Have lunch and tour A Farm with a View
Chattooga Belle Farm
The shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains looms large at Chattooga Belle Farm in Long Creek like a diorama – forever receding into evaporating vapors of blue. As I sit with owner Ed Land at Belle’s Bistro munching on a gorgeous apple salad and corn bread, he points to Rabun Bald in Georgia and turns slightly motioning toward North Carolina – much of the fabled south within his purview.
Formerly the largest commercial apple producer east of the Mississippi River it has become a centrepoint for agrotourism in the state. “Farming is a small financial footprint. Most of the money comes from weddings,” Land says of the 138-acre farm’s diversified offerings including 18 varieties of fruit, grass fed Angus beef, honey, a 18-hole disc golf course, a store, wine (from the region’s muscadine grapes and other fruit) and plans to become the first legal moonshine distillery in the county.
Land was an army drill sergeant and worked in the construction business before taking ownership of the farm in 2010. But his brawniness softens as he speaks about his favourite moment – the farm’s first wedding with a Marine corps officer in full military regalia. “I loaded up at sunset to take the couple to the lake house in a 1942 military Jeep. We drove across the far hill faced back and saw the mountains. The couple teared up. It was a precious moment that still brings tears to my eyes.” If there is a lesson from this gauzy land it is that so many people are susceptible to its beauty.
Take Flight Over Chattooga Ridge
Wildwater Zipline Grounds. /K&S Media
On the grounds of a former school, Long Creek Academy, and offsite, Wildwater offers multiple experiences including ziplining, kayaking, and white water rafting. Chattooga Ridge Canopy Tours offers the rush of swinging through the tree canopy, over water, and forest. Sky bridges, where participants are harnessed and walk over gap toothed steps offer another level of fun. Guides are informative and friendly with names and jokes for every line.
Feel the Adrenaline Rush Driving in Luxury
BMW Performance Driving School
Take in an adrenaline rush at the BMW Performance Driving School in Greer. Drive 5 different models testing their power on a course (an instructor will also perform before off-roading through water, hills and turns.
See the Spectacular Blue Ridge Mountains
With hiking trails, camping areas, waterfalls, and suspension bridges it’s not surprising that Caesars Head State Park is teeming with crowds. At a lookout point, birders are counting the red hawks that are plentiful at this time of year. The real draw though is majestic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Get Milk and Pick up a Pint of Ice Cream
Happy Cow Creamery
Happy Cow Creamery, the dairy farm in Pelzer, produces low-temperature pasteurized milk, buttermilk, ice cream and butter sold onsite and at grocery stores throughout the region. Stop by for a tour, shop at the tiny onsite store for the farm’s products and other local goods or, if you are in a rush use the drive thru window to pick up your order.
This article is based on an original story that appeared in the Winter 2014/15 issue of City Style and Living Magazine. Want more South Carolina?