Every Day is a Winding Road…

Dear Reader:

Another beautiful day yesterday (didn’t start out that way but ended up that way)…a perfect day to extend my walks from my neighborhood of Miler to adjoining neighborhood… Tea Farm next “door.”

And speaking of doors…this was my first “happy beauty” of the day. I love the new trend to brighten up front doors with bright colors to make the house “pop.” This home was especially pretty because the magnolia trees seemed to create its own frame for the photo.

My goal was to walk down my favorite dirt road in Tea Farm…a winding road that feels like a country road with beautiful homes on either side…W. Walker. The town has offered to pave it for years but each time the residents, living on this lovely, tree-lined road, turn down the offer …they want to keep it a dirt road. (And I am so glad they have!)

There is one particular house I am watching go through an unprecedented renovation (total renovation) It was one of the Tea Farm buildings that was renovated into private residences following Dr. Charles Shepard’s death. A neighbor was walking two dogs on W. Walker as I was taking pictures and she pointed out another building that looked like a plank house…it is actually a huge shed to hold every single brick and artifact from the home in it until it is ready to be replaced.

(Apparently when renovations started the new owners discovered that there were some foundation problems and they would have to start from the bottom up.)

Dr. Shepard, a Charleston chemist, became the first man to grow tea successfully in the lowcountry. He bought 600 acres of land from Summerville to around Middleton Plantation for his experiment. This huge plot of land was called the “Pinehurst Tea Farm” or simply “The Tea Farm.” 

Today we have camellia bushes and tea plants left over from this experiment in the Tea Farm neighborhood…in fact Dr. Shepard is credited, as a plant enthusiast, with introducing the camellia to Summerville. Tea hedges lined the drive in his gardens. *Depending on the season…a walk through Tea Farm is the most wondrous aroma awakening you can have from all the tea plants.

Afternoons (when the weather was good) one would find Dr. Shepherd giving “Tea Talks” at the magnificent inn known as the Pine Forest Inn. Once President Theodore Roosevelt stopped at the inn to tour Dr. Shepard’s operations. Unfortunately production stopped upon his death on July 4, 1915.

Honey Salisbury Burrell’s father, Thomas Salisbury, once owned the Pine Forest Inn…later turning it into a boarding school when the creation of  “super highways” took tourists away from Summerville and directly to Charleston.

*I love this postcard from the ‘Golden Age of the Inns‘ as it is remembered in Summerville History. *(Thanks for this wonderful book …Margaret Kwist, Eleanor Randall and Virginia Cuthbert Wilder.)

One part of the renovations called for a new roof with new materials to exactly match the old tin roof on the “tea farm” house…but preserve it better. This picture doesn’t do it justice since the sun was striking it turning it into a flaming color…but it is gorgeous!

What a wonderful day….”happy beauties” mixed with Summerville history…for this old history teacher…days don’t get much better. Or as the lyrics say in Sheryl Crow’s popular hit…”Every Day is a Winding Road”:

So until tomorrow:

Everyday is a winding road
I get a little bit closer
Every day is a faded sign
I get a little bit closer to feeling fine

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

…And now Summerville has evolved from producing the first commercial tea under Dr. Shepard to being the birthplace of sweet tea…we love our tea in Summerville!

(Monday while I was getting my eye zapped with Brooke…Minnie Mouse was finally being recognized with a place on the Hollywood Walk of Fame) Maybe all this recent “girl power” finally thrust her in the limelight. Mickey Mouse was the first animated character to win a spot on the Walk of Fame for his 50th anniversary.

Minnie had to wait on her 90th anniversary…but that’s okay…she got there.

Minnie Mouse is finally getting a star on the walk of fame.

The polka-dot bow wearing mouse is being honored upon her 90th anniversary in entertainment with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, joining long-time paramour Mickey Mouse and other beloved Disney icons like Donald Duck, Tinker Bell, Winnie the Pooh, Snow White, and Kermit the Frog.

Honey sent Eloise the cutest little Minnie Mouse outfit…perfect timing…she will be in it before we blink. Thank you Honey…adorable!

If Minnie Mouse just made it in with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame…can Sleeping Beauty be far behind?

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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2 Responses to Every Day is a Winding Road…

  1. bcparkison says:

    My dirt road isn’t near as lovely as your dirt road .And I love the old Inn. Must have been a grand place.


    • Becky Dingle says:

      I would have given anything to have known Summerville when the Pine Forest Inn was at its most elegant…attracting Hollywood celebrities, famous musicians, political figures, etc. Honey has some wonderful personal pictures of the inn…originals

      Liked by 1 person

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