Beaufort’s John Mark Verdier House Has Been Restored

Downtown Beaufort’s John Mark Verdier House has recently undergone an extensive facelift. The home has served as a well-preserved museum since 1975, giving visitors a glimpse into the home of a wealthy Beaufort merchant and landowner. Master craftsmen have been working diligently since February to restore the exterior and return the house to its former glory. The work is now complete. A ribbon cutting and reopening ceremony will take place this Saturday, May 8th, at 10 am.

The house museum was built in 1804 by a successful merchant and planter. The house was visited by the Marquis de Lafayette on his southern tour in 1825, and later served as the Federal Headquarters by Union troops during the Civil War’s occupation of Beaufort. Luckily, the house remained in the Verdier family until the 1940s. It did, however, led a very colorful life in the early twentieth century. It served as a restaurant, telephone exchange and barber shop. These destructive uses put the house into disrepair. It was slated for demolition in 1944, but a committed group of citizens, that would later be known as the Historic Beaufort Foundation, acquired the house, renovated it, and opened it to the public in 1975.

The Verdier House was once called the Lafayette House because of the 1825 visit by the Marquis de Lafayette during his tour of the south.

Read More

Tour Beaufort from the Water with Coastal Expeditions South

 

Spend a day on the River with Coastal Expeditions South

 

 

If your idea of fun is getting out on the river to learn about native wildlife and history, Coastal Expeditions South has a tour for you! The highly skilled boat captains and their crew have four options in Beaufort: St. Phillip’s Island, Beaufort Dolphin and History, Hunting Island Dolphin Cruise, or a private boat charter. Coastal Expeditions has been in business in Charleston since 1992. In 2020 they decided to branch farther south to Beaufort and the Sea Islands. Let their experienced guides weave stories of local history and point out wildlife native to the Beaufort coast.

 

 

Images from Coastal Expeditions South website.

 

St Phillip’s Island Tour

 

St. Phillip’s Island was recently acquired by Hunting Island State Park. For nearly 40 years, conservationist and cable television mogul Ted Turner and his family used this sea island as a retreat. During their ownership, trails were carved throughout the maritime forest and wildlife habitats were restored. St. Phillip’s Island is a nature-lover’s paradise. Walk under canopies of moss-draped live oaks in search of fox squirrels, bobcats, bald eagles, roseate spoonbills, and painted buntings.  Stroll the pristine beach and look for loggerhead sea turtles and wading birds. Walk along the fresh-water ponds and spot alligators sunning along the banks.

 

 

This naturalist-led ecotour departs from the Hunting Island State Park Nature Center. Travel by boat along the Story River to the St. Phillip’s dock. A park ranger will greet visitors and provide a 3.5-mile tram ride to the beach. Ramble along the beach, hike the interior trails and enjoy all the island has to offer. At the end of the trip, the park ranger will take visitors back to the dock for the return boat ride. It’s a good idea to bring a backpack with drinking water, lunch, camera, sunblock, and insect repellant.

 

For departure times visit Coastal Expeditions St Phillip’s Island Tours.

 

 

Beaufort Dolphin and History Cruise

 

Beaufort is a beautiful and historic city that is best viewed from the water. The Beaufort Dolphin and History Cruise departs from the downtown marina. As you cruise along the waterfront, your captain will tell stories from local history from early Native American s and Spanish exploration to French settlement and English colonization. As the boat travels along the river native wildlife will be pointed out and discussed. Many varieties of birds and marine mammals are sure to be spotted.

 

 

The cruise passes the ruins of Ft. Frederick, an early American fort made of tabby construction. During the Civil War, this fort was transformed into Fort Saxon and was the training facility of the first black regiment for the Union Army. The Emancipation Proclamation was also read here on January 1, 1862. This cruise is entertaining for all age groups. The boat is Coast Guard-certified, and a master captain is at the helm.  Be sure to pack drinking water, binoculars, camera, and a wind breaker.

 

Monday/Wednesday/Saturday/Sunday, 11 am – 12:30 pm

 

 

Hunting Island Dolphin Cruise

 

Coastal Expedition South’s Hunting Island Dolphin Cruise is fun for kids of all ages. This is a family-friendly ecotour that explores the estuary of the Story River where bottlenose dolphin flourish.  While searching for dolphin, the tour also searches for bald eagles, ospreys, and other native birds of prey. Often their nests can be spotted as well. Brown pelicans, roseate spoonbills, wood storks, herons and egrets are sure to be spotted as well!

 

 

The on-board naturalist will also entertain visitors with stories of local history dating from American Indians to European settlers. Be sure to pack drinking water, binoculars, camera, and a windbreaker.

 

Wednesdays & Sundays at 10 – 11:30 am

 

 

Private Boat Charters

 

Looking for a private charter on the river? Coastal Expeditions South has a fleet of three boats ready to take you on a tour of the Beaufort area. An outing with family and friends can be easily arranged. A trip can be tailored around the needs and interests of your guests. Private tours can revolve around dolphins, local history, St. Phillip’s Island and more. You can even schedule a sunset cruise.

 

 

Private tours are available for booking year-round. Boat captains and mates are trained naturalists and gifted storytellers. Their knowledge of local history and wildlife is extensive and entertaining.

 

 

The ladies of the Lowcountry Tourism Commission were treated to a private tour of the Beaufort River. We departed from the downtown marina and headed toward Port Royal Sound. Along the way we were treated to visits by dolphins, snowy egrets, oyster catchers, double-crested cormorants, and a nesting osprey. Along the way, we were delighted with stories of history and nature by the talented and gifted Captain Henry Brandt. He is a natural-born storyteller and comedian, all rolled into one! His knowledge of the Lowcountry shoreline habitat is second to none! His tour was educational and entertaining, and I would definitely recommend his tour services to anyone looking to explore the natural wonder of Beaufort and her surrounding sea islands.

