The little things you don't think you'd ever miss about a small town like Hartsville but then you leave and somehow those little things seem much bigger
Jaimie is from Hartsville but now lives and studies in New York City. We've had posts from a New Yorker now living in Hartsville, and it's time to turn the tables and let Jaimie tell us how she feels about having flown north.
Missing Hartsville was the farthest thing I imagined when I left to attend college in New York City. I was always so anxious to trade the small-town, southern life in for some big city livin’. Fast-forward 2.5 years; I find myself missing Hartsville more than I ever imagined. In lieu of my hometown nostalgia, here are some of the things I miss the most:
1. Miriam’s Kitchen (aka Griggs’ Grocery)
There is no explanation needed for this one. Growing up near Byrdtown, Griggs’ was an integral part of my family’s after church, Sunday experience. My Sundays are not the same without their biscuits and fried chicken.
2. Prestwood Lake (and the alleged alligator)
Nothing beats exploring the murky depths of Prestwood via kayak. Once, my friend and I got lost while we were trying to navigate the swamp area. Despite the mosquito bites, it was an experience I do not regret. Nothing is more peaceful than paddling through hundreds of lily pads and cypress trees. Every time I go, I’m always on the lookout for Prestwood Pete – so far, no luck.
3. The Midnight Rooster
The Midnight Rooster is where my love (and addiction) for coffee began. Between coffee runs before school and Friday nights spent listening to musicians, there is no telling how many hours I have spent there. Every time I’m home, I always pick up a Moonlight Mocha.
4. Bi Lo (hello fuel perks.)
Shopping at Bi Lo is unlike any other grocery shopping experience you will have in Hartsville. They have delicious birthday cakes that I always buy even though it’s not my birthday. Their fried chicken is out of this world. Best of all, they have fuel perk rewards you can use for gas that make filling up your car a little less painful.
Even though I just turned 21 and have only been to Vintage once, I already miss it. Inside, everything is relaxing and classy – the perfect place to unwind or catch up with a friend without dealing with the typical bar atmosphere. They also have Stella cider on tap, so what more could you want?
6. Haunted Houses
The epitome of fall in Hartsville is going to haunted houses. So many of my Friday nights started with lattes from the Midnight Rooster before venturing to one of the many haunted attractions; Scream Acres, Fright Farm, and Lake Robinson’s Rescue Squad are all haunted houses (and hayrides) that are bound to give you a thrill if you dare enter. Heads up though: beware if there is someone you know working – you might get more of a scare than originally planned.
I know, I KNOW – what could I possibly miss about Walmart? A lot, actually. When I left for NY, not having to deal with the dreaded Sunday Walmart trip was something I was elated for; but then I realized that I would have to go to my corner bodega, the CVS, and a local food market in order to buy the same things I could get from one trip to the supercenter. Walmart is something I took for granted. I know you can’t go without seeing everyone you and your family knows but it is pretty convenient and something I miss every time I have to run errands.
I miss driving so much. I once tried driving in NYC. It was so terrifying it made me swear to never complain about getting stuck in the middle school traffic again. That being said, driving around Hartsville can be such a treat; the fall foliage that lines College Avenue, the way an open field looks around sunset…I could go on and on about the perks of driving around the ‘Ville.
9. Burry Bookstore
A bookworm at heart, Burry was a staple to me growing up. Every summer I would always go in to buy my book for summer reading and somehow leave with a hefty contribution to my bookshelf. The staff is always incredibly friendly and will do anything to make sure you get what you’re looking for. Whenever I have to go to a Barnes and Nobles to get a book for school, I always think about how much simpler the process would be if I could just swing by Burry to pick it up.
10. Oak Manor
Nestled close to Coker College, this bed and breakfast is a Hartsville gem. Don’t let the “bed and breakfast” title fool you; every Wednesday evening they cook up the most amazing gourmet pizzas you could ever imagine. If you don’t have plans next Wednesday – you do now.
There is just something magical about Cookout. The first few weeks after if opened you could hardly drive down 5th street because of the traffic. I’m still on my mission to try every single milkshake flavor. The best part about Cookout is that they have Cheerwine, which pairs great with their $.99 chicken nuggets.
12. Sophia’s Pizza
Even after living in NYC for almost 3 years, I can honestly say Sophia’s has some of the best pizza I have ever eaten. They opened up not too long ago and their pizza is just the right combination of cheese, sauce and soft dough. Every time I crave pizza, I want Sophia’s.
Being across the street from Ruth’s at a dance studio is possibly the worst combination ever, but I loved every minute of it. I think about Ruth’s AT LEAST once a day. Their sweet tea, grilled pimento cheese sandwiches and half-hots can cure the gloomiest of days. Their breakfast is hard to beat, too. If there were a restaurant that sums up Hartsville, it would be Ruth’s.
14. Lawton Park
My childhood consisted of so many picnics while overlooking the lake here. Lawton is the perfect place to relax and soak in some nature. The Pavilion also gives the park a nice touch.
15. Kalmia Gardens
Kalmia is something out of a fairy tale; wooden bridges, creeks, flowers…you get the picture. The best thing about Kalmia is that no matter how often you go, almost every visit is different because of the constantly evolving scenery. Whether you’re a walker or a runner – a biker or a hiker, Kalmia will give you an experience that you can only find in Hartsville.