Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Carolina "Low Country"

While vacationing in the Carolinas recently my husband and I spent a few days at North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina - a place where we vacationed with our families when we were kids.   Yes, it is a very commercialized place, but when you leave the cheesy street scene and navigate a path through a field of delicate sea oats to step out onto the sandy beach it can be marvelous.    With ocean temperatures in the low 80's and air temperatures in the high 80's in the summer you can go in and out of the water without a chill (or a neoprene wet suit like you need to wear almost all year here on the west coast). 

I love to walk.  I walk one to two hours every day near my house.  Myrtle Beach is, therefore, a perfect place for me to visit.  With 60 miles of uninterupted wide sandy beach I can walk forever, it seems.  

The Grand Strand

The coastal Low Country of the Carolinas can be, in my opinion, both interesting to visit, and quite beautiful to see.  It is not "majestic" like the mountain scenery found in the Rockies, the expansive colorful deserts found in the southwest or the rocky coastal areas of the Pacific, but it has a distinct charm about it.  There are thick pine forests patched by small farms with fields of tobacco and corn, and along the marshy wetlands there are fields of rice and meandering streams and rivers edged with giant oaks shrouded in Spanish Moss.

Tobacco Field

Intracoastal Waterway

People that aren't from the area may not realise that there is a continuous waterway route along the entire eastern seaboard of the United States.  This Intracoastal Waterway allows travel by boat from Maine to Florida without having to enter the Atlantic Ocean.  Mostly a natural waterway originally used by the Indians,  canals (first conceived by George Washington) were constructed in places along the route to make it continuous.   This waterway has played a roll in the past securing safety for our boats from naval attacks,  and, to this day, ensures safe navigation for commercial and private vehicles from the rough stormy seas of the Atlantic Ocean.

From Pawley's Island, S.C.  - looking over to the mainland

Beaches in the Carolinas, including North Myrtle Beach, are found on a series of narrow barrier islands.  A large part of North Carolina's Atlantic seaboard is comprised of the Outer Banks strip of islands reaching far out into the Atlantic Ocean.  Included in the Outer Banks is Roanoke Island, site of the first English settlement in America.   South Carolina's barrier islands, on the other hand, hug the coastline.   If you step back from the beaches and travel to the inland side of the islands you see beautiful, picturesque marshes and waterways stretching back over to the mainland.   These are excellent places to go "crabbing" and are home to oysters, shrimp and other sealife.   

Calabash, N.C. 

Now I want to go back...


Nate Maas said...

What a great trip! Although looking at your pictures I couldn't get Al Jolson's rendition of "Carolina in the Morning" out of my head.

Just Stuff From a Boomer said...

There is something magical about the Carolina Islands. We lived in South Carolina from 92-94 and visisted the coast and different islands then. I haven't been back to them since. Now we live on The Crystal Coast (or the southern Outer Banks) of North Carolina. Any day you can see an ocean is a good day to me.

I agree though, that the Tetons and the Rockey Mountains, in general, are awe inspiring. They are "for purple mountains majesties...."