Top Things to Do Highway 17 Georgetown County

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If you’re visiting Georgetown for the first time, or just exploring all that the area has to offer, there is plenty to do and see along U.S. Highway 17, also known as Ocean Highway.

To that end, the Tidelands Magazine staff developed this list of 17 must-do stops along Highway 17. So take a drive along Highway 17 – and a few detours along the way – and experience everything Georgetown County and the South Strand has to offer. We begin in the most northern portion of the county and take you throughout our most Southern border. Some stops are along Highway 17, while others are short distances just off the highway but all are easily accessible.

1) Garden City Pier

Good old-fashioned beach fun awaits visitors at the Garden City Pier, located at 110 S. Waccamaw Drive in Murrells Inlet. Hand-scooped ice cream, skeeball, live bands and karaoke entices kids of all ages to Garden City’s go-to place for fun. The pier’s nearly 700-foot length tempts many to rent a rod and reel and give pier fishing a try; many young anglers catch their first shark from the rolling breakers below.

2) Belin Memorial United Methodist Church

Nestled in one of the most picturesque spots in Georgetown County, Belin Memorial United Methodist Church sits beneath majestic oaks on the waterfront in Murrells Inlet. Named for the Rev. James L. Belin, Methodist minister and benefactor to the entire Waccamaw Neck, Belin United Methodist Church was originally constructed in 1925 with materials salvaged from the dismantling of the Oatland Methodist Church near Pawleys Island. The current structure, located at 4182 Highway 17 Business, was re-built in 1991 to resemble the original church that sat on the exact same charismatic site.

3) Murrells Inlet & the MarshWalk

It’s known as the “Seafood Capital of South Carolina,” and it’s clear why from the dozens of famous restaurants along the equally famous MarshWalk. For more, turn to Page 16 for a feature story sure to whet your appetite.

4) Huntington Beach State Park

With more than 2,500 acres, there is so much to do and see at Huntington Beach State Park, which has its entrance right off Highway 17. The park features three miles of undeveloped beachfront. Nature trails and boardwalks wind through the park, leading guests through maritime forest and into a salt marsh. Known for its natural beauty, Huntington Beach State Park was the former winter home of sculptress Anna Hyatt and her husband, philanthropist Archer Huntington, who left the park, including one of South Carolina’s landmarks – Atalaya, the picturesque, Moorish-style winter home of the Huntington’s, and adjacent Brookgreen Gardens as their legacy. Revel in sea-breezes while camping, experience the finest surf fishing South Carolina has to offer and enjoy some of the top bird-watching on the East Coast while visiting Huntington Beach State Park.

5) Brookgreen Gardens

Brookgreen Gardens’ combination of art, history and zoo touches the heart and teaches the mind with new exhibits, programs and tours. Boat rides turn into history lessons, and a visit to the butterfly house becomes a lesson in conservation. Entrance is directly off Highway 17. For more, see our feature story on Page 8.

6) Litchfield Beach

Litchfield Beach is one of the longest most pristine stretches of beach along the Pawleys Island corridor of U.S. Highway 17. It is a favorite of dog lovers, being the only beach where dogs are allowed to run free, off their leashes every morning until 9 o’clock. The beach also attracts bikers who can peddle for miles past Huntington Beach State Park to a jetty, and even ride their bikes out to the tip of the jetty with the ocean on one side and the entance to Murrells Inlet on the other; a favorite dolphing watching spot for many. The beach is also a favorite location for fisherman, who cart their gear down to remote places along the beach to cast into the surf in hopes of bringing in flounder, red fish and other fish native to the coast. There are several routes from Highway 17 to the public beaches. Just look for the signs.

