I’m a glutton for research. So when my husband got the job out near the Congaree Swamp and that agent started driving me around the Midlands, I freaked out at the number of options. I’d lived in the state my entire life, but had never really discovered Columbia.
What if I didn’t choose the most perfect place? Would I have regrets?
We settled on a Vista apartment because I just couldn’t decide. Then we had a baby and for some reason, I just had to have a house. After two contracts fell through in our chosen neighborhood, we found the third and finally closed.
It’s been a little over ten years.
And I still love being a West Columbia homeowner. Here’s why…
West Columbia is The Real Center:
Do you travel? Do you have a direction-ally challenged family far away that visits? Much of West Columbia sits nestled in a little triangle of interstates 26, 20, and 77. We seem to be the sweet spot past malfunction junction. We’re not so far out Highway 1 or 378 that morning or 5 o’clock traffic is impossible. And, seriously, we can get to the Vista and Main Street in downtown Columbia faster than lots of people with a Columbia address. Jarvis Klapman, Gervais Street, and Blossom Street bridges make downtown an easy jaunt.
West Columbia has The River:
It reaches other places, too. But when most people talk about going to The Riverwalk around here, they are talking about the West Columbia amphitheater entrance. We’ve walked that trail back and forth, on foot and on tricycle. We’ve picnic’ed at those tables. We’ve thrown our frisbee in that green field near the bathrooms. And we have waded into the water and sat on the rocks for awhile. Heck, if you can’t create your own river fun, then remember that we have the Riverbanks Botanical Garden on our side of the river, too.
West Columbia has Restaurants:
I squealed when I read that Columbia restaurateur Kristian Niemi was planning a steak and seafood place for our State Street area. No doubt it will fit well with our beloved Terra and Cafe Strudel. Lots of folks cross the river for those. But as a West Columbia resident, I also know about the best ethnic spots found just down the street from me.
We skip the Greek Festival. Nick’s has the best gyros (and we’re crazy about their pizza and burgers, too.) Mai Thai’s been voted best of for years and is our go-to date night spot. And while it is not gourmet, my 10-year-old would be disappointed if I didn’t tell you about Egg Roll Station‘s house fried rice and chicken wings.
West Columbia has Rock and Roll and More:
Forget Five Points and the college crowd. The New Brookland Tavern hosts all kinds of established and up and coming bands. If that’s a bit loud for your taste, then cross the street and down is a bit more family and a lot more bluegrass. Bill’s Music Shop and Pickin’ Parlor hosts regular open mic and line dancing nights in addition to performances. Can’t decide what kind of music is your style? Our local chamber hosts various free music on the river concerts.
West Columbia has Ridiculously Good Public Servants:
From the sanitation worker that smiles and points and air high-fives me as our vehicles pass every week, to the police who responded quickly when our car lost brakes (or something) on thrill hill, to the road crew who cut down that tree the other week when it blocked me in. It isn’t perfect. We grumble about some stuff and our city council will have its dramas. But, I’m not ready to house hunt again any time soon. There’s no place like home.