Discover South Carolina
Exploring Aiken, Beaufort, Charleston, Columbia, and Greenville for the South Carolina Tourism Board
I was born in Decatur, Georgia and ever since I moved to the northeast I have yearned to tell stories from the south. It is a mystical, heavy, and vociferous place. It is also often misunderstood. People dress in bright colors, filling restaurants and churches with human Easter eggs. Men wear seersucker suits, paired with round hats, creating a living Mary Poppins fantasy. Southern hospitality is everywhere. The food is heavy, the history is dark, and the culture is proud.
Exploring the south is a more meditative than sportive experience. There aren’t large mountains to climb to take your breath away. Instead, there are boardwalks winding through dense forests and swamps, like in Congaree National Park. Nature sounds more alive. There are millions of insects buzzing in your ear, and you’re always watching underfoot for snakes and gators.
There are haunting plantation houses, like Drayton Hall, where visitors can walk the grounds and be reminded of the contradictions of slavery and freedom that this nation was built on. There is a small but lively main street in Beaufort, where everyone makes eye contact and says hello, walking at a pace that would get them killed in New York City. Chairs are extra comfortable and extra large, and there are swings by the water to encourage leisure.
In six days I visited five cities, driving a loop around the state of South Carolina in a whirlwind attempt to capture the southern soul.