7) All Saints Church

All Saints Episcopal Church, 3560 Kings River Road in Pawleys Island, was one of the most significant Episcopal churches in the South Carolina Lowcountry in the 18th and 19th centuries. Its first congregation was formed in 1739, and the church has been located at the same site since its beginning. The church cemetery, established in the 1820s, is significant for the individuals buried there, many of whom were the leading public figures of antebellum Georgetown County. Containing noteworthy gravestone art from circa 1820 to circa 1900, the cemetery sits under a canopy of live oaks and is surrounded by a pierced brick fence with wrought iron gates. The majority of the monuments in the cemetery are simple slab steles sculpted in either marble or granite. But the graveyard also includes table-top tombs and sculptural monuments. Pawleys is full of ghost stories and All Saints Church is home to one of the most famous. The grave of Alice Flagg, a young daughter of a plantation owner with a forbidden love, rests in All Saint’s cemetery. Many rings have been placed there in honor of her. Legends and lore abound in this moss-draped live oak burial ground.

8) Historic Pawleys Island

Laced along three miles of oceanfront, the Pawleys Island Historic District is comprised of cottages dating back to the late 1700s through the mid-1800s. Many, built of Cyprus, have deep porches that were built to catch the breeze. Survivors of wind and time, these homes impart the island with its signature nickname, “arrogantly shabby.” Originally, the cottages were the summer haven of colonial rice plantation owners who brought their families to Pawleys Island to avoid malaria and fevers so prevalent in the interior of the state, Pawleys Island is one of the country’s oldest beach resorts. Again, easily accessible from Highway 17 via the north and south causeways – just look for the signs.

9) Hobcaw Barony

Walk the grounds once visited by Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt, visit the only, fully intact, slave village along the Grand Strand and enjoy unique ecology programs through hikes at the beach, marsh and forests on the grounds of Hobcaw Barony. A 17,500-acre research reserve, Hobcaw Barony is one of the few undeveloped tracts on the Waccamaw Neck. The property includes more than 37 historic buildings and structures representative of the eras of both 18th- and 19th-century rice cultivation and 20th-century winter retreats. Hobcaw Barony, located at 22 Barony Road in Georgetown, was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1994. Public access is limited to guided tours and programs.

10) Historic Front Street in Georgetown

Historic Front Street, located in downtown Georgetown, is a must-see destination for waterfront shopping, dining, boating, fishing, historic tours and ghost tours. Easily assessable by land or sea, a potpourri of family-owned shops and restaurants await those that venture down this tree-lined, riverfront thoroughfare. The Harborwalk, a charming boardwalk overlooking the Sampit River, is lined with cafés, galleries, antique shops and specialty stores. Follow the signs from Highway 17 after crossing into Georgetown. Several side streets lead directly to Front Street.

11) Rice Museum

This museum, with its iconic Clock Tower, located at 633 Front St. in Georgetown, is a prominent symbol of Georgetown County. Through dioramas, maps, artifacts and other exhibits, visitors to the Rice Museum are enlightened to the history of a society dependent on the rice crop. The Maritime Museum Gallery, located next door in the Kaminski Hardware building, displays the Browns Ferry Vessel, built in the early 1700s and sunk approximately 1730. Also located in the Kaminski Hardware building is the Prevost Gallery and the Museum Gift Shop. For information, call 843-546-7423 or visit www.ricemuseum.org.

12) Georgetown County Museum

Located at The History Center at 120 Broad St. in Georgetown, near the intersection with Front Street, this museum offers visitors a look at artifacts that represent 300 years of local history. Artifacts include a model of the Revolutionary War Brig “Fair American,” the first ship in the U.S. Navy, and a cypress dugout canoe found near Caledonia Plantation on the Waccamaw River. Also on display is the original letter from Gen. Francis Marion (the Swamp Fox) to Gen. Nathaneal Greene, dated July 30, 1782, confirming that he would return to Georgetown. For information, call 843-545-7020 or visit www.georgetowncountymuseum.com.

