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At a Glance

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At a time when many people are seeking a simpler, more rural lifestyle, both for retirement and to raise a family, Edgefield County is increasingly becoming the locale of choice.

Situated in the west midlands of South Carolina, Edgefield County was first settled in the mid-1700s. Brothers John and William Watson came to the area from Virginia in 1745 and, through a combination of land grants and purchases, acquired 16 square miles of land between the Saluda and Edisto rivers–a flat, fertile plateau called the Ridge. In the early 1770s, Arthur Simpkins came to the area from Virginia with his wife and children and donated the land for the first courthouse in 1785 – thus officially establishing the county.

Despite its relatively sparse population, a number of Edgefield County residents have made their mark on state and national politics. Over the past two centuries the county has been home to 10 South Carolina governors and five lieutenant governors–including South Carolina’s first two Civil War governors—Francis Pickens, and Milledge Bonham—and produced its fair share of judges, lawyers, and senators (current Senator Shane Massey), including U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond, the oldest and longest-serving senator in American history.

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Edgefield County boasts several industrial mills, numerous peach farms and even a few cotton farms, which were once the county’s mainstay. There are three national conservation, education and preservation organizations–the National Wild Turkey Federation, Quail Unlimited, and Waterfowl USA–that promote the conservation of wild turkey, quail, and waterfowl. We also have in Edgefield County the Edgefield County Peach Museum. Discover the remarkable history of the cultivation of peaches on the Ridge in South Carolina by visiting the Peach Museum in Johnston. Not only will you enjoy a stimulating and educational interpretation of the industry, but you will also be able to purchase real peach preserves. During the peach growing season, from the blooming of the trees to the picking of peaches (March-August), you can head out into Edgefield County’s spectacular countryside to explore the sights and visit a myriad of colorful roadside peach and vegetable stands.

New houses and residential communities–some with golf courses–dot the county. Other residents have chosen to renovate some of the graceful old home places, returning them to their former glory. Gentlemen horse and cattle farmers are commonplace, with picturesque spreads set among the gentle rolling hills of the area.

Edgefield County is also a popular stop for antique collectors, with shops to satisfy every taste, from fine antiques to pre-owned treasures. The downtown merchants in Edgefield offer downtown shop-a-rounds to entice everyone to shop local whenever possible. Christmas campaigns, tree lightings, ribbon cuttings, events on the town square are just a few of the many things the downtown development associations of each town are trying to promote to keep people interested in Edgefield County.

Golf enthusiasts will find plenty to occupy them at the areas golf courses–Pine Ridge Plantation, located between Johnston and Edgefield; Persimmon Hill Country Club, located between Johnston and Saluda; Mt Vintage Golf Club, located between Edgefield and North Augusta; and North Augusta Country Club, North Augusta, SC. Mount Vintage Plantation, a beautiful residential and equestrian community is located on Sweetwater Road in Edgefield County.

Those looking for more back-to-nature activities can enjoy unlimited hours of hunting, camping, hiking, swimming, boating, and fishing and other water sports at nearby Sumter National Forest and Lakes Thurmond and Murray.

There are plenty of after-school activities for children living in Edgefield County. The Edgefield County Recreation Department offers a full schedule of youth activities, including softball, baseball, football, and soccer.

Edgefield County offers many dining experiences from a casual lunch at Ten Governors Café, Park Row Market No. 1, Riley’s On Main, or The Triangle Restaurant, to a cultural experience at Little Mexico, La Fogata, or several of the Chinese restaurants in the area. Murphy’s Irish Pub offers that Irish experience in dining and social enjoyment. For a fine dining experience, visit the Old Edgefield Grill situated on the edge of the Edgefield town square in an historic Victorian home. The restaurant offers tributes to United States Senator Strom Thurmond, and the National Wild Turkey Federation. Dining at the Old Edgefield Grill will cap off any visit to this fascinating community.

For a less strenuous, but equally worthwhile leisure pursuit, all three towns host heritage festivals during the year. Edgefield’s Heritage Jubilee Festival is held the first weekend in October on the grounds of historic Oakley Park. Both Trenton and Johnston celebrate the peach each spring and summer with festivals that offer activities for the entire family, including arts and crafts, plenty of food, parades, and even dances. The Johnston Peach Blossom Festival is the first Saturday in May, and sponsored by the Johnston Development Corporation. Trenton’s Ridge Peach Festival, held the third Saturday in June, is the longest-celebrated festival in the county; with the year 2009 marking its 39th anniversary.

Edgefield County is an area steeped in history, but it also is looking to the future. With its scenic countryside, lifestyle amenities, and convenient-location, it is quickly becoming one of the fastest-growing counties in the region.

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