"It is necessary now and then for a man to go away by himself and experience loneliness; to sit on a rock in the forest and to ask of himself, 'Who am I, and where have I been, and where am I going?'" Carl Sanburg*
And there is no better rock for achieving this than Shining Rock. Shining Rock Mountain is one of 41 mountains east of the Mississippi over 6000 feet in elevation. The peak of the mountain is covered with large quartz boulders which cause it to "shine" when the sun hits it. Getting to the top requires a 4 1/2 mile hike, one way. The easiest route seems to be by way of the Ivester Trail from the parking area located at the end of Black Balsam Road which follows an old railroad track. Several other peaks over 6000 feet are within walking distance including, Black Balsam Knob, Tennent Mountain, and Cold Mountain. If you find the exact location listed below, you'll have the best view from atop the mountain, giving you a 360 degree view. You can take the Art Loeb trail back for an alternate view, which take you atop Black Balsam Knob and Tennet Mountain, both providing 360 degree views. This trail is more strenuous than the Ivestor Trail and slightly longer. In the summer months the area is covered with acres of wild blueberries. A note of warning, the trails are well worn but very poorly marked so bring a good map (which won't necessarily guarantee you won't take a wrong turn).
Magnolia Plantation is located northwest of Charleston. The plantation features walking gardens and a petting zoo with peacocks, deer & Shetland ponies.
A swamp on the property can be toured via a boardwalk that meanders throughout.
The swamp is loaded with wildlife including egrets, blue and green herons, turtles and alligators. The alligators here are smaller and typically at a safer distance than those on Bull Island. The largest we saw was only about four feet long, compared to the 12-14 foot long alligators on Bull Island.
Calhoun Corners is an upscale restaurant located in Clemson, SC about a quarter mile from the university. It has a great rustic atmosphere and a menu that features such things as filet mignon, salmon, prime rib, trout, duck, lamb and an extensive wine list.
Black Forest Campground is located just outside of Northern Greenville County, in Cedar Mountain, NC. It's a very nicely maintained campground with water and electricity at each site, clean bathhouses, a pool, game room, and laundry facilities. It appears to be open year round. (When we were there last weekend, we had the entire place to ourselves due to the cold weather.) Note: Water at the sites is turned off in the winter, but there are a couple of places where you can get it. The house above is the registration office and camp store.
This is a suspension bridge that crosses a 420 foot waterfall known as Raven Cliff Falls, located in the Mountain Bridge Wilderness area of northern Greenville County. Crossing the bridge requires an eight mile round trip hike from the nearest parking area (Raven Cliff Falls parking lot off 276 just past Caesar’s Head). The easiest route is to take Raven Cliff Falls Trail (#11) to Gum Gap Trail (#13) to Naturaland Trust Trail (#14) and then return by the same route. A much more interesting and attractive route (although much tougher) is to continue across the bridge on the Naturaland Trust Trail to Dismal Trail (#14) and back up to Raven Cliff Falls trail.
This is one of four lakes located at Paris Mountain State Park. This lake is actually a reservoir that was just recently opened to the public. A two mile hike is required to reach it. There is also a nice one mile loop around the lake.