Even if you only have two days to spend in Georgetown, you’ll have choices on and off the water. First, you’ll want to find accommodations that reflect this historic water community.
We’ve got two suggestions: The Shaw House B&B is a colonial home with columns in the front and a scrumptious screened in porch overlooking the old rice fields along the Great Pee Dee River. Innkeepers Mary and Joe Shaw are in the know about Georgetown, and your room will take you into a world of pampering and beautiful surroundings and furniture. (Breakfast included as well as lots of amenities.)
Or, you may want to check out The Keith House Inn, located on Georgetown's historic Front Street, only steps from colorful shops, antique/art galleries, both casual and fine dining, walking tours of the National Register Historic District, the Harborwalk and boat excursions.
Just outside of town, the historic Mansfield Plantation B&B offers accommodations on an antebellum rice plantation along the banks of the Black River. The plantation, established in 1718, is steeped in history and luxury. Charleston Magazinerecognized it as one of their top 10 romantic getaways!
Whatever you choose, you’ll be well-rested for adventure.
Any excursion should probably begin with the Visitor’s Center at 531 Front Street in the Chamber of Commerce building. Those folks will be happy to give you tips and suggestions, but we’ve got a few of our own, based on personal visits and advice from locals.
The Harborwalk will help you get your “sea legs” as you stroll down the boardwalk between two of Georgetown’s many historical buildings, the Kaminski House (c.1760) and the Rice Museum (c.1842). The boardwalk has restaurants, galleries, antique shops and specialty stores filled with treasures to take home.
Don’t miss the South Carolina Maritime Museum on the Harborwalk, dedicated to the rich maritime history of this seaport town. Their newest exhibit is the glass 5th order Fresnel lens that guided ships through the Georgetown Harbor from the top of the lighthouse for over 100 years.
At the other end of Harborwalk is Kaminski House. Willed to the City of Georgetown, the Kaminski House is filled with antiques collected by the Kaminskis. There is an observation deck overlooking the river and a gift shop in the old butler's quarters. Tours: Monday-Saturday,10am-4pm.
When it’s time for lunch, the Rice Paddy comes highly recommended. For true Southern flavor, consider the shrimp and corn chowder for starters, followed by Lowcountry Oyster pie. Yummy-licious!
After lunch, walk around the historic district and consider taking a boat tour of the area. Away from land, you’ll pass through Winyah Bay and see plantation homes, rice fields from the past and beautiful scenery with sea birds and waving marsh grass. Nature’s bounty in the form of seashells can be collected at remote barrier islands. You may also get a glimpse of the North Island Lighthouse, accessible only by boat.
Late in the afternoon, return to your B&B for a private taste of the antebellum lifestyle. Simply relaxing on a porch, or amidst fine Southern antiques, gives you a sense of how the privileged Georgetown residents wound down their days.
Wander down Harborwalk before turning in after your perfect day. There’s more to come.
Today, you’ll want to arise early for several excursions around the area.
If you enjoy outdoor sculpture and beautiful gardens, head north to Brookgreen Gardens. Here’s the story. In 1931, Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington founded Brookgreen Gardens, a non-profit garden museum, to preserve the native flora and fauna and display objects of art within that natural setting.
Today, Brookgreen Gardens is a National Historic Landmark with the most significant collection of figurative sculpture, in an outdoor setting, by American artists in the world, and has the only zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums on the coast of the Carolinas.
It’s been called a “top public garden” by Coastal Living magazine, and won the 2009 Reader’s Choice Award for Public Gardens, by Southern Living. You’ll enjoy your visit, especially a larger-than-life statue of Pegasus, among other exquisite sculptures. Brookgreen offers special events, including two current jewels: “Silent Cities,” a tour of back roads and cemeteries at Brookgreen, available through March 4 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. “The Oaks Plantation History and Nature Trail” is another possibility, and features a natural walking trail that passes archaeological sites, now through March 5. Directions: Follow US Highway 17 Bypass 18 miles north of Georgetown.
If you’ve got time, another worthy destination is Hobcaw Barony. This magnificent 17,500 acre natural preserve and wildlife refuge has great features, including the former 13,500 square foot home of Wall Street millionaire Bernard M. Baruch, who hosted President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Sir Winston Churchill among others. Other features include the only existing slave street left on the Waccamaw Neck, the grounds and stables of Bellefield Plantation, and a salt marsh boardwalk. A small nature and history museum is also on site that contains many exhibits, videos, and two alligators. From Georgetown, take Highway 17 north one mile. Hobcaw Barony will be on the right. Tours of the property daily are at 10am and 11:00am.
And there’s so much more. Watersports are always a pleasure and beaches are very close for sunbathers. A number of bike rental shops make it easy to let pedal power take you on a leisurely route around the area. And if you have more time, you’ll find more plantations and lots of museums in the area. Sounds like the perfect road trip: learn about the past, enjoy the present, and take home plenty of memories for later.
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