Newberry, SC Revealed, A Small Town with Big Charm

Dated: March 27 2024

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Are you thinking of moving to the Columbia area but don’t want to live in the city and prefer a more rural setting? Or maybe you live in the Columbia area but want to take a trip to a unique, historical town that isn’t too far away. Well I have good news because there is such a place!

Nestled in the Midlands of South Carolina is the scenic city of Newberry which is one of South Carolina’s cultural and historical treasures. Newberry is a town rich in history and known for its rural beauty and small town charm.1

In fact, this community was named one of the "Most Charming Small Towns in America" by the Travel Channel.9

So I’m going to tell you all about this unique town, from its history to housing costs and cost of living, and from its employment opportunities to all that Newberry has to offer.

Cost of Living and Housing

Some good news is that BestPlaces.net gives Newberry a Cost of Living score of 78.1. This means that the total cost of housing, food, childcare, transportation, healthcare, taxes, and other necessities is 21.9% lower than the U.S. average! However, the cost of living is 12.5% higher than the average for South Carolina.6

But housing costs are quite low and much more affordable in Newberry compared to both the national and state averages. For example, the median home price in Newberry is $168,000, which is a lot less expensive than the national average of $417,700 as of the fourth quarter of 2023. 

Now, if we compare the housing in Newberry with the city of Columbia, we find that the median price in Columbia is $243,000 in the past 12 months, whereas the median price in Newberry is $168,000. That is a difference of $75,000.

It’s also cheaper to rent homes in Newberry. For instance, renting a two-bedroom unit in Newberry costs $880 per month, which is 38.5% less than the national average of $1,430 and 26.1% cheaper than the state average of $1,110.6 To live comfortably in Newberry, it’s recommended that you have a minimum annual income of $36,720 for a family, and $26,800 for one person.6

Economy and Employment

Now let’s look at Newberry’s economy. According to the City of Newberry’s website, this town has “a thriving local economy with a solid base of agriculture and manufacturing… Newberry enjoys a great location and an outstanding transportation network.”7

The “community also benefits from one of the best workforce training programs in the country, The Center for Accelerated Training in Technology, which works with companies that are starting, expanding, or relocating in South Carolina to provide a broad range of workforce training programs at no cost to the company.” Newberry also has a low unemployment rate at just 2.8 percent.7

Newberry offers a diverse range of retail options, including well-known stores such as Walmart, Lowes, Tractor Supply, and Food Lion. Additionally, the town boasts a thriving culinary scene with numerous restaurants to choose from. Furthermore, Newberry takes pride in its agricultural heritage, providing access to locally sourced produce, milk, eggs, and more through its network of farms.

For such a small community, Newberry County has many manufacturers and big-name employers like Samsung Electronics which employs about 1300 people; Kraft-Heinz with 1500 employees; Georgia Pacific Corporation with 275 employees; Valmont Composite Structures which employs 200 people; Pioneer Frozen Foods with about 160 employees; and many more.8 

Newberry's Hospital stands out as a leading employer in the county, boasting a remarkable track record of accolades. These include being recognized as a Five-Star Recipient for Total Hip Replacement for an impressive five consecutive years, as well as earning the same distinction for Hip Fracture Treatment over nine consecutive years. Additionally, in 2023, the hospital was named Among the Top 5% in the Nation for Overall Orthopedic Services, among numerous other awards. 13

Furthermore, Newberry County Memorial Hospital is ranked among the top 10 percent nationally for quality patient care. Emphasizing safety as a paramount concern, the hospital has maintained an exemplary record with no instances of wrong site surgeries and exceptionally low infection rates, a notable achievement considering the prevalence of such issues in hospital settings. 12

So now that we have economy and employment covered, what does Newberry have to do for fun?

Quality of Life and Attractions

Whether your taste is for shopping, dining, history adventures, live theater and performances, or you prefer outdoor activities like hiking and golf, you'll find what you're looking for in Newberry.9 Historic downtown Newberry is a must-see. Not only can you shop, dine, and be entertained, but you can also take time to discover many historic buildings, some dating back to the 1800's.10

One of Newberry’s most popular attractions drawing visitors from other cities is the Newberry Opera House which hosts dozens of performances each year from musicals and operas, to rock concerts and beach tunes. The Opera House has been a part of the Newberry community for over 100 years and is on the National Registry of Historic Places.10

Other popular arts attractions are the Newberry Arts Center and Newberry Community Players which have art, theater, and programs for all ages. There’s also the Newberry Museum which educates people about Newberry’s rich history. Another popular spot is the Enoree River Winery with wine tastings and tours of the vineyard grounds. The winery also welcomes weddings, corporate events, birthdays, and special events. And if you enjoy seeing beautiful gardens, you can visit The Wells Japanese Garden with a historic design and a vernacular landscape. Admission to the garden is free.10

Newberry also has a group of fantastic ladies that formed a group called Newberry Newcomers.

