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The Interstate system here in the States is an interesting thing. It’s equal parts fast, efficient travel, and endless stretches of asphalt monotony. Up until I started this little adventure, I used it much like the rest of the country did, getting from here to there as fast as I could. Then a strange thing happened. I wasn’t in a hurry anymore.

When you aren’t in a hurry, the interstate is probably the worst way to travel. The views are often less than spectacular, the road offers you little variety as a driver, and every exit touts its corporate cuisine, as well as other questionable pit stops.

Leaving Knoxville, I’d had a very rough plan of “East to the coast, then south!” I’d already made it through North Carolina and was headed to Charleston, South Carolina, to visit some friends. That led me to Highway 17.

Once you are off the interstate and on the old highways, things get a lot quirkier. And I love quirky. Odd little shops pop up on the sides of the road like prairie dogs poking their heads out, and the once thriving little towns slowly fade into the past. There are so many places to explore!

Hidden In South Carolina – Sheldon’s Church

Just off of Highway 17, I found Sheldon’s Church. Burned by the British and again by the Federal Army, it remains hauntingly beautiful. Without its walls and roof, it feels like an even more appropriate place to worship the Maker of the all things as you see His handiwork framed by the open brick arches that remain.

And this is just a mile or so off the main road. I’m not venturing deep into the back country. There are places like this all over, tucked away just out of sight. It is this sort of thing that I love about the “scenic route.” When you aren’t in a hurry, you take the scenic route. When you take the scenic route, you make memories.

Folly Beach

Even in the tourist magnets along the coast there are places waiting to be found and, if you’re paying attention, exquisite moments to be enjoyed.

There was so much here. What did I miss? If there’s somewhere I need to make a special trip to, let me know!