There was a time down South when hospitality meant a certain grace, a peace of spirit. It meant pitchers of sweet tea in the afternoons, and saying hello to whomever passed just for sociability’s sake. Hospitality like that is hard to find nowadays. But in a little South Carolina town called Aiken, rocked in the fragrant embrace of long-leaf pines, this gracious way lives on.
History lives permanently here. High-stepping horses prance the shady streets, which are sometimes paved but just as often left Carolina clay for the tender treatment of hooves. Over brick walls and through white fences, many noble and historic mansions accessorized by wide, sunny gardens with climbing roses and rolling rugs of grass lure the eye.
Summertime is drunk with sun; the shade found under an oak tree feels as cool as silk on the skin. Fall is generous with its warmth and tenderhearted with its colors as the riding season begins and The Willcox is charged with the excitement of the race and the hunt. Winter brings its own magic: fires in the bedrooms and in the lobby, where a piano is played by a deft hand and the room rings with conversation. In the spring, streets are covered with a snowfall of blossoms. There are golfers and horse folks and those on the lookout for fun, all drawn to this jewel of the South.
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