Plus, plan for several holiday events coming up in Cola
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Today’s Forecast

70º | Cloudy | 10% chance of rain | Sunrise 6:57 a.m. | Sunset 5:20 p.m.

Throwback Thursday: The Columbia Canal
Riverfront park
An image of Riverfront Park | Photo via @oilyliveonce
Columbia has some beautiful rivers — the Saluda + Broad, which merge to form the Congaree — and flow right through the heart of the capital city. More than just providing an excellent recreational resource, the rivers were the most important means of transportation for 50+ years.

When SC’s capital was moved from Charleston to Columbia in 1786, due to its more centralized location, the city’s surrounding river system played a crucial role in connecting trade routes throughout the state.

Moving the capital increased in demand for imports + exports, which led to an increase in traffic — think malfunction junction at rush hour. The answer was to build a canal to help the ships bypass the falls and rapids. Irish immigrants constructed the Columbia Canal, which sits just below the Saluda River Falls, in the 1820s.

The canal had four locks — which help lift or lower ships to ‘step up’ or ‘step down’ to the various water levels — and one guard lock to control water levels. The locks needed no external power source except the water itself.

From Columbia, trade boats could journey along the Congaree River to the Santee River, where they could continue on to Charleston + eventually the Atlantic Ocean. This opened up South Carolina’s export potential to the world.

The Columbia Canal was considered to be the most profitable of SC’s river canals as it helped move millions of dollars in economic resources throughout the state. In addition to textiles, the movement of produce and other merchandise helped grow Columbia’s economy.

After railroads became the prominent mode of transportation in the 1840s, demand for the canal dropped to occasional use for local transporting needs.

Since transportation along the canal declined, it was later used as a source of drinking water for city residents by William Sprague, IV after he purchased the canal in 1868. (Read a full history of Columbia’s drinking water.)
Thursday, Nov. 16
  • Vista Lights | Thursday, Nov. 16 | 6-10 p.m. | The Vista, 1200 Lincoln St., Columbia | Free | Kick off the holiday season in the Vista with great food, live entertainment, Santa, and help light the tree at 7 p.m.
  • Gamecocks Women’s Basketball vs. Clemson Tigers | Thursday, Nov. 16 | 7 p.m. | Colonial Life Arena, 801 Lincoln St., Columbia | $25-$35 | The Gamecocks look to go 3-0 on the season against their in-state rivals.
  • Comedy Showcase at Curiosity Coffee | Thursday, Nov. 16 | 6:30-8 p.m. | Curiosity Coffee Bar, 2327 Main St., Columbia | $15 | A.T. and Love presents a special night of comedy featuring some of the best stand-up and musical comedy from NC and SC.
Friday, Nov. 17
  • Mission Lexington Oyster Roast for a Reason | Friday, Nov. 17 | 6-9:30 p.m. | Icehouse Amphitheater, 107 West Main St., Lexington | $50 | Get ready to indulge in delicious oysters, southern sides, live music, and a whole lot of fun.
  • Marshgrass Mamas with Admiral Radio | Friday, Nov. 17 | 7-10 p.m. | Central Energy, 2030 Gregg St., Columbia | $15-$20 | The Marshgrass Mamas are a Johns Island “slow grass” band led by Shovels and Rope front women Cary Ann Hearst.
Saturday, Nov. 18
Sunday, Nov. 19
  • Free Sundays | Sunday, Nov. 19 | 1-4 p.m. | The Museum of the Reconstruction Era, 1705 Hampton St., Columbia | Free | The Museum of the Reconstruction Era at the Woodrow Wilson Family Home is the nation’s only museum dedicated to showcasing the post-Civil War Reconstruction period and is housed in SC’s only remaining presidential site.
  • Santa and Me | Sunday, Nov. 19 | 12-4 p.m. | EdVenture Children’s Museum, 211 Gervais St., Columbia | $20-$50 | Kids can take a pic with Santa, tell him their wish list, make a special plate with help from The Mad Platter team, and make an ornament for children who will spend their holidays at Prisma Health Children’s Hospital.
Click here to have your event featured.
Doctors’ Orders: Eating healthy at Coa Agaveria y Cocina
Three slices of tomato are topped with avocado, mozzarella, and balsalmic reduction.
The Caprese Mexicana is one of three Ensalada options at Coa Agaveria y Cocina. | Photo via @coa_agaveria
We’re back with another round of Doctors’ Orders, a series in which Midlands physicians weigh in on what to eat at some of our favorite local restaurants. Today, we’re dining at Coa Agaveria y Cocina, a contemporary eatery offering Mexican cuisine in downtown Columbia.

