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Moving inland, today's visitor comes face to face with vivid reminders of South Carolina's past, as well as with the New South. Industries such as textiles, chemicals, precision-tool making, and metalworks thrive alongside large farms producing dairy products, tobacco, soybeans, peaches, wheat, and cotton, plus large pine forests for an ever-growing paper industry.

Since the days of George Washington, who once visited Columbia, this area of South Carolina has been known for its equestrian tradition. Horses are ranked number three on the state's commodities list. Camden and Aiken are centers for training racehorses that compete on racetracks around the country. Camden's Springdale Race Course plays host to two major steeplechases each year: the Carolina Cup and the Colonial Cup. The latter event is run in November, with a purse of $100,000. Aiken stages its yearly Aiken Triple Crown on three consecutive Saturdays in the spring.

Most outdoor recreation is in Santee Cooper Country, which offers fishing, golf, camping, hunting, and boating, among other diversions. Lake Marion and Lake Moultrie draw anglers in search of catfish, striped bream, crappie, and, above all, bass -- white, largemouth, and striped. There's no closed season for fishing.

The center is Columbia, the state capital, 3 miles from the geographic center of the state. It not only has its own attractions, but it's also a good base for exploring several historic Piedmont towns, including Camden and York.