I dedicate this message to E.B. Davis.
This year, my cousins and I spent the week after Labor Day at Litchfield Beach, located between Myrtle Beach and Georgetown in South Carolina.
Nestled next to Pawley’s Island, a community best known as “arrogantly shabby” where the ghost of the Gray Man warns folks to flee from approaching hurricanes (and those who heed find their property untouched by the storm), Litchfield is a quiet, family-oriented destination, with sandy shores bounded by stately sea oats, huge magnolias heavy in dark leaves, and tall oaks draped with Spanish moss.
|Brookgreen Gardens Entrance Image by Kelley Nelson
Nearby is Brookgreen Gardens, a sculpture garden and wildlife preserve built on four former rice plantations and founded by scholar and philanthropist Archer Milton Huntington and his wife artist Anna Hyatt Huntington. Their former winter home Atalaya Castle is located in Huntington State Park and has an arts festival each September. Also in the vicinity is Hobcaw Barony, originally part of a 1718 royal land grant that was subdivided into fourteen plantations. Later it became the winter residence of millionaire Bernard Baruch, whose daughter Belle created a foundation for state colleges and universities to use as a place for teaching and researching forestry, marine biology, and care of wildlife.
Visiting after Labor Day is a different experience. Gone are the crowds of summer guests.
We met one visiting family with home-schooled children, but for the most part we encountered either adult tourists or residents who had reclaimed their territory. Together, we relished, relaxed, and thrived in the sun, sand, and waves.
One afternoon, we shopped at Litchfield Books, featuring a variety of fiction, nonfiction, books and items of local interest, and gifts, and the Hammock Shops Village, where the family of Riverboat Captain Joshua John Ward began selling sturdy cotton-rope hammocks in 1938. In the Village’s Mercantile, I had to indulge in several varieties of fudge, including dark chocolate with pecans, milk chocolate with caramel and pecans, and two flavors best sampled in unison. A sliver of salted caramel vanilla coupled with a thin slice of key lime gave the sensation of cheesecake with a tart aftertaste. Then, at the Coastal Wine Boutique, we discovered wine smoothies and acquired a Moscato tasting of peaches and honey.
|Gini Abee, PGB, Jim Okes, Chester Abee, Brian Okes
Needless to say, the local cuisine is superb. We enjoyed eating at a number of establishments. Two family-run restaurants, Lee’s Inlet Kitchen, which has been operated for sixty-seven years in Murell’s Inlet, and Hanser House, located in Pawley’s Island, feature exceptional seafood, and delicious vegetables and sides. The breakfasts at Webster’s, a buffet located at Litchfield by the Sea Resort, and Applewood House of Pancakes, now offering pumpkin pancakes, provided bountiful servings.
|Senator Luke Rankin, PGB, Jim Okes, Brian Okes
We returned to two favorites, the Rivertown Bistro in Conway, with awesome meatloaf, watermelon salad, and sweet potato chips, and Captain George’s, a monstrous seafood buffet in Myrtle Beach, that offered tons of crab legs as well as shrimp, oysters, scallops, and an impressive dessert bar. As we left, we stopped at Scott’s Barbeque in Hemingway. Written up in the New York Times and featured on the Food Channel, Scotts has been in business over thirty years preparing whole hogs (as well as turkeys and chickens) over wood burning pits.
|Photo by Brian Okes
The morning after returning home, I stepped outside to mid-seventy degree temperatures. Fall was in the air. Even though I live in the sandhills, I felt as if I were in the cool of the highlands.
After an E.B. Davis dose of beach, I probably needed a Sam Morton mountain balance.
Home with head still in clouds,
P.S. If you haven’t already noticed, there are some really great books debuting this week: Susan F. Craft’s third novel in the post-Revolutionary War Xanthakos family series, Cassia, has the family captured by the murderous Captain Galeo (the Shark) and forced to witness his pirate crew recreate a mock trial complete with actual hanging. Art Taylor’s wonderful novel in short stories, On the Road with Del and Louise, (previously described in E.B. Davis’ interview with Art on WWK) takes you cross country with two disparate, sometimes desperate, and constantly delightful characters who work their ways into your heart. And, Robert Dugoni’s second book in his Tracy Crosswhite series, Her Final Breath, has the homicide detective beginning an investigation of a serial killer known as the Cowboy after having dealt with the sensational retrial of her sister’s killer in My Sister’s Grave. All marvelous reads, whether you’re on the beach, in the mountains, or anywhere in between!
What’s your favorite after Labor Day activity?