During the 30 years that I have called Sumter home, much has changed about the city. But, as the population has swelled and businesses have come and gone, there has been one constant – an oasis of serenity called Swan Lake-Iris Gardens, at 822 W. Liberty St..
Billed by the city as the only public park in the United States to feature all eight swan species, Swan Lake offers a vast array of flora and fauna to be enjoyed by its visitors. Most notable are the numerous Japanese irises that surround the water and bloom spectacularly from late May into early June.
Mostly, though, it offers an easily accessible respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. From days spent as a budding young journalist reading beneath its shade trees during his lunch break, to the many trips around the lake watching my children (and now, grandchildren) enjoy the sights and sounds of the park, I’ve never failed to leave Swan Lake in a better frame of mind than when I came.