 

 

For more information call (843)884-7684, or email info@coastalexpeditions.com.

 

 

Read More

Let’s Get Pickin’ – Local produce can be found across the Lowcountry

Farm Fresh Produce in the SC Lowcountry

 

Farm fresh local produce can be found during the spring and summer months throughout the SC Lowcountry. From u-pick farms, to produce stands and farmers markets, seasonal produce is abundant in our neck of the woods!

 

 

U-Pick

Beaufort County

You can find Dempsey Farms on the way to Hunting Island State Park, Harbor and Fripp Islands. The farm has various produce throughout the seasons, starting with strawberries in April.  They are a working family farm growing produce for the last sixty years. For a farm fresh experience stop by and pick with us. Follow their Facebook page to see what is available.

1576 Sea Island Pkwy.
St Helena Island, SC 29920
843-838-3656

Bluffton’s Okatee River Farms has a great selection of local fruit and produce. This small family farm is located 1/2 mile from 278 in Bluffton, SC. They grow tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, okra, peppers and strawberries. April and May is the perfect time to stop by for u-pick strawberries. Follow their Facebook page to see what’s available.

1921 Okatie Hwy.
Okatie SC
843-206-5023

Colleton County

 Breland Hill Farm is a multigenerational family farm raising fruits, vegetables, and much more! A market is located in Ruffin. Housed in a repurposed tobacco barn, they grow, process, and sell all of their farm products here. U-pick strawberry fields are also located here. Visit their Facebook page to see what’s in season.

849 Spence Dr.
Ruffin, SC 29475
843-866-7560 Call for hours of operation.

 

 

Shop at the Farm

 

Beaufort County

Morning Glory Homestead is a family farm on St. Helena Island, which uses sustainable agriculture methods to feed the community. This small family farm began as a homestead for a family of seven. Visitors to the farm can buy seasonal produce, bakery items, eggs and honey. You can also call to schedule a farm tour. The tour includes the rich history of the Gullah community.

For more information visit their blog.

Mon – Fri:  By Appointment
42 Robert & Clara Trail
St. Helena Island, SC
843-812-0344

Bluffton’s Okatee River Farms has a great selection of local fruit and produce. They currently have u-pick strawberries. They are also currently planting sunflowers for harvest. They also have seasonal fruit and veggies throughout the year. Visit their Facebook page to see what’s in season.

1921 Okatie Hwy.
Okatie SC
843-206-5023

Colleton

Kindlewood Farms was born from the interest in the age old techniques of grafting and a passion to create quality, sustainable produce. We are dedicated to producing high quality heirloom tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, okra, corn, squash, cucumbers, watermelon, and cantaloupe. We also grow grafted heirloom tomato plants and grafted cucurbits. Visit their Facebook page to see what’s in season and where to find them.

kindlewood.farms@gmail.com
(843)302-2312

Jasper County

If you are in Jasper County and looking for fresh eggs, look no farther than Earleah Plantation. Call for more information or to order and pick up fresh eggs.
843-540-2200,  earleahvintageglass@gmail.com

Whipporwhill Farms is a40-acre small family farm offering fresh chicken, rabbit and pork as well as fresh eggs and seasonal veggies. Come to the farm Monday, Wednesday or Sunday to shop on site, or find them at the Hilton Head Farmers Market at Coastal Discovery Museum on Tuesdays. Visit their Facebook page to see what’s in stock.

870 Tillman Road
Ridgeland, SC
843-473-5231

Hampton County

Murdaugh Farms is a family-owned and operated farm offering a large variety of produce throughout the year. Some of the produce offered include the well-known Hampton County watermelons, squash (several varieties), cucumbers, zucchini, corn, red potatoes and other varieties of potatoes, okra, carrots, collard greens and many other types of produce. As produce becomes available, it will be posted on the Facebook page. We sell our produce both to the wholesale and retail markets as well as to individual buyers looking for just enough for a meal or two.

22603 Pocotaligo Road
Early Branch, SC
803-942-3814

Drawdy Farms is a family-owned business, selling fresh locally grown fruits and veggies. Their produce stand is open year around, with whatever is in season at the time. We proudly serve the low country and support local farmers. Join their Facebook page for weekly updates!

2598 Hopewell Rd
Brunson, SC

 

The Port Royal Farmer’s Market is open Saturdays, from 9 am-noon, rain or shine. You will find fresh, local, seasonal produce, shrimp, oysters, poultry, beef, pork, eggs, bread and cheese. If you have a green thumb, look for plants, ferns, camellias, azaleas, citrus trees and beautiful, fresh cut flower bouquets. Check out the fabulous prepared food vendors serving BBQ, dumplings, she crab soup, crab cakes, paella, coffee, baked goods, bagels and breakfast sandwiches. Find them at the Port Royal Naval Heritage Park at the intersection of Ribaut Road and Pinckney Blvd.

The Bluffton Farmers Market is open Thursdays, from 12-5 pm. Come find fresh, locally grown vegetables, fruits, flowers, plants and herbs at the Farmers Market of Bluffton. Gather with locals and tourists at this weekly community event to buy excellent produce, enjoy delicious food, listen to entertainment, and relax with friends. Located in historic downtown Bluffton along Calhoun and Lawrence Streets and through Carson Cottages, this family friendly market showcases local growers, local food vendors, local entertainment, local community causes and local information about the Bluffton area. Find them at 71 Green Street in historic Bluffton.

