“Does anyone know if Furman is open?” We have been asked this several times over the past year and the answer is finally “YES!” After more than a year of being closed to public visitors, scenic Furman University has reopened. And this is just the right time of year for it! The lake and Rose Garden just may the be most beautiful place in the Upstate right now! And, what makes it even better is that it’s family friendly and free to explore! Contributor Lauren Lochel shares her family’s spring morning enjoying the outdoors at Furman University.
Be sure to check the Campus Visitors page prior to visiting for their latest visitor guidelines. As of now, the university asks that visitors keep their groups at less than 10 and maintain physical distancing between groups. The only indoor space open to visitors is the Barnes & Noble campus bookstore, which includes a Starbucks.
We took a trip down to Furman University (about 2 miles past Cherrydale) today and it couldn’t have been a more perfect morning. Furman University is nestled on 750 acres and points of interest include the Florentine bell tower, the 28-acre Swan Lake, 13 miles of paved trails, an Asian garden, and the fabulous (and fragrant) Janie Earle Furman Rose Garden. When you arrive to campus, follow the signs to the Student Center and you’ll find a parking lot right beside the lake. If you like to know where you’re going ahead of time, check out the campus map.
There are several gardens on campus and along the path surrounding the lake. Nestled behind two massive magnolia trees is the most plush rose garden you’ve even seen. It’s in full bloom right now, full of bright colors and pleasant smells. Warning…don’t be tempted to pick any of those blooming beauties! However, I have been told the campus gardener will come to trim and leave some roses atop the bushes and those are up for grabs! Check it out and it may just be your lucky day!
There is a paved pathway all the way around the lake, which is not only runner and walker friendly, it’s also wide enough for bikes and strollers! The trail around the lake is about a mile and a half, so if you want to do the whole loop, be mindful of little ones and bring a ride for them.
We probably only went 1/4 of the way around the day of our visit because our mission was to see some and feed ducks! And there were plenty. We not only got to see ducks, but geese, turtles, fish, and the swan were also quite friendly (or hungry) when they saw us perched on the side stone wall.
Note: Several readers have requested that we mention that Furman has requested that visitors not feed the ducks bread. If you choose to feed wild animals such as ducks, you may be interested to know that bread can lead to health problems and even starvation in a duck population. Healthier options of food are unprocessed grains, cut-up grapes, or thawed frozen peas. Plan ahead and bring change as Furman does provide several duck food dispensers in order to help families feed the ducks safely.
From basically any spot on the trail, you can see the iconic Furman Clock Tower, and she chimes every hour. There are benches around every bend and shaded picnic tables and gazebos for cool resting places. We even spotted a swinging seat from across the lake. There are many grassy areas for running and playing, too.
Have you visited Furman’s campus? What’s your favorite spot around the lake?