The Getaway Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail

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I n 1993, someone suggested that Jenny Grobusky of Walhalla, S.C., get a new bedspread.

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Dresden plate pattern.   Special/Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail
Special/Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail
Dresden plate pattern.

So she quilted her own using a colorful Dresden-plate pattern, and gave it to her husband for their 50th wedding anniversary.

Now a hand-painted copy of that quilt hangs on her barn, waiting for visitors to come discover it. It is one of 33 other quilt squares scattered along the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail.

The trail spans Oconee, Anderson and Pickens counties in Upstate South Carolina and is continuing to spread. It was started in February 2010 as a project to promote tourism in Oconee County and has been rapidly growing ever since.

Volunteers take each quilt square pattern from existing quilts and paint the pattern onto weather-resistant wooden panels. The panels are then mounted on a variety of buildings, both public and private, at the request of the building's owner.

Patterns encompass a variety of quilting techniques, from the crazy quilt to the double wedding rings to the modern, naturalistic one titled All-a-Loon in the Mist . In most cases, the buildings' owners have a personal connection to the square displayed.

The trail begins at the South Carolina Welcome Center at Exit 1 on U.S. Highway 85 in Fair Play. That one is called South Carolina Block and is made up of a variety of triangles and squares in five contrasting colors.

The trail is mapped out on the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail's Web site, which pinpoints exact locations and gives information about each pattern. The tour takes about 21/2 hours within the Seneca-Westminster-Walhalla triangle. That's without getting out of the car, said Martha File, the chairwoman of the quilt trail.

She and other organizers hope you'll get out and stretch your legs a little bit. While you're at it, step into local antiques shops and restaurants.

You can also visit area attractions such as Duke Energy's World of Energy, where you can learn all about electricity and how it's produced, or the Oconee Heritage Center.

WHAT: The Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail

WHERE: Walhalla, S.C.

Getting there: Take Interstate 20 to the Thompson exit (Exit 172). Turn right on U.S. Highway 78. Continue on Ga. Highway 17 to Elberton. Turn right on Ga. Highway 77. Turn right on Interstate 85, go 2 miles and take Exit 1 to S.C. Highway 11. Turn left and follow S.C. Highway 11 into Walhalla.

LEARN MORE: upstateheritagequilttrail.org; (864) 723-6603


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