The Middle of Nowhere

Not many places in the southeastern US could better exemplify the truth of “the middle of nowhere” better than Allendale, SC. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that Allendale is nowhere. It’s just that if you want to get to any populous city or any major store, you can’t be much further away.

Want to find Allendale on the map above? Follow highway 301 north from Statesboro (GA). Cross the dotted line (Savannah River), and when you get to the next intersection on the map (highway 125 to the west and 278 to the east), you’re in Allendale.

We like to describe it as a series of concentric circles. Wherever you want, it’s nearly equidistant in all directions, centered around Allendale.

Want to go to a major grocery store (Bi-Lo or Reid’s)? 30 minutes in one of two directions. Shopping malls and outlets are 70-80 minutes away, either northeast, northwest, southeast, or southwest.

Want to get to a major city? You’re talking 90-120 minutes each way, such as:

  • Columbia: 80 miles
  • Augusta: 65 miles
  • Charleston: 95 miles
  • Savannah: 75 miles

How about a moderately big town?

  • Aiken: 42 miles
  • Orangeburg: 46 miles
  • Statesboro: 45 miles
  • Beaufort: 53 miles


Are you looking for the closest Dunkin’ Donuts (I plotted these on the map above)?

  • Walterboro: go east 38 miles
  • Aiken: go northwest 43 miles
  • Statesboro: go southwest 48 miles

Or do you prefer Starbucks (pumpkin spice soy skinny double latte)?

  • Aiken: go northwest 43 miles
  • Statesboro: go southwest 48 miles
  • Bluffton: go southeast 72 miles

Want some Chick-fil-A or Moe’s? (At this point, you’re not being picky.)

  • go northwest 43 miles to Aiken (CFA or Moe’s)
  • go northeast 47 miles to Orangeburg (CFA)
  • go southwest 47 miles to Statesboro (CFA or Moe’s)
  • go southeast 54 miles to Beaufort (CFA or Moe’s)


Need a Lowe’s or Home Depot? (Again, you’re not picky. Aren’t they the same anyway?): That would be Aiken. You know where that is by now.

How about Target (Because you really do want to go here instead of Wal-Mart, don’t you?): Aiken, Augusta, or Hilton Head.

One last example . . . . To get to a Kohl’s (our favorite place to buy clothing in Greenville) you’ll have to travel about 75-90 minutes, but you can pick which direction: northwest (Augusta), east (Summerville), north (Lexington), or southeast (Savannah).

You get the idea.

Could You Get There?

For most of these shopping excursions, you will travel minimally (if at all) on interstates. It’s be all country roads and two-lane highways. (But before you think that the building of the interstate highway system is what led to the demise of Allendale, read this review of A Slave of Circumstance.)

Think it’s an issue to schlep across your town to go shopping? What if that meant traveling 60 or 70 miles each way? And consider what that looks like for people who live in a community with one of the lowest automobile ownership rates in the state (1 in 4 households have no automobile).

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