Category Archives: News

Emergency ordinances implemented for short-term rentals along the Hammock Coast, SC governor issues new executive order

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, emergency procedures have been put in place by the Town of Pawleys Island government and the Georgetown County Council that have put all short-term rentals on hold until April 30.

This means widespread changes across South Carolina’s Hammock Coast. Government officials in both municipalities took the unprecedented steps on the morning of Friday, March 27.

In addition to the short-term rental ban, South Carolina’s state parks also announced on March 27 that all parks would close beginning Saturday, March 28.

The Georgetown County government oversees all unincorporated areas of the county, which includes the beaches throughout the Hammock Coast — Debordieu, Pawleys Island, Litchfield Beach, Murrells Inlet and the Georgetown County area of Garden City Beach.

In its emergency meeting, county officials said the ordinance was needed due to the “recognition that COVID-19 poses a significant public health threat for infectious disease spread to county citizens.

“It is hereby determined that a public emergency affecting life, health, and safety continues to exist, and therefore, it is appropriate and necessary to enact this emergency ordinance,” the ordinance reads.

In addition to local municipalities passing sweeping ordinances in regard to short-term rentals, the day also came with a new executive order from South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster.

In his late-afternoon press conference, the governor issued mandatory quarantine orders for people coming to South Carolina from three states and the city of New Orleans, Louisiana.

“I’ve just issued another executive order,” McMaster said. “There is a mandatory quarantine. We know that there are hot spots around the country. … (The executive order) requires those people coming into our state … from one of those hot spots, they must self-quarantine for 14 days, for two weeks. There is a criminal penalty attached for failure to comply with that executive order. And that executive order mentions specifically the states of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut and also the city of New Orleans, all of which have been identified as hot spots.”

The penalty for not complying, the governor said, could mean a $1,000 fine or a 30-day jail term.


So what do the new ordinances say about short-term rentals?

All accommodations businesses in the unincorporated area of Georgetown County, including hotels, motels, condo hotels, rental properties, inclusive of private management companies and HOAs, Airbnb, VRBO-style lodging, public and private campgrounds and other overnight accommodations for 29 days or less, shall not accept new reservations for any period of time from Saturday March 28, 2020, through April 30, 2020, (such time limit is subject to further modification). 

Existing reservations made for a period beginning Saturday, March 28, 2020, through April 30, 2020, will be rescheduled or canceled. Visitors currently checked in prior to March 28 may remain until the end of their existing reservations, but such reservations shall not be extended. 

The ordinance does have some exemptions, which include units consistently occupied by the same occupant since March 1, 2020. However, it is noted, that rental occupancy in the same unit may not be increased by others, including friends or family members. 

Also exempted are short-term rentals extended to government, hospital, health agency, law enforcement, military and other critical personnel actively responding to the COVID-19 emergency. 

Any violation of the emergency ordinance could be punishable with a fine of $200 or 30 days imprisonment and such penalty shall be cumulative for each day of violation.

The Town of Pawleys Island’s emergency ordinance is similar to that of the county’s.

In its ordinance, the town noted that, because the island is “a tourist destination, short-term rentals inflate the population of the Town of Pawleys Island placing an additional strain on town resources.”

“For example,” the ordinance said, “the number of citizens in the town is approximately 200 and during a typical tourism week, the population is 5,000. … The population change increases the risk of virus transmission and … certain additional measures need to be taken to continue to protect our citizens and guests from this pandemic.”

To that end, the town has declared that there will be no new short-term rentals and other overnight accommodations permitted beginning at 5 p.m. Saturday, March 28, 2020, through April 30, 2020. Visitors currently checked in may remain until the end of their existing reservations. Long-term rentals of 30 days or more are still permitted by showing a valid lease agreement.


Huntington Beach State Park, located in the Murrells Inlet area of the Hammock Coast, had been closed March 25 and 26 for cleaning, just like every other state park in South Carolina.

The parks reopened Friday, March 27, but early in the morning, it was decided to close them from March 28 until April 30 “to support the state’s response to COVID-19,” a press release said.

“The closure is designed to keep visitors and employees as safe as possible by mitigating the spread of the Coronavirus,” the release said.

Visitors who are currently occupying campsites and cabins can remain through the duration of their rental reservation as long as they continue to practice the state’s recommendations for social distancing. All new reservation arrivals, however, from Saturday, March 28, to Thursday, April 30, will be canceled and refunds issued.

This is the third limited-access directive the park service has made this month in response to public health advisories. Earlier, state parks canceled all large-group gathering reservations and suspended all interpretive programming and special events for March. Those suspensions remain in place through April. For two days this week, parks closed day-use areas like picnic grounds, lakefronts and trails. Those areas will remain closed through April 30 as well.

The park service continues to be engaged with fans and followers, however, by hosting Facebook Live events regularly.


The City of Georgetown has not issued any changes in short-term rental policies for hotels, motels, bed-and-breakfasts, or other short-term rental properties located within the city limits, but some local businesses may have changed their hours or made a decision to close. It is recommended that those who would like to make a reservation at any property within the city of Georgetown call first.


Beth Stedman, the CEO and president of the Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce, which oversees the tourism marketing for the county, the city of Georgetown and the town of Pawleys Island, said she understands that the changes have come with a heavy heart from government officials, who know full well the importance of tourism for the Hammock Coast.

“The Georgetown County and Pawleys Island governments have closely followed what Gov. Henry McMaster has urged in the way of social distancing,” Stedman said. “It is clear that our officials knew it was time to take the next step by prohibiting new rentals here for the next month.”

While hurricanes have often disrupted travel to and from Georgetown County over many years, a change due to health concerns has never been seen before here. As the nation and the world continue to grapple with the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the safety or tourists and residents had to come first, said Mark A. Stevens, the Chamber’s director of tourism development.

“We know this will be a hard time for many of our residents and our businesses,” Stevens said. “We have already been seeing the effects as favorite restaurants shuttered or went from sit-down dining to carryout or delivery. We’ve seen many visitors already have to change plans for spring trips to the Hammock Coast.

“But we are also confident that our region will make it through this, and we will emerge, once again, as a place for rest, relaxation and rejuvenation. Our pristine beaches will once again welcome visitors from around the world. Our accommodation partners, our restaurants, our hospitality areas will all in the not-so-distant future return with a renewed vigor. The Hammock Coast will remain the shining light of Southern hospitality it has been for generations.”

For more information about changes and news developments, go to the Chamber’s various websites, which include:,, or

Georgetown’s Kaminski House Museum leads effort to display lights as sign of solidarity 

Georgetown’s Kaminski House Museum has relit its holiday lights to offer some peace and hope during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo courtesy of the Kaminski House)

Everyone needs a glimmer of hope, especially in this time of uncertainty during the coronavirus pandemic when many residents are staying home and some businesses have closed temporarily. 

To the end, the Kaminski House Museum is now leading a community effort in Georgetown to be a shining light for the community in a special way. The museum is keeping its Lights on the Lawn, originally displayed during the holidays, lit over the next few weeks. In addition, museum officials are encouraging homeowners and business owners in Georgetown to also display lights as a sign of solidarity. 

“We just thought it might help people get through what everybody in the world is going through,” said Kim Leatherwood, deputy director of the museum. “These are hard times and people need help. We’d like for residents and businesses to display candles, or a string of lights, just to give people some spark of joy.” 

Lynn Robb, a resident of Georgetown’s historic district, agreed. She and her husband, Kim, recently put holiday candles in the windows of their home on Prince Street. Several other homeowners and businesses have already followed suit with candles or lights, and they encourage others to take part. 

“I really love the idea because people need to keep their spirits up, be positive and move forward,” Lynn said. “Displaying lights gives a sense of community, that we are all in this together.” 

Lynn and Kim Robb are lighting their home on Prince Street in Georgetown as a way to show solidarity with friends and neighbors.

She said that since many people need to stay home right now to minimize the spread of the coronavirus, people are looking for ways to help each other. 

“It’s like the British say, ‘Keep calm and carry on’. If everyone in the city has candles in their windows, it would be gorgeous, and it would show our support for Georgetown,” Lynn said. “When this is over, we are all going shopping!” 

Leatherwood remains hopeful that businesses and residents will bounce back after the worst of the pandemic is over and that this effort will be one of many to show community solidarity. 

“It is tough for everyone since our economy and our businesses rely on tourism dollars,” Leatherwood said. “The good thing about this is that it is happening in March and April. Hopefully by May or June, when we are at the peak of the tourist season, we can get back to normal and maybe that will help us get over this.” 

While the Kaminski House Museum is closed because of the pandemic, Leatherwood stressed that the lights will stay on.

Beth Stedman, president and CEO of the Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce, said lighting up Georgetown would certainly help morale during this difficult time. 

“This is a beautiful way for residents and businesses in Georgetown and other areas to show their positivity, which is needed more than ever right now,” Stedman said. “We certainly hope that we can come through this and be even stronger on the other side.” 

Jack McManus, president of the Georgetown Business Association, agreed. He said he saw an article in Southern Living Magazine about using holiday lights during this time and is very supportive of local businesses and residents showing solidarity this way. 

“I think it’s one way to start making a change, a positive difference toward what our future is going to be,” McManus said. “Right now, we need to keep ourselves safe by practicing social distancing and hygiene, but, in another sense, we need to tune up our car and be ready to turn it back on.”

– By Clayton Stairs

During Social Distancing, A Few Things to Do On the Hammock Coast

Even during social distancing — six feet apart from others, we’ve come up with a few things you can do if you need to get out of the house.

As always, though, you should keep a distance between you and others, and if you must cough or sneeze (even outdoors), do it into your elbow/arm so you don’t possibly spread particles into the air.

And, of course, practice proper hand washing before you go out and keep hand sanitizer with you when you’re out and about. Be careful to not touch other items. Be mindful of others and respect their space. In short, be safe, be careful and be aware.

Tripadvisor names Litchfield Beach one of America’s Top 10 beaches

Litchfield Beach, one of several pristine beach areas along South Carolina’s Hammock Coast, has been named one of America’s Top 10 beaches by Tripadvisor. (Photo by Mark A. Stevens/Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce)

Tripadvisor, the world’s largest travel platform, has unveiled its list of the top 25 United States beaches, and visitors to South Carolina’s Hammock Coast will recognize the Palmetto State’s highest ranked entry.

Tripadvisor ranked Litchfield Beach as America’s ninth best beach. Litchfield offers travelers the Carolinas’ most stunning stretch of coastline in a quiet setting that is ideal for family vacations. With an average rating of 5 stars, Tripadvisor reviewers raved about Litchfield’s wide beaches, soft sand and privacy.

One five-star review on Tripadvisor from October 2019 said, “What a beautiful beach with a large clean area of sand. A truly lovely respite for family or friends. Not to be missed while in this area.”

Another review titled “An all-time favorite beach” from August 2019 said this: “I cannot say how much I love this beach. It is the most peaceful, relaxing soul searching place on earth. I love just walking the beach and looking for shells and feeling the salt air on my face here. It is away from the craziness of tourist beach areas and just feels close to nature and what the SC Coastal community is all about.”

Mark A. Stevens, director of tourism development for the Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce, said he wasn’t surprised by the high ranking of Litchfield Beach.

“Tripadvisor is the most trusted name in travel, so to have it rank Litchfield as America’s ninth best beach is a tremendous honor,” Stevens said. “What makes the ranking so special is that it’s derived from the opinions of vacationers. As a destination, our goal is to meet and exceed the expectations of the people who choose to spend their vacation time with us, and Litchfield’s place among the best beaches in the United States is affirmation of that effort.”

Litchfield Beach earns lots of five-star reviews from visitors who have vacationed along the Hammock Coast for generations. (Photo by Mark A. Stevens/Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce)

Tripadvisor helps 463 million travelers each month make every trip their best trip. Travelers across the globe use the Tripadvisor site and app to browse more than 859 million reviews and opinions of 8.6 million accommodations, restaurants, experiences, airlines and cruises.

The honor continues a run of national recognition for the six communities – Garden City, Murrells Inlet, Litchfield, Pawleys Island, Georgetown and Andrews – that make up the Hammock Coast.

Southern Living, one of the most respected names in lifestyle journalism, recently honored Pawleys Island, DeBordieu and Huntington Beach State Park as being among South Carolina’s top 7 beaches.

Georgetown, a working waterfront community, was named by USA Today as America’s “Best Coastal Small Town.”

Georgetown County’s casual charm and Southern hospitality earned it the nickname Hammock Coast. Adventure and relaxation blend together in perfect harmony, like the flowing and ebbing of waves on the county’s famed beaches. With six communities – Garden City, Murrells Inlet, Litchfield, Pawleys Island, Georgetown and Andrews – comprising the pristine coastal area between Myrtle Beach and Charleston, visitors can experience South Carolina’s Hammock Coast like never before.

Yum! It’s once again time for the She-Crab Soup Cook-Off

She-crab soup, a Lowcountry favorite, is the star of the upcoming cook-off between local restaurants. (Photo by Mark A. Stevens/Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce)













There will be great food served to benefit an even better cause along the Hammock Coast this weekend.

