If I’ve learned anything while traveling around the country it’s that you should never assign generalizations to the people from certain areas. People are people wherever you go. Whether you’re in the mountains of Colorado, the plains of Kansas, or the beaches of Florida, you are just as likely to encounter people brimming with friendliness and generosity as you are people who are miserable and rude. But…I am tempted to break my own rule when describing the people of the southeast. You know that saying about southern hospitality? Well it’s a real thing. Everyone we have encountered here in the southeast, from store clerks, campground workers, and complete strangers have treated us with an open friendly manner that sometimes takes those of us who hail from the reserved northeastern part of the country by surprise. Take for example our lovely courtesy camping spot this week.
Here we are on a piece of private property in the small town of McClellanville, SC, about 45 minutes north of Charleston. It’s owned by a couple who live nearby and decided to offer this land as a place for people to camp. For free. Not because they’re thinking of starting a campground, or trying to figure out how to profit in any way. But simply because it’s a nice place and they wanted others to enjoy it. Wow. Not that’s the true spirit of hospitality and generosity.
We found out about this offer from one of our fellow RVers. Tim then contacted the owners through their Facebook page and asked if we could come to stay. Turns out that we were to be their very first campers! We arrived on Sunday afternoon to find an open lot with an unoccupied house on one side, a large lawn with a house on the far end on the other side, and a giant oak tree in the middle. We parked ourselves in the sunniest spot on the edge of the lot, pulled over one of the brand new picnic tables, and settled in for the week.
We’re on a short dead end road which has made for a quiet, peaceful stay. With the exception of the young guy we’ve named “moped man” who rides his bike up and down the road at least 10 times a day (and sometimes in the middle of the night), hardly any traffic passes by.
Despite the fact that we’re less then an hour from a populous metropolitan area, it’s pretty rural around here. McClellanville is surrounded by the Francis Marion National Forest, and the town itself is a tiny historic village with a population somewhere around 500.
The land that makes up McClellanville was originally a plantation. Way back in the 1850 and 60s local plantation owners sold land plots to the planters of the Santee Delta who were seeking a coastal areas to escape the intense summer heat. As the town grew it became the economic center for the surrounding area where timber, rice, cotton and seafood were the major industries. Today, the town is best known as a hub for seafood and shrimp.
Once again, we intended to get out and explore the area a bit more this week, and once again we didn’t manage much. Tim has been swamped with work lately, and I’ve taken on some more writing jobs, which has found us working in the evening, or simply with no energy left for grand adventures at the end of the day. Such is life I suppose. One thing we did manage to fit into the week was the local Barn Jam at Awendaw Green. What a cool event this was! Every Wednesday evening the Barn Jam brings together locals and tourists alike for a night of live music, open bonfires, wood fired pizza, and just a general good time. This is a family and dog friendly event with a $5 cover at the door that gives you access to four hours of live, local music. Chairs, picnic tables, and a few tree swings are provided, along with several fire pits and a large stack of wood to keep everyone warm and toasty (the smoke also helped keep the bugs away). The barn jam motto is “a laid back venue in a laid back town”. Love it. If you ever find yourself in the Charleston area I would highly recommend checking out the barn jam.
We also got to meet up with two Airstream couples this week. The first was Kat & Jackson of the blog Life on the Blue Highways. We have followed each other online for some time now, and it was great to finally meet in person. They came over one evening and we had a nice time chatting and eating. I made my customary company soup (a spicy roasted pepper and potato chowder), along with a batch of homemade rolls & brownies. Over a bottle of wine and some local beer we talked all things Airstream and travel related. Kat and Jackson have an Airstream that is the exact same year as ours – something we don’t come across often. It was fun to compare notes and made us realize how lucky we are that so far we’ve avoided any major repairs. Let’s just say that they have not been so lucky. It was an absolute pleasure to meet this vibrant couple in person, and I sincerely hope we meet up with them again somewhere down the road.
We also met up with soon to full-time Airstreamers, Bob & Page, at the Whole Foods cafe in Mt. Pleasant for a chat about their upcoming life change. With the house sold, retirement right around the corner, and their brand new 30′ Airstream about to be delivered, these two are on the brink of breaking free. Honestly, I’m not sure how much useful info we were able to provide, since they have already meticulously researched nearly every aspect of Airstreaming and full-timing, and appear to be fully prepared. But it was great to meet them, and since they plan to head west this winter, there’s a good chance we’ll bump into them again and get to see their shiny new Airstream in person. Good luck guys!
And with that we end our very, very brief tour of South Carolina. We were supposed to head west to Asheville, NC this weekend, but had a sudden change of plans and instead will be moving north to my mom’s house for some much needed family time. Wishing everyone a lovely weekend and a very Happy Easter :)