Think Outside the Box for Spring Break


Piedmont: Amtrak Train No. 74 the Piedmont the train that takes you from Charlotte to Raleigh.

Jonathan Hinely, Staff Writer

It’s every college students’ favorite time of the second semester: Spring Break. We all want to cram as much relaxing, family time and friends into the week as we can. Last weekend, I discovered the perfect way to merge relaxation and making memories with my friends into one.

We took a day trip by Amtrak to a small Southern town that none of us had been to before. Not only was the destination memorable, but so too was the journey. The memories we made will last all of us a lifetime. So here are some of my suggestions for day trips by car, and by Amtrak from the PC area.

By Amtrak:

1. Salisbury, NC from Charlotte

How to get there: Amtrak offers four daily trains between Charlotte, NC to Salisbury as well as four return trips. When you arrive in the historic Salisbury Amtrak station built in 1908 you will think to yourself that you have been there before. That’s because it is the station they modeled in the Smithsonian Museum of American History.

What to do? Salisbury has a lovely main street located about one minute away from the train station, where you will find several boutique shops. When you walk down Main Street you will feel as if you have stepped back in town. Be sure to stop into Innes Street Drugstore to check out their 1950’s era soda fountain. They also serve their own homemade ice cream as well.

Where should we eat? I would recommend Emma’s of Salisbury, which is located on Leah Street. It is located in a restored house dating back to the early 1900’s. While you are there, be sure to ask to see the scrapbook of the restoration. Personally, I found it amazing how they turned the building around. The food is amazing, and it all depends on what you like on what you should get. You can’t go wrong.

Well, what does it cost? The train ticket costs $19 for round trip. Amtrak also offers several discounts to make it cheaper.

2. Washington, DC from South Carolina

How to get there: Amtrak offers one evening train each day from Greenville or Florence that will put you in DC the next morning. From the Low Country you arrive at 7:30 a.m. at Union Station, and from the Upstate you arrive at 9:30 a.m.

What to do? In our nation’s capitol, there are plenty of things to do. You can tour the Smithsonian Institute Museums, which are all free to visit. You and your friends could tour the White House or Congress. The options are limitless.

Where should we eat? Many of our nation’s best restaurants are located in Washington, so you really can’t go wrong. But I would recommend Uno’s Chicago Pizzeria and Grill at Union Station. They make an excellent pizza and have steak tips to die for.

Well, what does it cost? A round-trip wil cost $150 from Florence and $182 from Greenville.

3.Orlando, FL from Columbia, SC

How to get there? Amtrak runs one train in each direction a day between each city. You arrive in Orlando at 10:30 a.m. and leave at 7:30 p.m. the same day.

What to do? In Orlando there are plenty of things you can do. You can pick visit Disney Park, Universal Studios, SeaWorld or go outlet shopping. The options are endless on what you would like to do. You are bound to make several memories with your friends while you explore these fun adventure parks.

What to Eat? It all depends on where exactly you want to go. If you were in Epcot I would go to the one of the pavilions and try something new. But if I were in the Magic Kingdom, I would grab something small so I could see the maximum amount possible.

Well, what does it cost? A round-trip is $108.

By Car:

1. Asheville, NC

How to get there? From Presbyterian College, take I-26 all the way up to Asheville proper. It will take about ninety minutes.

What to do? There are two main neighborhoods that you should consider. The Biltmore Village is home to several boutique shops and the Biltmore Estate. This area is very upscale, and well built for strolling. Then there is the other area centered on Broadway, which is the actual city. There are several stores and antique shops in this area.

What to Eat? I personally recommend that you go to the Village Wayside in the Biltmore Village. It is located in the old Southern Railway station, and they have a fairly good menu. The food has always been excellent in the times I have been.

2. Charlotte, NC

How to get there? From Presbyterian College, take I-26 to Spartanburg, then take I-85 all the way. It will take about an hour and forty minutes.

What to do? That question all depends on what you like to do. If you like shopping, then I would recommend South Park mall in the outskirts of town. This is a large mall with over 160 different retailers, and you are sure not to be bored. You can also park on the outskirts of Charlotte and take the Lynx Light Rail in so you don’t have to worry about parking. From there on I recommend walking down College or Tryon Street. Both have several stores and options for things to do. The Discovery Center is always entertaining. The light rail’s fare is $1, and includes parking, which is much cheaper than parking downtown.

What to Eat? If you want a unique experience go to Arthur’s in the Belk at South Park. The restaurant is located in the luggage department in the basement. The food is good, cheap, and for you shoppers, centrally located.

3. Columbia, SC

How to get there? From Presbyterian College, take I-26 down all the way, or you can take US Highway 76 all the way into town. It all depends on how much you like back roads.

What to Do? Walking around the State House grounds is always a must when you are visiting the capitol of the state. Other great places to stroll and enjoy nature are the River Front Park in Cayce or Columbia, and Main Street. There are several places to shop in Five Points, and the Vista, as well as places to eat. If it’s a rainy day and you can’t go for a stroll you can always check out the State Museum or Columbiana Mall in Harbinson.

What to Eat? Personally I recommend Yesterday’s Bar and Tavern in Five Points. They have amazing fries that complement every dish they serve.