The second annual She-Crab Soup Cook-Off will be held Sunday, Feb. 23, from 2-5 p.m. at Quigley’s Next Door, 251 Willbrook Blvd., Pawleys Island, with proceeds benefitting Saint Frances Animal Center.

Attendees will be able to sample she-crab soup, a Palmetto State delicacy, from 12 local businesses/restaurants by purchasing tickets in advance or at the door. Tickets purchased on Feb. 23 will cost $2 – each ticket will buy a 2-ounce serving of soup – or a book of 24 will be available for $20.

There are also a pair of pre-event packages available online through Feb. 21, including 26 tickets for $20 deal, or a $40 package that includes 26 tickets and a long-sleeve Saint Frances She-Crab Soup Cook-Off T-shirt. To purchase one of the pre-event packages, go here

The businesses scheduled to participate are Alfresco Bistro, Buzz’s Roost, Dead Dog Saloon, Gulfstream Cafe, Harrelson’s Seafood, Inlet Affairs, Natural Born Grillers, Pawleys Island Raw Bar, Quigley’s Pint and Plate, Rustic Table, Wicked Tuna and last year’s popular-choice winner, Hanser House.

While the she-crab soup is the primary draw, it’s hardly the only one. The Paul Grimshaw Duo will be performing and a host of local celebrities will be judging the competition. 

Among the judges are a trio of personalities from WPDE – Ed Piotrowski, Trey Paul and Crystal Costa – along with WMBF’s Jamie Arnold and Jamie Sanderson, the publisher of Georgetown Foodland.

All proceeds will benefit Saint Frances and its mission to provide a safe and nurturing environment for abandoned and mistreated dogs and cats until they can be placed in loving homes.

— By Chris King

Huntington Beach State Park’s Nature Center to reopen four years after devastating fire

Huntington Beach State Park’s new Nature Center is set to open later this year.

An old friend is returning to Huntington Beach State park later this year.

A new Nature Center, a 4,500-square-foot facility that will mirror the layout and appearance of its predecessor, is on schedule to open in early summer, much to the delight of park-goers.

“Every single day someone asks about it,” Park Manager Brenda Magers said. “Long-time park visitors want an update on when it will open and new visitors stop and ask about the construction.”

The original Nature Center was destroyed in a fire on July 20, 2016, after the building was struck by lightning. Fire officials responded to a 2:34 a.m. call to find the three-story building fully engulfed.

The morning after the devastating 2016 fire revealed only charred remains of the Nature Center. (Photo by Mark A. Stevens)

The wait for the return of the popular attraction has been longer than anticipated, due to storms that forced the reallocation of state resources, but the end is in sight. Park officials expect construction of the new building to be complete in early March, clearing the way for the installation of exhibits.

The new Nature Center will allow visitors to experience the natural habitat of Huntington Beach State Park, ranging from the saltwater marsh to a maritime forest and birding area. Throw in a classroom exhibit featuring various live reptiles, including snakes, alligators and turtles, and a touch tank, that is home animals like horseshoe crabs, and everyone is energized.

“We are all very excited,” Magers said. “The loss of the Nature Center was devastating. … Huntington Beach is a great place for people to connect with the park and create memories, and they get to see things they’d never be able to see in nature.”

Park officials said they were devastated following the fire.

“Everyone is heartbroken,” Magers told The Georgetown Times in 2016. “… Having the Nature Center burn down was obviously devastating for those of us who work here.”

Midway Fire Rescue Chief Doug Eggiman told the newspaper that fire teams fought the blaze from 2:34 a.m. to about 6:30 a.m. but were unable to save the structure.

In addition to a collection of artifacts and exhibits, Dawn Dawson-House, director of corporate communications for the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, told The Times that more than 20 animals were killed in the blaze.

Immediately after the blaze, Eggiman said there was no way to save the animals, which includes snakes, amphibians, several fish, including a sting ray, and reptiles, including alligator hatchlings. There were no birds or mammals housed at the center.

“Unfortunately, even before we arrived, there was no life sustainable inside the structure,” Eggiman told The Times. “Even if it was, it was too fully involved for us to make any kind of entry. All our operations had been exterior.”

Fish, reptiles and amphibians were lost in the 2016 fire. (Photo by Mark A. Stevens)

While the reopening of the Nature Center is attracting a great deal of attention, it’s not the park’s only anticipated reopening this year. Magers is hopeful the boardwalk next to the Nature Center, which was damaged during Hurricane Dorian, will be ready to reopen simultaneously.

The boardwalk extends a couple hundred yards into the saltwater marsh, allowing visitors to enjoy the splendor of the surrounding the marsh, including bald eagles often soaring overhead.

Huntington Beach State Park is also home to one of South Carolina’s most pristine beaches, outstanding surf fishing, and a campground just yards from the gently pounding surf of the Atlantic Ocean. Birdwatchers flock to the state park throughout the year, and more than 330 bird species have been recorded there, making it one of the best birding spots in the Southeast.

Vacationers also visit to the park for the opportunity to see loggerhead turtles and, of course, Atalaya, the beautiful Moorish-style winter home of Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington, who left the park as part of their considerable legacy.

— By Chris King and Mark A. Stevens

Kaminski House Museum to host Wedding Showcase Feb. 23

The annual Wedding Showcase held at the Kaminski House Museum in Georgetown is for brides and grooms planning their wedding day. (Photo courtesy of the Kaminski House Museum)

You may be ready to say, “I do,” but before your wedding, there’s much to do.

To help brides- and grooms-to-be in making those decisions for the big day, Georgetown’s Kaminski House Museum is gearing up for its annual Wedding Showcase, set for Sunday, Feb. 23, from 1–4 pm. 

The lawn and the Kossove Terrace will feature florists, caterers, rental companies and other businesses providing wedding-related services to make wedding-day dreams come true for couples planning one of the most important days of their lives.  The showcase will feature a $5,000 Wedding Day Prize Package and drawings for bridal gifts and prizes.  The Wedding Day Prize Package includes the museum’s $1,500.00 rental for the lawn and the Kossove Terrace, discounts on wedding cakes, a free two-night stay in Baxter’s Brewhouse Inn, and other wedding-related gifts.

Ten couples from throughout the Hammock Coast and the Grand Strand will be asked to submit their special stories of how they met, how their romance progressed and how he/she proposed. All 10 love stories will be on display at the showcase and attendees to the event will be asked to vote on their favorite love story.  The winner of the prize package will be announced at the conclusion of the Wedding Showcase.

The event will also feature a fashion show hosted by Indigo Blue Events & Design and will present bridal fashions by The Dressing Room of Pawleys Island at 4 p.m. Floral arrangements and tablescapes will be on display and feature the design talents of Greenskeeper Florist of Pawleys Island. A special exhibition of vintage wedding gowns from the collection of Melissa Levey will be on display inside the Kaminski House Museum. The special showing may be viewed with admission to the Kaminski House during daily tours at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 pm. 

Participating vendors include ART Catering and Events, Carolina Limousine, The Dressing Room, Greenskeeper Florist, Indigo Blue Events & Design, Make My Day Photo Booth, Middle Child Photography, Pawleys Island Bakery, Wedgefield Country Club, and more. Sponsors for the event include theknot, Eventworks, Gator 107.9, MC Sound, Light & Video, and 101.1 FM.

“There are some special treats for our brides at this event. Carolina Limousine will be available to take brides on the Wedding Trolley along Front Street,” said Kaminski House Museum Deputy Director Kim Leatherwood. “MC Kevin Jayroe will point out local B&Bs, Airbnbs, sites for rehearsal dinners and other special venues in the downtown area that make historic Georgetown one of the best wedding destination sites in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. Joseph Baxter, proprietor of Baxter’s Brewhouse and Inn, will have an open house for brides after the Wedding Showcase on the lawn of the Kaminski House Museum. He will allow guests to sample his handcrafted beers and root beers.”

Tickets for the Wedding Showcase are $10 in advance and $12 the day of the event. Tickets are available online at the museum’s website You may reserve tickets by calling the museum’s office at 843-456-7706.

Constructed circa 1769, the Kaminski House was home to many prominent Georgetown residents. The home’s pre-Revolutionary War architectural details are an elegant background to the varied interiors that help bring to life Harold and Julia Kaminski, the home’s last residents. Mrs. Kaminski left the house and its contents to the City of Georgetown upon her death in 1972. Located at 1003 Front St., the Kaminski House Museum is open Monday–Saturday with guided tours at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. The costs of tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors 65 and over and $6 for children 6-17. Children under 5 will be admitted free. 

Thousands attend 7th annual Taste of the MarshWalk

The two-day Taste of the MarshWalk saw thousands of visitors converge on Murrells Inlet. (Photo by Chris King)

Restaurants served up delicious samples of what’s
made Murrells Inlet famous for great food, hospitality

Joey Ray and a group of friends were enjoying a beautiful January afternoon, listening to live music, drinking the cold beverage of their choice, and sharing laughs along Murrells Inlet’s MarshWalk.

The group joined thousands of others over Jan. 25 and 26 to take part in the seventh annual Taste of the MarshWalk. 

While Ray made the trek to specifically see country-folk duo If Birds Could Fly, one of several bands that performed over the two-day event, visitors and locals were arriving for myriad reasons. And, most importantly, they came hungry!

Taste of the MarshWalk featured a host of exhibitors, crafters and kids activities, and some of the Hammock Coast’s most popular restaurants were serving food to throngs of attendees from Georgetown County and beyond.

Guests sampled food from eight participating restaurants – The Claw House, Tuna Shak, CreekRatz, Dead Dog Saloon, Bovine’s, Wahoo’s, Drunken Jack’s, Creek Ratz, and Wicked Tuna. Food that tempted visitors included everything from seafood gumbo, she-crab soup and black bean bourbon chili to crab bruchetta, pork gyoka and a variety of sushi, among many other delectable offerings.

When they weren’t enjoying the food, guests often set their gaze on the sweeping views of Murrells Inlet. There was hardly a cloud in the sky, contributing to the area’s stunning natural beauty and the area’s temperate climate, which allows for an outdoor festival in late January.

Welcome Y’All to the Taste of the Marshwalk … and the many craft vendors along the way! (Photo by Chris King)

“We love the MarshWalk,” Ray said. “It’s a beautiful day and a lot of fun with friends and family. It’s the sun, food and drink we are coming to enjoy. It’s hard to ask for much more.”

With temperatures in the lows 60s, the weather was ideal, allowing vendors that ranged from local apparel companies to artists to sell their wares to an eager crowd.

“It’s a very good event,” said Jennifer Briscoe, a representative of Hooked Soul, a local fishing company. “There are always a lot of people here. We get to meet all different people and sell them stuff they really want to wear.”

Among the fun things for children were balloon animals. (Photo by Chris King)

While exhibitors enjoyed a good weekend and kids flocked to the petting zoo, the MarshWalk’s highly acclaimed restaurants were the star.

The ½-mile long MarshWalk is home for set-down dining throughout the year, but for this special two-day event, they were also serving small plates, ranging in price from $3 to $5. Drunken Jack’s trigger fish over crab fried rice, hush puppies and she crab soup produced the weekend’s longest lines, but the coconut shrimp at Wahoo’s wasn’t far behind. In fact, if the crowds at Dead Dog Saloon, CreekRatz, Bovine’s, Tuna Shak, The Claw House and Wicked Tuna were any indication, their offerings were also well received from the hungry crowds.

Taste of the MarshWalk has always been one of the highlights of the Hammock Coast’s winter calendar, and the event’s reputation will only grow in the wake of the 2020 event.
— By Chris King

The MarshWalk’s many fine restaurants draw crowds to the Hammock Coast throughout the year. (Photo by Chris King)

Brookgreen Gardens to shine during British artist Bruce Munro exhibit in 2020

“Bruce Munro at Brookgreen: Southern Light” will run from April 8-Sept. 12, 2020

“Field of Light” will be one of British artist Bruce Munro’s exhibits at Brookgreen Gardens this year. (Photo by Serena Munro, Courtesy of Bruce Munro Ltd.)

There will be a shining light illuminating from South Carolina’s Hammock Coast beginning in April – no, make that thousands upon thousands of shining lights.

Renowned British artist Bruce Munro’s next major U.S. exhibition, “Bruce Munro at Brookgreen: Southern Light,” will come to life at world-famous Brookgreen Gardens in Murrells Inlet from Wednesday–Saturday, April 8 through Sept. 12 with extended daily hours. The exhibit, which will consist of seven works of art in light and mixed media will feature thousands of LED and fiber-optic points of light. The works will be placed throughout Brookgreen’s sculpture gardens and the arboretum area will contain a huge Field of Light.

The New York Times has hailed Munro’s work as a must-see, and Brookgreen’s exhibit will be the only opportunity to see Munro’s work in the southeastern United States in 2020.

“We are thrilled to be on the very exclusive list of venues to host an exhibit by Bruce Munro,” said Page Kiniry, Brookgreen Gardens’ president and CEO.  “At Brookgreen we are dedicated to offering our guests and members the opportunity to experience not only American sculptural art, but art in a variety of mediums. This is a rare opportunity for our community and the region to see the work of this world- renowned artist.”