13) S.C. Maritime Museum

This museum at 729 Front St. in downtown Georgetown offers a glimpse into the rich maritime history of South Carolina and Georgetown with large photos, ship models and the actual Fresnel lens that was in the Georgetown Lighthouse at the mouth of Winyah Bay for more than a century. The Harbor Historical Association opened the museum in 2011. One of the most recent additions is a model of The Planter steamship, built by Dennis Cannady of Beaufort County. For information, call 843-520-0111 or visit scmaritimemuseum.org.

14) Kaminski House Museum

Located at 1003 Front St., the former home of Gov. Harold Kaminski was willed to the city by his wife, Julia Pyatt Kaminski, upon her death in 1972. The Kaminski House and the adjacent Stewart-Parker House are perched on a bluff overlooking the Sampit River and Georgetown Harbor. The Kaminski House lawn and gardens, as well as the Stewart-Parker House, can be rented for special events. For information, call 843-546-7706 or visit www.kaminskimuseum.org.

15) Gullah Museum

Tucked away at 123-6 King St., this museum celebrates the Gullah/Geechee culture of West African slaves who were skilled farmers. It offers guests a glimpse into the unique culture and history of the Gullah/Geechee people, who were taken from their homes in West Africa. Skilled farmers and laborers, Gullah slaves made planters rich by farming rice, indigo and cattle. Exhibits include traditional Gullah art such as story quilts, sweetgrass baskets and carved wooden walking sticks. It also has books about the Gullah language, historical photographs and documents. For information, call 843-527-1851 or visit www.gullahmuseumsc.com.

16) Hopsewee Plantation

Built circa 1740, some 40 years before the American Revolutionary War, Hopsewee Plantation was one of the South’s major rice plantations and the birthplace of Thomas Lynch Jr., one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Now a private residence, this National Historic Landmark—near Georgetown, located at 494 Hopsewee Road in Georgetown, is a must-see.

17) Hampton Plantation

Tucked away among live oaks and magnolias, Hampton Plantation State Historic Site, located at 1950 Rutledge Road in McClellanville, just outside Georgetown, is home to the remote, final remnants of a colonial-era rice plantation.

The plantation’s Georgian-style mansion and well-kept grounds serve as an interpretive site for the system of slavery that helped build such plantations in South Carolina into the greatest generators of wealth in early American history.

Top 10 Cultural Things to Do in Pawleys Island

The Grand Strand area of South Carolina offers a place to relax, enjoy the sun and beautiful beach, and to explore the history and culture of the Grand Strand region!  Here’s a Top 10 list of favorites places to visit:

Brookgreen Gardens

This 9,100-acre garden/museum preserve of native flora and fauna has over 1,400 statues by over 350 world sculptors throughout the park. Witness the natural beauty of the Grand Strand!

Hopsewee Plantation 

This National Historic Landmark was once a low country rice plantation. This beautiful stately home is South Carolina history before your very eyes! Hopsewee is located in Georgetown County.

The Market Common

For the connoisseur of shopping, Market Common is an aesthetically-pleasing specialty village.  Brick and tree-lined urban community within Myrtle Beach itself.  Enjoy its cultivated atmosphere of shopping for apparel, shoes, gifts and more!

The MarshWalk 

This quaint little fishing village on the south end serves up delicious seafood, cold drinks and live music nightly. Several bars and restaurants line the wooden marsh walk, offering both fine dining and laid-back bar atmosphere!

Broadway at the Beach 

Enjoy family fun as you stroll this shopping/entertainment complex which has a unique New England/Caribbean flavor. Shop for your favorite gifts and memorabilia of Myrtle Beach. Don’t miss the popular 100 or more specialty stores!

Brookgreen Gardens

Brookgreen Gardens is a sculpture garden and wildlife preserve, located just south of Murrells Inlet, in South Carolina. You will be amazed!

Huntington Beach State Park 

The 2,500 acres of Huntington Beach State Park hold a rich bounty of history and nature! Wildlife lovers, campers and beachgoers keep coming back for more!

The Bowery

Since 1944, The Bowery music hall has entertained millions with their southern flair. Open 7 days a week with cold drinks and live music, the famous Bowery is where the band “Alabama” got their start!

