It wouldn’t be beach week for us if we didn’t take at least one trip from our rental in Pawleys Island, SC to historic Georgetown — the location of some of the prettiest Southern homes in the state — about 20 minutes away. After all, Georgetown is the third oldest town in South Carolina with residences dating back to the 1700s.
According to Georgetown’s website, rice was introduced to the area in 1690, but didn’t become a major crop until the end of the Revolutionary War. The crop brought money to the area, making Georgetown “the wealthiest county in the 13 original colonies.” Later, in 1755, the Winyah Indigo Society (named for the plant used in making blue dye) was formed to fund the free school and the library it founded. Some of the homes built for society members were used by Union forces during the Civil War.
Our walks through the historic district are like no other we’ve experienced. Beautiful homes framed by towering live oak trees feature welcoming, comfortable front porches — places to “sit a spell” and sip sweet tea, we suppose. They’re definitely a reminder of the past, a gentler time of prosperity and Southern grace.
With landscaping that usually includes fluffy hydrangeas, stately palms, and neat plantings, the homes rival any in the South for beauty and stateliness.
Most of the homes sport wide porches and all-white trim, very welcoming and very Southern. On the sides of the houses, markers verify dates of establishment as well as street addresses. And some of the porches hold joggling boards — a curved plank on supports that bounces with the sitter (usually kids in need of more motion)!
Some of the houses face sideways (front door and porch perpendicular to the sidewalk) in an attempt to catch the sea breezes and enable owners and guests to endure the South Carolina summer heat and humidity.
A walk along the streets in the historic district can be an escape of sorts — a canopy of live oaks covered in resurrection moss (It really does “come to life” after a rain shower!) offers full shade, and the buzz of the shopping district fades away.
We’ve never yet visited Pawleys without at least one drive through Georgetown’s loveliest section. And, as we move slowly past our favorites, we envision ourselves on one of those porches, waving from rocking chairs and wondering what it would have been like to be a Georgetown homeowner in the 1700s.
Heaven is a house with porch lights.Ray Bradbury
Rusha & Bert