At just 24 miles away, Summerville is considered by some to be a distant suburb of Charleston, while others have called it home for years and value its unique small-town charm.
Seven hundred homes and buildings in the town center and surrounding neighborhood are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It's a participant in the Main Street program, and has a thriving fine museum and downtown shopping district.
Known as the “Flower Town in the Pines,” Summerville draws visitors in the spring to enjoy millions of spring blossoms, particularly azaleas, in both private and public gardens.
Azalea Park is a twelve-acre piece of heaven with fountains, ponds, walking paths, bronze statues, gazebos, and lots of azaleas. The Flowertown Festival attracts more than 250,000 visitors each April, and is the largest arts and crafts festival in South Carolina. There is a permanent sculpture collection of more than 19 pieces.
The town square, beautifully landscaped with towering oak trees, is the location for special celebrations every Third Thursday, Halloween, and Christmas, when the square is lavishly decorated for the holidays.
The Atlantic Ocean is only thirty minutes away, with many beaches in the area. Forty golf courses are within an hour's drive of Summerville. There are abundant housing choices, including Victorian cottages and Charleston-style homes. A community orchestra and theater are also popular local attractions.
Several B&Bs offer appealing accommodations, including The Pink Dolphin, Price Cottage, and Linwood. All have history, comfort and TLC to spare. There are must-see attractions very near, including Frances Beidler Forest, with its boardwalk that winds through amazing ancient forests filled with wildlife. Guided bird-watching tours and night walks offer insider tips and glimpses of creatures who call it home. It’s been called an environmental treasure, and with good reason.
A number of plantations are close for touring. Middleton Place, Magnolia Gardens, and Drayton Hall are marvelous examples of Southern architecture and provide glimpses into the history that shaped the area.
Steve and Margaret Williams moved from the suburbs of Chicago to Summerville, near Charleston. They visited Florida, but wanted something different and a friend suggested they look at Summerville. They made several visits, found Cresswind Charleston, and made their decision.
“We love this community,” Mr. Williams explained. “When Phase 2 opened, we bought and built our home.” It’s a lifestyle that suits them both, with frequent trips into downtown Charleston (24 minutes by car) and many amenities within the community. They’ve got everything they want, and more.
“My wife works from home, but I’m retired and enjoying painting and art classes,” he shared. “This is a dynamic 55-and-older community and we are very involved in social activities, including get-togethers, where the men cook for the ladies. Eating is an Olympic sport, here.”
They also enjoy wine tasting, bocce ball, the pool, pickleball (a new activity for the Williams family), and the huge amenity center with its professional kitchen and gathering rooms. “There are classes all the time, and we love the history, art and even archeology classes.”
As for friends, they’ve made many, including families from Connecticut, New Hampshire, Illinois, Vermont, and nearby Charleston.
Tonya and Chris Allen are from the Portland Oregon area and moved to Summerville in conjunction with her job at the Boeing facility. They had no idea what to expect, but had been told the Charleston area was friendly and historic.
“We don’t have a lot of history in Oregon,” Mrs. Allen said. “We love that, here. The marshes and beaches are beautiful, and downtown Charleston is filled with history.” They had previously lived on a small farm near Portland and wanted outdoor space. Summer’s Corner had that and more, starting with the farmer’s market. “I feel as if we went back in time to a place where everything is bright and friendly, with tons of green space,” she said. The parks and lake helped seal the deal.
Their two daughters, Claire and Madeline, have adjusted to the new school. “It feels like going home,” Claire said. Tonya Allen’s parents have visited and like it so much, they’re ready to move, too.
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