The following illuminated installations will consist of tens of thousands of components, which will be placed throughout the sculpture gardens and arboretum:

  1. Field of Light – 11,700 stems of light in softly moving colors covering the Arboretum.
  2. Fireflies – 600 sprigs, flourishing in Oak Alle?e.
  3. Time and Again – 37 stainless steel “lilies” in Pegasus Field.
  4. Okonjima Choral Society – 2,000 ‘frogs’ singing in unison behind the garden wall at the Brenda S. Rosen Carolina Terrace.
  5. Hive – installation composed of 1,448 bee-inspired hexagonal elements in the Bell Tower.
  6. Reflections – 4 mesmerizing sound and light digital projections in the arcade between the Welcome Center and Keepsakes.
  7. Water-Towers – 10 Towers illuminated by fiber optics and choreographed sound in the grassy area adjacent to The Visionaries sculpture.

Munro is best known for large immersive light-based installations inspired primarily by his interest in shared human experience and connection. He completed a bachelor’s in fine arts at Bristol Polytechnic in 1982. Shortly thereafter, he moved to Sydney where he took up employment in design and lighting, inspired by Australia’s natural light and landscape. Returning to England in 1992, he settled in Wiltshire, where he raised four children with his wife. Following his father’s death in 1999, Munro felt compelled to resume artmaking on a personal level. His work has been shown at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; Waddesdon Manor, the Rothschild Collection, Buckinghamshire; and the Guggenheim Museum, New York. It is held in museum collections internationally including the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. 

“The inspirations behind the artwork being shown at Brookgreen came to me during a visit (to Brookgreen Gardens),” Munro said. “I spent time exploring and simply allowing my eye and imagination to wonder and dream. The visit reinforced the notion of a garden made up of a series of interconnected outside ‘rooms.’ It also left me with an impression that the ‘garden rooms,’ populated by figurative sculptures, were surrounded by an untamed landscape, a magical place with an edge of the unknown.”

Brookgreen will be opening Wednesday–Saturday evenings, April 8-Sept. 12, from 7-10 p.m. (with gates opening at 6 p.m.) for the Munro exhibit. Tickets will be available for purchase this fall, and a special season pass will be available for members of Brookgreen Gardens. Advance tickets are available now at General-admission tickets are $25 (adults) and $15 (children 4-12). Members may purchase tickets for $20 for adults and $12 for children.

On Saturday, April 4, an exclusive VIP launch event, hosted by the Friends of Brookgreen Gardens, will inaugurate the exhibit.

For more information about Munro, go to

Brookgreen Gardens is located on U.S. 17 between Murrells Inlet and Pawleys Island and is open to the public daily. Founded in 1931 by Anna Hyatt Huntington and Archer Huntington, Brookgreen is home to the largest and most significant collection of American figurative sculpture in the country and continues as a leader in sculpture conservation, environmental conservation, and protection of the plants, animals, and history of the South Carolina Lowcountry. For more information, visit or call 843-235- 6000.

From Georgetown to our beach communities, holiday events come alive this Christmas on the Hammock Coast

Georgetown’s beautiful Kaminski House Museum will be all decked out for the holidays, starting with its Designer Showcase Candlelight Tours.


















It’s Christmastime on South Carolina’s Hammock Coast!
We have lots of holiday events for the whole family!

It’s the most festive time of the year!
All along South Carolina’s Hammock Coast, you will find a variety of holiday events for the whole family. We have parades, concerts, meet-Santa events and a holiday extravaganza of more than two million lights – trust us, there’s something for everyone this Christmas season!

Here is a list of some of those events – from Andrews and Georgetown and along the beach communities of Pawleys Island, Litchfield, Murrells Inlet and Garden City. Events are listed in chronological order.

Murrells Inlet 
Christmas Tree Lighting 
Sunday, Dec. 1, from 3:30 – 5:30 p.m., Morse Park  
Join Murrells Inlet 2020 for a family-friendly event featuring Santa and Mrs. Claus, arts and crafts for the kids, holiday music, face painting, and more! And, of course, the lighting of the Christmas tree!
Morse Park is located at 4939 U.S. Highway 17 Business (next to Hot Fish Club) .

Pawleys Island
Christmas Cabaret Concert and Dinner
Holy Cross Faith Memorial Episcopal Church
Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 2 and 3, at 6 p.m.
The Indigo Choral Society presents this Christmas Cabaret and Dinner. Tickets are $50 per seat, $375 for a table of eight.
Indigo Choral Society’s artistic director is Jan Powers Fort, native Georgetonian and long-time Kindermusik teacher, choir director, and Swamp Fox Player thespian.? 
The church is located at 88 Baskerville Drive, Pawleys Island. For reservations, email 

Kaminski House Museum Designer Showcase Candlelight Tours

Thursdays, Dec. 5 and 12, from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
The Kaminski House Museum will present a candlelight tour as part of its “Designer Holiday Showcase, A 250th Celebration!” Come out and tour the rooms of this historic home as it’s decorated in holiday splendor and drenched in warm candlelight on Thursdays, Dec. 5 and 12, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tours of the showcase run daily through Dec. 31. Tickets are $10 for members, $15 for non-members.
“We are thrilled to be able to offer the Designer Holiday Showcase and the Candlelight Tours of the Kaminski House to our local community,” said Robin Gabriel, Kaminski’s executive director. “The museum looks magical, with all the decorations and the exterior lighting. Visiting the museum is a wonderful way to kick off the holiday season and to spend a fun time with your family.”
There will be a Family Night held on Saturday, Dec. 21, from 4-6 p.m. This event will feature the Candy Cane Express (decorated tour tram), hot cocoa, cookies and holiday scavenger hunt. For this event, tickets are $5 for adults with children and children under 12 are free. For adults without children, tickets will be $10 for members and $15 for non-members.
The Kaminski House Museum is located at 1003 Front St. in Georgetown. For more information, call 843-546-7706 or visit, or

Murrells Inlet
Nights of a Thousand Candles 

Thursdays – Sundays from Dec. 5 – 21, from 3 – 10 p.m., Brookgreen Gardens 
See Brookgreen Gardens come to life amid the soft glow of more than 2,700 hand-lit candles and more than two million sparkling lights. Walk the paths with a warm cup of cider, cocoa, or wine. Hear the sounds of holiday music, carolers singing, and celebrate the season with family and friends! 
Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for children and must be purchased?in advance by visiting Space is limited. Tickets are non-refundable. In case of bad weather or change of plans, tickets may be exchanged for another night based on availability by calling 1-844-271-3410. The deadline to request an exchange?is 3 p.m. on the day?before?the date of your ticket. 
For more information, call Brookgreen Gardens at 843-235-6000. Find out more about this celebrated event here

The Charlestones
Christmas concert at Winyah Auditorium
Friday, Dec. 6, at 7:30 p.m.
The historic Winyah Auditorium will present “Christmas With the Charlestones” on Friday, Dec. 6, at 7:30 p.m.
The concert is one of only four holiday concerts planned by the popular Holy City a cappella quartet. The Charlestones were formed in 2014 at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Charleston. The quartet consists of Todd Monsell (bass), Brink Norton (tenor), William Purcell (lead), and Stephen Spaulding (baritone). The men quickly made a name for themselves with their trademark flawless intonation, rocksteady camaraderie, and wide variety of vocal styles.
Tickets are $20 online and $25 at the door. The Winyah Auditorium is located at 1200 Highmarket St. in Georgetown. For more information, call 843-461-1342, or visit

Murrells Inlet
Holiday Tour of Homes 
Saturday, Dec. 7, from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. 
Join Murrells Inlet 2020 for a showcase of spectacular homes across the Murrells Inlet area that are decorated for the holiday season. Spend the day with your friends and family touring the best of what Murrells Inlet has to offer. Tickets are $28.  
To purchase tickets, call Murrells Inlet 2020 at 843-357-2007, or visit the organization’s office at 4124-B ?U.S. Highway 17 Business.

Murrells Inlet
Christmas with Friends of Atalaya
Huntington Beach State Park
Saturday, Dec. 7, from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. in the Atalaya Castle
Join the Pawleys Island Concert Band for an afternoon of Christmas songs at Atalaya in Huntington Beach State Park. The concert band and choir begin at 11 a.m., and a jazz band will perform at 1:30 p.m. The concert will be in the courtyard outdoors, weather permitting. It will be moved inside if the weather is poor.? 
The rooms at Atalaya will be decorated by a variety of schools, organizations, individuals, and businesses. There will also be refreshments and crafts. Entertainment by local groups and individuals will take place throughout the day. 
For more information, call the park at 843-237-4440. Huntington Beach State Park is located at
16148 Ocean Highway, Murrells Inlet.

Breakfast with Santa
Saturday, Dec. 7, from 9 and 10 a.m.
Children and parents will have the opportunity to have breakfast with Santa at Graham’s Landing On Front, located at 925 Front St. in downtown Georgetown. The event will be held Saturday, Dec. 7, with seatings at 9 and 10 a.m. Tickets are $10 per person and include breakfast, crafts, and photos with Santa. (There is no admission charge for children under 3.)
Proceeds from this event benefit Miss Ruby’s Kids, a reading and mentoring program for children. For more information, call 843-436-7197, or visit

Pancakes and PJs with Santa
Saturday, Dec. 7, from 8-10 a.m.
Children and parents are invited to enjoy breakfast and ornament making with Santa from 8-10 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7, at Rollin Local during an event called “Pancakes and PJs with Santa.” Tickets are $14.95 per child and include pancakes, bacon, sausage, fruit cup, and milk or juice, as well as photos with Santa and a Christmas ornament craft workshop.
Rollin Local owner Jamie Finley said this is the second year for the event at Rollin Local and children are encouraged to come dressed in their favorite pajamas.
“It is a great new family tradition,” she said. “It’s a fun event. I love it.”

Christmas Parade, Lighted Boat Parade & Tree Lighting
Saturday, Dec. 7, at 11 a.m.
Three major Christmas events happen in Georgetown Dec. 7.
The Georgetown Christmas Parade, held along Front Street, downtown, on Saturday, Dec. 7, takes place at 11 a.m. and features floats and entries from local nonprofit groups, school bands and sports teams, community businesses and more.
This holiday parade, which is a joint effort between the Georgetown Business Association and the City of Georgetown, is a fantastic event to spread holiday cheer and get everyone in the spirit of giving. For more information or to enter the parade, call 843-527-8413.
That evening, the Christmas Lighted Boat Parade takes place at 6 p.m. It provides a spectacular display of holiday lights on boats in the Georgetown Harbor, along the Harborwalk in downtown Georgetown. All boats in the parade are lit up and many are playing festive holiday music as they cruise by spectators. Prizes are awarded for Best Crew and Best in Show.
Following the Lighted Boat Parade, attendees can witness the lighting of the city’s Christmas tree at Francis Marion Park. Each of these events is a joint effort between the GBA and the City of Georgetown. For more information or to enter the parade, call 843-546-8212.

Town of Andrews Christmas Celebration 
Sunday, Dec. 8, from 3 – 6 p.m., Main Street 
Celebrate the holiday season in the town of Andrews with a parade, arts-and-crafts vendors, Santa, food vendors, a tree lighting and more. The parade starts at 3 p.m. The tree lighting is at 5:30 p.m. Vendors and parade participants may apply at Andrews Town Hall by Dec. 2. 
For more information, call 843-264-8666.

Murrells Inlet
Murrells Inlet 
Christmas Parade  
Saturday, Dec. 8, at 3 p.m.  
Along U.S. Highway 17 Business 
Join Murrells Inlet 2020 and the rest of the community for its staple event of the season, the Murrells Inlet Christmas Parade. The parade starts at 3 p.m. at Wilcox Avenue and travels down Highway 17 Business until it ends at Wachesaw Road. The feature of the parade is the grand finale º Santa and Mrs. Claus!

Singing Christmas Tree at First Baptist Church

Friday-Monday, Dec. 13-16
This year marks the 30th anniversary of The Singing Christmas Tree at First Baptist Church in Georgetown. The Christmas concert will be held for four days: from Friday, Dec. 13, through Monday, Dec. 16, and will feature a 75-voice choir singing in a 23-foot Christmas tree and accompanied by a live instrumental ensemble. There will also be a live drama of the Christmas story.
The 2019 Singing Christmas Tree opens on Friday, Dec. 13, at 7 p.m. On Saturday, Dec. 14, performances are at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.; and on Sunday, Dec. 15, and Monday, Dec. 16, shows are at 7 p.m. For evening performances, prelude concerts featuring local artists will be presented at 6:15 p.m., followed by the tree performance at 7 p.m.
First Baptist Church is located at 219 Cleland St., Georgetown. For more information and to reserve seats, call 843-546-5187, or visit

Nightmare Before Christmas Kringle Krawl

Friday, Dec. 13, 5:30-10 p.m.
The Nightmare Before Christmas Kringle Krawl, organized by the Georgetown Business Association, provides participants with an opportunity to visit Krawl-participating restaurants and businesses that offer prizes and fun.
Participants buy a $10 entry lanyard at Baxter’s Brewhouse Inn from 4:30–6 p.m. and hit each location, make a purchase, and at the end of the night meet for a party at Castaway’s Bar and Grill, where there will be a costume contest, a Best Drink contest and cash drawings. 
Along the way, there will be drink specials, giveaways and more! Other locations include the Big Tuna, Rollin Local, Graham’s Landing on Front, River Room, Alfresco Bistro, Root and Buzz’s Roost.
Baxter’s Brewhouse Inn is located at 824 Prince St. in Georgetown. For more information, call 843-997-4812.

