While it seems all of Columbia is excited about the total eclipse, perhaps there is no one anticipating it more than Merritt McNeely.
After serving as executive director of the Five Points Association for eight years, McNeely accepted the position as marketing director at the SC State Museum – a job that positioned her perfectly to be the founder and chair of the Total Eclipse Weekend Columbia SC campaign. In that role, McNeely has highlighted the capital city and the museum as the best place to be for the eclipse.
McNeely also serves as the vice president and marketing chair of the Congaree Vista Guild. She and her husband, Chaston, recently welcomed their first child, Bolt.
My husband and I think one of Columbia’s best kept secrets is Cellar on Greene. Blythe Kelly – a powerhouse female chef – -runs the kitchen, and all of her creations really elevate Columbia’s food scene in a big way. Notable favorite dishes from other spots around town include Tom Ka Matzo at Baan Sawan, George’s pasta salad at Greek Boys and the spicy beef stew at Blue Cactus. Other favorite eating spots are Arirang Korean, Real Mexico, Motor Supply, Mediterranean Tea Room and the Gourmet Shop. If you looked at the most money spent on any one restaurant by the McNeelys, however, it would probably be Village Idiot Pizza. It’s a staple at our front door, and the sausage is quite literally, the best we have ever had.
I love going out in this town. Josh’s peach sriracha margarita at Motor Supply is still one of the best cocktails I have ever had. I also love having a drink at Bourbon’s bar, playing cornhole and enjoying the beer at River Rat, and picking any spot in the Vista and bouncing around all evening. (And) when I really need to get away from my crazy life, a very quiet drink at Speakeasy.
I really love going to shows around town such as Trustus Theatre productions and Broadway in Columbia. I try to get to all the traveling exhibits at the CMA, and my husband and I enjoy some date nights at the Nick, followed by (a treat from) Sweet Cream, of course. I am spoiled because I work for the museum, so I see every planetarium show, every 4D movie and experience every exhibit we offer – which is a lot.
I get the most musical enjoyment these days from the Music Farm and festivals like the (Rosewood) Crawfish Festival. I love how Dave Britt keeps bringing these nostalgic ‘90s bands to help me remember my teenage years. Now that I can enjoy St. Pat’s in Five Points like a regular guest, I have really been impressed with the musical lineup in recent years.
If you added up all of the hours I have spent in Columbia, I would be willing to say that a large portion of them in the last seven years have been running on the trail at Riverfront Park. I think it is one of Columbia’s greatest assets, and I cannot imagine living here without it. We recently discovered the awesome and random Beltline Lanes over on Bluff Road and we love it. Of course, because I love all things cultural here, I have spent a lot of time at events hosted by my favorite attractions like the CMA, the (Riverbanks) Zoo, Historic Columbia, Five Points and more.
Janet Jones Kendall, firstname.lastname@example.org