Stroll: In 1729 on the banks of the Sampit River, colonists founded South Carolina’s third oldest city, Georgetown. A shipping and agricultural center, Georgetown’s four-by-eight block town center was packed with wealthy colonists. The city’s original grid is on the National Register of Historic Places, and a stroll along these oak-lined streets is a step back in time. The oldest building is the Anthony White House (1032 Front St.) dating back to 1737, though the small Screven Cemetery (on Screven Sreet) dates to 1713. Prince George Winyah Episcopal Church (300 Broad St.) was constructed around 1747 and is one of several churches in the Historic District. Walking tours of the historic district are self-guided, though Swamp Fox Tours (www.swampfoxtour.com) conducts tram tours of the district.
Shop: There are no big chain stores in Georgetown and most of the boutique shopping is concentrated around Front Street and the Harborwalk, a wide, eight-block boardwalk along the Sampit River. Most, if not all, of the businesses here are locally owned, and you’ll find shops carrying clothing, shoes and jewelry; gifts and toys; even high-end furniture. Black Mingo Outfitters (www.blackmingo.com) carries outdoor brands like Patagonia, Chaco and OluKai as well as fishing gear. The Boardwalk Boutique (912 Front St.; search for it at www.facebook.com) has a chic collection of womens’ clothing and accessories, as does Sly Fox (www.slyfoxgeorgetown.com). Waterfront Books (www.waterfrontbookssc.com), in Fogel Wharf, is a bibliophile’s dream with books new and used, collectible first editions, signed copies and a book-loving staff. At Augustus & Carolina (www.augustusandcarolina.com), you’ll find a 65,000-square foot showroom of high-end furnishings.
Hike: Just north of Georgetown is Sandy Island, a 9,000-acre island between the Great Pee Dee and Waccamaw rivers. Only about 120 people live here, many of whom are descended from Gullah slaves who worked the rice plantations on the southern end of the island. Tours de Sandy Island (www.toursdesandyisland.com) departs from Pawleys Island and carries passengers on eco tours and Gullah tours. Expect to see bald eagles, osprey, swallow-tailed kites and great horned owls, maybe even a red-cockaded woodpecker; you may also spy bear, deer and alligators as you cruise the marshes and walk through the woods. On Gullah tours, you’ll walk and talk with island residents and learn the history of the plantations and people who called Sandy Island home.
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Bike: There’s no better place to pedal than through the streets of Georgetown’s historic district. Or, head north to Pawleys Island and ride the Waccamaw Neck Bikeway (www.sctrails.net): The bikeway is wide, flat and easy, and the longest continuous stretch is six miles long, though there are approximately four miles of the Bikeway completed but not officially connected. No wheels? Rent a bike in Pawleys Island from Cyclopedia (www.cyclopediaonline.com) and pedal away. P.S.: The bikeway passes by Huntington Beach State Park, where you can ride for a small fee.
Dine with waterfront views at Georgetown’s Big Tuna Restaurant & Raw Bar (www.bigtunarawbar.com). The seared tuna and tuna tartar appetizers are a good way to start, but your entrée’s got to be the seafood platter, unless you want to double-up on those tuna apps.
Alfresco Georgetown Bistro (www.alfrescogtbistro.com) offers up an elegant dining experience and a menu packed with coastal Italian dishes.
For a sweet treat, stop in at Kudzu Bakery (www.kudzubakery.com) and pick up some cookies (try the sugar cookie) or the coconut cake or a pie or even lunch. At lunch, save the sweets for dessert and opt for the pimento cheese sandwich.
Castaway’s Bar & Grill on Front Street can get a little raucous, but if you want live music and a cold drink, this is the spot. Big Tuna Restaurant & Raw Bar offers up a small wine menu and brags that their beer is the coldest on the water. At Alfresco Georgetown Bistro’s bar, they serve wine flights – two 4-ounce pours accompanied by cheese and grapes – so you can sample a good bit of their wine menu.
Stop by Coffee Break Cafe (click the “Dine” link at www.historicgeorgetownsc.com for details on this place and Castaway’s) for a cup of joe – and breakfast, if you’re in the mood – and sip with the locals.