Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Brief Tour of Georgetown, SC

A new phase in life brought me Georgetown, South Carolina as my new hometown. We arrived here by a 27 ft sailboat on the summer of 2012 to start a restaurant. And this past January, as soon as our baby was born, I officially moved to be with my hubby and we made it home. Some of my friends and family members thought that since we were gifted a beautiful 40 ft wooden sailboat a few days before our baby Noah was born that we moved to Georgetown to live in a boat. But no, we are currently not living on a boat. However, having a boat has granted us access to the water neighborhood of Georgetown. So for my friends and readers, who like me attempts to explore their neighborhood thoroughly, I'll give a short tour of the geographic location, the historic district, and the water neighborhood of Georgetown, SC. The Georgetown waters is unique because the Great Pee Dee, Waccamaw, Sampit, Black River all merges into Winyah Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. It's the blackest water I've ever seen due to the tanic acid from the hundreds of beautiful, Live Oak Trees in the area. Since the water is both fresh and salt water, it's the site of good fishing and wildlife. We've seen sharks, dolphins and yes, alligators in those water. In fact, there are signs on the harbor that warns tourists against feeding alligators and other wildlife. Georgetown is the third oldest city in SC. Though the city of Georgetown is small, the Harbor of Georgetown is welcoming to boaters because you can dock your boat on the city dock and immediately walk on the boardwalk where bands are jamming in restaurants, and good fare is found. There are several restaurants to choose from, within walking distance from each other. This historic neighborhood has several attractions--the Strand Theater, Historic Houses, Rice Museum, Maritime Museum--and they're all within walking distance of each other. Also, the town boasts of (though they should not) an ugly steel mill and paper mill-- one of the few surviving steel and paper industries in the US. But the mills in Georgetown are forgiveable due to the annual Georgetown wooden boat show. This past couple of weeks we rowed down the river with our baby and explored the water neighborhood. Away from the harbor, is Goat Island, a little abandoned island in the middle of the river. If you go just a little further down the river, you'll see a stack of shrimp boats. On any given day, you can purchase the freshest shrimp and catch of the day from the Independent Seafood Market. Moving along, you'll see a fish boat dock. This is owned by Captain Ron who provides towing for broken down boats. The fish boat dock also attracts salty sailors and shady characters. If you are looking for Pirate of the Carribean characters, there's no need to go to the Caribbean or Hollywood. The real deal is here. Sailors known around town for their colorful personalities abound here, sailors such as Dammit Man, who is called that because of his amazing repertoire of cuss words. There's Mad Dog, who is said to be a no-good-drunken-has-been on land but can fix just about anything on the water. Then, there's Buster, who speeds around town on his sweet machine--a broken, coughing moped. These guys have moored their boats permanently in the waters of Georgetown. Buster's three ragtag boats, which we fondly call "the flotilla", is tied to each other and quite noticeable in the waters. They stand out particularly because Buster's boat almost sank and stays afloat with the help of his other boats. We offered to help out Buster, but he flatout refused. You see, Maritime Law gives those who help a sinking ship, Law of Salvage. Similar to the spoil of war, the Law of Salvage, gives the salvor the spoils of the sinking boat for risking his property and life. Those are just a few of the permanent year round Georgetown boaters. There are hundreds of weekend boaters, summer boaters, transient boaters, recreational boaters who enjoy these waters. So hope my short geographic, historic, and water neighborhood tour of Georgetown inspires you to visit. Bring your boat out if you have one. If you want to see these characters and all of these sites but dont have a boat-- visit Georgetown by car and take the Capt Rod's Harbor Tours, a day cruiser that will also take you to see Shell Island, the lighthouse, and river plantations. xo, Jem