Historic Columbia Offers Great Summer Staycations

June 14, 2010

As those lazy days of summer approach us, Historic Columbia Foundation offers a variety of outdoor and indoor activities for families, couples, and tourists in the city’s historic district.

Experience the thrill of an evening adventure in the capital city while exploring historic houses by only the glow of lantern light or take a guided tour through the oldest cemetery. Historic Columbia Foundation hosts Evening Adventures, moonlight cemetery tours and lantern tours of historic sites through September 28. Both tours offer glimpses into the city’s past and lives of some of its most prominent and intriguing citizens. Cemetery tours are held at Elmwood Cemetery, 501 Elmwood Avenue, the second Tuesday of each month. Lantern tours of the Seibels House, reportedly one of the city’s oldest buildings at 1601 Richland Street, are conducted through June and tours of the Robert Mills House, 1616 Blanding Street, are conducted from July – September. Lantern Tours are scheduled for the fourth Tuesday of each month.

Toddlers are invited to enjoy games, crafts and hands-on activities, stories, and explore the grounds of Columbia’s historic houses using their senses during Tiny Tot Tuesdays on the third Tuesday of each month beginning at 11 a.m. at the Robert Mills Carriage House, 1616 Blanding Street.

Children ages 8 – 12 to can explore Columbia’s backyard and discover treasures through archaeology and family trees during Digging up the Past, a day camp at the city’s historic houses. Participants attend one of two sessions scheduled for June 14 – 18 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. or July 12 – 16 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Robert Mills Carriage House, 1616 Blanding Street. Each day of camp features hands-on activities based on recent archaeology projects and finds at the historic houses. Participants learn about various aspects of archaeology from a professional archaeologist. Featured activities include pottery refitting, sandbox dig, introduction to genealogy, a history hunt, and grid exercises.  Participants also view exhibits, use archaeologists’ tools, and take site visits of historic house museums.

For a day of cultural heritage, join Historic Columbia Foundation for the annual Jubilee: Festival of Heritage on Saturday, August 28 at the historic Mann-Simons Cottage. The festival honors Celia Mann, a freed African-American who reportedly walked from Charleston to Columbia and purchased her home in 1844. Jubilee features demonstration artists, vendors, historic site tours, African drumming, hands-on crafts, and live music.

Garden volunteer opportunities are also a fun way to get motivated during the summer.  Historic Columbia Foundation seeks volunteers to further help renovate, restore and enrich our historic landscapes.  As the organization begins implementation of the Robert Mills Garden District, the need for individuals interested in maintaining the gardens will greatly increase. Whether you are a novice gardener or a master gardener, your contribution will expand your knowledge and appreciation for gardening, while at the same time helping to restore Columbia’s rich gardening heritage.

For more information on Historic Columbia Foundation programs and events, visit HistoricColumbia.org or call 803.252.1770, ext. 33.

Photos courtesy of Historic Columbia Foundation.

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