Come to the Hilton Head Island Farmers Market at Coastal Discovery Museum and take home fresh produce, chicken, rabbit, pork, seafood, salsa, fresh sausage, beef, meals to cook, cookies, breads, she crab soup and much more! The market is open every Tuesday from 10-3 in the spring, summer and fall. Hours shorten to 9 am-1 pm in the winter. Shopping at the Hilton Head Farmers Market is about more than getting great food, it is about meeting friends, strengthening the community, and rebuilding the local food economy. Find the Hilton Head Farmers Market on the grounds of Coastal Discovery Museum, 70 Honey Horn Drive, on Hilton Head Island.

The Ridgeland Farmers Market hosts a variety of vendors, including produce, baked goods, prepared meals, arts, crafts and estate sales. The market is located on Main Street in downtown Ridgeland. They are open Fridays, from 1-6 pm.

Hampton Farmers Market – 803-943-2586 Highway 278, Hampton

 

 

Roadside Markets

Beaufort County

Barefoot Farms – 939 Sea Island Parkway St. Helena, SC, (843) 838-7421

Dempsey Farms – 1576 Sea Island Parkway, St. Helena, SC, (843) 838-3656

Four Seasons Produce and Nursery – 1611 Trask Pkwy, Seabrook, SC, (843) 846-2777

Lowcountry Produce – 1919 Trask Pkwy, Seabrook, SC, (843) 846-9438

Pasture Shed Farm – 1083 Sea Island Parkway St. Helena Island, SC, (843) 812-8366

Colleton County

Keegan-Filion Farm – 1475 Keegan Drive, Walterboro, SC, (843) 538-2565

Rizer’s Pork and Produce – 2357 Confederate Hwy., Lodge, SC, (843) 866-2645

Breland Hill Farm 1002 Bells Hwy, Walterboro, SC, (843)5497560

Jasper

Whippoorwhill Farms – 870 Tillman Road, Ridgeland, SC, (843)473-5231

Hampton

Drawdy Farms 2598 Hopewell Rd, Brunson

 

 

Community Supported Agriculture

Beaufort County (Bluffton) – Three Sisters Farm

Colleton – Kindlewood Farms

 

 

Fresh Meat & Seafood

Beaufort

Sea Eagle Market is a family owned and operated retail and wholesale market and catering company located at 2149 Boundary St. in Beaufort. Stop by and pick up soft shell crabs, shrimp and more! Open Monday thru Saturday, from 9 am – 6 pm. For daily information visit their Facebook page. (843)521-5090

Maggioni Oyster Company is South Carolina’s largest provider of premium quality wild-harvested bushels and single oysters. They harvest oysters at low tide, wash off the briny mud, and deliver them directly to their customers. Maggioni Oyster Company first opened on Daufuskie Island in 1883 and later built a cannery in Beaufort. They have been family owned and operated for five generations. Find them at 440 Eddings Point Rd, on St. Helena Island. (912)844-1031

Lady’s Island Oysters specializes in single lady oysters, grown in the clean, crisp waters of the SC Lowcountry. The estuaries that nurture their oysters are filled with pure salt water flowing directly from the Atlantic Ocean. Great pride is taken to nurture oysters from hatchery to harvest. Find them at 35 Hutson Drive, in Seabrook. (843)473-5018

Bluffton

Bluffton Oyster Company has been a family run operation since 1899. The Bluffton Oyster Company actually sits on reclaimed land, built up by more than a hundred years of discarded shells from previous shucking operations. The oyster business thrived in early Bluffton and throughout the 1920’s, with five different oyster operations in the area. Now the Bluffton Oyster Company remains the last hand-shucking house in the state of South Carolina. They specialize in fresh local seafood; oysters, clams, mussels, shrimp, scallops, fish filets, soft shell crabs and live blue crabs. Hours of operation are 9 am – 5:30 pm, Monday thru Saturday. You can also purchase fried shrimp, oysters and soft shell crab at the Bluffton Farmers Market on Thursdays. Find them at 63 Wharf St. (843)757-4010

Edisto Island

Flowers Seafood has been commercially fishing and serving fresh, local seafood on Edisto Island for four generations. Come into their family owned seafood market and browse the selection of fresh, wild caught seafood. They have a large selection of fish, shrimp, crabs, and other seafood that comes “fresh  off the boat” daily. If you’re interested in cooked food try their “To-Go”  restaurant located right behind Flowers Seafood Company.  The same fresh seafood is made ready to order. Stop by on your way to Edisto Beach. The market is open Monday-Saturday, from 9 am-6 pm, and Sunday 9 am-5 pm. The Flowers Seafood To-Go Food Truck is open Thursday-Saturday 11 am-7 pm. They are located just six miles from the beach at 1914 Hwy 174, Edisto Island, SC (843)869-0033 (Market), (843)869-3303 (kitchen/to-go orders)

Ridgeland

Fiddler’s Seafood Market and Restaurant is a historical and beloved destination where fresh seafood is enjoyed and homemade goods are shared. Fiddlers gives customers an authentic taste of local, old-fashioned southern comfort. Their seafood is either caught by Fiddler’s owner, Billy Rowell on his very own boat or purchased from local fishermen. Within walking distance of their restaurant is the seafood market, where customers can bring home southern hospitality in its finest form. Fresh produce, homemade baked goods, and local crafts are all created by our own staff, or by the artisans of the Ridgeland, SC community. Visit their Facebook page to see what’s going on in the restaurant and market, or visit for yours self. The restaurant is located at 7738 West Main Street, (843)726-6681. The seafood market is just around the corner at 572 South Green Street, (843)726-6691.

Hampton

Tuten’s Fresh Market Meat and Seafood is Hampton’s finest local butcher shop. This family owned business has been around for over 30 years. Ran by an expert butcher and grill master, Tuten’s is dedicated to delivering the very best meat and freshest seafood, with farm fresh produce and some staple grocery items as well! Come by and see them sometime. They’ll be glad to help you find anything you are looking for as well as give you some great tips for seasoning, marinating, and grilling your meals to perfection. Located at 604 Elm St. in Hampton, (803)943-4670. Visit their Facebook page for daily updates.

