Wednesday, October 15, 2014

More surprises in Greenwood, SC

NOTE: This should have appeared after the post on Greenwood, SC, but got "lost". If you had ever ridden along with us you'd know we do that a lot - get lost. As when we are directed to "Turn left at the dollar store at the light" only to discover there is a left turn and a dollar store at every light for the next 25 miles.

One of the Saanen "girls" at Emerald Farm.
 Everywhere the Good Girls go we encounter fascinating people and in Greenwood one of them was Kathryn Zhan, owner of Emerald Farm. She's just about an expert on everything. Kathryn raises organic chickens and goats and is a premier breeder of Saanen goats, a Swiss breed. She develops formulas for soaps and lotions, makes them and sells them, too. She uses no chemicals in her line of health and beauty products.

The herb garden
Emerald Farm is located a bit off the beaten path, but once you find it, it offers a full day's worth of activities. Families and seniors are especially happy with the relaxed pace on the farm. Besides visiting and feeding the farm animals, you could try fishing in the lake, explore the herb garden or shop for a large variety of health foods and hobby items.

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Emerald Forest chapel

 I followed the tracks and took a ride on a miniature railroad constructed by Kathryn's husband. It's really cute. I hopped aboard and rode past ducks on the pond and all around the Emerald Forest. There's a whole village of little structures like a chapel, schoolhouse, general store and more, constructed by members of the family.

The remarkable model train layout.

Finally, I entered the huge Hobby Shop filled with craft items for a variety of enthusiasts: sewing, knitting, model airplanes, miniature car collectors and you name it! Then, I went upstairs and found a model railroad museum.

What a surprise; it's an absolute wonder for anyone interested in trains. The museum contains a vast system of tracks with a number of engines pulling cars. One course is standard gauge, the other H.O. The layout is one of the largest in the southeast and is totally captivating. Members of the Emerald Farm Model Railroad Club may come and run their trains anytime they wish.

I didn't see, but Kathryn told me about an air strip for model airplanes and a model remote control car dirt track. She gives tours to hundreds of school children every year. Emerald Farm is a surprising, delightful place and Kathryn Zahn and her family are truly special.

Childhood home of Dr. Benjamin Mays.
We moved along to another unexpected find; the Dr. Benjamin E. Mays Museum Interpretive Center. Dr. Mays was born in August, 1894, in a Greenwood farmhouse, later moved to this location. The house contained only two bedrooms for the Mays family of ten. An original outhouse and cedar post clothesline were brought along to add authenticity to the site.

Original outhouse and clothes line.

Dr. Mays was an African American minister, educator, sociologist, social activist and the president of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, from 1940 to 1967. Mays was also a significant mentor to civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and he delivered the eulogy for King. Mays was among the most articulate and outspoken critics of segregation before the rise of the modern civil rights movement in the United States.

Open the barn door to a modern museum.
A faux barn is cleverly designed to serve as the Interpretive Center and Museum. It contains photos, books, brochures, speeches, films and personal items belonging to Dr. Mays. Our guide, Loy Sartin, is a passionate expert on Dr. Mays and explained how Dr. Mays became a presidential advisor and man truly ahead of his time. "And to think he came from Greenwood, South Carolina," said Sartin.

That's how we found Greenwood, surprisingly interesting.

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