No paid time off? No savings? No problem. Drive over the Congaree River and go out “west” for a mini-vacation. Explore local culture and taste foreign foods throughout West Columbia. You’ll feel that you got away, even if just for a day.
Vacation calls for drinks, and what better place to get the party started than at Pelicans SnoBalls West Columbia, an establishment that originated in New Orleans. For almost 20 years, Mardi the Pelican has been serving up smooth fluffy sweetened snow at its various locations throughout the country. Whether you slurp or scoop, this refreshing summer treat ranks supreme. Leap into your getaway with the Frogger, a mix of pineapple and polar punch topped with a gummy frog. With more than 100 bold flavors, there’s sure to be something for everyone, including gluten free and sugar free options. And for those who want to take their drink to the next level, you can add cream to any flavor — make it a creamsicle or a beer heavy on the root.
Where to find it: 442 Meeting St. 803-917-1316. pelicanssnoballs.com. Open noon-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 2 p.m.-9 p.m. Sunday.
Following your ice-cold drinks, drive or walk over to The Warehouse, because what’s a getaway without a little shopping. But the Warehouse isn’t just any thrift store, it prides itself on finding the “unexpected” in home decor, used furniture, and local art. In addition to finding something new for you, the Warehouse will sell something old that you own. Their consignment program lists your unwanted furniture, architectural features, or home goods for a total of 90 days. If it sells you receive 60 percent of the profits and the Warehouse gets forty, making this getaway totally worth the trip.
Where to find it: 312 State St. 803-834-7557. www.thewarehousesc.com. Open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Sunday.
Continue your vacation to the spot where East meets West at Duke’s Pad Thai. From street food to noodle bar and classic favorites in between, this Asian restaurant has it all. If you like chicken dumplings, try the dumpling soup in ramen broth. Or if you’re interested in a traditional dish, order the bun mi tacos with roast pork, cucumber, jalapeno peppers, pickled carrots, daikon, mayo, and pate paste. Bold curry fish and soup bases can pack some heat, so be sure to order the Tiger beer — an Asian lager — to finish off your flavorful meal.
Where to find it: 904 Knox Abbott Drive. 803-661-6455. www.dukespadthai.com. Open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Sunday.
End your getaway with a taste of the local, or familiar, at Bill’s Music Shop and Pickin’ Parlor. What started as a place for musicians to “do some pickin’” in 1985 has grown to include a music supply store, snack bar, and concert hall. Stop in on a Friday night and for five dollars you gain access to a weekly bluegrass jam session with pros and national talent groups. You might even get the chance to join them on the stage. A lasting memory of your day trip out West.
Where to find it: 710 Meeting St. 803-796-6477. www.billsmusicshop.com. Open 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 10 a.m.-4 p.m., 6 p.m.-12 a.m. Friday; 11 a.m.-3 p.m., 7 p.m.-10 p.m. Saturday.
Alyssa Velazquez, special to GoColumbia