Thursday, September 12, 2013
“Capturing word-of-mouth wisdom" is often the best way to judge the effectiveness of a product or service. Witness a review website such as Angie’s List which uses the above quote to illustrate its mission. The current series of the Chamber of Commerce’s Sweet Tea Trolley Tours is a case in point. Those who take the tour are asked to fill out an assessment survey, but as one of the tour guides I sought out some personal reactions.
On a recent tour I looked up to see Kathy Goebel, an extended family member, who is relocating to this area from Charlotte. “You’re always talking about Summerville and these tours, so I came to see what all the ‘fuss’ was about,” she grinned, climbing aboard. Kathy said she found the tour classy, relaxing, and surprising.
“I loved seeing the old houses and I thought Linwood and its gardens were perfectly charming,” she told me. Kathy called the trolley atmosphere “just right,” and was surprised to learn how far back Summerville history goes. “My other tour favorites were seeing the (1939) film and learning about the Pine Forest Inn as well as how and why people used to come here for medical reasons.”
Howard Bridgman, former town council member and current Timrod Library president, said he thoroughly enjoyed the tour. “I think it’s a great idea! I’ve lived here a long time and I heard some things I hadn’t heard before.” Howard thought the tour service was also good for newcomers and, visitors as well as for tourists – who would be good for the local economy.
“Otis and I absolutely loved it,” Debbie Engelman said of herself and her physician husband. Debbie, who is a nurse and also has a private counseling practice, is of the Boyle family, one of the town’s oldest. “I think the tour is a wonderful representation of Summerville.”
What better way to sum up than with the comments of two longtime Summerville teachers, Jo Dufford and Frances Townsend? Both women taught a variety of subjects, including history. Jo was an assistant principal and Frances now serves on the DD2 school board. Both women also brought their granddaughters.
Jo, said she heard about new things, such as the only Civil War battle “fought” in Summerville. “I liked the places we went, and especially enjoyed Linwood’s gardens and owner Linda Shelbourne’s descriptions of the property. Jo’s granddaughter Colby liked those things too but was particularly happy to get to ring the trolley bell.
“I thought it was a really a good selection of sites and stops I’d like to particularly commend the trolley driver who kept just the right pace for us to enjoy looking at everything “ Both women thought students would benefit from the tours Jo suggested the 6th grade would be a starting place.
Frances said her granddaughter Julia loved it – especially the B&B and the “secret” garden. Frances grew up in “Out of Plumb,” one of the homes seen on the tour. “I learned a lot and I’ve lived here all my life,” she said. “We had a great group on the tour. The trolley is charming and small enough for everyone to feel a part of it and to hear. I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t both learn from and enjoy this tour. I think it’s great for the town.’’
Ready to go? Then for information, go to www.lowcountrylooptrolley.com/summerville,