Monday, January 17, 2011

Vacation or Business Trip?

If you are in a pickup and pulling a U-Haul trailer across the United States, are you really on vacation?

And if you carry a dresser, a television, assorted pots and pans, mattresses, big boxes and a couch up two flights of stairs, are you really on vacation?

It didn't feel much like vacation. But I am glad we got to help Brent with his move to Columbia, S.C., for grad school.

After we found some muscles we didn't remember we had, we did get to spend a little time being tourists in Columbia.

And that led to yet another question: If a farmer passes by a flour mill while on "vacation," does your "vacation" become a "business trip?"

There were no tours offered at the Adluh Flour Mill. Believe me, if there would have been, my farmer and favorite Kansas Association of Wheat Growers representative would have been touring. After all, it has been named the state flour of South Carolina by the state's Department of Agriculture. In 1942, there were 42 operating flour mills located in South Carolina. Today only one of these remains: Adluh Flour Mills. (So I guess I can see why it is the state flour.) It has been producing flour in Columbia since 1900.

Even though there was no tour of the actual mill, it was a marked spot on the walking tour of downtown Columbia. We walked so far and took so long that we ended up with a $7 parking ticket courtesy of the powers that be in the Capital of Southern Hospitality. Kind of ironic, right?

Our stop at Cupcake was part of this walking tour, so maybe we walked a bite or two of the calories off.

Maybe we could have worked off a few more of the calories if we could have done our own Rocky reenactment by running up the stairs at the South Carolina State House.

But they didn't let visitors in the door that way. We had to go through a metal detector instead.

They began building the state house in 1855. That's before Kansas was a state.

The stained glass mosaic overlooking the lobby is made from more than 37,000 pieces of glass and depicts the Seal of South Carolina. It is original to the building.

Also on the tour was the Richland Public Library. Since I am a big fan of any library, I couldn't just walk by without going inside.

This was the view inside the four-story lobby.

I love my library, but this wasn't only a repository for books: It was a showcase of architecture.

And we even found a few things along the way that weren't technically on the walking tour. I loved seeing the reflection of the old building in the glass panes of its newer neighbor.

And we saw the beautiful stained glass windows inside St. Peter's Catholic Church. The door was open ... really. Founded as an outreach to Irish canal workers in 1821, the church is South Carolina's oldest parish outside of Charleston.

It's hard to beat beautiful stained glass windows, but these little ones came close. It was on January 6, so their teachers were taking their photo by the Nativity scene on Epiphany. I didn't want to get arrested, so I didn't get any closer.

And, speaking of law breakers, yes, we did pay the $7 parking fine before we left Columbia.


If you're visiting Columbia, we enjoyed eating at three unique places. California Dreaming was in the historic railroad station. We also ate at Hunter-Gatherer, which was in the little business district near the campus of the University of South Carolina (which reminded us of Aggieville). We also enjoyed Liberty Taproom and Grill.

We look forward to trying more local flavor when we visit the next time.