 

 

 

 

Read More

Let’s go fishing!

SC Lowcountry state parks offer excellent fishing opportunities!

It’s always a good time to go fishing in the South Carolina Lowcountry! We offer a true sportsman’s paradise! Our unique landscape provides many spots for anglers to prove their skills in both fresh and salt water. Our state parks are a great place to “catch the big one”, but don’t forget to pick up a valid South Carolina fishing license before dropping a line into the water.

Hunting Island State Park has five miles of beaches to fish, along with Johnson Creek, a salt-water lagoon, and an ocean inlet. Fish for trout, redfish, and flounder. Head over to the fishing pier at the southern tip of the park to try your luck. The pier extends 1,120 feet into the Fripp Inlet, where snapper, grouper and bigger varieties are found. Bait, equipment and other supplies can be purchased at the park store in the campground. The park also has a tackle loaner program. Rods and reels are available at the nature center for use on the pier.  The park has a boat ramp that has access to both Harbor River and Fripp Inlet. Bring the camper and stay for a while in the beachfront campground.
Hunting Island State Park
2555 Sea Island Pkwy
Beaufort, SC
843-838-2011

Fish along the surf at Edisto Beach State Park or head over to the salt marsh. Flounder, whiting, redfish, and other saltwater fish can be caught here. Want to bring the boat? A boat ramp and dock with access to Big Bay Creek can be found in the park. Edisto Beach State Park also has a beachfront campground.
Edisto Beach State Park
8377 State Cabin Road
Edisto Island, SC
843-869-2156

Colleton State Park connects to Givhans Ferry State Park to offer 23 miles of freshwater, blackwater fishing. The park is conveniently located off Interstate 95 at Exit 68. A boat ramp is just ¼ miles away, with easy access to the Edisto River, one of the longest free flowing blackwater rivers in the country. Fish by boat or along the shore for bream, redbreast and catfish. The park is also the headquarters for the Edisto River Canoe and Kayak Trail. This park participates in the tackle loaner program. Rods and reels are available for loan at the park office.  Colleton State Park also has a campground.
Colleton State Park
147 Wayside Lane
Walterboro, SC
843-538-8206

Lake Warren State Park is located in Hampton, SC. Lake Warren is a 200-acre lake that offers freshwater fishing and boating. Fish this freshwater lake for largemouth bass, brim, redbreast, crappie, and catfish. The lake has two different boat ramps for boats with 10 horsepower motors. Jon boats are also available for rent year-round. Boats come complete with trolling motor, life jackets and paddles. Rentals are available through the park ranger. The lake also has a fishing dock.
Lake Warren State Park
1079 Lake Warren Road
Hampton, SC
803-943-5051

Looking for more fishing opportunities? We have marinas, and multiple charter fishing services.  Have your own boat? We have 31 boat ramps in both fresh and salt water, fishing piers and artificial reefs. Fishing in South Carolina is popular year-round for fresh water, large mouth, red-breast, and catfish. The salt-water species vary from trout, redfish and flounder inshore to marlin, dolphin, king mackerel, snapper, grouper and much more offshore. Choose from a half dozen rivers, a beautiful little lake, or a great big ocean. Like shell fish? Catch your own shrimp and crabs, or dig clams and harvest oysters.

For more fishing opportunities in the SC Lowcountry visit southcarolinalowcountry.com/fishing

 

Read More

Widgeon Point Preserve

Beaufort County’s Newest Treasure

Widgeon Point Preserve

Looking for a dog-friendly place to commune with nature? Widgeon Point Preserve is Beaufort County’s newest passive park.  Here you’ll find 162 acres of mixed pine-hardwood forest, maritime forest, and salt marsh along the Broad River. Located on Lemon Island, off Hwy 170, the preserve is co-owned by Beaufort County and the Beaufort County Open Land Trust.

Sidewalks lead from the paved parking lot to a picnic pavilion, a bird blind, and an event barn.  A 0.7-mile hiking loop travels the perimeter of the adjacent hummock island. The loop is a wide, flat nature trail that travels through pines, palms, and oak trees. Views of the river can be seen from several different vantage points.

The preserve is a great spot for picnicking, hiking, and wildlife viewing. There’s even a water fountain that is equipped for dogs. While hiking, keep a keen eye for white-tailed deer, bald eagles, fox squirrels and wading birds. Alligators have also been seen in the fresh-water ponds, so be careful to keep the dogs away from the water’s edge.

The various coastal habitats of Widgeon Point Preserve support a rich diversity of wildlife and plants. Visitors have extraordinary opportunities to observe the natural beauty of the Lowcountry. The preserve is open daily, from dawn to dusk.

Widgeon Point Preserve
43 Okatie Hwy, Beaufort, SC

For more information on Beaufort and Lowcountry attractions, visit southcarolinalowcountry.com.

Read More

Old Sheldon Church, Then and Now

Still standing proud for 276 years.

The left image is from the Library of Congress from the 1940s. The image on the right shows the condition of the ruins today. Photo by Carmen Pinckney.

Formerly known as Prince William Parrish Church, Old Sheldon Church Ruins sit discreetly off Highway 17. This church is known to be the first attempt in America to create a Greek Temple style of architecture. The church was built sometime between 1745-1753. The church interior was completed, and the first services were held in 1757. The gable roof, pediment, windows, and interior have long been devastated, but the remaining brick shell and columns stand the test of time.

These architectural renderings give us a glimpse of what the original structure looked like. The three-and-a-half-foot thick brick walls are laid in a Flemish bond. All columns and walls have remained intact for 276 years.  The church was built along a row of seven Tuscan columns with tall, arched windows. A Palladian window was placed above the alter and flanked by arched windows. The front façade held a massive portico, topped by a triangular pediment complete with bull’s eye window and a cornice with dentil molding. The entranceway was topped with a tall fanlight and two arched windows are positioned on either side.

