Welcome to the Lowcountry

The lowcountry of South Carolina is a different animal – very different when you grow up in the upstate and your bride is from the midlands…

Nonetheless, it didn’t take long for us to realize we weren’t in Kansas (Clemson) anymore…

Our first experience came in college when we were visiting Middleton Plantation, just outside of Charleston. The Plantation is gorgeous – and hot – and we decided to take a stroll through the wooded area of the grounds, hoping to catch a break from the heat and humidity. The wooded area contained many different species of vegetation, most of which were labeled. One such label caught our attention – LIVE OAK. It certainly wasn’t dead. We figured it must have some historical significance – maybe even surviving the earthquake of 1886 and Hugo. We applied the LIVE moniker to future trees and vegetation as well. We were amused…

Our first trip to Beaufort and Bluffton was also full of adventure. We came just prior to getting married to scout for jobs. Janet had a few interviews with the school district and I was still finagling my way into Ward Edwards. After reading the Beaufort Gazette before heading out for our day, we were a little concerned. The main story was about groin problems on and around Hunting Island and Hilton Head and the sports section was nothing but wrestling and golf.  We were confused, worried, and slightly creeped out…

The day only got worse as we were pulled for speeding while in Bluffton. We were on Buckwalter Parkway, which at the time was only two lanes, but was cleared at least an additional 100′ on both sides, but completely undeveloped. We were the only ones on the road but never saw the speed limit sign. We figured it must be at least 55, if not 60. We were pulled by for going 57 in a 45. No worries though. We’ll explain our situation and plead ignorance. We were asked if we wanted it to be 57 as clocked or reduced to 54. We took 54 and went on our merry way…

Finally, just after getting settled, I was at a Town of Bluffton Council meeting – trying to get the flavor – when the Mayor went into a tirade about protecting the river. What I remember most was the red face, the slamming of the fist on the podium, and these words – “PROTECT THE MAY RIVER! PROTECT THE MAY RIVER! PROTECT THE MAY RIVER!”

It’s been ten years since those first encounters with the lowcountry and we’ve learned a few things along the way:

  • Live Oak is actually a species of tree and has an important place in the fabric and history of the lowcountry
  • Groins are not what I pictured, which I wish I never pictured to begin with
  • Buckwalter Parkway is now the center of Bluffton
  • The May River still needs protecting

Additionally, we’ve grown to love this area.  Our girls love shrimping, crabbing, and swimming in the rivers. Janet has a thriving photography business. And Ward Edwards is still rockin’.

When others come to visit and comment, we smile because it’s part of the charm…

The charm of living in the lowcountry…


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