This group has been in existence since April of 1961 and its mission is welcome new residents and to ease their transition into the town and county.

The achieve this by meeting once a month and introducing its members to businesses, organizations and recreational sites. 

So, if you decide to move to Newberry make sure to contact them. I assure you this is a great way to get to know the town. Sorry guys, this is for ladies only.

Outdoor Recreation

If you enjoy sports or the outdoors, there’s no shortage of recreational opportunities in Newberry. For tennis players, Newberry has the Oakland Tennis Center and is home to City of Newberry Tennis Programs and Newberry College Wolves Tennis. The facility features 9 LED lighted courts as well as restrooms and a pro shop. And if you like playing golf, Newberry County has two 18-hole golf courses.11

As far as outdoor recreation goes, Newberry is located minutes from Lake Murray where you can enjoy boating, swimming, fishing, and water sports. Lake Murray also has Dreher Island State Park where you can enjoy the lake and go camping. The park offers fully-furnished lakeside villas as well as two lakefront camping areas.11

Besides Lake Murray, there’s also Lake Greenwood located in the southwestern corner of Newberry County. Lake Greenwood is home to the Lake Greenwood State Recreation Area, which provides camping facilities for both tent and RV camping, playgrounds, several large picnic shelters, and an educational center.11

Also the Saluda River borders Newberry County, and you can have access to the Enoree River Canoe Trail and Tyger River Canoe Trail through Sumter National Forest. The Sumter National Forest covers 56,595 acres in Newberry County alone and provides complete outdoor recreational activities including hiking, boating, fishing, hunting, equestrian trails, picnicking, bird-watching, and primitive camping.11 

Newberry County also offers many great hiking trails such as the Palmetto Trail, an excellent way to explore the state's history and enjoy its natural beauty. There’s also Lynch's Woods, a nearby 276-acre forest preserve with hiking and equestrian trails, sheltered picnic areas, and a portion of the Palmetto Trail.11

Location and Population

Newberry is located on I-26 between the major metropolitan areas of Columbia and Greenville. It is situated conveniently about 41 miles or 45 minutes northwest of South Carolina’s capital city of Columbia and about one hour southeast of Greenville. It’s also about an hour and a half northeast of Augusta, Georgia and about 2 hours southwest of downtown Charlotte, North Carolina.2

This small town has a population of just 10,764 people based on projections of the latest US Census estimates, according to WorldPopulationReview.com.3 But even though it has a smaller population, this town packs a big punch with all it has to offer its residents and visitors. And one thing it offers is its rich history and beautiful architecture.

Town History

Newberry’s history dates back to 1789 when it was chosen as the county seat for Newberry County, which was part of an extensive area of cotton plantations. Originally settled by yeomen farmers from England, in the nineteenth century numerous plantations were established for the cultivation of cotton. Naturally, county and town politics were dominated by farmers. But by the coming of the railroad in 1851, Newberry had become a thriving trade center.4

One of the most important historical events in Newberry County is the Battle of Cowpens, which took place in 1781. This battle was a major turning point in the American Revolution, and it is commemorated each year in Newberry with a reenactment. Other notable historical sites in the county include Fort Chapin which was used in the Civil War, and historic downtown Newberry with its beautiful Victorian architecture. Also worth seeing is Bush River Plantation which is one of the oldest plantations in South Carolina.5

So Newberry has a high quality of life and is a great place to live or explore. I hope this post has helped you get a glimpse into this town which I believe is one of South Carolina’s best kept secret treasures! Now you can decide if Newberry is the place for you, and if it’s not, it’s at least well worth a visit. 

****

Author Vanessa Pham

Sources:

1https://www.cityofnewberry.com/

2 Google.com/maps

3 https://worldpopulationreview.com/us-cities/newberry-sc-population

4 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newberry_County,_South_Carolina#:~:text=The%20town%20of%20Newberry%20was,cultivation%20of%20short%2Dstaple%20cotton.

5 https://www.gregharrelson.com/blog/newberry-historical-facts/#:~:text=Other%20notable%20historical%20sites%20in,oldest%20plantations%20in%20South%20Carolina &text=%2DNewberry%20was%20the%20site%20of,which%20was%20built%20in%201793.

6 https://www.bestplaces.net/cost_of_living/county/south_carolina/newberry

7 https://www.cityofnewberry.com/about-newberry/economic-profile

8 https://newberrycountysc.org/major-employers/manufacturers

9 https://www.cityofnewberry.com/area-attractions

10 https://www.cityofnewberry.com/area-attractions/points-of-interest

11 https://www.cityofnewberry.com/area-attractions/recreation

12 https://www.newberryhospital.org/about/ceo-message

13 https://www.newberryhospital.org/about/our-history

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Sandra Sturkie

 Originally from Colombia, South America, I now proudly call Columbia, South Carolina, my home.With a degree in Accounting from the University of Quindio in Colombia, I bring a solid educational ....

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