This grand chapel of ease stood as a symbol of the wealth that was being accumulated around the area. After completion it was thought of as the finest country church in America. This church is the first example of a temple-form neoclassical building in America. It became a prototype of Greek revival architecture that became characteristic throughout the antebellum south.

The church was a political and military center for the area during the Revolutionary War. Governor William Bull was a founding member here and his plantation bordered the church grounds. The Bull family vault in the church yard was used to conceal arms and ammunition. Continental troops drilled on the church grounds. The church was burned by General Augustine Prevost’s British troops in May 1779. The church was rebuilt from the remaining walls in 1825.

Traditionally, it was thought that the church was burned again during Sherman’s March to the Sea at the end of the Civil War. While the church was again destroyed, a letter dated February 3, 1866 by Milton Leverett states, “Sheldon Church not burnt. Just torn up in the inside but can be repaired.” It is now thought that the church was gutted by locals who were in search of building materials to rebuild their own war-devastated homes. (This information comes from the Leverett Letters, which was published by the University of South Carolina Press.) After this destruction, the church was abandoned and left to ruin.

Images show the interior view from the alter looking toward the front door, the view from the road and the interior view from the front entrance toward the alter. William Bull’s grave can be seen directly in front of the alter. Images by Carmen Pinckney.

The building was entered onto the National Register of Historic Places on October 22, 1970. The site is owned and maintained by the Parish Church of St. Helena in Beaufort. The ruins are a beautiful feature set amongst ancient live oaks, dripping in Spanish moss, and old graves of members past. Governor William Bull is buried here in a place of honor in front of the interior alter. Today the ruins are surrounded by fencing to protect the historic site. While visiting, please respect the property as hallowed ground. The Sheldon Church Ruins are located on Old Sheldon Church Road between Yemassee and Beaufort, just off Highway 17.

Information found on the National Register of Historic Places, S.C. Dept. of Archives and History, the Leverett Letters, and Historic Resources of the Lowcountry.

For more information on attractions in the South Carolina Lowcountry, visit southcarolinalowcountry.com.

 

Read More

Historic Campbell Chapel AME Church

Visit Old Town Bluffton’s oldest surviving church.

Photo by Glenn Hanna

The charming and beautifully maintained Campbell Chapel AME Church sits proudly on Bluffton’s Boundary Street. It is the oldest sanctuary in Old Town Bluffton. The modest Greek Revival style church was constructed in 1853 as the Bluffton Methodist Church. The church was acquired by the African Methodist Episcopal congregation for $500 in 1874. The cast iron bell that still hangs in the cupola was installed by the new congregation. The bell is stamped with “B.N. & C.in 0” on the yolk. It was produced by Blymyer Norton & Company, which made bells from 1867-1873. The historic one-story church has a three-bay façade with a double-door entry flanked by two windows. The front portico is supported by four tapered square columns.

The church is covered in board and batten siding that was probably applied during the 1874 renovation by the new owners. A 9’6’’ cupola sits on the roof ridge above the front portico. The wing on the right side was a 1966 addition.

Campbell AME Church is significant for its ties to the Bluffton African American community during and after Reconstruction. Nine freedmen purchased the building in 1874. Several of the founders were farmers who prospered in the years following the war.  Once purchased, the new congregation altered the building and made improvements that made the building distinctly their own. During Reconstruction, the church served as a church, school, and outreach for the greater community. The church stands as a reminder of the way Bluffton’s freedmen formed a new society in the aftermath of the Civil War. Their changes to the church reflect the booming local economy and the desire to update the building to keep up with new construction in the area.

 According to the 2018 National Register of Historic Places application, “The building represents the history of a people anxious to start a new life of freedom and demonstrate a successful start to that new life through the purchase and modification of this church building. Through the safe environment that this church provided, African Americans in late 19th century Bluffton were educated, formed a community structure, and assumed their place in American society.”

A new, modern worship center was constructed just next door in 2004. This state-of-the-art building has a fellowship hall and sanctuary complete with a balcony. The original church is still functional and in use. For more information on attractions in the South Carolina Lowcountry visit southcarolinalowcountry.com.

Historic Campbell Chapel AME Church
23 Boundary St, Bluffton, SC 29910
(843)757-3652

Read More

Coastal Discovery Museum & Trails

Looking for a place to practice social distancing while enjoying the natural wonder of the South Carolina Lowcountry? The grounds of Coastal Discovery Museum are just what you’re looking for!

Photo by Louli Kourkounakis.

The Coastal Discovery Museum is located on Hilton Head Island. The museum displays permanent and travelling exhibits that focus on the Lowcountry’s natural history and cultural heritage. The museum and its grounds are a part of the Honey Horn property. Interpretive trails wind through the woods and along the marsh and Jarvis Creek.  This is a great place to spend the day while social distancing.

The Coastal Discovery Museum’s Discovery House is located along the main road into Honey Horn. Stop in the museum first to view the exhibits. Admission is free. This building dates back to 1859. It holds both temporary and permanent exhibits that focus on the Lowcountry’s natural history and cultural heritage. There’s also a Kid’s Zone to keep the little ones entertained.

The vistas seen from the trail boardwalks stretch across the marsh and tidal creek. While walking, be on the lookout for interpretive panels that explain the natural beauty of Lowcountry estuaries and marine habitat.

The property is home to several live oak trees that were planted in the early 1800s. You can also find a former state champion Southern Red Cedar tree on the property. This is one of the largest of its kind in the state. The germination date has been estimated at 1595. Bald cypress, Dogwood, Gingko, Southern Magnolia and Pecan trees can also be seen here.

Native American replica shell ring image found on Coastal Discovery Museum Facebook page.

