Fall Is The Perfect Time To Visit This Historic Mountain Town In South Carolina
In January 2020, the Blue Ridge Mountains were named one of the top 50 most beautiful places in the world by U.S. News and World Report . And they are, perhaps arguably, the most beautiful during the fall, especially during peak leaf season. If there’s one mountain town to visit during that season, we would recommend that you visit Salem, a historic mountain town in South Carolina and also known as the gateway to the Blue Ridge Mountains, in the fall.
One of South Carolina’s 47 state parks, Devil’s Fork State Park, is located in Salem. It’s the only public access point for Lake Jocassee, a 7,565-acre, 300-foot deep body of water created in 1973 by the state in partnership with Duke Power.
Because it’s mountain spring-fed, it’s cooler and clearer than most other lakes.
Its waterfalls are accessible by boat only. If you don’t have a boat, you can rent a pontoon, kayak, canoe, or paddleboard from
Jocassee Keowee Rentals or schedule a guided lake tour.
The British colonized South Carolina in the 1600s, but for more than 600 years, the foothills along Highway 11 had been home to Lower Towns, the term for the lands occupied by Cherokee tribes who settled in South Carolina and Georgia. This 130-mile road was the route used by the Cherokees and the English and French fur traders.
It now provides a scenic alternative to driving I-85 through South Carolina and was designated in 1998 as a national scenic highway, also referred to as the Cherokee Foothills National Scenic Byway. It is consistently rated as one of the top drives in the country and possibly one of the top three east of the Mississippi. This historical marker was placed in 1973 at the intersection of Highway 11 and Little River Road by Daughters of the American Colonists of the S.C. Society.
While you’re visiting, you can enjoy the nightlife at one of Salem’s newest establishments that honors the town’s history in its name and decor, Twice a Town Taproom.
On January 1, 1800, Salem County along with Claremont and Clarendon Counties were combined to form the Sumter District (county). The county seat was named Salem, but no one knows what happened to this town, whether it was renamed or simply faded away. On January 1, 1801, a fairly new hamlet named McIntosh in Sumter County changed its name to Salem.
Twice a Town Taproom, located in downtown Salem, has 10 taps including domestics, crafts, and seasonals as well as cans of some domestics and crafts. You can also get to-go six and 12-packs or order kegs for your private parties.
It also offers live music from some of the best talent around, a TouchTunes jukebox that can be heard throughout the space, cornhole, board games, Nintendos, wall-mounted connect four, huge outdoor patio areas, and indoor and outdoor large screen TVs for catching your team’s game.
Devil’s Fork State Park has cabins you can stay in …
… or there are other options as well, such as the historic Sunrise Farm Bed and Breakfast, dating back to the 1800s.
Originally a lumber town with six sawmills that became an agricultural town focused on cotton production, today the Salem area is well known for outdoor activities and mountain adventures. If you happen to need any fly fishing or trout products to use at the lake, Jocassee Outfitters has you covered.
You can find various types of outdoor apparel, sunglasses, and more there. And it also has a Fly Fishing guide service that can get you out on the water, whether you are a first-timer or a novice.
Golfers who are members of The Cliffs can play The Cliffs at Keowee Falls lake course while in Salem. For information on this private club, its other courses, and amenities, and to inquire about membership, visit
The Cliffs website.
American poet, journalist, and editor William Cullen Bryant called autumn “the year’s last, loveliest smile.” Take full advantage of the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors before the winter weather keeps us indoors for a while! Visit the Devil’s Fork State Park page on the South Carolina State Parks website , the Twice a Town Taproom Facebook page , and the Sunrise Farm Bed and Breakfast website for more information and to plan your trip.
What’s your favorite thing about autumn? We would love to hear about it in the comments below!
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