The Open Road to Carolina

My family is a fan of the spontaneous road trip, and Columbia, South Carolina is one of our favorite locations that feels deceivingly far away (but, in actuality, is an easy hour-long drive). My brother and his girlfriend visited from Austin this past week (side note: I was able to snap a few photos of these good sports against their will), and Adam and I knew we wanted to share our favorite Columbia spots with them during their all too short break from the University of Texas.

Our excursion was brief, but just enough time to explore Five Points and the South Carolina State House.  Here's my take on these local gems:

1. Drip - A quaint coffee shop with a record store attached. When I was working on my undergraduate degree, I would occasionally drive all the way to Drip just to study or work on research projects. The coffee shop is pretty much always busy, but the ambient lighting and chill music provide a great spot for work or meeting with friends. I also highly recommend the Honey Vanilla Latte (iced!).

2. Sid & Nancy - Not to be confused with the British biopic, this little buy-trade-sell clothing store houses some great finds. Adam and I have both discovered clothing pieces there we love, and my brother even stumbled across an American Eagle button down that was identical to one he lovingly wore for many years, but, unfortunately, had seen better days. We are huge fans of Sid & Nancy, plus the store is always clean and organized, and the staff is always helpful. Definitely a must for any Columbia visit!

3. Papa Jazz Records - We can get lost in here, and we certainly always do. This is the place for browsing old records, hard-to-find records, new records, and, well, anything "records." They also have a large selection of CDs and DVDs if turntables aren't your speed.

4. The South Carolina State House - This mid-nineteenth century building stands boastfully at the end of Main Street, and it's worth stopping by for a visit. I took my fair share of Art History courses during college, and this stunning structure feeds my fascination with Greek (or Greek Revival, in this case) architecture. The inside is just as breathtaking as the exterior and is available for touring during rotating hours. We love to stroll the property or take in the gorgeous view of Columbia from atop the facade's staircase. Also noteworthy is the sobering African-American Monument located outside the State House (pictured below).

See you in South Kakalaki!