Seasons Are One of the Reasons SC is "Just Right"

I am writing this month’s column the week before Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer!  Time for summer vacations, flip flops and sunglasses. But this month’s column is not about the beginning of a South Carolina summer but rather why the seasons in South Carolina are one of many “reasons” South Carolina is “just right” for vacations and state parks. I know there are some people out there saying: “The four seasons in South Carolina?  You guys don’t really have a winter and your summer is very long!” My point exactly. 
Over the past year I had the opportunity to visit a couple of states from different regions of our country, where winter lasts a little longer than ours in South Carolina. But these trips were in the spring, their spring.  What was so fascinating about this year’s spring is that I got to experience it three times. I experienced our spring first: the one with those first days of watching the leaves budding out in anticipation of the beautiful white Dogwood flowers.  To contrast the white of theDogwoods is the state flower, the Yellow Jessamine, a vine that hangs from Loblolly Pines and whatever stately tree it can hold on to as it announces it is springtime in the south.  In state parks, the Oconee Bells announce spring along with other spring wildflowers too numerous to name. 
This year on different trips around the country I saw the Dogwoods bloom three times. While each event was magical, the first was amazing. I think it could have been the Yellow Jessamine highlights or perhaps that our spring comes early, which means summer comes early too.  
I think I speak for most South Carolinians when I say I love to see the snow and enjoy bundling up for a while but once spring has sent these indicators that winter is over, I’m through with cold weather- now it’s summer! Flip flops, shorts, long days and Carolina sunshine, cookouts, trips to the lake and “lighting bugs.”  Picture in your mind summer and the special memories that your summers may have and a smile will quickly come to your face. One of the great things about a South Carolina summer is its length. Summer is not over in August- summer weekends can last into October. 
From summer we go into my favorite season, fall, where we host the longest fall color season in the nation. We bundle up when it get a little chilly- lows in the 50’s. There are hikes, campfires and the anticipation of the holidays. 
We then move into our last season of the year, winter, and it just barely makes it as most of the time winter does not show up until late November or December.  Cozy cabins, winter hikes and stargazing await you in your state parks.  It doesn’t take much to get me excited about a “snow storm” one or two inches will do it.  Then two days after the snow, it’s back to short sleeves and a light jacket. Winter is almost over. It’s not a long season but it’s a perfect season, one that lasts just long enough to have us anticipating spring.
I do love that we have four distinct seasons each with its own South Carolina twist, snow that lasts just long enough for us to enjoy and not tire of and just in time spring arrives. Winter was short but the signs of spring renew us: Dogwoods, Azaleas, and Yellow Jessamine have us wanting to get outside and explore. Summer sneaks up on us and stays the longest but it’s not a bad thing even when the humidity and temperatures both try to reach a hundred.  We quickly find our lakes and rivers and tall glasses of lemonade and sweet tea take care of the “warm” temperatures. By the end of our summer, I’ll start anticipating the fall and be ready for a change: cool mornings, hikes and campfires but for now it’s summertime and state parks are calling… come out and play!  Lots of water, lemonade, sweet tea and memories to be made! It’s what makes our seasons one of the reasons South Carolina is “Just Right” for state parks!


See you in the parks!
Phil