While walking the grounds, be sure to stop at the replica shell ring. Native Americans built similar rings as far back as 4,000 years ago. The exact purpose of these rings is unknown. The Coastal Discovery replica shell ring was built with real Native American oyster, whelk and clam shells, animal bones and other historic materials.

No trip to the Coastal Discovery Museum is complete without touring the Karen Wertheimer Butterfly Habitat. This enclosed greenhouse garden is home to a number of native butterflies from May to October. Nectar plants feed the butterflies while host plants are covered in eggs and feeding caterpillars. Informative panels are placed throughout the garden to educate visitors on the life cycle of the butterfly.

There are many gardens spread across the property. The Carnivorous Plants Bog Garden is home to the Venus fly trap, pitcher plants and sundews. These are all native to South Carolina. These plants expertly trap insects with their unique adaptations. The Heritage Garden features more than 30 plant species that are historically significant to the Lowcountry. Some of these varieties were used by Native Americans, while others were grown by Gullah islanders. Many of these plants are responsible for survival on the barrier islands after the Civil War.  The Camelia Garden contains 131 different types of camellias. Some of the varieties were even developed in the Lowcountry.

Don’t forget to wander over to the barns before you leave. The pole barn was built in the 1950s to store farming and timbering equipment. Look for the 400-pound cowling of an Atlas V rocket that washed up on the beach at Hilton Head in 2010. The horse barn was added in the 1930s. It was renovated by the museum in 2008 and is now home to two Marsh Tacky horses: Comet and Hawk. The Marsh Tacky is the South Carolina State Heritage Horse.

Map from Coastal Discovery Museum website.

For more information on attractions on Hilton Head and the South Carolina Lowcountry visit  https://southcarolinalowcountry.com/sights-to-see/

Coastal Discovery Museum
70 Honey Horn Drive
Hilton Head, SC 29926
843-689-6767

Read More

We Are Dog-Friendly

Bring Fido along for your next dog-friendly adventure to the South Carolina Lowcountry!

dog-friendly south carolina
Photo by Amy Lane.

Dogs are considered family members and are treated as such in the Lowcountry.  Accommodations, restaurants, tours, beaches, and charters can be found that welcome the addition of dogs to the party.  Here’s a selection of activities in the South Carolina Lowcountry that are dog-friendly.

dog-friendly beach south carolina
Photo by Carmen Pinckney.

Parks and Outdoor Areas that are dog-friendly:

Hunting Island State Park allows dogs on a leash in the park. They are not allowed in cabin areas or inside the lighthouse complex. They are also not allowed on the northern tip of the island to protest critical shorebird habitat. Pets are allowed in most other outdoor areas provided they are kept under physical restraint or on a leash not longer than six feet. Take advantage of the many walking trails located throughout the park.

dog-friendly south carolina beaches
Photo by Carmen Pinckney.

Lake Warren State Park allows dogs inmost outdoor areas provided they are kept under physical restraint or on a leash not longer than six feet. The trails at the park make excellent walking paths for dogs.

Edisto Beach State Park allows dogs in most outdoor areas including the trails provided they are kept under physical restraint or on a leash not longer than six feet. Pets are not allowed in the cabins or the cabin areas.

Colleton State Park allows dogs in most outdoor areas provided they are kept under physical restraint or on a leash not longer than six feet. Pets are not allowed in or around lodging facilities.

dog-friendly parks south carolina
Image provided by Lanie Woods.

Dogs are permitted on Hilton Head beaches before 10 am and after 5 pm Memorial Day through Labor Day. Dogs must be on a leash or under positive voice control at all other times.

Fikki enjoys the Lowcountry outdoors. Photo by Peach Morrison.

Hilton Head Island’s Chaplin Community Park off-leash dog park is located off William Hilton Parkway between Burkes Beach Road and Singleton Beach Road. This is a great place to bring the dogs to play with others.

Hilton Head Sea Pines Forest Preserve and Audubon Newhall Preserve allow dogs on a leash.

Photo by Amy Lane.

Hilton Head Fishing charters and river cruises that allow dogs include Captain Mark’s Dolphin Cruise, Vagabond Cruise, Calibogue Cruises, Runaway Fishing Charters, and Over Yonder Charters. For websites and more information visit https://southcarolinalowcountry.com/charters/.

Photo by Carmen Pinckney.

Hardeeville’s Sgt Jasper Park has many walking trails that are perfect for short hikes with your dog. Ridgeland’s Blue Heron Nature Trail is also a good place for dog walking. Both parks are conveniently located just off I-95.

Hardeeville Dog Park image by James Buquet.

Hardeeville also has an off-leash dog park located in the Richard Gray Sports Complex behind City Hall, 205 Main Street. The park is divided into areas for small and large dogs. There’s also a designated area for senior dogs as well. The park has shaded benches and doggie water fountains. The park is conveniently located just off I-95, making it a great place to let the pups run off energy.

ACE Basin National Wildlife Management Area allows dogs on a leash. Roam the grounds, hike the trails and picnic on the lawn of the Grove Plantation House.

Fripp Island beaches, most accommodations and activities are dog friendly.

Pippa enjoys a windy day at the Sands Beach. Photo by Julieann.

Port Royal’s Sands Boardwalk and Beach and the Cypress Wetlands Trail are fun places to walk in the late afternoon. The sunset from the Sands Boardwalk is outstanding.

dog-friendly trails south carolina
Photo by Carmen Pinckney.

Yemassee’s Frampton Plantation Visitors Center enjoys visiting with dogs. They are allowed inside and out! Plan a picnic on the grounds and take the dog for a walk through the woods. Come inside and visit with the friendly staff that love visits from leashed dogs. The center is located on I-95 at Exit 33.

Edisto’s Botany Bay Ecotours also allows dogs.