Yuletide Tour of Homes
Saturday, Dec. 14, from 1-5 p.m.
The Yuletide Tour of Homes, an annual fundraising event organized by the Friends of the Georgetown Library, will be held on Saturday, Dec. 14, from 1-5 p.m. in downtown Georgetown.
Participants on this self-guided tour will see beautiful historic homes and houses of worship, all decked out in holiday finery – everything from festive mantels, garland-draped staircases, impeccably decorated trees, colorful lights and candles, and much more. 
A Santa Shop at the library at 405 Cleland St. will offer local, original crafts including shell art, jewelry and ceramics. Proceeds from the tour support children and youth programs at Georgetown County libraries. Tickets are $20 for Friends of the Library members and $25 for non-members. Proceeds benefit the Friends of the Georgetown Library programs.
For more information, call 843-545-3303, or visit

Strand Theater — Meet Santa and See The Grinch
Saturday, Dec. 14, from 9 a.m.-noon

The Strand Theater on Front Street in historic Georgetown will present a “sensory-friendly” event geared to children with autism. The event will feature a visit from Santa and a showing of the movie, “Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch.” “Sensory-Friendly” means lights up, sounds down and everyone is welcome to move around. Threater doors open at 9 a.m. and the movie starts at 10 a.m. Please note the Strand Theater does not allow any food or drinks. The event is free for Champion Autism Network cardholders. The Strand Theater is located at 710 Front St.

Pawleys Island
Christmas Concert
Pawleys Island Community Church 
Tuesday, Dec. 17, from 7 – 8:30 p.m.
The 16th Seasonal Formal Holiday Concert of The Pawleys Island Concert Band is free and open to the public. The Pawleys Island Concert Band is an open community band located in Pawleys Island. The group rehearses in Murrells Inlet and performs throughout the area.
The church is located at 9967 Ocean Highway, Pawleys Island.

Murrells Inlet
Tuba Christmas
Murrells Inlet Presbyterian Church
Saturday, Dec. 21, from noon – 1 p.m.
Come experience a Tuba Christmas, hosted by the Pawleys Island Concert Band. Audience admission is free and open to the public. Donations to the Harvey Phillips Foundation are requested. 
All members of the tuba family are invited to participate. Participant registration is $10. Tuba Christmas music will be available for purchase.  
Contact for registration information. The church is located at 4499 U.S. Highway 17 Bypass S., Murrells Inlet.

For more information about these and other events here in Georgetown County — “South Carolina’s Hammock Coast — call the Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce at 843-546-8436.

Community celebrates opening of West End Heritage Center in Georgetown

Georgetown Mayor Brendon Barber, left, stands with visitors of the West End Heritage Center in Georgetown as they watch a video interview discussing the history of the area. (Photo by Clayton Stairs)

By Clayton Stairs
Tourism Manager
Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce/Discover Georgetown

After sitting vacant for more than a decade, a building in the heart of Georgetown’s West End will now serve as a place to celebrate the history and champions of that community, while also providing educational programs.

Dozens gathered Aug. 20 for a reception and grand-opening ceremony for the new West End Heritage Center at 1610 Hawkins St. The event was hosted by the Howard High School Alumni Association, Habitat for Humanity Georgetown County and the City of Georgetown, which all had partnered for renovations, fact-finding and creating displays to bring the center back to life.

The center features photographs and videos of many of the community’s notable citizens, as well as memorabilia from Howard High School and the West End community.

Howard High School Alumni Association member Viola Holmes-Greene, left, gets a hug from Harold Jean Brown, who is the state human affairs commissioner. (Photo by Clayton Stairs)

“We have been trying so long to get this building together and make it presentable.” said Janette Becoate-Graham, president of the HHSAA, which owns the building. “It has just been tremendous how the community has come together to finally open this center.”

The building was previously called the Dreamkeepers Center, which was owned by the Committee for African-American History Observances. Before that, it served as a kitchen and band room for the former Howard High School, Georgetown’s black high school during the years of segregation in the second half of the 20th century.

Marilyn Hemingway, president of the Gullah-Geechee Chamber of Commerce, is a former director of CAAHO. She said opening the heritage center will be the beginning of wonderful things happening in the West End.

“It will allow more people to understand the significance of this community’s history,” she said. “This is a good example of a community doing for itself and turning things around.”

Three of the champions of the West End, whose photos are featured on the center’s walls are state Rep. Carl Anderson Sr., Georgetown County Clerk of Court Alma White and Georgetown Mayor Brendon Barber. Also present at the event were other influential African-Americans of Georgetown County, including Georgetown County School Board member Randy Walker, City Councilmember Sheldon Butts, County Council members Lillie Jean Johnson and Everette Carolina, and State Human Affairs Commissioner Harold Jean Brown.

State Rep. Carl Anderson Sr., who grew up in the West End community of Georgetown, stands proudly with his photograph displayed on the Community Leaders wall at the newly opened West End Heritage Center. (Photo by Clayton Stairs)

“Today is a great day for Georgetown and the West End,” said Anderson, who was raised on Gilbert Street. “I applaud the committee and the community for making this possible.”

White, who is also a West End native, said she is proud to be one of the people featured on the center’s Community Leaders wall.

“I had the opportunity to grow up in this community and I’m a product of the West End,” she said. “This is the kind of recognition that most people don’t receive until they have passed away, so I am honored to be part of this.”

Barber, who is Georgetown’s first black mayor, told the crowd gathered for the center’s opening that he’s a “Howard High School brat” who can still sing the school’s alma mater. He thanked the HHSAA for creating this center that will “serve as the foundation of the West End community.”

“This (building) has such a purpose, a meaning with this particular community,” the mayor said. “With partnership, with love and passion for community, this center could be the start of what we need to do, not only in this state, but the rest of the country.”

Project coordinator Julie Emory, who is a Coastal Carolina University graduate in the Georgetown RISE Internship Program, and Laura Gassler, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Georgetown County, were also on hand to thank everyone involved and urge people to be a part of the center’s future.

Laura Gassler, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Georgetown County, and project coordinator Julie Emory, who is a Coastal Carolina University graduate in the Georgetown RISE Internship Program, stand with Georgetown Mayor Brendon Barber as he speaks about the center opening. (Photo by Clayton Stairs)

“This is just one successful example of how the community came together to bring the heart back to the West End,” Emory said. “There is so much history here, and we are really only at this point touching on the surface.”

Looking around the center, Gassler said she was amazed it had only been three months since the start of the project. She said she contacted the alumni association after deciding to help revitalize the West End community as part of Habitat’s international mission of neighborhood revitalization.

“I want to thank the Howard High School Alumni Association for allowing Habitat for Humanity to be part of this project and having faith we could pull it off in three months,” Gassler said. “I hope that the former Howard students, alumni and graduates, and community residents enjoy what you are seeing here.”

She said there were several stores that donated product or gave discounts for the West End Heritage Center project, including the Habitat Restore, J&S Carpet and Baker Glass.

“This whole project was a community effort. Everyone came together,” Gassler said. “I just want you to know we are not stopping here.”

The HHSAA is asking the community for donations to continue adding to the center, including kitchen appliances, bathrooms, meeting room equipment and repairs, desks for the office and classroom, landscaping, a permanent sign, lighting, window repairs and more.

The West End Heritage Center was dedicated on Aug. 20.

Plans for the center include after-school homework help for students, college life workshops, game nights, Black History Month celebrations, and back-in-the-day West End and Howard High School storytelling. Also planned are classes for healthy eating and living, gardening, anti-bullying, basket weaving, Gullah language, dancing, Spanish and basic computer coding.

“Everyone here has a worthy story to share, so I want everyone here, whether you want to give to the museum and tell us about your story about what you went through, or if you’re on the outside just now learning about the champions of the West End, we want to hear you,” Emory said during the ceremony. “If you want to share anything that you don’t think we’ve covered at the center, tell Janette or myself, because we are only going to grow and get bigger from here.”

Anyone who would like to donate or contribute yearbooks, photographs or an interview for the center, can contact Janette Becoate-Graham by email at, Julie Emory by email at, or call 843-546-5685, ext 2.

Georgetown Nabs A Top Ranking in USA Today’s Annual “Best Coastal Small Town” Contest

Historic Front Street in Georgetown is illuminated by a double-rainbow. USA Today and has once again named Georgetown one of America’s Best Coastal Small Towns. (Photo Courtesy of Mark Roberts)

Once again, historic Georgetown has earned one of the top spots in an annual USA Today/10Best readers contest to determine America’s “Best Coastal Small Town.”

Top finishers were announced by USA Today this morning, and Georgetown, a working waterfront community, finished in fourth place.

Georgetown, which took first place in the “Best Coastal Small Town” contest in 2018, was matched this year against 19 other communities. All the 2019 nominated communities, tapped from 17 states, are near major bodies of water, ranging from the Great Lakes and the Gulf Coast to the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. 

Sandusky, Ohio, took the top spot in this year’s contest, followed by Rockport, Texas, Chincoteague, Virginia, and Georgetown. To see the full list of top finishers, go here: Best Coastal Small Town Finalists. In announcing its Top 10 list, USA Today and 10Best said: “Move over L.A., Miami and Honolulu! Our 10 winners for Best Coastal Small Town – each with a population of fewer than 25,000 people as of the last census – offer uncrowded, unpretentious and affordable seaside fun in small packages.”

Nominations were announced April 8, and communities across the nation had the opportunity to vote every day through noon on May 6 for their choice for America’s “Best Coastal Small Town.” In announcing Georgetown as a nominee once again, the contest said Georgetown “is what Charleston used to be – 200-year-old homes (more than Charleston, in fact) … lots of Southern charm and none of the crowds.”

Georgetown, which is South Carolina’s third oldest city, boasts a thriving waterfront historic district along Front Street, which features the popular Harborwalk, myriad restaurants and shops, as well as five museums. Residents and visitors enjoy the opportunity to partake in Georgetown’s shopping, dining and rich history. The Sampit River links the town with the Intracoastal Waterway and Atlantic Ocean, providing stunning natural beauty.

“It’s an honor to be named among America’s best coastal small towns once again,” said Mark A. Stevens, director of tourism development for the Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce. “The results of the vote are a reflection on Georgetown’s abundant charm and the area’s appeal for residents, vacationers and retirees.

“We appreciate that USA Today made Georgetown a part of its 10Best readers contest again, but, most of all, we thank everyone who diligently voted every day to help Georgetown, once again, rank among the very best in the nation.”

Georgetown is one of six communities that make up South Carolina’s Hammock Coast, joining Garden City, Murrells Inlet, Litchfield, Pawleys Island and Andrews.

For more information on the Hammock Coast, go to For more on living in Georgetown, go to

Nominees for the “Best Coastal Small Town” contest were chosen by a panel of experts made up of editors from USA Today; editors from; and relevant expert contributors. All voting was digital and the 10Best Readers’ Choice Award contest is accessible on the website.





About South Carolina’s Hammock Coast

Georgetown County’s casual charm and Southern hospitality earned it the nickname Hammock Coast. Adventure and relaxation blend together in perfect harmony, like the flowing and ebbing of waves on the county’s famed beaches. With six communities – Garden City, Murrells Inlet, Litchfield, Pawleys Island, Georgetown and Andrews – comprising the pristine coastal area between Myrtle Beach and Charleston, visitors can experience South Carolina’s Hammock Coast like never before.

Georgetown, named one of America’s Best Coastal Small Towns two years in a row, offers an abundance of accommodations for guests, including hotels and cozy bed and breakfasts. Georgetown marinas welcome boaters from around the globe.

For more information about Georgetown and the Hammock Coast, visit

Hammock Coast beaches dominate Southern Living’s list Of South Carolina’s best

Huntington Beach State Park in Murrells Inlet is one of three Georgetown County beaches to make Southern Living’s list of 7 best beaches in South Carolina. Other Georgetown County beaches along South Carolina’s Hammock Coast making the list include DeBordieu and Pawleys Island. (Photo by Mark A. Stevens)

Georgetown, S.C. — Southern Living, one of the most respected names in lifestyle journalism, has unveiled its list of “7 South Carolina Beaches Perfect for a Relaxing Lowcountry Getaway,” and Georgetown County’s Hammock Coast dominated the list of the Palmetto State’s best. 

In fact, three of the seven South Carolina beaches – Pawleys Island, DeBordieu and Huntington Beach State Park – featured in the Southern Living article are located along the Hammock Coast.

Robert Bilsky snapped this stunning photo of the beach on Pawleys Island.

Pawleys Island, which is just one square mile in size, is long on beauty. The barrier island is almost devoid of commercial business, enhancing its stunning natural scenery. 

