My brief was to pick a place, walk 5 minutes in any direction, stop take a photo and then carry on walking until I had 12 diverse photographs that created a narrative. Here is my story, 5 Minutes to Somewhere, A photographic walk around historic Aiken, SC.
The center of downtown Aiken seemed a good place to start. The Aiken County Judicial Center, or in Southern parlance, the Court House is a common fixture at the heart of many county seat towns in the South.
5 minutes to the South and I find the landmark Willcox Hotel. A storied place for travelers, it is a popular spot for the many equestrians in the area who can be seen roaming the lobby piano bar in their breeches and riding boots.
5 minutes further South and not far the famous Hopeland Gardens, I found this wee patch of flowers struggling against the last grasps of winter on this frosty March morning.
Still heading South, I could not resist a turn to the West onto Easy St. to see if I could meet some of the local residents.
This part of Aiken is known as the horse district, and nearly every house has a stable and horses. I suspect there may even be more horses than people in this part of town.
With a turn back to the North along Third Avenue, I encountered a bit of advise that is nearly always valid in Aiken.
5 minutes further along after another turn to the East is found the Aiken County Historical Society Museum, a 14,500 square foot former grand house called Banksia.
A turn to the North and across the railroad tracks that once brought the wealthy elite and their horses to the Aiken Winter Colony as it was known, I am back in the business and shopping heart of historic Aiken. Horses are very much a part of the past and present of Aiken. Sculptures such as this can be found all around town.
A further 5 minutes to the North the brew master is attending to the mash tun in the Aiken Brewing Company. Bit early in the morning for a pint, but maybe later for lunch.
While time may stand still in parts of historic downtown Aiken, the cars don't.
A few blocks to the East and a turn South brings me face to face with Mr. William Aiken, the railroad man for whom the town and county were named.
A very brisk paced 5 minutes further East on South Boundary Street brings me to the bower of majestic old oak trees, one of the most iconic settings in historic downtown Aiken.
A final turn to the South, brings me to the last stop of the day, the Aiken Training Track. One of the principal centers for thoroughbred training in the country, it is home of the Aiken Trials, a major event for 2 year old racing hopefuls, and the Annual Aiken Steeplechase. More than a few Kentucky Derby winners began their careers here. This is a fitting place to end my story for today; a place in a historic town, where history has been made and will be made again in the future.
The real lesson of the day though, whether in Aiken, SC or anywhere else, you are always 5 minutes from somewhere.
Photos and story by Ashley Rose. All rights reserved.