Fall in Love with Conway

August 2014
Written By: 
Karen Fletcher and Kelly Harer
Photographs by: 
Kim Carlson
Two writers give their unique perspectives on Horry County’s seat

Karen’s View: The city of Conway has always seemed a long way from Myrtle Beach (14.1 miles from the heart of each city to be exact), and when I first moved to the area I rarely made the trek across the Myrtle Beach border—except for my wedding reception and to have my children’s pictures taken on the Riverwalk—to enjoy the community and events in Conway. When I moved my residence only two miles from the Myrtle Beach/Conway border, I decided to venture (dare I say it?) west of the Myrtle Beach line. I had no idea what I had been missing!

Downtown Conway boasts a small town feel which I find inviting and familiar since I grew up in a small New England town. I was delighted to find local bakeries open on Saturday morning where my family and I now enjoy home-made donuts and pastries as we watch the city wake up on the weekends.  After breakfast we like to venture down the street to an old empty open-air brick structure where we visit the Conway Farmers Market.  It is open every Saturday morning from May to October and provides samplings of local fruits and vegetables, as well as locally-made jewelry and hand soaps and live music.  

The beauty and history of Conway also draw me to this location. It is one of the oldest towns in South Carolina, created in 1734 and originally called Kingston. I was excited when Kelly and I found a riverboat cruise on the Waccamaw River offered in Conway by a local who told stories (some historical and some folklore) about the steamboats that docked in Conway in the 19th Century and about the natural wildlife and trees of the “blackwater Southern swamp.” The tour also showcases the historical homes on the Conway waterfront. Conway boasts ancient live oaks (one rumored to be the “Hanging Tree” where the last legal hanging took place in South Carolina more than a century ago) and historical gems like the city hall building designed by the architect of the Washington Monument and the U.S. Treasury in Washington, D.C., Robert Mills. There is also the clock tower built with local blackjack cypress by an acclaimed Conway cabinet maker, W.H. Wilborne.

I know there is so much more to explore in Conway, and I look forward to it being close enough to my home in Myrtle Beach for my family to enjoy its history and quite possibly consider it our South Carolina hometown.

Kelly’s View: I live exactly 3.7 miles from Karen, and I am lucky enough to call Conway my home.  After relocating from Pennsylvania four years ago, I instantly gravitated toward the quieter historic Conway area (as opposed to the hustle and bustle of Myrtle Beach). I fell in love with Riverfront Park and the winding blackwater Waccamaw River. On beautiful spring and summer days I can often be found exploring the river by kayak.  

Beyond the peaceful natural spaces found throughout the area, Conway also has a vibrant downtown.  It seems that every time I venture that way I discover a fabulous new store or delicious local restaurant. My favorite way to explore the area is through events hosted by Conway Downtown Alive, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and preserving downtown Conway. My absolute favorite event is the Rivertown Wine Around.   

The Rivertown Wine Around is one of the most popular events in downtown Conway. It takes place twice a year (usually in January and June) and always sells out. Participants have the happy task of sampling more than 20 wines (the equivalent of a full bottle) while browsing local shops. Each shop offers a 1-ounce sample of wine, usually some snacks, and, if you’re lucky, coupons! Along with delicious wine, those involved really get to experience downtown Conway.  

Conway offers numerous ways to explore its remarkable and unique shops. The Rivertown Dine Around (held in September) is similar to the Wine Around, with more emphasis on local restaurants. The Chocolate Walk (near Valentine’s Day) is another favorite way to explore local shops. It sells out every year. This past year, friends and I enjoyed chocolate-covered bacon, peanut butter truffles and chocolate-covered strawberries (along with 34 other treats from numerous downtown shops).
I’ve discovered some of my favorite stores and restaurants through these events. More importantly, I’ve made some great personal connections. I’m now friends with local shop owners, to the point where they recognize me around town and greet me with hugs. I’m also confident in inviting new friends I’d like to get to know better to Conway events, as they are sure to be a good time.
The City of Conway offers its nearly 20,000 residents things to do every month of the year. Family fun abounds in all seasons—summer months offer free Movies in the Park at Riverfront Park, autumn brings the Fall Festival, and winter brings holiday festivities such as the Christmas Parade and Snowball Drop. I am certain that no matter the time of year, I will find something fun to do in Conway, South Carolina. I am reminded daily how lucky I am to be able to call Conway my home.  
For more information on Conway Events, check out Karen and Kelly’s blog, http://