Homegrown Hospitality

It’s all about the culture in the South, and Aiken is no different.  Doors are held open, strangers smile and greet each other on the street, and – as always – our local farmers and artisans are prepping for our Market in the Alley.  We’re all about homegrown goods served with a heaping side of southern hospitality.   

The Alley, one of Aiken’s treasures, will burst with activity each Thursday in June.  Businesses stay open later, vendors greet you with a southern drawl as sweet as the peaches they’re selling, and you can stock both your refrigerator and your home while supporting local farmers and artisans.  New to the area, or just to the Market?  We’re here to be your guide.

First, stop by one of our many thriving downtown restaurants.  With foods like fried pickles, pork rinds, bread pudding, and crab crusted salmon, you’ll have a difficult dinner decision ahead of you.  One thing you’ll be certain about is dining al fresco at one of the many tables along the sidewalks and Alley.  The uniquely Southern flair of the food in the restaurants carries on to your next stop, a leisurely stroll through the Alley to stock up on produce.  Have you tried fried okra yet?  Or, opt to grab some peaches and start planning your next cobbler or pie.  Feeling adventurous?  Grab some sustainably-grown bison meat for your next grill-out.  Bring a tote bag, because other warm-weather favorites like corn, watermelon, squash, and beans will also be in season and you’ll need a way to get it home! 

If you’re planning a get-together with family and friends, don’t forget one of the hallmarks of good, old-fashioned Southern Hospitality: a hostess gift.  The Market will feature lots of local artists with plenty of offerings for variety of interests.  Try a hand-thrown mug, perfect for holding sweet tea, or a mint mojito candle – ideal for bringing the summer scents indoors.  Produce and gifts are checked off your list, but that doesn’t mean your evening out is over.

There’s nothing quite like southern blooms, whether it’s magnolias, sunflowers, or zinnias.  Your vases at home might look at little empty at the moment but these beauties are sure to brighten up any room or put a smile on any recipients’ face.  It’s not just flowers, either; you could start your own herb garden with the help of our vendors and their products.  Grown indoor or outdoor, it’s a surefire way to jazz up any meal, especially one with the produce you picked up at the Market.  Finished shopping?  The night is still young, and there’s still plenty to explore. 

Grab a drink and take a seat on one of the numerous rocking chairs while you enjoy the live music and join the Aiken family in carefree, casual conversation with your companions or with some strangers.  Then again, there are no strangers here; just friends you haven’t met yet.  Each week, the Market in the Alley will lead right into the Amp the Alley concert series at 7:00pm.  The live music will continue, and there’s sure to be no shortage on beverages and treats from the Alley restaurants. 

No matter where or how you join us, Aiken is ready to show you southern hospitality in its finest form.  The Market in the Alley will run each Thursday in June from 5-7pm.  We look forward to sharing our farms, artisans, and home with y’all.