In some ways the very model of the picturesque South Carolina “Main Street” town, Newberry has prospered while many similar towns in the state have not. This is due mostly to its well-preserved, vibrant downtown, its location right between two fast-growing metro areas (Columbia and Greenville/Spartanburg), and being close (but not too close) to I-26.
It must also be said that much of Newberry’s affluent confidence is due to a fairly large population of transplanted Northern retirees. Don’t be surprised to hear the occasional N’Yawk honk among the Southern drawls here. However, its original settlers were the typical Midlands mix of Scots-Irish and German settlers, who came in the late 1700s. By the mid-1800s Newberry had become a major rail center for the shipment of cotton.
Historic Newberry College was built in 1856, and served as a hospital for Union and Confederate troops during the Civil War. Reconstruction brought a particularly unsettled vibe to the city, which at the time was a hotbed of Ku Klux Klan activity—though certainly you’d never know it today, other than perhaps the frieze on the courthouse showing a mean-looking American eagle uprooting a South Carolina palmetto tree.
Consistently voted one of the best small towns in America in which to live, Newberry is the kind of place where nice, quiet B&Bs  are a short walk from downtown, most everyone is polite and helpful, and where the pace is slow but standards are still high.
A good first stop is the Newberry Visitors Center (1109 Main St.,803/276-4274, www.newberrycounty.org , Mon.–Fri. 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.–2 p.m.), located in the historic “Public Lounge” where women and children would gather in the early 1900s while the menfolk did their important man-type business on Main Street.
While in downtown Newberry, architectural enthusiasts will want to closely examine some of the buildings. Cornices, windows, and doors often boast nice examples of corbelled brick. A particularly unusual feature is the prevalence of pressed tin decorations on facades, and in some cases in the interior.