The Sweet Tea Trail, a promotional concept which grew from an 1890 receipt and a desire to drum up Summerville’s tourism economy, will officially open next month.
On Oct. 8, the Greater Summerville/Dorchester County Chamber of Commerce from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. will celebrate the trail’s launch at Hutchinson Square with a free event featuring tea-themed storytelling, tea tasting, tea trail ribbon-cutting and cornhole.
The chamber’s leadership class dreamed up the trail, which winds from Azalea Hall to the Plantation District, as a clever way of capitalizing on a nineteenth-century bill of sale showing Civil War veterans purchased 600 pounds of sugar and 880 gallons of tea for a reunion. Assuming the sugar wasn’t meant for the beans listed on the receipt, Summerville declared itself the birthplace of the iconic Southern beverage.
Although the stops along the trail – described by the chamber as “uniquely Southern dining, shopping, historical and cultural experiences” — aren’t necessarily related to sweet tea, a few trailside bakers have begun incorporating sweet tea into their pastries and participating antique dealers now serve up tea on the second Sunday of each month.
Members of the leadership class responsible for the marketing effort also raised money to buy a trolley which will run the sweet tea circuit. The trolley’s slated to attend the launch party.
For more information on touring the trail, visit Summerville’s tourism site.