The small, quaint South Carolina town of St. George was originally a South Carolina Railroad stop known as George’s Station. It’s named after well-known local landowner James George and not the dragon-slaying Patron Saint of England, as one would believe. It was incorporated as the Town of St. George on January 28, 1875.
Over the years St. George became a popular stop for Florida-bound northern tourists travelling along U.S. 15. However, tourist traffic waned after the construction of nearby Interstates 95 and 26 starting in the mid-to-late 1960’s. Nevertheless, it still remains a popular stop for travelers along this route today. This is especially true in April when around 45,000 tourists have been known to visit St. George’s annual World Grits Festival.
Kiss Their Grits!
The World Grits Festival got its start in 1985 when local Piggly Wiggly grocery store manager John Walters was placing an order for grits with Quaker Oats. The supplier told him that they sure order a lot of grits for such a small town. Later, when another supplier told him the same thing, it piqued Walters’ curiosity. After doing a little research, he soon found it was true. The folks of Dorchester County (including St. George) did in fact eat more grits per capita than anywhere else in the world.
What else could the town do to commemorate that fact but create the annual World Grits Festival – a three-day celebration held at the end of every April since 1986? (Well, with the exception of 2020 and 2021 because of that whole COVID-19 pandemic thing.)
The celebrations this year takes place April 21 to April 23, 2023. Events include the Grits Festival Parade, a Grits Eating Contest, food vendors, grits meals in the festival building, and much, much more. For more information, visit their website here.
Stuckey’s of St. George
On your way to or from the festival (or anytime of the year, really) be sure to stop at Stuckey’s at their St. George’s location on Jim Bilton Boulevard right off of I-95 Exit 77. There’ll you find the trifecta of S’s for having a great celebration – Stuckey’s, Showplace Fireworks, and Sunoco (because after all, you’ll need gas to get you to and from). After you’ve had your fill of grits, gas, sparklers and Stuckey’s pecan log rolls, be sure to check out these other things to see and do in the area:
The UFO Welcome Center / Bowman, SC
Look! Up in the sky! Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Why, no, that’s Jody Pendarvis’ homemade UFO Welcome Center. Wannabe galactic ambassador Pendarvis started building his 42-foot-wide flying saucer made of wood, fiberglass, and plastic in 1994 and it has since become quite the roadside attraction.
Take the power ramp up inside the spaceship and you’ll find that, among piles of salvaged mechanical and electronic parts just lying around, the saucer is ready to accommodate any alien visitor with a bed, satellite television, air conditioning, toilet, and shower. (Be warned, however, that the alien you hear snoring over there might just be Jody himself. He sometimes sleeps in the saucer when the temperature gets too hot as Pendarvis claims it has a better A/C than his trailer that sits behind the welcome center).
Though aliens are likely welcomed here for free, there is an admission price for humans that seems to fluctuate with Pendarvis’ mood. Nevertheless, it’s a great place for selfies as well because when you tell your friends you saw a UFO on your road trip, you just know there’s always the one who will say, “Pics or it didn’t really happen.”
“Patriot Bridge” at Cypress Gardens / Moncks Corner, SC
Open to the public since 1931, Cypress Gardens is a 170- acre preserve and gardens that you view by foot or flat-bottom boat. Whichever mode of transportation you choose, you’ll see a variety of plants including blueberries, daffodils, daylilies, dogwoods, pitcher plants, redbuds, roses and even a small rice field. There’s also the awesomely-named Swamparium that features various local fish, reptile and amphibian species that inhabit the swamp. At the Aviary you’ll find African grey parrots and a sulfur-crested cockatoo that were originally pet birds before being brought to Cypress Gardens. Finally, you can visit the Butterfly House that houses butterflies, birds, koi, goldfish and turtles.
As much you might love nature, however, movie buffs have a different reason for visiting Cypress Gardens – the “Patriot” bridge. That’s right, here in the middle of the surrounding swampland, you can walk over the very same bridge that Hollywood built here for the 2000 Mel Gibson’s film The Patriot. Walk over it. Pass under it. Take a selfie and say you stood where history was made! (Okay, so maybe it was made by Hollywood, but history was made here just the same.) Nearby, there’s also an abandoned stone chapel that was also built for the film but was later destroyed by a storm.
What’s more, other Hollywood blockbusters including Cold Mountain, The Notebook, and Swamp Thing along with the television mini-series North and South were filmed here at Cypress Gardens. Just ask to see where they were filmed and they’ll be happy to point them out for you. For more information on hours and admission, you can visit the park’s website here.
The World’s Largest Sweet Tea / Summerville, SC
Sweet iced tea is a summer staple in the South, so what better place to claim itself the Birthplace of Sweet Tea and home of the “World’s Largest Sweet Tea” than a town called Summerville?
Actually, as it turns out, there have been a couple of other places that want to stir up more than just tea leaves and sugar (and maybe a little lemon) when it comes to claiming it possesses the “World’s Largest Sweet Tea”.
The official Guinness World Record for the title of “World’s Largest Sweet Tea” started 13 years ago in 2010. That’s when the record was first held by the restaurant chain Chick-fil-A in 2010 with a 912 U.S. gallon iced tea.
However, Summerville smashed (or would that be “splashed”?) that record five years later in 2015 when it produced a way bigger than a Big Gulp-sized 1,452 U.S. gallon iced tea.
Still, the people of Summerville couldn’t rest on their laurels just yet as Lipton tried to prove that the World’s Largest Sweet Tea was really their “cup of tea” with a 2,204 gallon (8,343 liters) display of the popular drink.
The good people of Summerville weren’t having any of that, however, and on National Iced Tea Day June 10, 2016, they successfully reclaimed their title with a colossal jar filled with 2,524 U.S. gallons of sweet iced tea.
Summerville still holds the title today and you can visit the 15 feet tall replica Mason jar that broke the world record in the courtyard of the Summerville Municipal Complex. (And all that tea’s for free!)
Speaking of sweet Southern goodness, Stuckey’s is moving our warehouse in a week, and we need to move inventory quick. As a result, you can get lots of Stuckey’s treats, candies, and merchandise on sale at 50%off.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, you can get all kinds of sweet treats from Stuckey’s like our Mixed Nuts Gift Tin ($23.99, marked down from $47.95) and our Li’l Cutie Happiness Gift Tin (an adorable mix of milk chocolate, white chocolate, salted & praline pecans for only $14.99).
Our Stuckey’s pink logo hoodie is perfect for that Valentine who’s always gets little chilly on your road trips (or just lounging around the house planning your next road trip). Super cool and super comfy, we’ve marked it down from $29.99 to ONLY $14.99
HURRY UP! Sale Ends Midnight (EST), Monday, January 30.
Stuckey’s – We’re Making Road Trips Fun Again
Whether your next road trip is by car or by rail, it’s not really a road trip without taking Stuckey’s along. From our world famous Stuckey’s Pecan Log Rolls to our mouthwatering Hunkey Dorey, Stuckey’s has all the road trips snacks you’ll need to get you where you’re going.
For all of the pecany good treats and cool merch you’ll need for your next big road adventure, browse our online store now!
Stuckey’s – We’re Making Road Trips Fun Again!