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A perfect place to enjoy S.C.

Posted: March 16, 2017 2:50 p.m.
Updated: March 17, 2017 1:00 a.m.

If ever there is a perfect place to enjoy South Carolina, it is here, right here in Camden. Our hometown is quintessential Southern. We have great places to dine along with award-winning places to stay. We have entertainment, history, cultural arts and education. We have sports fields, waterways and event venues.

I am amazed when I hear local residents say, “I’ve never seen the gun collection at the Camden Archives and Museum.” or “We’re having our reunion in Columbia so it can be catered.”

I also love to hear from tourists, “There is so much to see and do in Camden.” or “The shopkeeper gave us such great ideas for lunch.” I enjoy hearing from them, hearing what they think of our hospitality, our shops and activities.

We have so many jewels of the South right here in Camden. Jewels that highlight us on the national stage on a regular basis. Jewels that highlight us statewide. Jewels that we can enjoy and share with others.

With the Carolina Cup quickly approaching, it is easy to realize how the National Steeplechase Museum -- and both the Carolina Cup and the Colonial Cup -- draw national recognition for Camden. Yet, there are many who have never explored the museum. Located on the grounds of the historic Springdale Race Course, the National Steeplechase Museum is the only one of its kind in the U.S. dedicated purely to the sport of steeplechasing. The Museum pays tribute to the incredible athletes (equine and human) who make this a wonderful and exciting sport. Discuss the silks, weigh as a jockey, admire the silver and learn more about steeplechase meets locally. The exhibits, films and art meld together to tell interesting stories of so many athletes who have made national history inside the city limits of Camden. I hope to see you on April 1 at the 83rd Mullikin Law Carolina Cup, a jewel that highlights Camden on the National stage.

Right on the heels of the Cup arrives the Boykin Spaniel Society National Field Trial. Yes, the National Boykin Spaniel Society, founded in 1977, is also located in Camden. You are growing short of time to visit the permanent Boykin Spaniel exhibit at the Camden Achieves and Museum before the 40th National Field Trial. Both the exhibit and the field trial are educational and entertaining for young and old alike. The little brown retriever has strong aptitude for hunting and for water; not to mention he/she is a precious, amiable pet. In 1985, the Boykin Spaniel became the state dog of South Carolina – known as “the dog that won’t rock the boat!” Jewel number two can be found all over Camden during the first weekend of April – and everyday of the year.

Since being elected as Mayor of Camden, I have had the opportunity to congratulate our next jewel twice. In just four short months, Bloomsbury Inn has brought national recognition to Camden. Last spring, Bloomsbury Inn was the featured showcase on The Price Is Right, on national television. The young winners visited Camden last November. It was a pleasure to meet them, welcome them and talk to them about everything they enjoyed in Camden. Most recently Bloomsbury Inn was named as one of the top 10 Most Romantic Inns in America. Once again, Camden was in the national spotlight as one of our bed and breakfasts, of an estimated 17,000 across America, made history. Opening in 2005, Bloomsbury Inn has brought national attention on a regular basis: Trip Advisors People’s Choice Award twice, Best Innkeepers in the U.S. twice, Top 10 B&Bs in the US, Best American Retreat, as well as being featured in several national magazines. Most recently, Bloomsbury Inn was selected as only one of three lodging properties in the state to be featured in a S.C. Parks, Recreation and Tourism promotion.

Our fourth jewel is just one aspect of the great educational opportunities that abound around us. Quietly tucked away, the Buckley School of Public Speaking offers, nationally and internationally, premier public speaking courses and presentation skills. From CEOs of national corporations to high profile attorneys to local business leaders, the Buckley School offers “life changing” skills for today’s savvy executive. Those executives return to their homes with very high praise of the school and of Camden.

These jewels -- of our many city treasures -- place Camden on the map. To me, their successes are not just about a powerful race, a little brown dog, an interview or a delicious breakfast; to me, their successes are all about the national recognition they bestow upon our hometown.

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