Back to the Carolina Sandhills!
CBC Fall Meeting September 24–26, 2010
It is absolutely urgent that we register for the fall meeting in Aiken, SC, 24–26 September, just as soon as possible. We are late getting this to you because all information regarding field trips was not available before the printer's June deadline. Therefore, this issue of the Newsletter likely will reach your mailbox only a few weeks before the hotel's deadline of September 9th for holding the CBC's block of rooms. We can get the same rates after that date, but rooms will be subject to availability.
Remember that our headquarters are at the Country Inn & Suites at 3270 Whiskey Road in Aiken. Their phone number is (803) 649-4024, and you should call them directly, refer to the Carolina Bird Club block, and have a credit/debit card ready with which to hold your reservation. Standard rooms (two queen-size beds) are $84.36 per night including taxes, while two-room suites accommodating up to six people are $95.46 inclusive. All rooms have a microwave oven and a mini-fridge; a complimentary hot breakfast will be available beginning daily at 6:00 a.m.
Directions to the headquarters hotel are as follows: Coming to Aiken via I-20, take Exit 22/US 1 South and proceed about 7 miles to SC 118/Rutland Drive, which is a kind of “ring road” around the city. Turn left onto SC 118/Rutland Drive and continue southeast until its junction with SC 302/Pine Log Road. Go west/right on SC 302 and follow it until its intersection with SC 19/Whiskey Road where you will take a left/south. Country Inn & Suites is on the left at 3270 Whiskey Road, about 1.5 miles south of Aiken Mall. Please note that the Country Inn's sign is perpendicular to the highway and is not large enough for the big Carolina Bird Club banner.
While there is not much time before the meeting, waiting for all the information has its advantages. Not only are the trip leaders in place, but scouting reports indicate that the weather will not be quite so hot by late September (whew!), ponds at Silver Bluff Audubon Center & Sanctuary will be down assuring lots of shorebirds and the possibility of lingering Wood Storks, and the presence of up to fifteen Black-bellied Whistling ducks is likely at Phinizy Swamp.
A highlight should be the Friday dinner at Newberry Hall in downtown Aiken with Patti Newell, University of Georgia doctoral candidate and CBC grant recipient. Patti will present some of the findings of her Rusty Blackbird research, a great deal of which was done at Lake Conestee near Greenville, SC. Directions to Newberry Hall from Country Inn: go north into Aiken on SC 19 all the way to Richland Avenue. Turn left onto Richland Avenue for one block and again left to 117 Newberry Street SW. The buffet will include a choice of Black Oak Pit Cooked Ham or Baked Chicken Marsala for $23.69 inclusive. Although there is no vegetarian entree, the buffet will include a mixed greens salad, seasonal mixed vegetables and orzo pasta with fresh spinach and pine nuts.
On Saturday evening we will be outdoors at Silver Bluff for snacks, beverages and a cash bar for beer and wine, a presentation of this Audubon center's mission, and perhaps some owling as well. Directions to Silver Bluff from our hotel: go right out of the parking lot toward Aiken until you reach SC 302. Turn left onto SC 302, bearing left in a short distance when it becomes Silver Bluff Road. Follow SC 302/Silver Bluff Road all the way to the sanctuary, crossing both US 278 and SC 125, then following the signs to the Visitor Center. The last couple of miles of this road is unpaved.
We can expect excellent local support from the Augusta- Aiken Audubon Society, and the town of Aiken is known for its Southern hospitality. It is the “Original Winter Colony–Where Visitors Are Always in Season.” Aiken became popular as a winter resort for golfers and horse-lovers in the late 19th century. The spacious downtown area is full of Victorian architecture and lovely gardens; it is a walker's dream!
Hurry and get your arrangements and reservations made, and we'll see you there!