The Low Country can be defined as the low-lying coastal areas in the southeastern states of Georgia and South Carolina. Some will limit the Low Country a bit more than that, but our approach is that there should be no limits to your enjoyment of these sea-kissed lands of woods, marshes, cities and villages all worth exploring.
Jekyll Island is a great place to begin, as you step back in time to the storied era of the gilded age. Famous plutocrats such as Philadelphia department store magnate John Wanamaker found time each year to get away to the calm and beauty of this Atlantic barrier island. The century-old club buildings remain, offering gracious dining and lodging options as well as outdoor activities such as golf, tennis, kayaking and the marvelous beaches.
Cumberland Island, a less well-known location, was the private vacation enclave of Andrew Carnegie’s brother Thomas’ family. Today, you can stay there as a guest of the Carnegie descendants at one of their impressive homes, Greyfield, which now serves as a lovely inn. Explore the island’s historic architecture, including the ruins of Dungeness, the Carnegie home that was destroyed in a fire in 1959. And enjoy the island’s isolated splendors. You may reach the island by ferry from the city of St Mary’s, Georgia.
St. Simons Island’s architectural wonders include Christ Church with its splendid oaks, and St. Simons Island Lighthouse. Golf is king on the island, and there are several top ranked courses from which to choose. Dine at Halyards and have the blue crab bisque, hangar steak and mixed berry tart. Stay at Ocean Lodge, The Inn At Sea Island or St. Simons Inn by the Lighthouse. For dinner, visit Halyards for shrimp and grits, short ribs, or snapper over crispy small potatoes and Brussels sprouts, and for dessert, bread pudding, warm chocolate cake, or key lime tart.
Savannah is one of those storied southern cities where you can rub shoulders with centuries of history, or discover the very latest in trends. The city is arranged around squares which form parks and greenery throughout the urban area, each one has its own character. We especially enjoy the Savannah Historic District, Bonaventure Cemetery, Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace, and novelist Flannery O’Connor’s childhood home. Dining options abound including Alure, for amazing appetizers, fresh unique salads topped off by a chocolate pecan tart with homemade cinnamon ice cream; or The Olde Pink House, featuring memorable She Crab Soup and BLT salads.
Tybee Island is the home of fort Pulaski National Monument, Tybee Island Lighthouse Museum and Cockspur Lighthouse. You have to see it by canoe or kayak. The closest you can get on land is a 1.7 mile round trip hike from Fort Pulaski to an overlook about a quarter mile from the little light. Eat at Gerald’s Pig and Shrimp for low country BBQ. Or Huc-A-Poos for pizza.
Hilton Head Island is a planned resort community offering every amenity for recreation and relaxation. The beauty of the place is a combination of the natural setting and thoughtful planning. Hang out at Harbor Town. Sophisticated and relaxed, this beautiful resort community is the one that all the others since have used as their inspiration and reference point.
Beaufort is a gem of a small city that captures all the grace and charm of the Low Country. Be prepared for crowds in season, it has definitely been discovered. Bay Street is a magnet for spectacular strolling, shopping and dining. We especially like Panini’s on the Waterfront on Bay Street, for its wide selection and chic style in a renovated bank building. Other good dining options include the Old Bull Cafe and Athenian Gardens.
Port Royal is the quieter sister to Beaufort and has the advantage when it comes to the rustic quaint quotient. Hunting island state park with its 1859 lighthouse Out Sea island parkway is where sc goes to relax. The Dockside is the place for views and seafood with super cornbread and hush puppies. The fishing boats are just outside your window. Moondoggies Cafe and Grill has famous fried pickles.
As you approach Charleston along the river road look for Middleton Plantation, a great place to tour and stay. Middleton Place is both an inn and an historic home. The Inn at Middleton Place is sophisticated seclusion just minutes away from all the historic sites and shops, along the fabled Ashley River. Be sure to tour the remaining wings of Middleton Place, the boyhood home of Declaration of Independence signer Arthur Middleton, with its superb gardens, said to be the first landscape gardens in America. In Charleston, the superlative Magnolias should be your first dining choice. Reservations are urged. Other dining treasures include Cru Café on Pinckney Street or Slightly North of Broad.
The town of Mount Pleasant gives you a chance to visit the USS Yorktown now a museum ship; also the plantation called Boone Hall. The historic home and grounds features the avenue if oaks a mile long drive dating back to the mid 1700s. Still a working farm it also preserves the slave quarters: the plantation was named one of the African American Historic Places in South Carolina. Stroll Mount Peasant’s old village and be sure to shop at the Pitt Street Pharmacy, said to be among the nations oldest.
Just a short drive north of Charleston along Route 17 you will come to Hopsewee Plantation, the home of Declaration of Independence signer Thomas Lynch Jr. It is still privately owned, the current owners are only the fifth family since the Revolution to live in the house. They are delightful and will provide you one of the most personal house tours ever. After your tour, enjoy our Southern Tea or a delicious lunch in the River Oak Cottage Tea Rom. And if you ask, they will point you to the old chapel where Lynch and his family worshipped.
Georgetown, South Carolina, is a charming and somewhat off the radar city in South Carolina not far from busy Myrtle Beach. The waterfront boasts many dining options and the shopping ranges from traditional Main Street style stores on Front Street to one of the nicest gallery shops anywhere at the Town Clock, Rice Museum. The South Carolina maritime museum, as well as the Kaminski House Museum and the Stewart Parker House, which offer antiques, architecture, and history. You will want to linger and savor the lovely old buildings, deep shade and southern charm of this captivating town. The Coffee Break Cafe is a great place to eat the homemade chicken salad is about the best ever; so are the pies.