There are so many things that make this time of year different than any other. Just about all of them are wonderful—lights, festivities, delicious treats, good music and good cheer… And then there is the greeting that I receive when I’m out and about: instead of saying “Hello,” people ask, “So, are you ready for Christmas?” My guilty conscience translates this into, “Have you finished your shopping yet?!” I am one of those people who are usually running around, frantic, on December 23—even though every year, I promise myself that I’ll have all of this out of the way by October—but I realize that I’m not the only one in this nerve-wracking and yet somehow sort of exhilarating boat.
We have had quite a number of people calling or coming into the Visitors Center, looking for something that is uniquely “Sumter” and suitable for gift-giving. I’m pleased to say that depending on what you’re looking for, there’s a good chance that the answer is “yes.” With a range from fifty-cent postcards to a rather expensive handmade, signed and numbered replica of Grainger McKoy’s Recovery sculpture, we can help you with a gift of the feeling of Sumter, be it a simple remembrance or something more elaborate.
The City of Sumter website has an online catalog of souvenir and gift items available at the Swan Lake Visitors Center. In addition to several Grainger McKoy items, we offer Swan Lake Iris Gardens memorabilia and City of Sumter merchandise (and we have additional merchandise that is not yet shown online, but will be soon). Online ordering is not yet possible, but the Visitors Center is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
One of the featured items that we have in stock now is the Recovery pin. Crafted in sterling silver and 1 1/2” inches high, it features the same exquisite detail as the full-sized sculpture. If someone on your list would love a piece of quality jewelry that adds a perfect, subtle bit of flair to any outfit, it’s just right—and if you are familiar with Mr. McKoy’s jewelry line, you will agree that the $50 price tag is an absolute bargain!
I’d also like to mention a couple of other places that merit a visit. The Sumter County Gallery of Art features a wonderful gift shop, with unique one-of-a-kind pieces from many artists. The Lion’s Paws Gift Shop at the Sumter County Museum can help you give the gift of Sumter past and present, with books, music, toys, and other interesting items from hand-dipped candlesticks to jewelry. And if you have a tennis lover in the family, the Palmetto Tennis Center’s full-service Pro Shop has just about anything he or she could want.
As well as the places mentioned above, our community has an active artist’s co-op, some wonderful antique and “found item” shops, and many other places selling items with a local flavor (and I mean “flavor” both figuratively and literally). The Sumter Chamber of Commerce offers an extensive online listing (please note that this includes Chamber members only), or you can give us a call at (803) 436-2640 or toll-free at 1-800-688-4748, and we can help you find just the right shop for just the right gift.
If you’d like to give someone a bit of our hometown as a gift, there are so many options! The Visitors Center staff is pleased to serve or direct you. So, hey—why not come in and take a look around? Just please don’t wait until…well, December 23!