Tasty tours

  • Thursday, May 8, 2014

It’s a universal truth that whenever we gather socially, food is a big part of the celebration – and that celebration’s success.

Thus our Sweet Tea Trolley Tours have expanded to offer goodies on each and every route exploring Summerville. As one of the tour guides, I feel it appropriate to make the sacrifice, offering myself as an official taster – and cheerleader – for some of the best snacks in town.

It was the success of the Good Eats Tour that inspired these new culinary amenities. Tim Lowry, nationally known storyteller, originator of “Good Eats” and guide on that tour, finds himself with a full trolley nearly every time.

The reasons for this are twofold. First he’s such a good story teller that his talent alone would keep you mesmerized. Second, stopping at several restaurants with servers boarding the trolley bearing specialty samples only made a good thing better. Whenever I’m asked to describe our tours and I mention “Good Eats,” many people say – “That’s for me!”

Another tour eliciting that same response is the one to Linwood Gardens. People leave full of awe and wonder at the splendors of this horticultural treasure right in the heart of Summerville’s Historic District. Linda Shelbourne, owner and hostess, is a master gardener who presides over what has been named one of the 10 Best B&B Gardens in the world! Perusing her property feeds the soul as she shares its plantation history and the beautiful floral setting. Linda also graciously feeds the body with both Sweet Tea and Sweet Tea Treats.

This Linwood stop features an abbreviated history trail, but the following duo runs the full route and each closes with trolley goers imbibing in something delectably different.

The Timrod Tour ends at that establishment and features both a visit through the unique subscription/membership – not private – library and a clever lunch. Library Director Cindy Koontz credits staff and board members Cathy Englehart, Mary Lou Farmer and Esther Hamm with guiding and feeding the tourists. Cindy cites Cathy’s creativeness in serving a mini lunch in a decorative cone holding small sandwiches, a savory and a dessert, topped off with Sweet Tea in an official logoed glass.

What better way to end a tour discussion than with elegance. The Museum Tour hosts such a tea at the end of a full history route. People can also visit the museum’s many enticing artifacts.

Volunteer Vivian Rose and Board Member Bonnie Banks discussed the museum’s increasing involvement in Summerville’s cultural life.

When Tina Zimmerman of the Chamber and Jan Hursey of DREAM approached them about being the trolley start and stop point “we had to catch our breath,” said Vivian, “but our team pulled it off.”

Bonnie helped lead the effort to put on what she called “something really special.” This includes linens, flat wear, china and glassware to enjoy hot or iced tea with fresh made scones topped with jellies or lemon curd. “We wanted something eclectic,” said Bonnie, “so we’re using loaned table settings in different patterns.”

She also said the museum is planning to put those settings to good use with their upcoming regular lunch schedule.

A myriad of staff and volunteers help to make this possible. They include Linda Brock, Merle Hodges, Laura McSwain, Jeannett Robinson and Carolyn Sweat.

There are many ways to savor Summerville. Taking one of our culinary infused tours is one of the tastiest.

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