|Tina Zimmerman and Fay Bell|
The first is a 1 1/2 hour tour of historic Summerville, the "Birthplace of Sweet Tea." The wonderfully preserved downtown district around beautiful Hutchinson Square and the historic homes of "Old Summerville" are featured on this tour with a stop at Linwood Gardens-an award winning bed and breakfast built in 1883 by Julia Drayton Hastie, heiress to the famous Magnolia Plantation on the Ashley.
The second is the "Good Eats on the Sweet Tea Trail Tour" with Summerville resident and nationally-known storyteller Tim Lowry. On this tour, you will be treated to complimentary tastes of delicacies from a number of Summerville’s restaurants and gourmet shops. As the trolley travels from one establishment to the next, Tim entertains you with the tall tales and factual stories of Summerville and its related history. This was the tour I selected.
The Summerville Visitors Center is a beautifully landscaped brick building on the west side of North Main Street next to Berlin G. Meyers Lumber Corporation(Berlin G. Meyers was mayor of Summerville for many years, something I learned on the tour). Stepping in through the doors, you are treated to colorful pictures of area landmarks with a full wall dedicated to offering a host of pamphlets, brochures and magazines containing information on things to do, area landmarks, and points of interest.
Immediately upon arrival, you are graciously greeted by Summerville's tourism coordinator Tina Zimmerman. Once everyone had arrived, the group assembled in a room lined with images of Summerville's past taken from the book Porch Rocker Recollections. Tina began the tour with an inspirational video introducing everyone to a short summation starting with Summerville's inception and concluding with Bill Collins, Summerville's present mayor, wishing all a grand visit.
From first stop to the last, the whole affair was an eclectic smorgasbord of healthy delights, delectable appetizers, and homegrown drinks hospitably served on board the trolley by each establishment(For the complete itinerary of stops for the day check out the downloaded image). In between stops, Tim entertained the predominantly senior group with informational stories of Summerville, Queen Elizabeth, and a Gullah tale all laced with his own personal brand of humor. It was a sweet-ride and tea-rific fun.