Several restaurants with outdoor seating allow dogs. Here is a sample of restaurants by city. For restaurant websites visit https://southcarolinalowcountry.com/restaurants/.

Beaufort
Bricks on Boundary
Common Ground Coffeehouse and Market Café
Hemingways Bistro
Luther’s Rare & Well Done
Panini’s on the Waterfront
Plums
After a downtown meal, be sure to go for a walk at the Henry C Chambers Waterfront Park.

St Helena Island
Johnson Creek Tavern
Marsh Tacky Market Café
After a St. Helena meal, walk through the Chapel of Ease and Ft. Fremont.

HHI
Skull Creek Boathouse
Captain Woody’s
Old Oyster Factory
Crazy Crab
Up the Creek Pub & Grill
Hudson’s Seafood House on the Docks
Fishcamp on Broad Creek
Go for a walk through Audubon Newhall Preserve or Sea Pines Forest Preserve.

Bluffton
The Cottage
Old Town Dispensary
Katie O’Donalds
Okatie Ale House
Fat Patties
Guiseppi’s Pizza
Captain Buddy’s Charters
Go for a walk through the many parks in the Old Town area of Bluffton, or Victoria Bluff Heritage Preserve.

Walterboro
Fat Jacks
Sonic Drive-in
After dinner, stroll through the Walterboro Wildlife Sanctuary.

Edisto Island
Seacow Eatery
Flowers Seafood
Pressley’s at the Marina
La Retta’s Pizzeria
McConkey’s Jungle Shack
After dinner, walk through Bay Creek Park or Edisto Beach State Park.

Ridgeland
Alchile Mexican Grill
Eats & Sweets Bakery
Fiddlers Seafood
PJ’s Coffee House
Go for a walk through Blue Heron Nature Center’s trail after dinner.

Doggie life jackets are a good idea if you plan to add boating to your agenda. Photo by Charlotte Pinckney.

Dog friendly accommodations are easy to find in the Lowcountry. Many rental homes, hotels and bed & breakfast locations are happy to accept your furry friends.

The historic Anchorage 1770 is dog friendly.

Certain rooms at the Anchorage 1770 are also dog friendly. Just let the staff know you plan to bring your furry friend, and you will be booked accordingly. The Beaufort Inn also allows dogs.

While visiting Lowcountry parks and wildlife management areas, dog owners are required to remove and properly dispose of the animal’s excrement. Please keep in mind, it is illegal to allow pets to chase or harass wildlife.

When going on outings with your dog be sure to bring food, trail treats, water and water bowl, plastic bags, leash, and collar. Make sure your current contact information is on your dog’s collar. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Read More

We’re Accessible

Limited mobility is not a problem in the SC Lowcountry.

mobility impaired destination
Sgt. Jasper Park photo by SC Lowcountry Tourism Commission.

The South Carolina Lowcountry is the perfect destination for people with limited mobility. The consistency of our flat ground makes reaching many attractions easily attainable. Come tour the natural beauty of our unspoiled landscape. Bask in the sunshine at one of our beaches, view the carefully preserved architecture and experience a fishing expedition. There’s something here for everyone!

Photo by Carmen Pinckney.

Beaufort

The sidewalks and streets of downtown Beaufort make touring the city quite easy. Take a walking tour of Beaufort’s Historic Churches, or tour along Bay Street’s Waterfront Homes. Venture across Boundary Street to view the Homes of the Point . The Historic Churches of Beaufort  can be viewed, either driving or walking.

Penn Center
Penn Center image by Carmen Pinckney.

Looking for an indoor adventure? Visit the Beaufort Arsenal Museum , or the Penn Center.

Sands Boardwalk image by Miles Sanders.

For beautiful sunsets that are unmatched in beauty, head over to Port Royal’s Sands Boardwalk. Make sure to stop by the Cypress Wetlands Rookery on the way. Roll through the paved trail loop and look for egrets, herons, eagles and migratory birds.

Image by Friends of Crystal Lake.

Interested in fishing while in Beaufort? Head over to the Crystal Lake Park. The 25-acre park has a boardwalk that surrounds the lake and has docks that are perfect for catch and release fishing.

Hwy 21 Drive-in image by Dan Reger.

Looking for nighttime fun? Beaufort is one of the few cities where you can step back in time and go to a drive-in movie. The Highway 21 Drive-in has been updated with a digital format and concession stand snacks can be ordered online. They have two screens which show double features Thursday – Sunday nights. Grab your blankets and pillows and have fun the old-fashioned way!

This image, taken from the top of the lighthouse, shows wheelchair friendly sidewalks that can be used to tour the lighthouse grounds. Photo by Bobby Weiner.

Like to go camping on the beach? The Hunting Island State Park Campground has an all-terrain wheelchair and Handicapped-equipped restrooms and mobi-mats that allow for smooth access to the beach. There’s also another wheelchair located near the lighthouse. Call 843-838-2011 for more information. Visit the nature center and the marsh boardwalk. Both are accessible by wheelchair. Tour the grounds of the lighthouse and see the footprint of the former facilities.

Spanish Moss Trail image by Carmen Pinckney.

Beaufort’s Spanish Moss Trail is a 12-ft wide trail that follows the path to Parris Island that was used by the railroad to bring recruits to the marine training facility. No longer in use, the rails were removed, and a trail was constructed to lead visitors and locals along a path that winds through wooded areas and across the waterways of Beaufort County. Fishing can be done from several bridges along the way.

Bluffton

The Garvin-Garvey House and adjacent Oyster Factory Park have sidewalks for easy wheelchair access. Photo by Carmen Pinckney.

