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High style in South Carolina's Low Country

March, 2010

Starting in 1784, Walterboro, S.C., was a summer retreat for nearby plantations. Just five kilometres from the interstate (Exit 57 south or Exit 53 north on I-95), one can follow Washington St.’s crushed seashell sidewalk along the popular antique row.

Stop and rest a bit in any of the signature red rockers all over town. There’s a Farmers Market on Tuesdays from 2-6pm and Saturdays from 8am-2pm, a Christmas and gift shop and the fabulous S.C. Artisan Center. Visit before the town is discovered and the prices go up.

After your walk, set yourself on a counter stool at the 55-year-old Hiott’s Pharmacy for a real fountain soda (cherry or vanilla, too), which is still mixed by hand. If you’re there on the right morning, you’ll even find 82-years-young Eddie Hiott as the soda jerk. The drink will set you back just 60 to 80 cents. 373 Washington St., 843-549-7222.

For a local restaurant, you’d do well with The Blarney Stone – you can always count on a pub to have good grub. Traditional shepherd’s pie is Irish comfort food, and the shrimp and grits with fresh, local, wild caught shrimp would be the local equivalent, all with fresh veggies. Irish and Southern cultures are married in the zingy Irish nachos with cheddar, bacon, jalapenos and salsa over crispy potatoes. Unusual sandwiches are the Irish Cuban and homemade pimento cheese, and there always is bread pudding. If you must, there’s alligator bites in a biting jalapeno tartar sauce. Mon-Sat 11:30am until the last person leaves. 256 Washington St., 843-782-4774,

Hampton House B&B is the perfect location to spend the night after walking around downtown Walterboro. Plop into a canopied bed in a 1912 porticoed home with gardens and pool. The best part of this B&B is the 50 houses it houses: Proprietor Diane Forde will gladly walk and talk you through the dollhouses, room boxes and dolls from around the world (from Bliss and Gottschalk to 1950s tin ones). 500 Hampton St. 843-542-9498,

Here are some shops you can find in Walterboro: Ambassador Antiques, 843-782-3374; Antiques & Collectibles, 843-549-7219; A & K Antiques, 843-782-3080; Bachelor Hill, 843-549-1300; Lowcountry Antiques, 843-549-2101; Watercolours Antiques, 570-850-7648; Washington Street Antiques, 843-549-5527; Choice Collectibles Antique Mall, 843-549-2617; Albert’s Attic, 843-549-9221; Lucas St. Antiques, 843-782-7070; Old Bank Christmas & Gifts, 843-549-6555; and the S.C. Artisan’s Center, 843-549-0011,

Walterboro Welcome Center: This “Front porch of the Low Country” is spanking new, so you’ll get clean restrooms and free WiFi, a computer terminal with weather, road conditions and email access, and all the info you need about Walterboro, the county and the Low Country. Come in for a free pack of red standing cypress seeds. Daily 9am-5pm. 1273 Sniders Hwy., 843-538-4353



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