The Daily Gamecock

Road trip towns: Chester, SC

<p>Chester is a serene location to spend the weekend.</p>
Chester is a serene location to spend the weekend.

Chester, a South Carolina secret, enchants its visitors with its quiet, quaint atmosphere. Visitors can find refuge in its hidden beauty; it's the perfect place to relax and unwind for a few days.

For a calming getaway, guests can stay at An Inn on York Street. This 19th-century bed-and-breakfast, run by a hospitable English couple, offers a comfortable visit at a reasonable price of $95 per night on Airbnb.

Nothing short of a classic mansion, the edifice is stunningly constructed with timeless creaky wood floors, dazzling chandeliers, ornately carved staircases, elegant furniture and impeccable decor. Each guest room in the house is themed after a famous writer, such as Oscar Wilde, Ernest Hemingway or Mark Twain, and decorated accordingly with their works and studies.

In the evenings, guests can take a dip in the backyard pool, smoke cigars on the porch or catch the ice cream truck as it trundles by, and, in the mornings, visitors awake to the tantalizing smells of home-cooked breakfast wafting up the stairs.

Guests are usually served a decadent three-course breakfast, starting with a fruit such as candied peaches, baked pears or strawberries with granola. The second course is usually brioche toast, pastries or cinnamon cake and a choice of coffee or tea. The third and final course is usually an English-inspired traditional dish. Guests may enjoy dishes such as eggs Benedict, fried ham, bacon and eggs, and fresh sausage patties with biscuits.

Equally quaint, if somewhat less sophisticated, downtown Chester is intriguingly old-fashioned. Most of the shops are antique or outdated, yet have a certain charm about their simplicity, recalling a slower pace of life.

Visitors can stop by an old appliance store, search through dusty antique stores and visit the tiny farmers market, where friendly locals run booths selling honey and greens.

Summit Food and Spirits, which the Inn on York hostess says is the local favorite, is an affordable and tasty dining option in the downtown area. This restaurant is a perfect picture of the calm atmosphere and easygoing personalities of the residents of Chester. Another favorite is Umi, a sushi and hibachi place with some of the best sushi ever and prices much lower than similar restaurants.

Chester is a place with enough character to enchant you all by itself, but if you want an adventurous night out, Charlotte is only an hour away.

In charming Chester, visitors are encouraged to put their minds at ease in the slow-paced mentality of the small town. Nothing beats the relaxing simplicity of discovering this hidden gem, learning about its history, exploring new restaurants and getting to know other B&B guests at An Inn on York.


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