Cranes are in the air and wrens are splashing in the fountains as “The Electric City” puts its (Southern) accent on fun. The comfortable hum of heritage and the frenetic buzz of progress blend in perfect harmony from Anderson’s dynamic downtown to the shores of South Carolina’s largest lake.
Named one of Airbnb’s Top 10 trending destinations worldwide for the fall of 2019, Anderson is in the midst of one its most significant growth patterns in a century. It’s a city ripe for business, ready for visitors and brimming with entertainment.
Dubbed “The Electric City” in the early 1900s, the City of Anderson was the first city in the United States to have a continuous supply of electric power. Anderson native William Church Whitner first conceived the idea of generating alternating current electricity using turbulent river water to send power to the City. A bronze in his likeness graces the square at the City’s center.
This tradition of innovation and connection to water continues today with a fanciful twist. Downtown is enriched by artists and entrepreneurs, while nearby Hartwell Lake offers fishing, boating and outdoor activities for the most adventurous among us. The same streets that inspired Mr. Whitner’s brainstorm now nurture the creative spirit of a new generation and his “turbulent river” is now an attractive sports and recreation lake.
The City’s focus on public art, greenspace and vibrancy amenities has led to a thriving restaurant and business scene. Looking for the latest local IPA or a taste of this year’s Beaujolais? You can sip with your friends in your choice of pubs and restaurants. Tickle your pallet with award-winning cuisine from around the world or sample good old-fashioned Southern favorites with flair.
Craving a sweet treat? Choose a dip of homemade ice-cream or piece of handmade chocolate and stroll up Main Street to the distinctively-local array of retail and artisan shops. Several boutiques offer fashion-forward attire, while others offer one-of-a-kind curated jewelry, art and floral pieces. In the South, antiquing is a favorite pastime. You might find the treasure you are looking for in one of downtown’s shared-space retail markets.
Recently, Anderson has added four new parks to its downtown. Carolina Wren Park is a greenspace amphitheater venue in the center of the City with lively public offerings for every season. The park transforms into a skating rink as Holiday Ice is featured each winter. The Block Party boasts musical performances weekly starting in the spring, Shakespeare in the Park kicks off the summer lineup and FreshTaste brings restaurants and farms together for a fall festival of flavor.
Church Street Heritage Plaza honors the City’s historic African-American entrepreneurs with a permanent public art display of clay-relief story boxes and “chair people” stone sculptures. For history-buffs, it’s an education; for children, it’s the perfect sculpture-climbing photo op.
In another nod to the City’s rich history, Textile Point is a pocket-park featuring a twelve-foot obelisk, silhouetted with scenes in homage to the area’s cotton mill past. And, the City’s burgeoning downtown residential population finds relief for their four-legged friends at a shady, fenced-in dog park on two acres adjacent to downtown.
A short drive from Anderson’s downtown, Hartwell Lake hosts several national fishing tournaments. The mild climate, serene setting and plentiful fish supply make it the perfect attraction for world-class fishermen or those who just specialize in drowning corks. Dotted with pleasure-crafts, the lake is perfect for picnicking, lazing and laughing with friends and family. And by the way, the lake is shared with nearby Clemson University, home of the College Football National Champion Clemson Tigers, in case you want to plan your visit around a game.
Yes, you’ll notice the gentle lilt of Southern voices and a friendly echo of the past as you visit Anderson. You’ll also be intrigued with its focus on the future and accent on fun. The combination is as unique as it is irresistible. Visit soon and you might stay long enough for the accent to rub off on you.
Anderson, South Carolina is conveniently located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, just off of Interstate 85 between Atlanta, Georgia and Charlotte, North Carolina. For more information contact: visitanderson.com or downtownanderson.com