Old Town Bluffton is located along the shores of the May River. Stroll along the paths of the Oyster Factory Park or Wright Family Park. Oyster shell-paved sidewalks lead right to the door of the Garvin-Garvey House for a tour of Bluffton’s restored freedmen cottage. If Spending a Day in Old Town Bluffton be sure to visit the Church of the Cross, and stroll through the grounds of the Heyward House Museum.

The Bluffton Shell Art Trail leads throughout Old Town Bluffton. Image by Carmen Pinckney.

The Bluffton Shell Art Trail is another fun outdoor activity that is accessible. Download the map and set out to discover all 21 shells that are placed throughout the historic district.

Hilton Head

Image from Coastal Discovery Museum website.

Hilton Head is home to the Coastal Discovery Museum. This facility also has nature trails and a butterfly pavilion. The museum also conducts tours on site and around the island.

If getting out on the water is on the agenda, spend an afternoon Sailing the Coastal Waters. Tours range from dolphin searching to dinner cruises.

Hilton Head Beaches are handicapped accessible. Image from HiltonHead.com.

The town of Hilton Head offers matting for regular wheelchairs near beach accesses at Alder Lane, Coligny Beach Park, Driessen Beach Park, Fish Haul Beach Park, Folly Field Beach Park, and Islanders Beach Park. The town does not offer modified wheelchairs. Call 843-341-4600 for more information. 

Daufuskie Island is best seen by golf cart. Image from SC Living Magazine.

Daufuskie Island is an adventure that is not to be missed. The island is situated between Savannah and Hilton Head. It is only accessible by boat. Ferry services are available. Rent a golf cart and explore the Robert Kennedy Trail   and learn the History of this Gullah Paradise where Pat Conroy used to teach in a two-room schoolhouse. Explore the island to your heart’s content with so much to see. Experience the secluded beaches, Daufuskie Island Rum Company, Bloody Point Lighthouse, Historic Gullah Homes, Mary Field School, The Iron Fish Studio, historic churches, Silver Dew Winery, and so much more.

Hampton

Lake Warren fishing pier is the perfect place to park a wheelchair and throw out a fishing line. Image by SC Lowcountry Tourism Commission.

Hampton County is home to the Lake Warren State Park. Enjoy fishing in the lake for largemouth bass, brim, redbreast, and other freshwater fish. There are docks to fish from shore or you can rent a boat and troll the 200-acre lake.

Hardeeville

Look for alligators while driving through the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge.
Image by David Moran.

Hardeeville is home to the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge. This vast natural wonder has a driving tour through former rice fields that are teaming with an abundance of waterfowl. Look for alligators and migratory birds as you make the slow drive through the refuge.

Sgt. Jasper Park image by Carmen Pinckney.

Sgt. Jasper Park is another great place to view nature in Hardeeville. Several of the trails are designed for people with mobility impairment.  You can also fish at the park.

Ridgeland

Blue Heron Park image from Facebook.

Ridgeland’s Blue Heron Nature Trail winds around a pond and its surrounding wetlands. It’s conveniently located just off the interstate. It’s a great place to get out of the car and take in fresh air and relaxation.

Just up the street you’ll find the Morris Center for Lowcountry Heritage.   This museum has fun travelling exhibits and permanent displays.

Frampton Plantation House, c. 1868 – Lowcountry & Resort Islands Visitors Center and Museum has a ramp for easy access into the house. Photo by SC Lowcountry Tourism Commission.

Another Jasper County gem that’s located on I-95 is the Frampton Plantation House Visitors Center and Museum. It has sidewalks, a picnic area and ramp for guests with disabilities. Come inside and see the 153 year-old house that was saved from demolition by the Lowcountry Tourism Commission.

Walterboro

Photo from Walterboro Wildlife Center Facebook.

The newly opened Walterboro Wildlife Center features native wildlife of the state’s largest city park, the Walterboro Wildlife Sanctuary. Come to the center to view the interpretive exhibit hall showcasing plant and animal life. Click HERE to see the newest addition to the collection. After a visit to the center, drive over to tour the sanctuary and experience nature firsthand.

Donnelley Wildlife Management Area photo by Carmen Pinckney.

Bear Island Wildlife Management Area and Donnelley Wildlife Management Area are other great places for bird watching. Both are easily driven, and nature can be seen up close and personal from the seats of your car. Look for Wood Storks, Roseate Spoonbills, and other native species.

Edisto Island

A drive down this avenue of oaks takes you to Botany Bay. Image by Carmen Pinckney.

Edisto Island is steeped in history and natural beauty. Botany Bay Wildlife Management Area is a beautiful spot to tour from your car. The entrance to the former plantation property is lined with an iconic alley of live oaks dripping in Spanish moss. Upon check-in, guests receive a driving tour map that includes information on the history of the property.   

Henry Hutchinson House image by Grayce Gonzalez.

The Henry Hutchinson House is another Edisto Island treasure. The house was built by a freedman during Reconstruction. It is the oldest house of its kind on the island. It has recently been restored and the exterior is on display to celebrate this important time in American history.

Photo from the Town of Edisto Beach Facebook.

Edisto Beach has rolled out the carpet for beach goers with disabilities – literally! New mats have been installed for visitors with mobility impairment. Beach wheelchairs are also available at the fire station. Simply call 843-869-2505, ext. 217 to make a reservation.

Read More

See what our visitors love about the
SOUTH CAROLINA LOWCOUNTRY

Use the #hashtag #sclowcountry to get your image featured!

The Lowcountry & Resort Islands Region of South Carolina includes the four, southern-most counties in the state, Beaufort, Jasper, Hampton, and Colleton, which are bordered on the east by the Atlantic Ocean and on the west by the Savannah River and the state of Georgia.

The South Carolina Lowcountry Guidebook is filled with many things to see and do in the beautiful Lowcountry of South Carolina. Please fill out the information and we will send you a FREE GUIDE BOOK.

    Stay Up To Date

    Sign up for our newsletter!