April 2, 2015
April 23, 2015

If I didn’t live in Charlottesville, this is the sort of place I’d love to visit as a tourist. Oftentimes, the most beautiful, inspiring or meaningful destinations are in our own backyard, so to speak.

My first introduction to the Lowcountry was in the mid-80’s when I spent the summer between my first and second years of college on Hilton Head Island, SC. Back then, I hadn’t realized that the slow genteel nature of the Lowcountry already had her hooks in me.

The Lowcountry runs along the southeast Atlantic coast of the US and while there aren’t distinct borders, my idea is that it begins just north of Charleston stretching to St. Mary’s, GA, north of Jacksonville. Many of the Lowcountry beaches are wild and wide, with sea oat dotted dunes providing a perfect nesting ground for Loggerhead Sea Turtles. Live oak trees drip with sea moss and the rugged palmetto palms offer a tropical backdrop. What I love most, besides shrimp & grits, is the genuine thoughtful southern hospitality.

Charleston, SC is one of my new favorite American cities with Savannah a close second. Historic cities in their own right, it’s worth spending time in each. St. Simon’s Island has become an annual winter jaunt as my husband’s parents spend the winter here. It’s been not only a great opportunity to enjoy St. Simon’s in its sleepy off-season temperate splendor, with a mandatory stop at Southern Soul BBQ, this island is a convenient jumping off point to visit Jekyll Island, Sea Island, the exclusive Cabin Bluff and Cumberland Island National Seashore.

Golf fanatics don’t have to go far to find a world-class course, fat tire beach bikes are one of the best ways to explore the coast, birders won’t be bored with the variety of avian species making the salt marshes home, the sea brings fishing, clamming and oystering to life, and just about anything having to do with water sports is outside the front door.

A couple of my favorite historic hotels include the King & Prince Beach & Golf Resort on St. Simon’s Island and the Jekyll Island Club Hotel on Jekyll Island. Cabin Bluff is a treasure in time where the great outdoors is the attraction. It’s one of few all-inclusive properties in the US and situated on 45,000 acres—a great place to celebrate with family for a long weekend or plan a work retreat. The Inn at Palmetto Bluff in Bluffton, SC is pure luxury where days are measured by the tides. For a Lowcountry adventure, jump on the National Park ferry to Cumberland Island National Seashore for the day, a couple of nights at the Greyfield Inn or pitch a tent at one of the two campsites. –Rochelle, April 2014

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