Located in Murrells Inlet, Huntington Beach State Park is home to the best-preserved stretch of beach along the South Carolina coast, and visitors get to enjoy one of the state’s best parks, too.

Southern Living said of DeBordieu, “One of the best-kept secrets along the South Carolina coast, DeBordieu is a tucked-away community that teases visitors with the ultimate natural escape.”

“We have long believed the beaches of the Hammock Coast to be South Carolina’s best, and it’s certainly gratifying to receive this type of recognition from Southern Living,” said Mark A. Stevens, director of tourism development for the Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce. “With the summer season on the horizon, we can’t wait to welcome vacationers in search of a beach that is as beautiful as it is relaxing.”

The beach along DeBordieu Colony in Georgetown County was included in a list of 7 best beaches in South Carolina by Southern Living. (Photo from

South Carolina’s Hammock Coast may not receive the notoriety of its neighbors – Charleston to the south and Myrtle Beach to the north – but savvy travelers have long been aware of the destination’s considerable charms. 

Composed of five seaside communities, Garden City, Murrells Inlet, Litchfield, Pawleys Island and Georgetown, as well as the inland town of Andrews, the Hammock Coast is an oasis for vacationers in search of a relaxing destination, eco-activities and superior dining. 

For more information, visit

Shelling is a favorite pastime on the beaches that make up South Carolina’s Hammock Coast in Georgetown County. (Photo by Mark A. Stevens)

About South Carolina’s Hammock Coast

Georgetown County’s casual charm and Southern hospitality earned it the nickname Hammock Coast. Adventure and relaxation blend together in perfect harmony, like the flowing and ebbing of waves on the county’s famed beaches. With six communities – Garden City, Murrells Inlet, Litchfield, Pawleys Island, Georgetown and Andrews – comprising the pristine coastal area between Myrtle Beach and Charleston, you can experience South Carolina’s Hammock Coast like never before.

Georgetown County offers an abundance of accommodations for guests, including beachfront homes and condos, hotels, cozy bed and breakfasts and camping. No matter where you stay along the Hammock Coast, the area’s stunning natural beauty is never far away.

Georgetown hooked on Bassmaster Elite – again!

When Stetson Blaylock of Arkansas heard that he won first place in the Bassmaster Elite Series Professional Fishing Tournament in Georgetown Sunday, he jumped three feet in the air.

He said before his weigh-in at the Carroll Campbell Marine Complex that the title would come down to ounces, and he was fine with coming in second place. But it was obvious that he was hoping for more.

“I lost so many fish this week,” he said as he accepted the trophy. “I don’t have any words.”

Stetson Blaylock cheers after his first-place win in the Bassmaster Elite Series tournament. At left are his wife, Lindsey, his son, Kei, 6 and his daughter, Linnie, 3. (Photo by Clayton Stairs)

The third-year Elite Series pro, who was in first place at the beginning of the day Sunday, tallied a four-day total of 50 pounds, 15 ounces during the tournament. Blaylock won the title, the trophy and the $100,000 prize with a Championship Sunday limit of five bass that together weighed 9 pounds, 3 ounces, according to the official leader board on the website.

The second-place winner, Scott Canterbury, pulled in a combined weight of 50 pounds, 6 ounces, and won the Pheonix Boat Big Bass Award for a 6-pound, 1-ounce fish.

The second-place winner, Scott Canterbury, who pulled in a combined weight of 50 pounds, 6 ounces during the competition, holds up his Sunday catch for the crowd. He also won the Pheonix Boat Big Bass Award for a 6-pound, 1-ounce fish. (Photo by Clayton Stairs)

Georgetown County Administrator Sel Hemingway, who served as the main host for the four-day event, presented Blaylock with a Pawleys Island Rope Hammock as a gift from the county. He credited the Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce, and its president and CEO, Beth Stedman, for making the hammock available.

“These hammocks were originated here in Georgetown County in the 1800s  and still today, the design is used for the manufacturing of them,” Hemingway said prior to the weigh-in. “I think this is a good symbolic gift to the winner to make them remember Georgetown and not only come back to fish, but come retire here and lay in the hammock.”

Hemingway said several county departments made the partnership with B.A.S.S. and the Bassmaster Tournament a success.

“It’s the city, the county, the whole community, but most importantly it is you guys,” he said Sunday to the large crowd of Bassmaster fans, both local and from out of town.  “I know there is a lot of competition for your time and we have had threats of weather … but to see you here today and yesterday is a great testament to show that you want these folks to be here.”

Jason Williamson, who came in fourth place in the tournament, holds up a large bass he caught Sunday. (Photo by Clayton Stairs)

Eric Lopez, director of operations for B.A.S.S., explained that the Bassmaster Elite Series, founded in 2006, is the highest level of professional bass fishing tournaments. It is broadcast around the world by ESPN and live streams of fishing action are available on

“This is a true qualifying series,” he said. “People have to qualify; it is not an invitational, so you have to establish yourself to prove you’re the best in the world.”

Competitors must qualify for the series through the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens or the B.A.S.S. Nation, and anglers who are already on the Elite Series must re-qualify each year by maintaining enough points throughout the season. Pro anglers compete all season for the opportunity to win points toward the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year award and to qualify for the Bassmaster Classic.

Lopez said officials were glad to bring the fishing tournament to the Georgetown area once again.

“It means a lot to us to be able to bring B.A.S.S. to all the fans,” Lopez said. “We have a lot of fans in South Carolina, and we want to make sure that they are able to enjoy the (tournaments). At the same time, we like exposing the anglers to different bodies of water.”

He said he values the relationship between B.A.S.S. and Georgetown County. “We have a great relationship with the county, specifically Sel Hemingway,” Lopez said, adding that it was a good idea to combine this event with the Winyah Bay Heritage Festival. “That’s what we look for in a partner,” Lopez said.

The crowd cheers for the anglers during the Bassmaster weigh-in Sunday in Georgetown. (Photo by Clayton Stairs)

Attendees of the Bassmaster event in Georgetown said they enjoyed being part of the action. Burke Lester and Nicole Wilson of Sumpter said they enjoyed all of the vendors and they bought some new Huk shirts which are designed to stay dry and protect from sunburn.

Lester said he was looking forward to the weigh-in to determine the champion of the tournament.

“I just like the platform and everything, seeing up-and-coming guys get their chance up on the big stage, and on ESPN,” Lester said. “The town of Georgetown is doing an amazing job.”

Chris Cooper of Conway was sitting close to the front with Donna Wade of Georgetown and her son, Charlie. Cooper said this was their first Bassmaster weigh-in and they wanted to be upclose.

“I want to see them ride in here close and see the fish,” he said. “These are rivers that I fish, so I want to see what they are pulling out of there, compared to mine.”

Captain Mike McDonald, a fishing guide and owner of  Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown, said he likes everything about the event. “It helps the economy of Georgetown and puts Georgetown on the map,” he said. “This area has been one of the best fisheries around and Bassmaster is the creme de la creme in fishing.”

— Story by Clayton Stairs of Pawleys Island.

Georgetown County Administrator Sel Hemingway hands out towels to audience members. He urged the crowd to be as “loud and crazy” as possible. (Photo by Clayton Stairs)
Chris Cooper of Conway was sitting close to the front with Donna Wade of Georgetown and her son, Charlie, during the Bassmaster Elite Series weigh-in. (Photo by Clayton Stairs)
Georgetown County Administrator Sel Hemingway, right, presents Blaylock with a Pawleys Island Rope Hammock as a gift from the county. (Photo by Clayton Stairs)
A jump for joy! Stetson Blaylock jumps in the air after hearing that he won first place in the Bassmaster Elite Series tournament by 9 ounces. (Photo by Clayton Stairs)

To learn more about the Bassmasters series, go to

Winyah Bay Heritage Festival, Bassmasters Elite Series draw big crowds to Georgetown Saturday

Melanie Pipkens and Kellye Duvilla, wives of Bassmaster fishermen, take time to show their adoration for a puppy from St. Frances Animal Center of Georgetown. (Photo by Clayton Stairs)

Duck calling, sheep herding and retriever demonstrations.

A magic show.

Thirty-five arts-and-crafts vendors.

All of the above were among the highlights as the Winyah Bay Heritage Festival kicked off Saturday in Georgetown.

Many Georgetown County residents who love the outdoors, as well as people from out of the area, descended upon Georgetown for the event on Saturday.

It is being held in conjunction with the Bassmaster Elite Fishing Tournament, also being held at the marine complex, and a country music concert with Jason Michael Carroll, held Saturday on Front Street and sponsored by the Georgetown Business Association.

Another day of fun is slated for Sunday, with a South Carolina Duck Calling Championship and the Bassmasters Championship as the main events.

Georgetown County spokeswoman Jackie Broach said the events have already drawn a record turnout.

“This is predicted to have an economic impact of over $1 million for the county,” Broach said. “It draws a lot of visitors, and there is a lot to see and do. It is a wonderful thing for our county on so many levels.”

Kayla Palaniuk of Idaho, Melanie Pipkens of Michigan and Kellye Duvilla of New Jersey were giving love to a black Labrador puppy from St. Frances Animal Center during the event. They were in town to support their husbands who were fishing in the tournament, but the men were cut before Saturday when the top 35 were named.

“We have enjoyed the whole event, especially all of the great vendors,”  Palaniuk said. “It is good to see the town come together to put on a show for everyone.”

Stephanie Cissa of Georgetown, who was with her 11-year-old daughter, Ella, agreed. “My favorite thing is that it brings the community together,” Cissa said. “It spotlights our town and our county.”

Michael Sprouse and his son Will, 5, from Gaffney, take a look at one of the boats on display during the Winyah Bay Heritage Festival. (Photo by Clayton Stairs)

Shannon Thompson of Tega Cay was visiting her mother, Tammy Morales, who lives in Georgetown. The wide variety of activities drew Thompson and her family to the festival. Morales said she enjoys the event every year.

“It promotes a lot for Georgetown,” she said. “I love all the vendors and booths.”

Andrews resident Gracyn Reeves, who was one of the local vendors at the event, was showcasing her wooden bead necklaces. Her mother, Christy Reeves, was there with her for support.

Gracyn said she started making the necklaces for fun and posted photos of some on her Facebook page. Soon, though, it had turned into something bigger.

“Everyone went crazy over them, and I said, ‘Hey, I can make a job out of this’,” Gracyn said. The festival and Bassmasters tournament conclude Sunday.

— Story by Clayton Stairs

New Hammock Coast residents discover new favorite at expo: shrimp and grits

Theresa Leake, left, and Sandra Inman, right, taste a sample of shrimp and grits. They both said this was their first time eating the Lowcountry favorite. (Photo by Clayton Stairs)










Sandra Inman and Theresa Leake recently moved to the Hammock Coast, so when they saw a promotion for the annual Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce Business and Community Expo, they decided to check it out.

They’re glad they did!

Attending the expo, they both agreed, was a great way to learn about the region they now call home.

Inman and Leake also decided to sample some shrimp and grits, which was an unfamiliar cuisine to them. Luckily, the Lowcountry favorite was the culinary delight featured as part of the Expo’s special cook-off event.

Both parts of the night – the expo and the tasty shrimp and grits, which was prepared by eight competing teams – met with approval from the new Hammock Coast residents.

“This whole experience is new for us,” Leake said, “and we enjoyed it!”

Hundreds more plucked down $1 each for delicious samples of shrimp and grits. The expo, which featured more than 50 local business exhibitors, and the cook-off were held jointly in the Pawleys Plantation Conference Center Thursday, April 11.

Cook-off winners were Morningside of Georgetown, which took the Judges’ Choice Award, and The Lakes at Litchfield, which won the People’s Choice Award.

Other teams competing represented local restaurants and caterers. They were Hanser House, Bagel Café and Southern Comforts, all of Pawleys Island; Wedgefield Plantation and Hopsewee Plantation, both of Georgetown; and Drunken Jack’s of Murrells Inlet.


Theresa Leake, left, and Sandra Inman are served shrimp and grits from Drunken Jack’s Restaurant in Murrells Inlet. (Photo by Clayton Stairs)










Chamber President and CEO Beth Stedman personally delivered steaming samples of each entry to the judging panel, which consisted of Trey Paul, anchor for WPDE ABC 15, Charles Swenson, editor of the Coastal Observer newspaper, Jamie Sanderson of Georgetown Foodland, and Corinna Whitehead with Carolina Food Tours.

Stedman said it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that the two winners were both from assisted-living centers. After all, she said, the centers are often praised for exceptional dining.

“We know our area has become very popular as a retirement community, and this might give people an idea why,” she said of the winners’ culinary chops. “The food at these assisted-living centers is the tops.”

Staff members at Morningside of Georgetown said they were excited to win the Judges’ Choice Award. Renee Reed, lead cook, and Danasha Anderson, cook, who created the winning recipe with Head Chef Victoria Carroll Williams, said they were just having fun.

Reed was hesitant to share the secrets of their award-winning shrimp and grits, but she did share some insight. “It is all about love and dedication,” she said. “One thing that is very important is heavy cream. That is one secret.”

