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Why My Heart Belongs to Hartsville, SC.

Since making the move to Hartsville from Charlotte a year ago, I've definitely discovered things that make living here an amazing experience. When I told people I was moving, several asked, "why would you want to move THERE?" (Especially people who I went to school with back in the 70s.) I can happily report now some of the reason why I have never regretted my decision.

Highlights of my first year, in no particular order of importance:

The community of people: I've met so many wonderful new friends and acquaintances since moving here. Genuinely nice and interesting people. Not only that, I've been able to renew friendships from high school -- proving that friendships can last years and get stronger than ever! People that make me feel they are glad that I moved here. And fantastic neighbors. When you feel right at home in a year, that says something about the people who live around you!

Things to do: Hartsville is a "happening" place!! There is something going on every weekend if you choose to get out and discover it. Concerts, plays, the Farmer's Market, fundraisers, and much more! And the City of Hartsville does a great job of getting the word out! (Make sure you are getting the emails and picking up the schedules for each month so you don't miss anything!)

Places to walk and bike: In Charlotte, I could never walk anywhere from my house. Now I can walk down quiet College Avenue and look at the cute houses. I can turn right and be at Kalmia Gardens in 30 minutes by foot. I'm looking forward to discovering more bike paths this fall and walking to town. So many beautiful spots here -- I discovered Black Creek on a kayaking trip and I'm looking forward to the camellias blooming at Kalmia.

Places to eat and drink: This has been a year of finding my favorite places. Places like Sophia's where I can get an ice-cold draft beer while I wait. Sitting outside at Vintage enjoying a pineapple shandy. Enjoying the best deal in town at Westwood BBQ! Feeling metropolitan on the Rooftop Bar at the Mantissa! Then hitting Sam Kendall's for one of the best burgers I've ever had. I love getting the "My Wife's Salad" at Groucho's with their house dressing! And how great is it that we have an awesome Thai place at Bow Thai! Nueva Villa is a favorite and so is my new guilty pleasure, Sugar Rush! They have great hot dogs along with Hershey's dipped ice cream. (the Brown Sugar Bourbon Truffle is my favorite so far!) Then there's Crema, Midnight Rooster...ya'll, it's been hard to maintain a budget around this place although they are all so affordable! Oops, I almost forgot Sonic. No need to expound upon that!

First fun movies for under $5!! I'm looking forward to the renovations at the AMC theater here, but you can't beat their current prices!! Even if the movie is not so great, I don't feel too guilty! Especially with my giant refill bucket for popcorn!

Our Library! I love our public library! Great books, movies, magazines, and super people that work there (yes, one of them is my sister!) But it's a great place and they have stuff going on all the time. On October 4, I'll be a guest teacher for their monthly Craft Class, from 3-4 pm. I'm looking forward to doing something fun!

Things to support through volunteering: Charlotte was so big, that it was hard to get plugged in. Here, I'm involved with the Hartsville Community Players, on the Board and doing marketing for them (don't miss "The 39 Steps" on October 21-22!) and I've done some volunteering with the Humane Society (Re-Tail Therapy is amazing!) I hope to be selling stuff at The Farmer's Market this fall, and I help with different projects at St. Bartholomew's.

My family: I'm a mile and a half from my 86-year-old mom at Morningside. A mile and a half from my sister and her family. I have a niece in Bishopville, three nieces in Florence and three nephews here in town. It's made being available and establishing deeper relationships so much easier. Not to mention that my sister is a great cook, so I can invite myself over any time. Almost!

Shopping! I'm a big fan of thrift shops and we have so many good ones! I'm starting to explore other in Florence and other outlying towns. Not to mention so many cute and unique shops right downtown! I very rarely have to go anywhere else to shop and find handmade and affordable items! I am sad about Rambo's though!I got shoes there when I was a child up until today and it's hard to think it won't be there!

Opportunities to change and grow! I'm almost done, I promise, but I have to mention how great the Hartsville Chamber is for those of us with businesses in the community. The Women's Leadership Conference was excellent, and I'm excited about being a part of the 2018 Class of Leadership Hartsville, where I'm sure I'll find even more things to be excited about and proud of in this city with the big heart!

I'll stop there but I could go on and on. I do miss my friends in Charlotte, but am so happy to be here. And it's not so far that they can't come visit, so I can show off my town! Thanks, Hartsville, for welcoming me with open arms, and making the past year one of thankfulness, amazement and discovery!

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