One of the perks of living in upstate South Carolina is the bevy of lakes within striking distance. As hot as the summers can get, we frequently take advantage of this fact. While there are many lakes to choose from, the top three contenders around Greenville are Lake Keowee, Lake Jocasse, and Lake Hartwell. Lake Keowee is about 45 minutes away, just past Clemson. Like many of our lakes, including Jocasse and Hartwell, Keowee is a man-made reservoir used to generate hydroelectric energy. Spanning nearly 29 square miles, it offers plenty of room for all of your boating needs. Be sure to ask around about the Jumping Rock located somewhere towards the middle of the lake. Lake Jocasse, located about an hour away from Greenville, covers just shy of 12 square miles, but what it lacks in breadth, it more than makes up for with depth. It was created by flooding a large valley, reaching a maximum depth of 300 feet. If you are a trained scuba diver, you’ll be able to hone your craft without driving 4 hours to the ocean. Obviously, less experienced swimmers should stay closer to shore.
Lake Hartwell holds a special appeal for us Acadians. For one, it is the closest lake, only 25-30 minutes away on the edge of Anderson. More telling, though, is the fact that Portman Marina is owned by David Freeman, the brother of Acadia’s founder and developer, Caleb Freeman. Fortunately, the lake and marina are excellent in their own rights, nepotism aside. Hartwell spans 87.5 square miles, stretching from South Carolina to Georgia. After a long day on the water, Portman Marina offers two fantastic restaurants to choose from. The Galley is its oldest establishment, offering a wide array of surf and turf, as well as a wood fire oven. However, the Freeman family’s personal favorite is Nami, Portman’s Asian bistro. Run by head chef Fukahara, Nami provides the absolute best sushi in the upstate, along with equally delicious entrees and small dishes. Definitely try their gyoza, tempura, and Dynamite Yaki. To finish off your evening, you can fuel the fires of the Crème Brule recipe war between The Galley and Nami. They are both quite nice, so even if you can’t decide which is your favorite, you’ll be the real winner.
To learn more about the array of lakes around the Upstate, visit the listings on the State Park Map here, or visit the Hartwell, Jocassee and Keowee sites. Be sure to tune into the Acadia Community Blog every Thursday to learn more about the wonderful adventures all around us.