Michael Keough, director of dining services at The Lakes at Litchfield in Pawleys Island, said he was glad everybody enjoyed his shrimp-and-grits recipe, which featured a creamy mixture of shrimp, vegetables and, of course, grits.

“They either loved my shrimp and grits or it was my boisterous personality that won it,” he said with a smile.

Greg Badgett, treasurer of the Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce board of directors, dons a chef’s hat and holds event props from Gray8 Link, a company that provides unique solutions for businesses. (Photo by Clayton Stairs)











Stedman said the turnout for the entire event was very good.

“The shrimp-and grits-cook-off contest,” she said, “helped bring in more people from the community who might not have attended Chamber events in the past. Hopefully, it gave them a chance to learn more about our local businesses.”

Attendees agreed, saying that the shrimp-and-grits theme was a great idea. Laura Wilson, who works in community relations at Tidelands Health, said the theme added a fun element to the normally business-themed event.

“Everyone is having a good time with the theme and everything is decorated beautifully,” she said.

Sherron Lane, who works at The Litchfield Company, agreed. “I didn’t realize that this many people wanted to come and eat shrimp and grits,” she said. “This is an amazing event.”


— Story by Clayton Stairs of Pawleys Island.




Winners announced in inaugural Business Expo Shrimp & Grits Cookoff

Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Beth Stedman, left, presented Morningside of Georgetown staff members Danasha Anderson, Renee Reed, Madeleine Glynn and Suette Mickel with the Judges’ Choice Award at Thursday’s Shrimp-and-Grits Cookoff, which was held as part of the annual Business and Community Expo. (Photo by Clayton Stairs)

By Mark A. Stevens
Director of Tourism Development,
Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce

It’s no small thing to win a Shrimp & Grits Cookoff in South Carolina, and two teams won big April 11 in the Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce’s Business & Community Expo inaugural Shrimp & Grits Cookoff.

As more than 50 exhibitors displayed goods and information during the three-hour expo, eight teams were busy cooking Southern staple shrimp and grits. Expo presenters and the public bought tickets to taste–and judge–what each of the eight teams had prepared.

Special judges selected the overall winner, and attendees cast ballots for the People’s Choice.

Chamber President and CEO Beth Stedman presented members of the Morningside of Georgetown staff with the Judges’ Choice Award. Morningside staff members Danasha Anderson (cook), Renee Reed (lead cook), Madeleine Glynn (sales and marketing director) and Suette Mickel (memory care coordinator) were responsible for the award-winning dish.

Michael Keough, director of dining services at The Lakes At Litchfield in Pawleys Island, accepts the People’s Choice Award from Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Beth Stedman. (Photo by Clayton Stairs)

Expo attendees cast ballots on who they thought had the night’s best dish, and, after all the votes were tallied, the People’s Choice went to Michael Keough, director of dining services at The Lakes At Litchfield in Pawleys Island.

Stedman presented Keoug with his award.

“We were so pleased with the great turnout tonight,” Stedman said, “and it’s clear from the number of tickets sold that attendees to our annual expo really enjoyed some great shrimp-and-grits dishes, too.”

Eight teams competed in the cookoff.

“The whole event was a great night for the community to come together to showcase their talents  – be it in business or services or, in the case of our cookoff, great culinary skills,” said Julie Dyer, the Chamber’s community engagement manager. “It was a fun event, and everyone seemed to have had a really great time.”

The 2019 Business and Community Expo’s presenting sponsor was the Georgetown Kraft Credit Union. The Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce staff hosted the event.

(Clayton Stairs contributed to this report.)



Fun on Foot on the Hammock Coast

Fun on Foot on the Hammock Coast
By Kimberly Duncan

Summer time equals beach time, right? Almost everyone daydreams about a seaside vacation during the year’s hottest months – which is an unarguably good time to head for the ocean’s edge. But think about this: consistently moderate weather makes outdoor activities as enjoyable in February as in July. Here are just a few suggestions for fun on foot in every season.

Of course, long beach walks are bliss. Whether on the beaches of Pawleys Island, Litchfield, Huntington Beach State Park or the long, white shoreline of Garden City, the water’s edge is Dieter2016-Fall-Vacationsuncrowded this time of year. The skies are bluer, and the air more crisp. Tuck a book in a bag and stroll to your heart’s content. Stop to read before heading back again. Naps encouraged.

The Murrells Inlet Marshwalk is a must. For more than a mile a wooden boardwalk, studded with informational signage about marsh wildlife and rich local history, meanders around the water’s edge. In addition to marvelous views, restaurants and bars along Marshview - 12-24-16 (2lbc)the way offer a mix of burgers, wood-fired pizza, a bit of sushi, thick steaks and lots and lots of fresh seafood.

A bit further south, Brookgreen Gardens is an extraordinary place for long walks, too. Sidewalks and footpaths weave in, out and around beautiful gardens studded with statuary. Tulips blooms first, dogwoods and then the azaleas. There’s an accredited zoo to amble through and a picnic area overlooking a serene little lake.

From Murrells Inlet through Pawleys Island, the Waccamaw Neck Bikeway – locals call it the “Bike Path” – is as much for walkers and joggers as for bike lovers. Whether for a quick jaunt or a daylong hike, a paved path weaves through beautiful scenery, and is fabulous in too many cyclistStops to Paintway to be described in short order. A map is available online at

Neither last nor least among places for a fine ramble is Downtown Georgetown. The city’s 220-acre Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Stroll past eighteenth century homes and a collection of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century commercial buildings. Don’t miss the Harborwalk that runs parallel to all restaurants, museums and shops on Front Street. (For a local tour guide, call Debby Summey at 843.446.4777 or by email at She’ll share details only a local would know!)

Once you arrive, visit Georgetown County’s Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center at 531 Front Street in Georgetown. Discover for yourself … a spring getaway on the SC coast is every bit as magical as any summer stint!

Brookgreen Gardens Opens New Gallery

As their tagline “Ever Changing, Simply Amazing” says, Brookgreen Gardens is always adding something new.

bgg_9587The new Naomi and Stanley Bleifeld Gallery recently opened to the public at Brookgreen Gardens. Located adjacent to the Mary Alice and Bennett Brown Sculpture Court, the gallery is open daily and showcases the work of historic and contemporary sculptors whose subjects are taken from the natural world.  Most prominent in the gallery are works of art by Stanley Bleifeld. Other artist works include Anna Hyatt Huntington, Sandy Scott, Walter Matia, Dan Ostermiller, Grainger McCoy, and numerous other important sculptors, past and present.

“The addition of the Bleifeld Gallery elevates Brookgreen’s status in the museum world and provides another indoor exhibit area to display some of our smaller and important pieces of art from our world class sculpture collection,” said Bob Jewell, President & CEO.  “Similar to the Offner Center, that opened several years ago, the Bleifeld Gallery was repurposed from an existing building that now has new life.”

The artwork of Stanley Bleifeld, given to Brookgreen Gardens by his widow, Naomi (“Nicky”), will be installed in the gallery by the end of January 2017.  Nicky Bleifeld also gave the lead gift to construct the gallery in his memory.  Although Stanley Bleifeld was renowned for his sculptures depicting the human figure, he was also known for his sculptures in the round and bas-reliefs depicting landscapes and ocean waves.  Brookgreen’s  Marine Relief on the exterior wall of the Jennewein Gallery is a prime example of Stanley’s genius in this subject matter.

Brookgreen Gardens, a National Historic Landmark and non-profit organization, is located on U.S. 17 between Murrells Inlet and Pawleys Island, South Carolina, and open to the public daily. For more information, visit their web site at or call 843-235-6000.

Hammock Coast Golf Scores Perfect Fall Escape

Hammock Coast Golf Scores Perfect Fall Escape

By Kimberly Duncan

Caledonia #8 green

#8 Green at Caledonia Plantation

By any measure, the cooler weather of Fall is a better-than-fine time for a seaside getaway. Crowds are thinning. Temperatures are more pleasant. Humidity drops. Skies dawn bluer. Hammock naps are more restful. Most locals will tell you this is their favorite time of year. Golf aficionados will tell you it’s the time of year that’s downright perfect. And it is.

Everyone knows Grand Strand beaches are a leading attraction for the Palmetto State. The southern end of the Grand Strand – including broad, beautiful beaches, five tidal rivers, a thousand creeks and the region’s rich store of history – is also without compare. Nonetheless – surprising as it may seem – it is the age-old game of golf that is the area’s number one year-round attraction. Golf, golf and more golf generates more tourism revenue than any other recreational activity in South Carolina.

Once experienced, avid golfers who taste this slice of paradise – known as SC’s Hammock Coast – are humbled by the prospects for a perfect golf vacation. The Hammock Coast is a finger shaped peninsula that stretches from the port city of Georgetown north toward Myrtle Beach to the fishing village of Murrells Inlet. In this piece that’s part of the greater Grand Strand Area (and one of the world’s most famous beach resorts), there is a collection of award-winning courses to rival any in America.

A collection of roughly a dozen professional layouts in this neck of the woods is known as The Waccamaw Golf Trail. Comprised of some of America’s most awarded courses, it’s a collection worth notice. Golf Magazine just unveiled its biennial list of the country’s “Top 100 You Can Play Courses” – a ranking of the nation’s best public-access courses – and two local layouts made the cut. As we say down South: “That ain’t for nothing.”

Caledonia Golf & Fish Club and True Blue Golf Club were included in the most recent prestigious line-up. Many, if not all, of the other Waccamaw Trail courses have received multiple rankings of honor in previous high-status listings. One more current example? The Myrtle Beach Area Golf Course Owners Association (MBAGCOA) recently announced the Litchfield Country Club as their 2016 Golf Course of the Year.

Litchfield Country Club, #2

Litchfield Country Club, #2

There are more details about each course well worth sharing. Google the courses we mentioned or short-cut (and expand!) your research and head to You can also call 888.293.7385.

Whether for golf or other extraordinary diversions like fine shopping and dining, historic attractions, fishing, sunning, beach-combing and long afternoon naps, there’s no better time or place than Autumn on SC’s Hammock Coast. For information about anything and everything the area has in store, accommodations to activities, visit Pull out your calendar, get the plan started and launch anticipation for the Best. Vacation. Ever.

Wooden Boat Show Celebrates 27th Year in Georgetown, SC

Wooden Boat Show Celebrates 27th Year in Georgetown, SC

Event Snagged Prestigious Awards
By Kimberly Duncan

Water-related and otherwise, the Hammock Coast possesses delights for every season in every year. Ocean, river, creeks and boats – and all requisite trappings – are central to the region’s history and traditions. And they’re central to the port city of Georgetown’s annual Wooden Boat Show, too. The Boot show pulls thousands to the southern end of SC’s Grand Strand – and there are as many residents as visitors among the happy crowd. When you live in one of the world’s most popular seaside locations, that’s the mark of an event that cannot be missed.

Always held on the third weekend of October, 2016 marks the Wooden Boat Show’s 27th year! Its place is secure as one of the port city’s finest fall pleasures and – given twenty-six years in the making – this year’s event will be better than ever. That’s no small feat as the two-day show has already won awards that include the Charles A. Bundy Award, SC Governor’s Conference on Tourism & Travel 2014 and the Southeast Tourism Society’s Top 20 Events for four consecutive years.

crowd at wooden boat showIt is appropriate that historic Georgetown – sometimes called “Little Charleston” – hosts this crazy popular event. Here in SC’s beloved Lowcountry, four rivers tumble into Winyah Bay and the Atlantic Ocean beyond. A fifth river enters the ocean just a tad south of Georgetown. There’s water, water everywhere, including hundreds of creeks, salt marsh habitats, cypress swamps, and old rice fields and canals.

The Harbor Historical Association of Georgetown will present the 27th Annual Wooden Boat Show on Saturday, October 15 and Sunday, October 16.  Admission is free! As always, this year’s show will showcase the Southeast’s – if not the nation’s! – most praised wooden boat exhibits. On land and water, there will be nearly 150 classic wooden boats on display. There will also be model boat building and knot tying classes (for kids) and lots of vendors with maritime arts, crafts, jewelry and music, too.

The Show’s most beloved attraction is Saturday’s Wooden Boat Challenge. Two-person teams race to build a rowing skiff within four hours. Then they test their boats for seaworthiness in a rousing relay on the Sampit River where crowds cheer from Georgetown’s Harborwalk. Cash prizes hang in the balance and competition is fierce – and fun!  georgetown wooden boat show boat building challenge

This year, for the first time, a new signature event – the Cardboard Boat Regatta – will be part of “Sunday at the Show.” Families, businesses, schools, youth groups, friends, and nonprofits are invited to design and build a boat from corrugated box material. Sky’s the limit. Using imagination (and perhaps Google), participants will create vessels from simple sailing crafts to stunning “ships” or plain vanilla rubber ducks. A Pride of the Fleet award will be bestowed to the vessel with the most innovative engineering and artistic design. There will be other awards for outstanding theme, team participation and crowd support. The dubious honor – the Titanic Ribbon – will be awarded for the most dramatic sinking.

