Less Traveled 2010

Tracy Pou

SOUTH CAROLINA INSIDER

 

Going to Atalaya? Get off the beaten path

Posted 9/17/2010 12:47:00 PM

Planning a trip to the 2010 Atalaya Arts and Crafts Festival? If you’re looking to get off the beaten path during your visit to the Murrells Inlet area, there are a number of interesting places to check out.

If you love ghost stories, you’ll definitely want to visit the grave of Alice Flagg at the All Saints Cemetery on Pawleys Island. Flagg, the daughter of a prominent 19th century planter, fell in love with a man who her family thought was below her social status. After finding out about their love affair, Flagg’s family sent her to boarding school in Charleston, where she became ill. After returning home to Murrells Inlet, she slipped into a coma and died in 1849. As her family prepared her body for burial, they found a ring on a ribbon around her neck -- a symbol of love between Flagg and her lumberman boyfriend. As the story goes, Flagg’s infuriated brother threw the ring into the marsh. Legend has it that Flagg’s ghost, that of a young girl, barefoot and dressed in a wedding gown, can be seen wandering around the cemetery looking for her lost ring.

If 160-year-old ghost hunting isn’t really your thing, you’ll find lots of living history in nearby Georgetown. Established in 1732, Georgetown is South Carolina’s third oldest city and boasts more than 50 historic homes and buildings. Once the largest rice-exporting port in the world, most of Georgetown’s history is connected to rice cultivation. The Georgetown Rice Museum, located in the Old Market Building in the downtown area, showcases artwork, artifacts, maps and other items that provide an in-depth look at the cash crop that sustained the area for more than 100 years.

Because skilled slave labor fueled Georgetown’s rice industry, the area was home to some of the largest slave-holding plantations in South Carolina. Some of the plantations, like Hopsewee and Bellefield at Hobcaw Barony are well-preserved and offer a glimpse of the Antebellum South and insights into West African/African American (Gullah) history in the area. Visitors also can learn more about the Georgetown area’s Gullah culture by visiting a number of locally owned shops. Vernelle ‘Bunny’ Rodrigues, a Gullah folk artist and historian, runs the Gullah Museum and O’oman Gift Shop on Pawleys Island. There, Rodrigues provides Gullah history lessons and showcases quilts and other collectibles that depict the Gullah culture and journey.

Whether you choose to visit Friendfield Village -- a former slave community at Hobcaw Barony, take a boat ride to Shell Island to view the Winyah Bay Lighthouse -- one of the oldest in the U.S. , or tour plantations and abandonded rice fields during a river boat ride, there’s plenty to see and do on the roads less traveled around the Murrells Inlet area.

If you go

Gullah Museum and O’oman Gift Shop
421 Petigru Drive, Pawleys Island
(843) 235-0747

Alice Flagg’s gravesite
All Saints Episcopal Church Cemetery
3560 Kings River Road, Pawleys Island

Hobcaw Barony
22 Hobcaw Road, Georgetown
Three hour van tours are offered Tuesday-Friday for $20
For reservations call (843) 546-4623

Hopsewee Plantation
494 Hopsewee Road, Georgetown
(843) 546-7891

Cap’n Rod’s Lowcountry Plantation Tours
Plantation River Tours, Lighthouse Shell Island Tour, Georgetown
(843) 477-0287