Accommodations and Food
- Grand Strand Weekend
- South Carolina for Kids
- South Carolina Bar-B-Que
- A Midlands Weekend
- Civil War Adventures
- South Carolina Waterways
- Three Days in Horse Country
- South Carolina for Seafoodies
- South Carolina Kitsch
- Gullah and African American History
- Upstate Weekend
- South Carolina’s Top Ten for Golfers
- South Carolina’s Offbeat Festivals
- Southern Comforts
- Lowcountry Romance
If all you’re looking for is a clean and well-run chain hotel, take exit 98 off I-20 and look out for the Comfort Inn and Suites (220 Wall St., 803/425-1010, www.comfortinn.com, $95) or the Holiday Inn Express (419 Sumter Hwy., 803/424-5000, www.hiexpress.com, $105) next door.
There are several great B&Bs in town, chief among them the outstanding Bloomsbury Inn (1707 Lyttleton St., 803/432-5858, www.bloomsburyinn.com, $149–169), widely rated one of the best in the United States. The owners, Bruce and Katherine Brown, were voted Innkeepers of the Year in 2008. Both retired Air Force colonels, they run the Bloomsbury with a mixture of genuine Southern hospitality and military-style attention to detail.
The 1849 property itself is of great historical importance as the one-time home of James and Mary Chesnut, he a Confederate general and she a famous wartime diarist. While the interior furnishings in the public areas and in the four guest rooms are all you’d expect and then some, the two-acre grounds are gorgeous as well, with a full range of evocative Southern species.
Another great stay is the Greenleaf Inn (1308 N. Broad St., 803/425-1806, www.greenleafinnofcamden.com, $109–159) comprising two historic buildings on an expanse of grounds downtown: the 1805 Reynolds House with six guest rooms (a rare Charleston-style single house this far inland) and the 1890 McLean House with four rooms. As you’d expect from a horsey, antiquey town like Camden, the furnishings are sumptuous and immaculately tasteful. A very good restaurant is on the premises, though dinner is not included in your room rate as is the excellent breakfast.
The most well-regarded eating spot in the Camden area is actually a short drive outside Camden in Boykin, a historic little hamlet just south of town on Highway 521 on the other side of I-20. The Mill Pond Steakhouse (84 Boykin Mill Rd., 803/424-0261, www.themillpondsteakhouse.com, Tues.–Sat. 5–10 p.m., $20–40) serves awesome high-end, connoisseur-style steaks and Southern classics like shrimp and grits and crab cakes.
The restaurant offers a scenic view of Mill Pond, an impounded body of water that saw intensive action during the Civil War. In fact, seated in the dining room you’re in the rough center of the Confederate line, which failed in its bid to hold back Union troops including members of the famous 54th Massachusetts Volunteers, the African American unit chronicled in the movie Glory.
© Jim Morekis from Moon South Carolina, 4th Edition