Attendees are able to talk to wooden boat craftsmen, manufacturers and owners. Events and entertainment are scheduled on the waterfront and along Front Street in Historic Downtown Georgetown. Add great restaurants and shopping to the equation, and – for a day or a long weekend – it adds up to a fabulous fall getaway perfect for boaters, sportsmen, couples and grown-ups with kids in tow. Tons of fun any way you slice it!

For schedules and other important information, visit the website at or the event’s beneficiary, (The Maritime Museum is one of four must-see museums located Downtown and within walking distance one from another!) Here are links to  where to eat, where to stay and other trouble you might want to get into, 🙂


Music and More

Music & More is in the Air
26th Annual Pawleys Island Festival of Music & Art

If you’re looking for an excuse to escape to the Lowcountry as the cooler temperatures of fall approach, the Hammock Coast of SC has a foolproof plan in place. The 26th Annual Pawleys Island Festival of Music and Art (PIFMA) kicks off Saturday, September 24 along the shady streets of historic Georgetown, SC. From the 24th through October 15, expect to be impressed by a series of art-related and musical events that are both fun and culturally enriching.

Seaside Palette 2015The opening event is the Festival’s Fourth Annual Seaside Palette. Fifty+ artists from the Carolinas and beyond will pepper the port city – here, there and yonder – painting en plein air, a borrowed French phrase that means “in the open air.” And not just for fun! They’ll be competing for prizes in a judged competition. Fleshing out the day will be the Seventh Annual Chalk Walk, an all-day event followed by a Wet Paint Sale where attendees will have the opportunity to purchase the days’ artwork.  Performances by local dancers and “world music” by Healing Force will be held in Francis Marion Park on Front Street.

Georgetown’s Historic District will be hopping on that weekend, but there will be a plethora of music and art to be had a bit further north on the Grand Strand. Not affiliated with the Festival of Music & Art, the 40th Annual Atalaya Arts & Crafts Festival will be held Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 23 – 25, at Huntington Beach State Park near Murrells Inlet, SC’s Seafood Capital. This event is much-loved and much lauded and is attended by thousands every year. Surf to

At this “famous and forty” annual Arts & Crafts Festival, more than 100 fine artisans will display the fruit of their labor for sale. There are dozens of kinds of art – from handmade jewelry and intricate woodwork, to painting, photography, glass and more. The state park’s exquisite natural beauty and the magic of Atalaya, a very old, Spanish styled castle where Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington once lived and worked, is a very big added treat. (Atalaya is a story unto itself!) Along with fine art and crafts and delish food, some of the Lowcountry’s best musicians will strut their stuff, too.

But back to the Pawleys Island Festival of Music & Arts … There is an impressive list of musical BarrettBarberperformers scheduled throughout the four-week event.  Big names on the roster include Grammy Award winner, Peabo Bryson and NBC’s The Voice Finalist, Barrett Baber. From Big Band and Doo Wop to Classical, Jazz and Country, there’s a bit of everything to enjoy.

One of the Festival’s most popular affairs is the Pawleys Island Wine Gala. This year’s Gala on September 29th is the seventeenth annual! As always, there will be hors d’oeuvres, tastings of 100+ wines from vineyards around the globe, the opportunity to makes purchase at a discount and plenty of knowledgeable vintners on hand.

There’s just too much to tell in short order. Visit the website at for scads of additional info and the opportunity to purchase tickets in advance – since many events sell out early. You can also call 843.626.8911 to ask questions. The dates are surprisingly close!

The Hammock Coast has beaches and rivers, boardwalks and bike paths, gardens and history aplenty, and we’ve got culture to flaunt as well. Check out Planning a cool weather getaway on the southern end of SC’s Grand Strand is a surefire way to beat the summer heat. Investigate and let the anticipation begin!

by  Kimberly Duncan


Fun, Festivals and Beyond

Fun, Festivals & Beyond

By Kimberly Duncan

One-of-a-kind events, parades, exhibitions and all manner of merriment can be found along SC’s Hammock Coast the whole year through. The South Strand stretch of the Palmetto State’s famous Grand Strand is especially busy during warm weather, though, and that means the time is now for booking a vaca-getaway that will immortalize summer for couples-in-love, families with kids, fishermen, beach bums, golfers and history buffs.

Unique to the Murrells Inlet and Pawleys Island area, Brookgreen Garden’s Cool Summer Evenings are rightfully beloved and ballyhooed near and far. No other place or attraction offers anything like it and the limited time during which the experience is available makes June through early August a no miss proposition for a seasonal escape to SC.brookgreen gardens

In a nutshell, Brookgreen Gardens is nothing shy of a magnificent garden whose beauty has been enhanced in a thousand, often unexpected, ways. For a start, there are landscaped spaces, history exhibits, an accredited zoo and the nation’s largest outdoor sculpture collection. (More than 1400 works from the early 1800s to today are showcased!) There are boat rides, back-road overland excursions into private parts of the Gardens, and a butterfly house offered for a fee in addition to Garden admission. There’s much more to share so make a few minutes to surf to for scads of detail.

Free with regular park admission, the Cool Summer Evenings program takes place Wednesday, Thursday and Fridays through August 5 – during the long, lazy days of summer. During this special time, Brookgreen Gardens extends operating hours from 9 AM to 5 PM to 9 AM to 9 PM! Linger four hours longer for evening boat rides, live entertainment, and just-for-kids’ activities.

Come for dinner! The Pavilion Restaurant tucked under giant, old oaks is open until 7 PM on Wednesdays and Fridays. Or pack a picnic to enjoy at the Gardens’ designated Picnic Area
overlooking Jessamine Pond and another at the Native Wildlife Zoo. Afterward, enjoy beverages and snacks when you stick around for an impressive live music line-up of regional and local artists that include rock, jazz, country and Celtic. Go to to check out names and dates. Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets to performances that begin at 7 PM. (Sorry but no pets or outside alcohol.)

lego hummingbird

The Lowcountry Trail and Zoo and the Enchanted Storybook Forest – attractions unto themselves – close at 8 PM. The Children’s Discovery Room is open until 7 PM and has 30,000 LEGO® bricks available for kids to play with during their visit. A LEGO movie is shown at 6:30 PM in the Lowcountry Center Auditorium and Nature Connects Art with LEGO Bricks® will be open until 8 PM in the Zoo!

Thursdays are Family Nights. A Pirate’s Journey Along the Creeks takes shape aboard The pirate1_000 BrookgreenSpringfield, an uber-cool pontoon boat rides that sets sail at 5, 6, and 7 PM. At the journey’s end, kids get a pirate hat, a treasure map and they get to pick a keepsake coin from the on-board treasure chest. (Regular Creek Excursion tickets required.)

Of course, any time is a great time to visit SC’s Lowcountry but Brookgreen’s Cool Summer Evenings are especially perfect following a day of waterborne sun and fun on the Hammock Coast! Visit for information on anything and everything pertinent to this seaside strip of paradise, and visit for additional information on Cool Summer Evenings – a string of late day events that’s become a cherished annual tradition for locals and visitors alike.


Treat Your Sweetheart to a Hammock

Treat Your Sweetheart to a Hammock

Buy it on Your Hammock Coast Getaway!

By Kimberly Duncan

Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday this year, and that makes timing perfect for upping your romantic game with a long beach weekend on SC’s Hammock Coast. If you’re not familiar with this piece of paradise, it’s located on the south end of the Grand Strand, midway between the glitz of Myrtle Beach and the elegance of Charleston, SC. History, natural attractions, shopping, golf and great food abound.

Even if the weather’s brisk, it will be difficult to do everything you want. (Christmas found folks barefoot on the beach!) Trust the buzz, a cool weather getaway to the south end of SC’s Grand Strand will sweep your better half off her – or his – unsuspecting feet. Pick and choose from a wealth of options to fashion the most personal, most memorable getaway ever.

If you’re foodies, The Hammock Coast is a slice of Carolina Lowcountry you will remember as “Paradise Found.” From Murrells Inlet, the Seafood Capital of SC, to the historic port city of Georgetown, dozens upon dozens of restaurants run the gamut from predictable and beloved fresh seafood joints straight to elegant eateries with linen tablecloths and candlelight. Check out, and for a list of choices certain to earn a stolen kisses.

History buffs should buckle up for a wild ride. There are more than a fistful of museums, old plantations with preserved homes open for visiting, historic tours on boats and buses, splendid old churches and gardens steeped in the shade of live oaks older than this nation! A number of these historic gems are perfect for picnics – a quintessential romantic pastime.

If you love nature, you need do little more than look around. Beaches are long and lovely – and blissfully uncrowded this time of year. There’s an award-winning Bike Path from Murrells Inlet through Pawleys Island. There are deep-sea fishing opportunities and several state parks with maritime forest trails, bird watching tours and lots of additional programming. Five rivers and countless creeks provide opportunities for kayaking tours and fly fishing trips.

The Murrells Inlet Marshwalk weaves in and around expansive salt marshes that characterize the Inlet’s storied seafood village. In Georgetown, the Harborwalk meanders along the Sampit River’s edge. There are several marinas, numerous boat ramps and wildlife observation areas.

We’d be remiss not mentioning that at least twelve of America’s most lauded courses are located on the Waccamaw Neck –the Hammock Coast stretch of the Grand Strand – including three of “America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses,” seven ranked 4.5 stars in Golf Digest’s list of “Best Places to Play in America,” one classed in the “Top 25 in America” by Golf for Women, and one of only three five-star courses in the Southeast. Check out for a list of alternatives.


Skip the predictable chocolates and woo your Valentine with a sweet and sexy adventure. Ditch the chilly winter temperatures of the north for the moderate temps of the seaside paradise known as The Hammock Coast. If you love the ocean, shopping, golfing, hiking, biking, fishing, eating, or any combination thereof, this is a place you’ll return to again and again. Love is all around! There’s no time to waste! Check out the Hammock Coast to kick-start your romance.



Perfect Last Minute Gift


Perfect Last Minute Gift
Showcases Brookgreen Gardens

By Kimberly Duncan

 By any standard, Brookgreen Gardens is among the Southeast’s finest assets and easily qualifies as one America’s premier gardens. Located on SC’s Hammock Coast, the southernmost sliver of SC’s Grand Strand, the Gardens showcase history exhibits, boat tours, an accredited zoo populated with animals who can no longer survive in the wild and a sculpture collection of more than 1400 pieces – many of which are scattered among exquisitely landscaped outdoor spaces. And all that is just a beginning.

Founded in 1932 by Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington, art and nature join hands in this place; that was the Huntingtons’ goal. For nearly 85 years Brookgreen Gardens has been a spot for inspiration, refuge and retreat for tens of thousands. It is one of the few attractions in the United States to have earned accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums as well as being designated a National Historic Landmark and listed on the Register of National Historic Places.

When professional photographer Anne Swift Malarich began roaming the gardens in 1997 with her young son in a stroller and a camera at the ready, she launched a pictorial tribute to Brookgreen Gardens. From among the 10,000 photos shot annually, those showcased in this newly published hard cover book – Brookgreen Gardens: Through the Seasons in Images and Words – are nothing short of staggeringly beautiful.

The book also features carefully vetted prose and poetry by volunteers, staff and members of the community. Organized by season, photographs and poems are book-ended with essays by Robin Salmon, Vice President of Art & Historical Collections and Curator of Sculpture for Brookgreen Gardens for the past forty years.
The concept for this book has been surpassed by its reality. In the words of Ms. Salmon.

“… scores of visitors through the years have been soothed, inspired, and rejuvenated by the magical wellspring that is Brookgreen Gardens. A walk in the sculpture gardens takes away worries and fears … And now, inspired by her beauty and tranquility, those closely connected to her have penned their tributes to the muses of Brookgreen.”

For Christmas or any occasion, there is no more perfect gift than this stunning new book. It’s perfect for all ages and especially for anyone who appreciates nature and art. And, if you act quickly, there may still be time to have copies shipped in time for the holiday!

Preview a brief video about the book at Order online at or call Keepsakes, Brookgreen’s gift shop, at 843.235.6038 or 800.849.1931. Questions welcome!

Find your treasure at Atalaya Arts and Crafts Festival

Famous Event Ushers Fall to the Lowcountry
Atalaya Arts & Crafts Festival

by Kimberly Duncan

Parades, festivals, expos and all manner of merriment can be found all along Georgetown County’s Hammock Coast, and SC’s greater Grand Strand, the whole year through. The greater Myrtle Beach Area and its beautiful beaches were once considered a summer-only vacation destination, but that detail has changed in a very big way. There’s always something to keep residents and guests gratified, and the weather’s so mild there’s fun every day, all the time. Not surprisingly, that’s a detail that lures lots of savvy tourists, many of whom return year after year.

Atalaya Arts and Crafts festival for webNo Hammock Coast calendar would be complete without mention of the annual Atalaya Arts and Crafts Festival at Huntington Beach State Park, located between Murrells Inlet and Pawleys Island. This highly acclaimed event has received consistent praise through four decades. In fact, 2015 marks its fortieth anniversary! Enjoy fine art displays, delicious cuisine, and the musical talents of popular area musicians. There’s so much for sale – paintings, jewelry, wood work, sculpture, photography, crafts of every kind and style – it’s prudent to plan to stick around for a nice, long spell. More than 100 fine artisans are featured – many on hand and happy to chat!