We asked new OB/GYN Nancy Sarmiento, DO, at Carolina Women’s Physicians to share her platos favoritos.

“My perfect meal there would start off with the Caprese Mexicana salad. I love simplicity in my meals so the fresh tomatoes and avocado in this dish paired with the balsamic reduction is so tasty!

For my entree, the pulpo asado is my pick. It is marinated in chiles which gives it a nice kick and it’s a great source of Omega-3! It also comes with yuca as a side which is a root veggie and a great healthier carb addition for my meal.”
News Notes
Coming Soon
  • Columbia restaurateur Steve Cook, known for his other restaurants like Saluda’s and Il Bucato, plans to open a casual Mexican restaurant in Five Points at 819 Harden St., where Southern Belly BBQ used to be. Construction starts next week and has a tentative spring 2024 opening. (The State)
  • 82 out of 100. That’s COLAtoday’s score for the Human Rights Campaign’s 2023 Municipal Equality Index which dives into municipal laws and how inclusive they are of LGBTQ+ people. In case you missed it, that’s up five points from last year’s score.
  • The South Carolina State Museum is celebrating the holidays at its annual Holiday Planetarium Lighting, happening on Thursday, Nov. 30 from 4 to 7 p.m. Guests can enjoy extended museum hours, meet Santa, watch special holiday shows, and more.
  • As Thanksgiving approaches, support your local community during the holiday season by donating non-perishable food items to local food banks or participating in volunteer organization’s food drives. WLTX shared suggestions on where you can lend a hand.
  • Thanksgiving is next week and we would love to know some of your traditions. Whether it’s a recipe, a funny decoration, or something you eat, say, sing, do, or bring — share your holiday tradition with us and we may feature it in an upcoming newsletter.
  • Enjoy the holiday season in Cayce with three upcoming events: Cayce’s Tree Lighting happening on Thursday, Nov. 30, Carols Along the Riverwalk happening on Friday, Dec. 1, and the Christmas Traditions: Old and New event happening on Saturday, Dec. 2.
  • Serve us up a second piece of apple pie. Did you know this crunchy fruit is full of fiber, antioxidant-rich, and good for your gut? Here are ten reasons an apple a day might just help keep the doctor away.*
🧑‍🍳 Local chefs ate at national food competition
World Food Championships Lake Murray
The three chefs at the 2023 World Food Championships. | Photo by Capital City/Lake Murray Country Regional Tourism Board
A few weeks ago, we shared about + introduced the 2023 Lake Murray Country Team competing in the World Food Championships. Team Lake Murray Country made a splash at the 2023 World Food Championships and here are the results.

Chef Chris Williams — Owner and Chef of Roy’s Grille & BBQ and 2022 South Carolina Chef Ambassador — secured second place in the Sandwich category.

Chef Maegan Horton — Executive Chef of Blue Marlin Restaurant — claimed fourth place in the Seafood category and shared that she is opening her own private meal prep service, Chefs for Seniors of Columbia, SC.

Chef Mike Ellis — Director of Culinary Services for Smoked, The Grand, The Main Course, Good Life Cafe, The Players Club, and Peak Drift Brewing — achieved eighth place in the Chef category.

To celebrate our city’s local culinary scene, plan ahead for the Taste of Lake Murray, taking place Thursday, March 21 at the DoubleTree by Hilton.

This fundraiser supports the Fourth of July Celebration at Lake Murray, offering bites from over 20 restaurants and voting for the next chef to join Team Lake Murray Country at the 2024 World Food Championships.
The Buy
Know someone who loves candles and cosmos? Add this candle to your cart this holiday season.
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The Wrap
Samantha Robertson in a white shirt and grey vest Today’s edition by:
From the editor
Speaking of traditions — one of the Today Show anchors + former WIS anchor, Craig Melvin was featured in a Southern Living article that shares Craig’s holiday traditions started by his mother, Betty Jo Melvin. Read through the article and then make Betty Jo’s famous macaroni and cheese to bring to a family gathering.
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