The South Carolina Low Country
If you’ve taken a trip to our beautiful coast here in South Carolina, you’ve surely heard the term “Low Country”. It is present in folk tales, store names, food dishes, and music. But what does it truly mean? Are we talking elevation, latitude, or a state of mind? Well,….yes! Here’s some official (and not so official) ways this region earns its name:
“The Low Country”
The term “Low Country” is at its very core a reference to the elevation of our coastal region. This runs the width of our state from the Sandhill Region to the ocean. It’s simply flatter here, or low(er)! It’s tough to find a hill in North Myrtle Beach!
“Low Country Boil”
Perhaps my personal favorite of the nomenclature, the low country boil is simply divine dining! This popular dish includes, but is not limited to: Crab, chicken, corn on the cob, shrimp, oysters, smoked sausage, crawfish, onions, lemons, and spices like Old Bay, Tony Chachere’s, or Zatarain’s. It’s quite simple to make: put it in a boiling pot for a bit, drain, and dump it on the table for all to enjoy. It’s the ultimate “get together” food and embodies the tradition of folks coming together over food, which is a big part of our South Carolina culture.
Also check out “Calabash” cooking which also finds its roots here: Calabash Cooking
“Low Country Architecture”
Low Country architecture has seen a renaissance recently, with many builders looking to add a touch of history to their new construction. While looking beautiful and stately, this gorgeous style was born out of function rather than aesthetics. Most people think of wrap-around porches and large, open living rooms and they’d be right. But – there is so much more to the details and form of the low country style. Elevated homes help to deter flood waters which are still a problem to this day. Not only does this help preserve the home, it adds an heir of charm and presence. You’ll frequently see double-hung windows, which can be opened from the top or bottom, allowing heat to escape from the top and cool air to come in at the bottom. Also, you may find that many newer homes have adopted the old tradition of painting porch ceilings, window shutters, and doors “Haint Blue”. This special blue-green paint is thought to ward off evil spirits like “The Boo Hag” and repel insects. Many also think this helps extend daylight, with the bright color. Look for these details on your next trip to SC.
And now to the unofficial “Lows” of the Low Country
“Low Cost of Living”
One of the most appealing factors of taking a low country vacation, or even relocating here, is the lower cost of living. From gas prices to property taxes, South Carolina is well below the national average. The cost of taking a relaxing Grand Strand or historic Charleston vacation is significantly less than going to Florida, particularly Orlando! The Low Country shines in amazing bang for your buck!
Excluding the traffic during the summer months, the Low Country equals Low STRESS. In the south, we take things a little slower and have always appreciated the simple things in life, be it taking in natural beauty, spending time with family, or simply doing nothing while drinking a cold Mason jar of sweet tea while rocking on the front porch, watching the lightning bugs at the end of the day. Like the residents of Key West, Scottsdale, or Fremont, we tend to not be in a hurry and let stress get to us too much.
Yeah – Just kidding!
Again, we are excluding the summer months (which are obviously slammed with vacationers) – the Low Country, from Little River to Hilton Head is relatively uncrowded most of the year. This means that when kids are back in school in the fall and the weather is 80 degrees, there’s not a whole lot of traffic. In most places you can walk along the beach for a mile in the evening and count the number of people you see on both hands. Mild Winters and early Springs are also a great time to visit and experience low crowds.