Hobcaw Barony

Located just north of Georgetown, SC, Hobcaw Barony is an internationally known center for research, education and conservation. Tour the property and see Hobcaw House, where Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, and other leaders of the 20th century stayed.

Burroughs and Chapin Art Museum 

A fine art gallery, Burroughs and Chapin Art Museum, in Myrtle Beach, has 10 revolving exhibits yearly with a stationary gallery of local southern artists. Enjoy amazing paintings, sculpture, ceramics, photography exhibits and more!

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Brookgreen Gardens: Brew at the Zoo

Presented by The Friends of Brookgreen Gardens, ‘Brew at the Zoo’ is one of our most popular fund-raising events of the year. Saturday September 27th  from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.  Guests enjoy tastings of more than 30 regional and national craft beers, entertainment by the popular local band “Bullfrog” and a signature tasting glass. The silent auction and drawings proceeds help fund the new waterfowl exhibit “Wings of Migration”. New this year, are Home Brewing Demonstrations by the Homebrewer’s Pantry and M.A.S.H (Myrtle Beach Area Society of Homebrewers) along with some games and activities. Food is available from Inlet Affairs Catering.

Tickets are $35 per person for members ($40 regular) and space is limited.

Sponsored In part by

Brookgreen Gardens Calendar of Events January 2012

Silent Cities
January 3 – March 1, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday at 12 noon and 2:30 p.m.

Ride on the new Trekker down back roads and explore cemeteries, the Silent Cities at Brookgreen. Walk through former slaves and plantation owners’ graveyards and hear about the historical burial customs of European and African origin. Tickets are $15 in addition to garden admission for this two-hour excursion and must be purchased at Keepsakes at least 10 minutes prior to departure time. Reservations are suggested; please call (843) 235-6042. Visitors who purchase tickets for this excursion will receive a discount coupon for same-day purchases at Keepsakes.

The Oaks Plantation History and Nature Trail
January 4 – March 4, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday

Through interpretive panels along this walking trail learn about the history of The Oaks Plantation and see archaeological sites that include the footprints of the plantation owner’s house, kitchen the overseer’s house, and the enslaved African village. Transportation to The Oaks Plantation History and Nature Trail is only by mini-bus which departs on the hour from 12 noon until 3 p.m. Tickets are $3 per person and must be purchased at Keepsakes at least 10 minutes prior to departure time. Visitors who purchase tickets for this excursion will receive a discount coupon for same-day purchases at Keepsakes.

New History Exhibit

January 9 – March 2

Etched In the Eyes, The Spirit of a People Called Gullah Geechee will be housed in Learning Lab I of the Wall Lowcountry Center from Noon – 4:30 p.m. daily and is free with garden admission.. The exhibit documents the African Diaspora of the low country and Sea Islands along the eastern coastline or North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida through 12 captivating wall prints with text panels. According to photographer and visual sociologist David Herman, Jr., “This ever-expanding collection of narratives provides an intimate experience with the culture that ebbs and flows along the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor. It will allow you to cross a bridge that will never be destroyed, a bridge that although burdened by the trades of time has stood because of deep roots in the spirit.”

“A Be a Been Yah”

Wednesdays, January 11 – February 29

A new 50-minute presentation that complements the exhibit, Etched In the Eyes, The Spirit of a People Called Gullah Geechee, will be presented by Ron Daise at 1 p.m. on Wednesdays and is free with garden admission. Daise examines five cultural traits of Gullah/Geechee people, also known as “been yahs”. The presentation cites historical figures and places across the four-state Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor, of which Daise serves as a Commissioner. Through lecture, songs, and photographs, viewers will learn about community and lingual bonds; dignity, defiance and resistance; entrepreneurial spirit, respect for educational skills, and supernatural beliefs. The program will not be held on February 1 and 8.