There’s much to know and anticipate about the Festival, not the least of which is its backdrop. The sheer natural beauty of the Huntington Beach State Park is stunning. It’s one of the East Atalaya CourtyardCoast’s best-loved beaches (and birdwatching sights). It is also home to a salt marsh teeming with wildlife, an age-old maritime forest, a campground, visitor center with fun exhibits, lots of trails and more. Perhaps best of all, it’s home to Atalaya – (pronounced “at-a-lie-a”) – a Spanish inspired castle that once served as the winter residence and studio of American sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington. Atalaya is literally a story all its own.

HBSP - 05-25-13 (47x)It’s arguable but definitely possible that Huntington Beach State Park’s beauty is at its best during the year’s cooler months. Shoulder seasons make for great beach vacations. The pace is slower. The crowds are smaller. Every outdoor activity is pleasant. Prices are often more competitive, too. This year, plan a visit during the Atalaya Arts and Crafts Festival and discover your own Best. Vacation. Ever.

For details about the Festival, call 803-734-0767 or visit For more information on the Park and Atalaya, call 843-237-4440 or visit For more information about splendid cool weather beach and golf vacations, visit

The 40th Annual Atalaya Arts and Crafts Festival will be held September 25—27, 2015 at Huntington Beach State Park near Murrells Inlet, SC. Hours are Noon to 6 PM on Friday, 10 AM to 6 PM on Saturday and Noon to 6 PM on Sunday. Admission to the park during the Festival is free. For adults, daily entry is $8 and a multi-day pass is $10. Visitors 15 and younger are admitted free. Pets are not allowed. Stroller and wheelchair access can be difficult due to uneven surfaces, stairs, crowds and narrow hallways.


A Labyrinth on the Grand Strand?

A Labyrinth on the Grand Strand?
By Kimberly Duncan

One of the Grand Strand’s and SC’s Hammock Coast’s most unexpected attractions is an authentic, walkable Labyrinth – an often-misunderstood word and a concept largely unfamiliar to the Lowcountry. And yet we have one of our very own!

There’s a beautiful labyrinth at Brookgreen Gardens, America’s first public sculpture garden conveniently located between Myrtle Beach and the charming city of Georgetown. It’s perfect vacation territory during the South’s cooler months.

Many confuse a labyrinth with a maze. Labyrinths wind toward a center point and are used as places of reflection and meditation. Conversely, the paths of a maze incorporate dead ends. A maze is a puzzle to be solved; a labyrinth has an unambiguous route to the center.

The history of labyrinths is eighteen to twenty thousand years old.
From Africa, Egypt, France and Italy to Swedish fishermen and
America’s Hopi Indians, many cultures embraced labyrinths.
Labyrinths are not specific to – or in opposition to –
other religions or belief systems.

Brookgreen Garden’s labyrinth is positioned beside a creek along the north end of the Trail Beyond the Garden Wall, one of Brookgreen’s designated walking paths. Its location allows visitors time well spent with a leisurely stroll through the Gardens – and perhaps lunch at the onsite restaurant – before encountering the Labyrinth itself. (There’s a picnic area too.)

There’s much more to know about Brookgreen. By any standard, it is one of the Southeast’s finest assets. They currently display a collection of more than 1400 works of American sculpture. The natural beauty of the Garden’s is staggering. There’s also a wildlife park, trekker excursions, boat tours, interpretative history exhibits and more. (It’s budget-friendly in that admission includes all the glory for seven full days!)

SC’s Hammock Coast, the southern sliver of SC’s Grand Strand, delivers a crazy wealth of things to do during cool weather months. Everything is less crowded. Temperatures are pleasant. There’s rarely a wait at award-winning Lowcountry restaurants. The golf and beach are at their very best. Retail options are impressive, too. (Get a jump on Christmas shopping!) Lodging alternatives are wide-ranging – from creekside and oceanfront to homes, condos and hotel rooms sporting golf, river, creek and marsh views.

For whatever reasons, you and yours deserve a pre- (or post-!) holiday vacation. Make it happen. Wait until spring or summer only if you must. Pop over to to get your getaway started. You’ll find scads of interesting info about Brookgreen Gardens at

Fill Your Sails with History in Georgetown, SC

Fill Your Sails with History in Georgetown, SC

By Kimberly Duncan

Georgetown - 06-01-14 (7t)Studies have documented growing interest among travelers in tourism opportunities that protect the environment and showcase local cultures. More than ever, people enjoy traveling to experience the places, artifacts and activities that authentically represent fascinating stories and people of the past, and the slice of the Lowcountry south of Myrtle Beach has a rich store of history to explore.

The entirety of Georgetown County – which also includes southern Garden City Beach, Murrells Inlet, Litchfield Beach, Pawleys Island and Andrews – is packed with historic and eco-friendly attractions but – for sake of space – this article will focus only on the charming port city of Georgetown. Located on the southernmost tip of the Grand Strand, it was among the nation’s busiest seaports in Colonial times. A four-by-eight block grid is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. And there are five – yes, five! – museums within easy walking distance one from another.

  • Georgetown County Museum sits in the heart of the downtown waterfront district, a block off Front at 120 Broad Street. One of the best small museums anywhere, the facility plays host to an array of history exhibits and programs. An exceptional collection of everyday objects chronicles daily life through almost three centuries of local history. Impressive traveling exhibits spice things up on a rotating basis. Find details at
  • The Kaminski House Museum is a must – especially for those interested in architecture and antiques. English and American furniture dates from the early 1700s. More than a few pieces are of national and international significance. Constructed in 1769 by a wealthy merchant for his daughter, the home sits on the bank of the Sampit River and anchors the west end of Front Street. The front yard, overhung with massive old oaks, is as beautiful as the old home itself. Check out
  • The SC Maritime Museum at 729 Front Street celebrates the rich maritime history of Georgetown and the whole of the SC. The building is one of few that survived a devastating fire in September of 2013 – a fire that burned nearly an entire block of historic structures. This is a highly recommended stop for anyone who enjoys nautical history, ships, and the deep blue sea. Sail over to
  • From the area’s earliest settlements to the twentieth century, rice cultivation dominated lifeTown Clock in the Lowcountry. Explore the story through dioramas, maps, artifacts and other exhibits at the Rice Museum. Known locally as home to the Town Clock, it is an iconic symbol of Georgetown. There’s an impressive art gallery, too. Research details at
  • The Gullah Museum at 123-7 King Street provides a rich education about the history of the Gullah/Geechee people – descendants of African slaves – who inhabit the southeastern Atlantic coastal region. To say these people played a significant role in everything from southern cuisine to farming and religion, education, politics and culture, is understatement at its finest. Call 843.527.1851 to ask questions.

Each museum has its own gift shop and every single one is stocked stem to stern with an array of gifts, jewelry, art, decorative home accents, unique Lowcountry gifts, books and more. If you can’t find time to tour each of the five museums, at least stop to shop!

Independent of area rivers, nearby beaches, abundant golf, gardens, state parks and old plantation homes, Georgetown’s museums alone are worthy of a long weekend getaway. The city and the county is rich in history and alive with excitement! There’s a warm welcome waiting for you during cool weather months on The Hammock Coast of SC. Start daydreaming and planning at


Don’t miss the Georgetown Wooden Boat Show!

Wooden Boat Show Celebrates 26th Year in Georgetown, SC

Event Snagged Prestigious Awards
By Kimberly Duncan

Georgetown, SC is the Palmetto State’s third oldest port city. Four rivers slide into Winyah Bay and the Atlantic Ocean beyond. A fifth river spills into the ocean just south of Georgetown. There are hundreds of ancillary creeks, as well as salt marsh habitats, cypress swamps, old rice fields and canals between them. There’s no better backdrop for an autumn escape.

Because water – and boats – are central to Hammock Coast history, it is fitting that historic water exhibitsGeorgetown – sometimes called a “little Charleston” – has hosted a wildly popular boat show for more than a quarter century now. Always held on the third weekend of October, The Wooden Boat Show brings thousands of happy visitors and area residents to the quieter, southernmost end of SC’s Grand Strand. The award-winning two-day show has been recognized as one of the Southeast’s Top Twenty Events. And it’s still growing.

The Harbor Historical Association of Georgetown will present the 26th Annual Wooden Boat Show on Saturday and Sunday, October 17 and 18. This year’s show will once again showcase one of the nation’s most-lauded wooden boat exhibits. On land and water, there will be nearly 150 classic wooden boats on display. An Opti-Pram regatta will feature the SC Youth Sailing program’s fleet of wooden Optis.

boat building challenge1 The Wooden Boat Challenge –teams of two battling to build a rowing skiff in four hours – is a can’t-be-missed special attraction. Afterward, all Hades breaks loose as participants test their boats for seaworthiness in a rowing relay on the Sampit River. Cash prizes hang in the balance!

There will also be model boatbuilding and knot tying classes and vendors with lots of maritime arts and crafts, jewelry and music, too. Visitors will be able to meet and talk to wooden boat craftsmen, manufacturers and owners. Events and entertainment are scheduled on the waterfront and along Front Street in Historic Downtown Georgetown. Add great restaurants and shopping to the equation, and – for a day or a long weekend – it adds up to a fabulous fall getaway perfect for boaters, sportsmen, couples and grown-ups with kids in tow.

For more information, visit the website at or the event’s beneficiary, the South Carolina Maritime Museum, at (The Maritime Museum is one of four must-see museums located Downtown and within walking distance one from another!)

Sometimes seaside locations are overlooked during cool weather months, but everyone should know Georgetown, Pawleys Island, and the fishing village of Murrells Inlet are open and ready for business. The weather is mild. Crowds have returned home. State parks and all manner of eco-activities are abundant. Golf courses are at their best. Shopping is gearing up for the holidays. Restaurants are introducing new menus. Everything there is to love about the southern coast of SC is at its best. And the Wooden Boat Show is only one of many fun events bulking up the Hammock Coast calendar. Find out everything you need to know at The options will surprise you!

Experience the Pawleys Island Festival of Music and Art

Music Is in the Air in Pawleys Island
25th Annual Pawleys Island Festival of Music & Art

by Kimberly Duncan

The Hammock Coast is a best kept secret as regards culture in South Carolina. From the fishing village of Murrells Inlet south to the historic and charming port city of Georgetown, the Grand Strand’s southernmost reaches serve up an enviable wealth of riches every day of the year. There are literary lunches with famous authors (, museums, fine art and photography galleries, performing art venues, one of the world’s most prestigious sculpture gardens, plantation homes, historic churches, tea rooms, poetry readings, lectures and classes of every sort.

Of all the Lowcountry’s stellar events, the Pawleys Island Festival of Music & Art is one of which the region is especially proud. In fact, this year marks the 25th anniversary of a weeks-long event counted among the most celebrated music and art festivals in the entire Southeast. In celebration of this silver anniversary, 2015’s Festival timeline spans four full weeks. Start planning quickly because the dates are surprisingly close – September 25 through October 17!

The big draws – just to name names most might know – include Grammy Award Winning artists Aaron Neville, Steve Tyrell and Mike Farris; their performances stretch over three weekends. Around those blockbuster opportunities, there is a whole host of other enlightening and enjoyable cultural opportunities. Here’s a brief sampling:

Seaside Palette en Plein Air will take place on Friday and Saturday, September 25 and 26, when more than fifty artists will gather in the Georgetown Historic District to participate in the Third Annual Seaside Palette. Artists will paint until dusk on Friday and begin again on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. until painting ends at 2. Then, from 3 until 5 p.m., attendees will have a chance to meet all the artists and buy their creations at the Wet Paint Sale & Reception on the wide, beautiful lawn of the Kaminski House Museum – a downtown riverside spot tucked beneath old oaks, steeped in history and steps from Georgetown’s Harborwalk.

Also on that Saturday in the Historic District, Seaside Palette will feature the Sixth Annual Chalk Walk. In the Italian tradition of street painting, this event is a valuable way to teach and promote the history of this lost art to artists of every age and level of skill. Also on that day, a very special musical group, The Squonk Opera, will present a genius show that’s hard to classify and different from anything you’ve ever seen – or heard.

Among the next week’s biggest events is the Sixteenth Annual Pawleys Island Wine & Food Gala on Thursday, October 1. Patrons will enjoy hors d’oeuvres prepared by the area’s best chefs, tastings of 100+ wines from vineyards around the globe and the opportunity to purchase many options at a discount. The evening will also include a dessert tasting and a silent auction with tempting trips and treasures. AJ Croce, Natalie Douglas, Ken Lavigne, Davis and Johnson and The Fabulous Equinox Orchestra round out the Silver Anniversary Celebration represented by Blues, Classical, Big Band and soulful ballads. There’s lots more planned on many dates than room to specify.

The Pawleys Island Festival of Music & Art is one of a hundred mighty fine reasons to visit South Carolina’s Lowcountry for a cool-weather beach vacation. Check out a wealth of detail about the Festival at, or call 843.626.8911. Start planning a beach getaway to The Hammock Coast of South Carolina at