My husband and I have spent the last days of summer at Pawleys Island for so many years, we’ve lost count. But even though we know the routine of renting, the journey down highways and byways from Knoxville to South Carolina, and that great feeling when we see the ocean, we’ve found that the whole act of “getting there” just adds to the joy of travel.
And thus it was that we stumbled upon what has become our favorite shrimp dock — just by reading a sign along Highway 17 that runs through Georgetown.
We turn down a tree-lined street into the historic district where stately Southern homes make it a habit to turn heads of those driving by. Sometimes I think it’s almost as if they’re watching as tourists like us read aloud the dates in the oval markers and consider how porches, iron fences, and windows of wavy glass have maintained their character for so long.
Pretty soon, we see the place where we stop to fill our empty cooler: Independent Seafood. It’s become a ritual, of sorts — leave home, stop at Columbia’s Farmers’ Market, then Cooper’s Country Store in Salters, and take one last stop at Independent Seafood to get the goods for a first-night shrimp boil at the beach.
Independent Seafood’s a humble place really. Right at water’s edge. Plain concrete building with a back door opening to shrimp boats and workers and sometimes a stray cat or two who wander in, but not unexpectedly.
We move in for the kill, peering in at each bucket marked by shrimp size, thinking not only what we’ll need for that night, but maybe another night or two, mid-week.
Trevor cracks jokes and tells us we’re not buying enough. Heck, you need some shrimp boil or lump crabmeat — croaker, too! (They’ve got it all.)
Lots more fish, seasonings, and frozen delights await.
We buy mediums for gumbo and large ones for peel ‘n eat — packed in separate bags. Then we splurge and get the crabmeat, tossing all into the cooler. One of the guys with a shovel big enough for circus scooper duty, scoops out crushed ice and layers it on top. Then he totes it to our car for us! (Bert loves that!)
On the way out, we turn down a different side street through the district just so we can ogle more gorgeous houses and lovely sit-a-spell porches before the home stretch to Pawleys.
Our dream: Low Country Boil (recipe below) with little more than some French bread and dessert from the Kudzu Bakery on our own screened-in porch by the sea!
So, if you’re headed to one of the South Carolina beaches, and you pass through Georgetown, put Independent Seafood on your list of must-see places. But, don’t forget your cooler. You’ll want shrimp for supper, too!
Low Country Boil
Crab Boil (2 teaspoons per quart of water)
12 small red new potatoes
Six 4-inch pieces good smoked link sausage
6 ears fresh corn
3 pounds fresh shrimp (26 to 30 count per pound), unpeeled
Fill a large pot with enough water to cover all ingredients. Add crab boil and heat until boiling. Adjust crab boil to suit your taste. (I use Slap Ya Mama!) When boiling, add potatoes and sausage. Cook on medium heat for 20 minutes. Add corn and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Add shrimp and cook for no more than 3 minutes (do not overcook). Drain and serve with piping-hot bread and ice-cold beer.
from The Lady & Sons Savannah Country Cookbook
by Paula H. Deen
Independent Seafood Market Shrimp Dock
1 Cannon Street
Georgetown, SC 29440