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Low Country Love Affair

June 8, 2011

I am having a love affair… if I am honest, I will admit that I’ve been involved in the love affair for years and years. At least since I was in college and I made my very first trip to Beaufort,South Carolina. I have seriously fallen head over heels in love with the coastal low country. And really, have you ever been there? One trip and it is not hard to see why, it is gorgeous. Recently, I spent a weekend camping atHuntingIsland, as I do every year, and I was reminded why I love the South so much.  A few highlights to share in case anyone else wants to discover the beauty of the area.

 –        Hunting Island is a South CarolinaState Park… so there are no hotels or restaurants on it. It is nature at its best… with some clearing for campsites and plumbing for bathrooms (sorry, I can’t do camping without bathrooms… I like nature, but I am still a city girl). The campsites are literally just set a few feet back from the beach, so when I fall asleep in my tent I can hear the ocean waves just 20 feet or so away. It is also super easy to catch the sunrise. A number of movies were filmed there: theVietnamscenes from Forest Gump, GI Jane, The Jungle Book and the list goes on. There is also a light house on the island, which is a fun trip to check out.

The view from the beach!

–         Aside from the beach, the other reason (and maybe a bigger reason) I love the area are the salt marshes. Most people hate the sulfur smell that comes from them but I adore it and it is such a part of the area. You smell that and you know you are in the low country. Watching the tide go in and out as it floods or drains the tall grasses is a cool thing. And then seeing all the cool life that lives there… awesome. I love sitting on the dock going out into the marsh and watching the little crabs and fishes. So cool. I could easily spend a whole day laying on a dock, watching the tides come in and out, while reading a book. It is heavenly!

No hotels or houses!

–         FOOD! Ok, so we do get our camp food in over the fire at least once a day, but we make sure we take some time to go get some local food. There are a number of quick places to eat and they are so yummy. Because lets be honest, if you are in the low country you need some fresh shrimp! Yum! We ate a couple of times on the next island,HarborIsland, and the Johnson Creek Tavern. The food was super yummy…. Deep fried local shrimp, loaded up with lemon and cocktail sauce. Plus super tasty hushpuppies. Also, crab and cheese stuffed mushrooms in a white wine sauce… all served overlooking the creek that leads the marsh to the ocean. It is a run down little shack with reasonable prices and good portions. The service however definitely leaves something to be desired… some rather rude and unhelpful staff. Other than that though, a good experience and we always make the stop.

I guess it is the whole combination of the trip. The ocean, the marshes, the warm and humid weather that is usually manageable because of the constant breeze… the smell in the air, the local food, the overall beauty of the place. I can’t help but roll the windows all the way down on the car, blast some good music and smile as I make the 15 mile drive from downtown Beaufort out to Hunting Island… it is my own version of heaven and I am in love with it. Now, if only I could find a way to live there year round!

perfection

Check out the link for the state park here, it really is a great place (do be aware of UN-afraid raccoon population though): http://www.huntingisland.com/

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