Donna and I recently spent an afternoon at the annual Olympia Fest; Olympia is a community just south of downtown Columbia that was a vibrant cotton mill community, home to 4 mills, in the early part of the 20th century. We enjoyed checking out the usual festival goodies - various food and craft vendors and a music stage. They were also running tours down into the nearby Vulcan granite quarry. Lots of Columbia residents probably don't realize we have a giant hole right on the edge of downtown; there's another one across the river run by Martin Marietta. Here's a Google satellite view of it. We did one of the tours; it was very cool seeing it from the inside! On the ride over a long-time Olympia resident shared with us a great deal of fascinating Olympia history, and once we began our descent into the quarry, a Vulcan employee shared with us all sorts of interesting information about it and the operations. One of the things he mentioned is that within the next 10 years the pit will be so deep that it will be financially unfeasible to continue mining, so they will abandon operations, and it will naturally fill with water and become a nice lake right on the edge of Columbia!
Following the tour we kicked back in our lawn chairs with a couple of cups of incredibly good Italian ice from our friends at Paradise Ice and enjoyed some great music from a local band we really dig, The Restoration.