Beaufort and Kiawah Island offer the best of the Lowcountry with tasty restaurants, festivals and other events.
Beaufort & Port Royal
Southern writers extraordinaire Pat Conroy and Cassandra King make their home in Beaufort ( www.beaufortsc.org) and you can easily explore the area’s beauty and maybe even pick up a copy of one of their bestselling books.
Dining in the area is better than ever, thanks to restaurants like Griffin Market ( www.griffinmarket.com), which features creative Italian fare that Conroy calls, “The best Italian food ever served in South Carolina.” Other tasty options include: fresh seafood and more at 11th Street Dockside Restaurant in Port Royal and Lady’s Island Dockside on Lady’s Island ( www.11thstreetdockside.com), both casual waterfront restaurants known for their smooth she-crab soup and steamed pots; Breakwater Restaurant & Bar ( www.breakwatersc.com), featuring new Southern cuisine; Saltus River Grill ( www.saltusrivergrill.com), in a sophisticated setting on Beaufort’s Waterfront Park that offers Lowcountry favorites made from locally-sourced ingredients prepared with modern technique; MoonDoggies Café & Grill ( www.moondoggiescafe.net), which features American food; Fat Patties ( www.fat-patties.com), known for its hand-crafted, chef-inspired burgers with five different patty options, plus 20 American craft drafts that change daily; and St. Helena Island’s Gullah Grub ( www.gullahgrubs.com), a restaurant that features the Gullah cooking style with their crab soup, shark strips, fish chowder, shrimp gumbo and more.
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Port Royal’s annual Soft Shell Crab Festival (April 19; www.oldvillageportroyal.com) celebrates the soft shell crab and includes an open street market with a variety of shopping and dining options.
A Taste of Beaufort (May 2-3; http://bit.ly/MOcI20) is a weekend filled with food, wine, art, and music in a historic downtown.
The Gullah Festival (May 23-25; www.gullahfestival.org) celebrates the rich African American heritage through dance, art, and Gullah cuisine at the Technical College of the Lowcountry.
The Beaufort Water Festival (July 18-27; www.bftwaterfestival.com) has been a waterlogged tradition since 1956. This 10-day celebration brings the town to life with concerts, water skiing, talent contests, air shows, boat races, and parades. Tournaments include golf, tennis, boating, and bed races. Water lovers also enjoy decorated boats and the traditional blessing of the fleet.
Come spring, Kiawah Island ( www.kiawahresort.com) becomes more savory than ever. The famous resort, less than 30 miles from Charleston, features varied accommodations (from The Sanctuary full-service resort to a wide range of villa and house rentals), a dozen delectable dining options, shopping, golf and tennis, miles of wide beach.
The Ocean Room in the Sanctuary is one of only two steakhouses in the United States to have earned a Forbes Four Star and AAA Four Diamond rating (the other is in Las Vegas).
In keeping with South Carolina’s mouth-watering barbecue campaign for 2014, Kiawah Island’s Cherrywood BBQ and Ale House in the Osprey Point Clubhouse is being appropriately promoted as specializing in “upscale” Q.
The third Thursday of each month, the Kiawah Beverage Series features beverage dinners at seven rotating outlets highlighting seasonal ingredients and spirited beverages.
Hungry island visitors can also try Lowcountry fare at Jasmine Porch, authentic family-style Italian cuisine at Tomasso at Turtle Point, fresh seafood at The Atlantic Room and an oceanfront café setting at Loggerhead Grille.
The island’s Lowcountry Oyster Roast and BBQ at Mingo Point overlooks the Kiawah River. In addition to running Monday nights, June 20-Aug. 25, it’s also offered Easter weekend (April 17 and 21), Memorial Day weekend (May 24) and Labor Day weekend (Aug. 30).
The Kiawah Island Open (April 19) is the island’s third annual disc golf tourney, testing the skills of players enjoying Kiawah Island’s newest form of golf.
Wickets & Wine (May 3-24) features afternoons of recreational croquet and wine nearby at the elegant Sanctuary Lobby Bar. Lynn Seldon