So far my favorite thing about my new life in the deep south has been the opportunity to explore the “Lowcountry.” The Lowcountry is a cultural and geographic region that runs along the coast from Savannah to Charleston. As an eighteenth-century European historian, I am particularly fascinated by this region, since it actually existed in the time period I study in Europe (which often feels like a rarity in the US, especially in the South).
The Lowcountry is characterized by its marshy environment, historic plantation economies, southern live oak trees (loaded with Spanish moss), and an unique cuisine that retains a strong African influence (it’s more cajan than southern). But the most distinctive (and my personal favorite) characteristic of the Lowcountry is its architecture. The hot and humid environment of the region created a unique architectural style. High ceilings, light pastel colors, and large front porches (often on both the upper and lower stories) offered a reprieve from the harsh heat and humidity.
My favorite detail of these old southern homes, however, are the blue painted porch ceilings. While the color ranges from powder blue to teal, the tradition is centuries old. Depending on where you are and who you ask, answers to why porch ceilings are painted blue might vary, but the general consensus is that, historically, it was believed to keep evil spirits away. Today it is simply trendy and pretty.
So far, I have explore Savannah, Beaufort, the old Sheldon Church ruins (which dates from 1757), Sullivan’s Island, Mount Pleasant, and Charleston. I still want to visit Port Royal, Hilton Head, and Bluffton. But, if you know of a great historic town in the Lowcountry, please share below!