History Lecture
Saturday, January 14

Historian Dr. Charles Joyner will speak about his award-winning book, “Down by the Riverside”, and its impact on the understanding of African-American history on the Waccamaw Neck. This is part of a series of community events that spotlight Dr. Joyner and three other authors leading up to their induction into the South Carolina Academy of Authors in April. The program will be held at 3 p.m. in the Wall Lowcountry Center Auditorium and is free with garden admission.

 

Children’s Discovery Room
Saturday and Sunday January 14 – February 26

From noon to 4:30 p.m., the Children’s Discovery Room features seven interactive stations for children ages 4 – 12 that afford opportunities to learn about the rich history, nature, and art at Brookgreen Gardens. Free with garden admission. In March, the Children’s Discovery Room will open daily.

Mad Hatters Tea Party
Saturday, January 7, 14, 21, 28

You are invited to show off your favorite chapeau and join other Mad Hatters in the beautiful Holliday Cottage for a luncheon and tea party from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Space is limited and reservations are required on a first-come first-serve basis. Call 843-235-6016 for reservations and information. The cost is $35 per person. Click here for menu and details.

“Stay in De Boat” Film Showing

1 & 2 p.m. Thursday, January 26

The Education Department will present the short but powerful student-made film, “Stay in De Boat” at 1 and 2 p.m. in the Wall Lowcountry Center Auditorium. The 25-minute project was filmed and produced by present and former College of Charleston students from the Department of Sociology and Anthropology during the 2010-2011 school year and is free with garden admission. It features members of the Gullah/Geechee community, including Brookgreen’s Ron Daise, voicing their experiences, dreams, and hopes for the future of Gullah/Geechee people, their language, and their culture.

Brookgreen Gardens 1931 Brookgreen Drive, Murrells Inlet, SC 29576

Located between Murrells Inlet and Pawleys Island, SC – Highway 17.

  • 843-235-6000
  • 800-849-1931 (Toll Free)

Thanksgiving at Pawleys Island / Murrells Inlet

Whether you want a traditional Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings at a restaurant in Pawleys Island, or you want to pick up a Thanksgiving meal, or you want a non-traditional Thanksgiving meal, we’ve got you covered.  Local chefs and restaurateurs are planning fantastic feasts for all tastes and lifestyles.

Here are some examples:

Austin’s Ocean One, One Norris Dr., at The Litchfield Inn, Pawleys Island,  235-8700

Thanksgiving Menu: From 1-7 p.m., Chef Bill Austin and Annette Austin are offering a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with a breathtaking oceanfront view for $27 ages 12 and older or $14 ages 11 and younger. The meal includes Butter and Herb-Basted Roast Turkey with Roasted Shallot and Turkey Gravy, Buttermilk Whipped Potatoes, Country Sausage, Sage and Cornbread Stuffing, fresh Cranberry Relish, Candied Sweet Potatoes, and Sesame Baby Beans with Red Peppers. A limited version of the regular menu will also be available.

Bello Cibo Deli, 115 Willbrook Blvd., by Piggly Wiggly in the Litchfield Market Village Square Plaza, Pawleys Island,  (843) 237-4333

Thanksgiving Menu: Through Nov. 20, you can order the Bello Cibo Heat and Eat Thanksgiving Dinner. For $75, the meal serves 6-8 and includes 4 pounds of sliced turkey, 2.5 pounds Garlic Mashed Potatoes, a 12-ounce Green Bean Casserole, 16 ounces Cranberry Sauce, 1 pound Cornbread Stuffing and 16 ounces Natural Turkey Gravy.

Brookgreen Gardens, 1931 Brookgreen Gardens Dr. Murrells Inlet (843) 235-6000

Thanksgiving Menu: The Pavilion Restaurant and the Courtyard Café will be closed, but the Old Kitchen will be open from 10-a.m. to 4 p.m. with a special meal of an Open-faced Turkey Sandwich with Dried Cranberry Dressing and Creamy Apple Carrot Slaw for $7. Other menu items will also be available, along with Pumpkin Pie and hot soups.

 

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