marina Bay has modern, self-service furnished apartments that make the perfect place to rest your head. Who knows….you may even want to extend your stay another day!
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