Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Chapter 2 ...Bishopville, Pearl Fryer and Wotfords BBQ

Chapter II

Well, our 1st trip was so fun, we decided to continue.
In one of our conversations, I had asked Linda if she had heard of or seen Pearl Fryer and his gardens. It rang a bell, but she had not seen the PBS video or taken the trip…

When she told her husband, Jimmy, his interest was piqued and he wanted to come along. So “Thelma and Louise” decided to open the club…but only this time… Now a couple of years before, I had gone to see the topiary gardens with another friend. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, look on Netflix or for “A Man Named Pearl”.  I figured I could be a bit of a tour guide.. The 1st time we visited, the Martha Stewart folks had just finished filming a segment on the gardens, so Pearl, himself, was right there! he’s such a nice ordinary person, just doing amazing things with his backyard and willing to tell his story to visitors from all over….so Kathy and I had our own personal guide for the gardens.
When Pearl is not traveling or lecturing somewhere, he’s home working on his bushes. I was so hoping he would be there, so Linda and Jimmy could meet him. We pulled up and parked, and there he was, driving around on his tractor. He showed us all over the gardens and pointed out new additions since I had been there. It was just as amazing as the 1st time…

Now, of course, before we left Charleston, we looked up bbq near Bishopville. And Wotford’s on main street came up. of course we told pearl what we were doing. without any prompting, he recommended them as well, so that was good enough for us. We invited him to lunch, but he opted to continue with his creations.
Wotfords is family owned, open Wednesday through Saturday. A regular simple restaurant with red and white tablecloths, a sweet tea station and counter where you order your pick of BBQ selections. BBQ was tender and good, sides were succulent. Just what bbq should be… now, because Wednesday is their 1st service day of the week, there were menu items that weren’t cooked yet, so a trip back on a Friday might be worth the experience…

A lot of local family owned places are just like this, since some of the folks cooking and running the places have other jobs. Or, just need an extra day to smoke the pig before service!
Now, downtown Bishopville also has the South Carolina Cotton Museum. We had seen a brochure and after lunch, drove around the town, found the museum and decided to visit. Fascinating. So much history on Cotton in our state… I didn’t know it was such a cash crop then or now…but remember from our 1st trip, when we passed all those cotton fields on the way to Hemingway?
From the earliest cotton gin to much later with all the cotton stripping, tread making and weaving machines, it was a tool and dye heaven… so many moving parts on those machines. I marvel at the engineering.

Also on this brochure was an ad for the Button King Museum.  Well, why not? Over the river and through the woods we went. A long drive following the signs to the country part of Bishopville. 55 Joe Dority Road, to be exact. Finally, on the left we find the entrance.. acres of land with a house in the short distance and a hanger shaped bunker with the neon Button Museum sign lit up. “Come on in” it said. Seems this is the project of a man who suffered from insomnia, and would spend his night times gluing buttons on to, well, everything. From a Hearse to a statue of Elvis to a coffin and much more. Yep, a little weird. More buttons than we had ever seen. Truly worth a visit to the smack dab middle of the Pee Dee region of South Carolina.(
What a day! A 2 (or so) hour drive with so much to see.. Put a trip to Bishopville on your calendar!